HC441H: Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing: Chasing Planets

Professor: Carol Paty

4.00 credits

• CRN 32846: Friday, 9:00-11:50am @ CHA 102

Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing are advanced-level, writing-intensive courses that engage students in a review of areas of special interest. These seminars emphasize public writing—the ability to translate complex arguments and professional jargon to a broad audience— which is a central feature of a liberal arts education. These seminars will have a collaborative format, with students writing frequently and rewriting their work in response to comments by their professors and input from classmates. You have learned how to write for college, now learn how to write for life.

For centuries humans have looked to the stars. Some were searching for patterns, some for meaning, and others for direction both literally and figuratively. With the advent of modern observing technology and advances in our understanding of the physics driving the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets, the questions motivating us to look to the heavens have undergone a transformation. In this course we will focus on the discovery of new worlds and exploration of planets in our solar system, which will include discussions of recent large-scale missions such as Kepler, MAVEN, and Cassini, and the ongoing development of planned exploration of Europa. This course aims to develop an appreciation and deep understanding of the complex questions driving future missions and observation campaigns, and the physics behind the enabling technology through reading primary literature and watching seminars by the leaders in the field.  The scale and the cost of exploration also require genuine attention to public communication, and the assignments are focused on developing skills which will ensure that both the science questions posed to develop missions, as well as the answers gleaned from exploration, continue to inspire the broadest possible audience.