Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue 2016-17


Bard College Catalogue 2016-17

Additional Courses in the Sciences

Courses listed under this heading are introductory courses in branches of science that do not fit into the six divisional programs (biology, chemis­try, computer science, mathematics, and physics), or that approach the study of science from historical or philosophical points of view.

Energy, Entropy, and Information
Science 123
An introduction to the concepts of energy and entropy and their applications in the sciences. Students conduct a semiquantitative consideration of the factors that govern energy conversion and utilization and that predict the feasibility of all physical, chemical, and biological events. Connections are developed to information theory and communication theory; students discuss the use of these theories as models for evaluating and understanding nonverbal communication.

Photographic Processes
Science 125
Topics covered range from the chemistry of silver and nonsilver photographic processes to the physics of CCD cameras. Laboratory work emphasizes the chemical transformations involved in making gum dichromate prints, cyanotypes, blueprints, salted paper prints, and black and white silver emulsion prints. Students review elementary topics from high school chemistry and take an online quiz before the start of the semester to assess their understanding of these topics.

Nuclear and Chemical Weapons
Science 130
This course introduces the terminology associated with nuclear and chemical weapons. The class first becomes familiar with the atomic nucleus and types of nuclear reactions, and then focuses on uranium—from mining to enrichment to its uses in nuclear reactors and fission bombs—and on reprocessing spent reactor fuel to concentrate plutonium, which is also used in fission bombs. For chemical weapons, the discussion begins with the structures of the small molecules that make up these weapons, and includes their classification, design, and destruction.

Milk and Its Contents
Science 133
What is milk made of, and how is it transformed into foods such as yogurt and cheese? The course addresses these and related questions. The effect of milk on humans, the effect of milk production on animals and the environment, and the politics and marketing of dairy foods are addressed, but the focal points are the chemical analysis of milk and the chemistry underlying its transformations into other foods.

Starlight
Science 143
No space probe has traveled to any star besides the sun, and yet we have constructed a detailed picture of the composition and life cycle of stars based on the light and particles they emit. Analysis of starlight tells us about the composition, temperature, and size of stars, while analysis of the particles offers clues about the nuclear processes that occur on them. Foundational topics addressed include the nature of light, structure of atoms, and nuclear reactions. Students must be comfortable with scientific notation and using algebra to solve problems.

Astronomy
Science 161
An introduction to astronomy and astrophysics that covers the current status of knowledge and theories of the solar system, individual stars, galaxies, and the interstellar medium. Theories of quasars, pulsars, supernovas, X-ray stars, and black holes are discussed in terms of models of stellar, galactic, and cosmic evolution.

Cosmology
Science 162
A descriptive review of the astrophysical theories of the origin and development of the early universe. The Big Bang theory is examined in detail, with attendant evidence and theories of particles, fields, energy and entropy, and space-time geometry. Current models of supernovas, quasars, black and white holes, dark matter, quantum foam, and recent alternative models of supersymmetry and superstrings are analyzed.

A Comparative Approach to Music Cognition
Science 209
How can music be studied scientifically? How is this study informed by the multicultural approach of ethnomusicology, and how does it relate to the study of language? This course integrates ethnomusicology with acoustics, psychology, and linguistics, using tools such as acoustic spectral analysis, psychophysiological studies, and cognitive theories of musical structure in order to get a larger perspective on the nature of music. Discussions are led by professors from diverse backgrounds, giving students multiple ways to view this subject.

The History of Science before Newton
Science History and Philosophy 222
T. S. Kuhn’s model of historical progress is used to examine selected parts of discourses involving pre-Socratic philosophy, mythology, Copernican astronomy, Galileo’s trial, and Newton’s philosophy.  

Physical Science after Newton
Science History and Philosophy 223
cross-listed: sts, victorian studies
A survey of major agendas of physical science since 1750. Characteristic episodes include Lavoisier and the theory of elements; Maxwell and the mathematization of physics; arguments about light from Newton, Young, Michelson, and Einstein; 20th-century atomic theory; and the emergence of “big science.”

Einstein
Science History and Philosophy 225
cross-listed: sts, victorian studies
An examination of Albert Einstein’s life and work, as well as the impact of his work on current worldviews and the controversies involved therein, using biography and popular descriptions of the relativity theories, atomic theories, and optical theories. In addition to primary sources, readings include works by Overbye, Følsing, and Holton. Accessible to students with no prior ­college?level scientific or mathematical experience.