2019-2020 Catalogue

Natural & Applied Sciences Core (NASC)

NASC 100 Astronomy: Solar System     (4 credits)

The astronomer's role has changed drastically during the past two millenia, from analyzing the motions of the planets, to theorizing about Earth's place in the universe, to directly observing and analyzing astronomical objects with telescopes and space probes. Using a variety of approaches, studenst will examine the tools and methods of the astronomer, and apply them in fully surveying solar system objects. Students will gain insight into the role of modern astronomy, through both telescopes and NASA, in both the scientific world and in areas of business. The Earth's atmosphere, interior, climactic, and 21st-century environmental issues facing our planet will also be covered, as well as how studying other planets provides key insights to better understanding the Earth.


Note: Satisfies 4-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 101 Astronomy: Stars and Universe     (4 credits)

While most students are somewhat familiar with the inhabitants of the solar system – planets, moons, and comets – very little attention is given to the subject of the stars in the pre-collegiate curriculum. This course introduces the student to a subject that makes up more than two-thirds of the effort of the observational and the theoretical astronomer. It stresses not descriptive detail, but the "detective" aspect of the science: the how, why and what for, and the application of various discoveries to extract further understanding. In addition, astronomy beyond the solar system provides the scientist with a laboratory for energetic phenomena that cannot be reproduced on Earth and can tell us about the ultimate nature of matter both at the subatomic and at the cosmic levels.


Note: Satisfies 4-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 110 Human Biology     (4 credits)

This course introduces students to the essential mechanisms of human biology and their applications. The course builds an understanding of how complex human systems represent consequences of the genes comprising the human genome and their expression, the functions of biological pathways, and the electrochemical properties of cells. An understanding of these mechanisms on a molecular level is applied to explore mechanisms of health and disease, recent scientific discoveries, the development of biopharmaceutical products, and controversies in biomedicine. The emphasis on this course is on the understanding of the broad applicability of basic biological mechanisms to issues of personal, temporal or business interest.


Note: Satisfies the four-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 111 Green Biology: Ecological and Botanical Connections     (4 credits)

Ecological and botanical examples and models will provide connections to basic concepts of biology. These concepts will be investigated through lectures, field trips, laboratory exercises, demonstrations, computer simulations, and Internet resources. For example, cell structure and function and resulting tissues will be related to sources of economically important botanical products and primary productivity in ecosystems. Natural selection and genetic inheritance will be applied to plant breeding, conservation of genetic diversity, and management of natural and human-made ecosystems. Topics related to the study of human populations will include population growth rates, complete nutrition from botanical sources, spread of disease, and environmental impacts. Throughout the course an understanding of the evolutionary implications of past environments, species interactions and human activities will be emphasized.


Note: Satisfies 4-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 112 Evolution, Human Genetics and Behavior     (4 credits)

In this interactive honors seminar, students critically analyze in papers and student-led class discussions readings from a wide variety of sources not normally used in traditional science classes. In readings about the Salem witch trials, satanic cults, recovered memories of abuse, UFOs, and the FDA drug approval process, students examine the scientific process. Students will critically debate the application of evolutionary thinking to modern problems in evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics: Is there an evolutionary explanation for rape? Is there a gay gene? Each student will be responsible for collaboratively teaching one seminar focused on one gene or group of genes on one chromosome as a means to understand a basic concept of human genetics, including its potential application to a wide range of other topics.

Focus: DIV


Note: This is an Honors-only course.

NASC 116 Elements of Living Systems     (4 credits)

This course introduces students to the basic structure and function of biologically important molecules. Students will learn the relationship of how the type of bonding and structure of a molecule dictates its interaction with its surrounding environment, with a particular focus on human systems. Through close examination of metabolic reactions, students will study the underlining thermodynamics that governs the behavior of systems. Finally, students will learn how these fundamental chemical concepts are translated into innovative products and processes in the fields of biomaterials and biotechnology. Additionally, the course involves hands-on laboratory-based scientific research. During the first half of the lab section, students will be trained in techniques for conducting modern-day research. In the second portion of the lab, students will work in groups to design their own experiments, collect data, and present their findings in a formal scientific presentation.


NASC 121 Chemistry of Sustainable Products     (4 credits)

Sustainable chemistry raises awareness of the fundamental processes behind the things we buy and how to create safer and healthier products. The course contains interactive lectures, an integrated research experience, and fun laboratory experiments that enable students to learn about innovations in chemistry and experience them directly. The course is designed to help students describe and understand how and why molecules interact and how these interactions ultimately dictate the molecules utility and toxicity. Students will explore how molecules translate their properties into materials and how these materials ultimately impact consumer product performance and the health of the people using and producing them. Finally, sustainable product design methodologies will be presented as a mechanism to protect and proliferate the prosperity of people, the economy, and our environment.


Note: Satisfies four-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 122 Environmental Chemistry     (4 credits)

This course explores the nature of environmental problems through chemistry. Students examine the movement and change of matter in order to understand the relationships among air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and energy production. In the laboratory, students conduct analyses of air and water samples, and produce alternative fuels like ethanol and biodiesel.


Note: Satisfies four-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 130 Principles of Geology     (4 credits)

This course Introduces the basic principles of geology and the societal relevance of the discipline through classroom discussions and laboratory activities. Exploration centers on the process of scientific inquiry, building around systems of plate tectonics and the rock cycle, followed by an examination of Earth's surficial processes, including the role of water, ice, wind and gravity inbreaking down, transporting and depositing Earth materials. Specific topics include the origins and classification of rocks and minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, geologic time, rivers, glaciers and coastal processes. Throughout the course, students relate Earth processes and materials to human concerns, such as natural hazards, environmental degradation and economic resources.


Note: Satisfies four-credit Natural Sciences requirement.

NASC 140 Energy and The Environment     (4 credits)

Earth is a dynamic planet. The changes that occur, regardless of duration, magnitude or location, are the direct result of energy transformations and transfers, both internal and external to Earth. Some of those changes are natural, while others are human-induced. As science and technology evolve, we develop a deeper understanding of Earth processes and become more capable of developing innovative solutions to current problems. This course presents ways in which the field of physics allows us to model and understand Earth as a series of interconnected systems.


Note: Formerly Environmental Physics.

NASC 150 Environmental Science and Sustainability     (4 credits)

This course is an introduction to environmental sciences, highlighting issues in environmental and ecological sustainability. This lab-based course places a strong emphasis on understanding how humans are linked to the environment, how humans can modify their interactions with the environment, how humans can learn from past and current environmental issues to address environmental issuesof the future, and how environmentally sustainable business practices can help enact positive environmental change. Topics addressed in this course cover a wide-range of major environmental issues, current affairs, and environmental solutions including human population growth and global climate change, marine plastics, biodiversity loss, ecosystem valuation, and understanding the environmental benefit of the triple bottom line. The course is structured through a series of in-class lectures and immersive class activities, laboratory exercises, and is heavily geared towards conducting outdoor research.


NASC 199 Experimental course in NS     (4 credits)

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.