Annual 2019-20 Class Schedule
|Course #||Course Title||Fall||Winter||Spring|
|102-6||Sustainability & Social Justice (First-Year Seminar)||Horton|
102-6 Sustainability & Social Justice (First-Year Seminar)
The challenge of sustainability to "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" has evolved over the past few decades. This course will introduce fundamental concepts of sustainability, consider the application of these concepts in diverse societal, economic, and cultural settings, and explore the potential of climate science and sustainable development to act as forces for environmental and social justice.
|102-6||Climate Change: The Scientific Evidence (First-Year Seminar)||Beddows|
102-6 Climate Change: The Scientific Evidence (First-Year Seminar)
Anthropogenic climate change represents a massive global experiment. In this course we will discuss the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, including atmospheric composition changes, sea level rise, melting ice sheets, temperature records, and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. Current trends and the role of human activities will be examined in the context of the geologic record of natural climate variability and the feedbacks inherent in the climate system. Anticipated future impacts include droughts, floods, spread of infectious diseases, drinking water shortages, habitat loss and extinctions. Given these forecasts, strategies for managing the effects of global warming will be assessed. This writing seminar specifically aims to develop effective scientific writing and visual communication for the natural sciences.
DISTRIBUTION EARTH COURSES - 100-LEVEL
|101-0||Earth Science for the 21st Century||Jacobsen|
101-0 Earth Science for the 21st Century
Earth science encompasses the geology, chemistry, biology, and physics of our planet, while appreciating its beauty. Environmental degradation, natural resources, energy, climate change, and geologic hazards are among the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. This course introduces students to Earth science through topical lectures and discussion of current events and research in Earth science. Topics include formation, evolution, structure, and composition of the Earth, plate tectonics and the rock cycle, the water cycle, climate change, paleoclimate, peak oil and fracking, renewable energy, nuclear fuel cycle and policy, geology of the National Parks, and job prospects in Earth science.
|106-0||The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate||Blair|
106-0 The Ocean, The Atmosphere and Our Climate
The course presents basic concepts of the Earth System that control and regulate the planetary climate. The uniqueness of planet Earth is discussed in the context of its oceans, land, atmosphere, organisms, and climate. Specific questions addressed are: What are the essential factors that determined the climate of a planet? How do living organisms affect the atmosphere, land, ocean, and climate? How is the Earth's climate controlled by the greenhouse effect, solar radiation, orbital parameters, and other factors? How has the growing human population affected the Earth's atmospheric composition and hence climate? What has human society done to deal with the potential of global warming of the planet?
|110-0||Exploration of the Solar System||TBD|
110-0 Exploration of the Solar System
Explore the Solar System from the birth of the Sun and its planets to the latest discoveries including the possibility of life on the icy moons of the giant planets and the search for Planet IX. Understand the phases of the Moon, the seasons of Earth, and the other motions of the planets. Learn what's inside planets, what's happening on their surfaces, and the history of planetary exploration. Prerequisites: Registration is reserved for first years, sophomores, and juniors in all majors.
|114-0||Evolution and the Scientific Method||Sageman|
114-0 Evolution and the Scientific Method
The scientific method is explored through the role it has played in the development of evolutionary thought. The course tracks the history of evolutionary theory from its earliest origins to the modern consensus, and in so doing, provides examples of scientific method as practiced in biology, geology, physics, and chemistry. It is the story of one of the greatest paradigm shifts in the history of human thought, and is designed to serve the needs of a broad spectrum of non-science majors seeking to satisfy the Area I distribution requirement.
CORE EARTH COURSES - 200-LEVEL
|201-0||Earth Systems Revealed||Sageman|
201-0 Earth Systems Revealed
Introduction to Physical Geology: The study of Earth systems and their interactions. This course will approach the study of Earth systems from two perspectives: 1) description and classification of Earth's features, including Earth materials, internal structure, and landforms and 2) description and explanation of the physical, chemical and biological processes that form and modify these features. Topics include minerals; sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks; the interior Earth, oceans, and atmosphere; solid Earth processes, such as volcanism, seismicity, and plate tectonics and their interactions with the atmosphere and hydrosphere to drive surface Earth processes, such as climate, weathering, and glaciation; geologic time; global change. This course includes a MANDATORY field trip to Baraboo, Wisconsin. Preregistration will include all EARTH majors/minors and a limited number of seats for first year and sophomore students with at least one credit in math, chemistry, biology or physics. If you are unable to preregister for the course, please sign up on our departmental waitlist found in the CAESAR course description. We do not use the Caesar waitlist for this course. In order to be considered, you must fill out the questionnaire on the departmental waitlist. We do not choose students based on their waitlist order.
202-0 Earth's Interior
Size, mass, & density of the earth, seismic waves; earth structure from seismology; minerals and rocks; composition of mantle and core; heat and temperature in the earth, radiometric age dating; origin of the elements, formation of the solar system; meteorites, formation of the planets; continents and oceans, paleomagnetism, continental drift; earthquake focal mechanisms, plate boundaries and kinematics, mechanics of plate tectonics. Prerequisites: MATH 224, PHYSICS 135-1, and CHEM 110 (formerly CHEM 101); or consent of instructor.
|203-0||Earth System History||Hurtgen|
203-0 Earth System History
Evolution of the earth system and its record through geological time. Interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, sediments, and life on earth.
|204-0||Communication for Geoscientists||Osburn|
204-0 Communication for Geoscientists
This course will help undergraduate Earth Sciences majors hone their communication skills, and learn some specific communication styles applicable to our field. Science writing and scientific literature can be intimidating and obtuse. This course is designed to break manuscripts down into their base components, detailing the goal, style, and content required for each section. In addition we will cover verbal and visual forms of communication such as posters and talks. Writing is learned through practice, so this course will be hands on with weekly assignments, peer review, and required classroom engagement. Prerequisites: Restricted to declared or potential earth majors and minors (or with instructor permission).
ADVANCED EARTH COURSES - 300/400/500 LEVEL
|300-0||Earth and Planetary Materials||Jacobsen|
300-0 Earth and Planetary Materials
The Earth and planets are composed of minerals, rocks, melts, and fluids. The study of Earth materials is fundamental to Earth and environmental sciences and deals with formation, stability, environments, and properties of materials that control large-scale processes from weathering to earthquakes. The physical properties of Earth materials are largely controlled by bonding and crystal structure. This course begins with an atomistic approach to understanding mineral properties, but also extends physical properties and mineral stability to the larger geological and planetary scales. The properties of minerals also dictate how we use them for societal applications, ranging from raw materials to chemical filters and energy sources and storage materials. Mineralogy is the application of physics, chemistry, and biology to natural materials, and this course emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of mineralogy. Students will gain skills in learning to identify the major rock-forming minerals in hand-specimen and in the optical microscope. Students will apply analytical techniques including X-ray diffraction and optical spectroscopy to quantitative analysis of minerals. Recommended Background: EARTH 201, CHEM103, MATH 220, and PHYSICS 135-1, or equivalent, or with consent of instructor.
|301-0||Petrology: Evolution of Crustal and Mantle Rocks||Bina|
301-0 Petrology: Evolution of Crustal and Mantle Rocks
Origin, composition, and classification of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Application of laboratory characterization and basic thermodynamics to interpreting observed rock textures and mineral assemblages in terms of geological processes. Prerequisite: EARTH 300 or consent of instructor.
|312-0||Stable Isotope Geochemistry||Hurtgen|
312-0 Stable Isotope Geochemistry
A survey of the chemical, physical and biological mechanisms and fundamental concepts of stable isotope fractionation. The course will focus on applications of H, O, C, S, N and trace metal (i.e., Fe and Mo) isotopes to geologic problems with an emphasis on climate change and ancient ocean chemistries. Recommended Background: Earth 201 and 203, or equivalent
|340-0||Physics of Weather and Climate||Horton|
340-0 Physics of Weather and Climate
An investigation of atmospheric processes and the physical laws that govern them. Topics covered include atmospheric composition and structure, radiative transfer, thermodynamics, convection, precipitation, and the general circulation of the three-dimensional atmosphere. When possible, course content will engage with contemporaneous atmospheric conditions and provide students with a better understanding of their meteorological and climatic environments. Completion of introductory calculus and physics are required prior to enrollment. Prerequisites: EARTH 201, ENVR SCI 201, or CIV ENV 201, PHYSICS 135 or 136, and MATH 220 and 224 or equivalent
|341-0||Quaternary Climate Change: From the Ice Age to the Age of Oil||Axford|
341-0 Quaternary Climate Change: From the Ice Age to the Age of Oil
Methods for reconstructing and dating past environmental changes, causes of natural climate change, and major climate events of the Quaternary through the present. Their relevance for understanding current climate change. Prerequisite: EARTH 201 or consent of instructor.
|342-0/ ISEN 410||Contemporary Energy and Climate Change||Axford|
342-0/ ISEN 410 Contemporary Energy and Climate Change
The increasing worldwide demand for energy presents a number of complex interdisciplinary challenges, from oil depletion to climate change. This class will challenge students to answer the question, how shall we power the world in the 21st century? We will examine the history and geography of energy use; links between energy and climate change; and technological, economic, and environmental benefits and drawbacks of various energy sources. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in any field, senior standing in the physical sciences or engineering, pr permission of instructor. Cross-listed with ISEN 410.
|350-0||Physics of the Earth for ISP||Bina|
350-0 Physics of the Earth for ISP
Introduction to geophysics for students with strong mathematics and physics backgrounds. Basic ideas in seismic wave propagation, plate tectonics, geomagnetism, geothermics, and gravity. Study of the earth's surface and the deep interior. Prerequisites: Second-year standing in ISP, or equivalent background in physics and mathematics with permission of both instructor and ISP director.
352-0 Global Tectonics
Kinematics of plate tectonics. Geometry, determination, and description of plate motions. Paleomagnetism, marine magnetism, and hot spots. History of ocean basins and mountain-building processes. Prerequisites: EARTH 202 and PHYSICS 135-2; or consent of instructor. [Previously offered as EARTH 320]
|353-0||Mathematical Inverse Methods in Earth and Environmental Sciences||van der Lee|
353-0 Mathematical Inverse Methods in Earth and Environmental Sciences
Combined with DATA_SCI 422-0. Data-driven modeling via solving inverse problems and estimating model parameters. Application of linear algebra to the modeling of physical data. Students learn to model large amounts of imperfect data using linear algebra, optimization and regularization techniques, and common physical sense. Via lab exercises and homework, the course emphasizes application over theory. Exercises include but are not restricted to 1) locating events or objects from line-of-sight signal travel times, 2) de-blurring an image, 3) characterizing the subsurface from surface measurements of wave dispersion, 4) locating engineering structures from anomalous gravity data, and 5) tomography: non-destructive characterization of internal structure of materials, human bodies, or the Earth. We will emphasize linear, discrete, ill-posed inverse problems, but will also review time series analysis, including Fourier Transforms and matched filtering, and touch on the principles of solving non-linear inverse problems via directed and random searches in model space. Prerequisites: MATH 230, STAT 232, or equivalent; MATH 240 or STAT 320-1, 2 recommended. [Previously offered as EARTH 329]
|360-0||Instrumentation and Field Methods||Beddows|
360-0 Instrumentation and Field Methods
Theory and practicum on electronic instrumentation for monitoring and measurement in earth sciences, including data loggers, hands-on design and construction of electronic sensors, signal processing, data management, and network design. Prerequisites: Majors/minors in EARTH or ENVR SCI, or completion of three 300-level EARTH or any other 300 level science courses, or consent of the instructor.
|361-0||Scientific Programming in Python||van der Lee|
361-0 Scientific Programming in Python
Introduction to coding, scientific computing, and visualization for analyzing data in the physical sciences. Emphasis on Python, but Unix, shell scripting, and Generic Mapping Tools are also introduced. Students undertake a significant final coding project individually or in pairs. [Previously offered as EARTH 322]
|362-0||Data Analysis for Earth and Planetary Sciences||Stein|
362-0 Data Analysis for Earth and Planetary Sciences
Types and characteristics of earth science data, development and applications of model types, observational and systematic sources of uncertainties and their characterization, spatial and temporal predictions. [Previously offered as EARTH 326]
The cycling of biogenic elements (C, N, S, Fe, Mn) in surficial environments is the focus of this course. Emphasis will be placed on microbial processes and isotopic signatures. Prerequisites: One quarter of chemistry plus one quarter of geoscience, environmental science, or biology to enroll in this course. Taught with CIV ENV 317; students may not earn credit for both courses. [Previously offered as EARTH 317]
373-0 Microbial Ecology
This course will provide a framework for understanding the role of microbes in natural environments in terms of cell numbers, metabolisms, and interactions with geochemical cycles. We will delve deeply into the interactions between microbial populations, higher organisms, and even our own bodies. The course will finish on a survey of microbial composition and dynamics in key settings across the planet. Laboratory exercises will be incorporated into the classroom framework. Recommended Background: Basic understand of chemistry, biology, and earth science.
|390-0-05||Special Topics: Paleobiology||Bush|
390-0-05 Special Topics: Paleobiology
Fossils record the 3.8 billion year history of life on Earth, and extinct organisms make up 99% of all the species that ever lived. The fossil record reveals insights into evolutionary processes and the distributions and structures of organisms and ecosystems that cannot be observed by studying living organisms. This course is an introduction to the concepts of paleobiology: the nature of fossils, evolutionary trends and adaptations, systematics, paleoecology, and biogeography. We will investigate how life, from individual organisms to whole biomes, has changed over time; the geologic processes that lead to the burial and preservation of organic material; and the scientific methods by which we infer the biological processes that occurred across deep time from the limited and often biased fossil record. Course has prerequisites.
|390-0-06||Special Topics: Natural Hazards Policy||Stein|
390-0-06 Special Topics: Natural Hazards Policy
Defending society against natural hazards is a high-stakes game of chance against nature, involving tough decisions. How should a developing nation allocate its budget between building schools for towns without ones and making existing schools earthquake-resistant? Does it make more sense to build levees to protect against floods, or to prevent development in the areas at risk? Would more lives be saved by making hospitals earthquake-resistant, or by using the funds for patient care? What should scientists tell the public when—as occurred in L’Aquila, Italy, and Mammoth Lakes, California— there is a real but small risk of an upcoming earthquake or volcanic eruption? This course uses general principles and case studies to explore how we can do better by taking an integrated view of natural hazards issues, rather than treating the relevant geoscience, engineering, economics, and policy formulation separately. We will consider thought-provoking questions that confront the complex issues involved.
|450-0-01||Advanced Topics: Seminar Supercharged||Osburn|
450-0-01 Advanced Topics: Seminar Supercharged
The departmental seminar series provides graduate students with a unique opportunity to explore topics beyond their immediate disciplinary focus, meet with scholars from around the country, and evaluate different styles of scientific communication. This seminar will enrich the student experience through readings from each scholar’s lexicon prior to their seminar and the opportunity to ask the speaker questions in an intimate group setting. The seminar is open to all graduate students and upper level undergraduates with instructor approval.
|450-0-1||Advanced Topics: Communicating Science Beyond Academia||Axford|
450-0-1 Advanced Topics: Communicating Science Beyond Academia
Through reading, discussion, writing and peer critique, this course will explore strategies for successful scientific communication beyond academia. How can scientists break through barriers to understanding and foster engagement with scientific information, while still conveying nuance and uncertainty? What happens when science becomes politicized and controversial? This seminar is open to graduate students in all STEM disciplines, with preference to students who have begun to conduct independent research.