The Physical & Personal Universe: Exploring Outer Space through Science, Cultural Analysis, and Introspection

Instructor: Emily Rice
Wednesdays, 10:00 – 12:40 PM
Course Code: MHC 363
Modality: Hybrid

Explore the Universe, from Earth and the Solar System to planets around other stars, stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole, through the lens of not only the physical sciences, but also the social sciences and humanities.

This course will cover the structure, composition, and evolution of the Universe through time, as well as how we know those things (and what we still don’t know). We will also explore how our human experiences influence our understanding of the Universe, and vice versa, in historical, cultural, and personal contexts.

Students are expected to produce a self-defined creative and/or research work that reflects the convolution of the natural sciences covered in class with their exploration of the Universe incorporating their cultural background, personal experiences, and/or other valued aspects of their identity, and present it to the class as a demonstration of their achievement of the course goals.

This seminar-style class will be “flipped”, with the assigned material read/watched by students individually (or in study groups) before class, and in-class time focused on discussion and activities expanding on that material and synthesizing it with students’ contributions. This is an honors course because of 1.) the breadth of content covered in one semester and 2.) the expectation of an interdisciplinary, student-guided project synthesizing and extending upon course material.

Preliminary Syllabus