UAH Honors College Interdisciplinary Seminars:
Fall 2017 Seminars
Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen
1 credit hour (1st 10 weeks of Fall 2017 semester)
Dr. Jeffrey Nelson
An examination of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen: “The Tony Award–winning play that soars at the intersection of science and art, Copenhagen is an explosive re-imagining of the mysterious wartime meeting between two Nobel laureates to discuss the atomic bomb. In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart and friend Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. But now the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have vexed historians ever since. In Michael Frayn’s ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and daring new play Heisenberg and Bohr meet once again to discuss the intricacies of physics and to ponder the metaphysical–the very essence of human motivation” [from the inside flap].
Topics: The ethics of science; the ethics of fiction; the language of uncertainty and indeterminacy; dramatizing ideas; the nature of historical reconstruction; the role of judgment in science and history.
Weekly paragraph on the readings, class discussion, and final project (to be determined in discussion with the instructor).
Planets, Exoplanets, and Other Worlds
1 credit hour
Lecturers include Dr. Richard Miller (Physics), Dr. Joe Ng (Biology), Dr. Jack Fix (Science, Emeritus), Dr. Jason Cassibry (MAE), Dr. Laurel Bollinger (English) among others. We hope for at least one or more NASA personnel from Marshall to be give a couple lectures as well.
A lecture course that begins with the Earth, explores the solar system, looks at exoplanets (planets beyond the solar system); and ends by discussing the place of planets in science fiction. Expert lectures and discussions led by top people in their field, including both UAH and NASA researchers.
Course meets Fridays 1:00-1:55 PM in the Franz Multi-Purpose Room and is only 1 credit hour. Topics to be covered may include:
- The Earth and its climate
- Scientific uses of the Moon
- Mars exploration
- Outer solar system
- Interplanetary/interstellar propulsion
- Exoplanet discovery
- Exoplanet biology
- The theme of the planet in science fiction