Primitive Navigation

Science of the Physical Universe 26. Primitive Navigation
Catalog Number: 89089 
John Huth (Physics) 
Half course (fall term). M., W., 1-2:30, and a two-hour weekly section to be arranged. EXAM GROUP: 6, 7
We use the theme of primitive navigation to open the eyes of students to the physical world in a direct and palpable manner. Basic principles include human cognition of physical and mental maps, dead reckoning, direction finding from nature. The course includes the basics of astronomy, including planetary orbits, meteorology, thermodynamics, bird behavior, electromagnetic radiation, optics, waves, tides, ocean currents, and fluid dynamics. Navigational practices of Pacific Islanders, Norse, medieval Arabs, and early western Europeans provide a focus. Some facility with algebra and trigonometry is useful. A series of hands-on projects are employed to understand navigational practices discussed in lecture.
This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement for Science of the Physical Universe or Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning, but not both. This course fulfills the requirement that one of the eight General Education courses also engage substantially with Study of the Past.




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