SCIENTIFIC METHODS, MODELS and SIMULATIONS
Dr. Tom Carter
REQUIRED BOOKS: The Art of Science, Joseph J. Carr
Unweaving the Rainbow, Richard Dawkins,
Being There, Andy Clark
Other readings will be made available during the
COURSE GOALS: This course is designed to provide you with a firm grounding in a useful variety of the principle ideas, methods, and approaches used by participants in the scientific enterprise. I expect that when you have completed this course you will have the framework for understanding and appreciating the theoretical contexts which underlie the material you will encounter in upper division major courses. In addition, I expect you to acquire and develop a repertoire of methodological approaches, practical analytical techniques, and general problem solving skills. This will include some mathematics (e.g., statistical analysis and probability), design of experiments, and issues of logical analysis.
EVALUATION: Your grade for this course will be based on several elements: first, to help assure that you come to class prepared, I would like you to write a brief reflection on each of the assigned readings. This can be in the form of three strong and three weak/confusing items from the reading. Participation is a part of your grade, so do the readings and come to class prepared to talk. Second, we will have a midterm covering material from the first half of the semester. Third, you will each do a brief presentation relating to your reading of some current research (we will discuss this more in class). Fourth, you will each write a longer paper on a topic of your choice related to the material of the course. Remember that you may consult with each other over class assignments, but the work you turn in must be your own. Plus/minus grading may be used.