Course Offerings - Catalog 2010-11

Print this page  PRINT THIS PAGE

Natural Science

Division of Science and Mathematics

Courses offered under the Natural Science (NSC) heading do not fit into any of the other major programs in the sciences at Centre. Some of these courses may be used to fulfill the general education science requirements for students who do not intend to major in a science.

The course sequence NSC 110 and 120 may be taken to fulfill the two-course general education science requirement and is aimed at students who do not intend to major in a science. NSC 110 and 120 take an integrated approach to the broad themes of cosmological and biological evolution using a generally chronological framework. Either course may be taken first. While the courses are most effective when taken as a two-course sequence, they can be taken independently. So, NSC 110 can be used to satisfy the portion of the science general education requirement for physical science, and NSC 120 can be used to satisfy the life-science requirement.

NSC 140, Environmental Geology, may be taken to satisfy the physical science portion of the general education science requirement. The student would also need to take a life science laboratory course (NSC 120, BIO 110 or PSY 110) to complete the general education science requirement.

Students considering a major in science are encouraged to choose from our traditional disciplinary courses (BIO 110, CHE 131 or CHE 135, PHY 110, PSY 110) to satisfy their general education requirements.

Other elective courses may be offered in this program from time to time.


Jeff Fieberg (chair), Keith Dunn, Anne Lubbers, John Medley, Preston Miles, Donna Plummer, KatieAnn Skogsberg

Natural Science Courses

NSC 110 Natural Science-I
An integrated treatment of the major principles of the natural world. The course follows the development of the universe from its origin to the formation of early Earth. The course also explores the evolution of scientific thought from its origins through the scientific revolution to its prominent role in modern society. Topics include observational astronomy, mechanics, energy, light, thermodynamics, cosmology, and properties and behavior of matter from sub-microscopic composition to macroscopic geological phenomena. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: MAT 110 or basic skills in math.

NSC 120 Natural Science-II
An integrated treatment of the major principles of the natural world. The course follows the evolution of life from the early Earth through complex social interactions and the position of humans in the world. Topics include the nature of life, cellular structure and function, the organizing principles of biological evolution, the unity and diversity of life, and the complex interactions between and among species, communities, and individuals. Laboratory work is required. Prerequisite: MAT 110 or basic skills in math. NSC 110 is not a prerequisite for NSC 120.

NSC 140 Environmental Geology (4 credit hours)
This class explores the manner in which the earth's geological processes affect and are affected by humans. Topics discussed include rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, mass wasting, water resources, floods, glaciers and climate change, energy resources, and waste management. Laboratory work is required.

NSC 250 Physical Science of Volcanoes
A study of the physical science of volcanoes, including types of volcanoes, types of eruptions, volcanic hazards and benefits, environmental effects, and historically significant eruptions. Other geothermal phenomena such as hot springs and geysers are studied. The course includes traditional lectures and field work. Conducted in New Zealand.

NSC 261 British Scientists: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
A study of the lives and contributions of British scientists involved in several scientific revolutions, including the founding of the Royal Society (including Robert Boyle), formation of classical mechanics (Isaac Newton), revival of the atomic theory (John Dalton), proposal of the theory of evolution (Charles Darwin), the determination of the structure of DNA (Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick), and the origins of artificial intelligence (Alan Turing). Studentsl research and present the scientific achievements and context of a British scientist of their choosing. The course takes full advantage of the learning opportunities present in London, including visits to the Royal Society, London Science Museum, and the Cavendish Laboratory. The home site of Birkbeck College is also used, as the x-ray diffraction image of DNA was taken there.