Featured ESS Courses for Spring 2011

ESS 101: Introduction to Geological Sciences (NW)–5 credits

ESS 101 is a lecture/lab class designed for non-science majors! After taking this course students will never look at the Earth the same! Students will learn about how the Earth evolved from primordial dust to form the compositionally zoned planet upon which life now exists. Students will learn about the unifying concept of plate tectonics, which will provide them with a framework to understand the why and where of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain belts, ocean basins and rock types in their surrounding world; become amateur geologists and drive their friends and families crazy with their new-found knowledge; learn about time and its importance to the geologic record; learn that geologists pay more for their dates than Hollywood’s most elite stars! This course will provide students with important information about geologic hazards, which will perhaps one day save lives or personal property. If students love the outdoors, this course will give them many opportunities to visit spectacular geologic sites around Washington state through the ESS 101 optional weekend field trip program. The entire class will be invited to attend a special IMAX viewing of a geologic film at the Seattle Center.

ESS 103: Minerals and Gems (NW)–3 credits

If you have any interest in minerals and gems–like rubies, diamonds, and more, ESS 103 is a laboratory/lecture course–completely appropriate for non-science majors! In ESS 103 students will be introduced to the nature of minerals–their physical properties, as well as their history and lore. The course will focus on gemology–the mechanics of color, and uses of gems historically and in a modern setting. Hands-on laboratories will give students the opportunity to focus on about 100 representative gems and minerals.

ESS 205: Access to Space (NW)–5 credits

ESS 205 is a course appropriate for science and non-science majors alike, who have interest in learning hands-on about the Earth’s upper atmosphere and near-space environment. The course will focus on group development of student experiments to the outer rim of our atmosphere–and investigation of stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and magnetosphere–as well as the development of exploration packages, electronic fabrication, global positioning, radio tracking and expectations at high altitudes. The course will provide hands-on experience through high-altitude balloon experiments that students will work together to build and launch. No previous experience or electronics knowledge is required.