Category Archives: Courses

Week 5: The Science of Sound

The fourth class of my course “Victorian Science: An Era of Discovery” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see all of you

The topic this week was The Science of Sound. The class description:

We will explore ingenious equipment built to explore the nature of sound, paying particular attention to connections between the development of technological devices and ideas about human physiology, the technological development of several musical instruments and cultural shift in ideas about the nature of sound and noise.

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 4: Science, Exploration, and Culture

The fourth class of my course “Victorian Science: An Era of Discovery” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see all of you

The topic this week was Science, Exploration, and Culture. The class description:

The Victorian era’s pursuit of scientific knowledge was, in many ways, bound with a desire for exploration, to further the interests of the Empire, and an interaction with changing cultural ideas. We will explore these relationships by examining the contributions of selected scientist-explorers.Students in the class can download the course notes for today by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 3: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

The third class of my course “Victorian Science: An Era of Discovery” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see all of you

The topic this week was Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The class description:

Darwin’s theories continue to provoke discussion even today. We will explore broader conversations about geology and evolution that set the context for his work before exploring some key ideas in depth. We will also explore the debate surrounding these on their publication and throughout the late 19th century.

Students in the class can download the course notes for today by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 2: Electricity and Magnetism

The second class of my course “Victorian Science: An Era of Discovery” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see so many new and returning faces! Welcome to all.

The topic this week was Electricity and Magnetism. The class description:

Electricity and magnetism were hot topics in the Victorian Era. We will examine how a few key insights and relatively simple experiments sparked a revolution in scientific understanding. We will focus on the “Maxwellians,” a group of British physicists who developed technologies making use of new ideas about electricity and magnetism.

Students in the class can download the course notes for today by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 1: Science as Public Performance

The first class of my course “Victorian Science: An Era of Discovery” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see so many new and returning faces! Welcome to all.

The topic this week was Science as Public Performance. The class description:

We will look at the changing public attitudes toward science and technology in the Victorian era and explore the contributions of those individuals who spent a significant part of their careers engaging the public in thinking about science and the role of the media in communicating scientific ideas.

Students in the class can download the course notes for today by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 6: The Fate of the Universe

The final class of my course “Planets, Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmology” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today.

The topic this week was The Fate of the Universe. The class description:

What is the ultimate fate of the universe– a Big Crunch or a slow ebb into cold lifelessness? What happens to stars when they reach the end of their lifecycle? We will examine the strange entities known as “black holes” and consider theories of how the universe might end.

In light of the recent historic events concerning the Philae probe, I decided to modify this week’s lecture slightly to talk a little bit about comets.

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 5: Exoplanets

The fifth class of my course “Planets, Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmology” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today.

The topic this week was Exoplanets. The class description:

A thorough understanding of exoplanets will tell us much about how our solar system formed, why it has small, rocky planets near the Sun, why it has gas giant planets far from the Sun, why the Earth has the conditions and chemicals that can support life, and why conditions on other planets are hostile to life. Theories of planet formation and evolution are incomplete, but offer specific predictions. Detections of exoplanets are already testing, validating, and in some cases invalidating, details of these theories.

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 4: Much ado about Pluto

The fourth class of my course “Planets, Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmology” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today.

The topic this week was Much ado about Pluto. The class description:

Pluto was recently “demoted” from being a planet. What is it, then? We will explore a recent tale of astronomical intrigue as we trace the debate around Pluto’s planetary status, and will conclude by examining the characteristics of a region of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt.

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download

Week 3: Our Solar System

The third class of my course “Planets, Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmology” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today.

The topic this week was: Our Solar System. The class description:

We will focus on our solar system’s celestial bodies: the planets, moons and asteroids that compose our section of the galaxy. We will begin with the solar system’s formation and then discuss unique features of each of the eight planets. We will also highlight some lesser-known but interesting moons.

I decided not to produce a handout this week given the absolutely outstanding resource that is available through NASA:

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov

I strongly encourage everyone to spend some time looking through the amazing array of “fact sheets”, histories of space exploration, and, of course, the remarkable images.

Week 2: We are all made of stars

The second class of my course “Planets, Stars, Black Holes, and Cosmology” (link), offered through SFU Continuing Studies, occurred today. It was a pleasure to see so many new and returning faces! Welcome to all.

The topic this week was We are all made of stars. The class description:

The subject of children’s songs and mythology for centuries, stars have fascinating lifecycles. We will begin with a look at stellar birth and evolution before considering how stars are classified and go on to examine in detail our own star, the Sun. Students in the class can download the course notes for today by following the instructions below:

  1. Click on the “download” link, which will open a new window.
  2. You will then be asked to enter the password given in class to view the document. Type in the password, then click submit
  3. You can then view the document on your screen.
  4. Click the printer icon to print the document.
  5. Click the download arrow (the arrow pointing downwards) to download the document.

Notes:

  • If you do not see the icons for printing and downloading at the top of your browser window, move your mouse cursor up to the top of the window to make the icons appear.
  • If you want to download (save a copy of) the document to your computer, you will have to enter the password each time you open the document.

Download