Natural Science 176

Inventing Reality: The Human Search for Truth

Spring 2004, Hampshire College


Creating order out of our universe has been a perennial human pastime. Accepted truths have had a history of transience, with the models of each age yielding to the paradigm shifts of the next. Here we examine this continuing human dialogue, tracing a crooked line from ancient Babylonia to the present, accompanied along the way by such powerful thinkers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Newton, and Einstein. We will explore the physical world on all scales, from the fundamental constituents of matter to the origin, evolution, and fate of the universe. Though the focus will be on astronomy, related topics in classical physics, quantum mechanics, religion, music, art, and philosophy will not be avoided.

No prior background in astronomy or physics is assumed, and math will be limited to high school algebra and geometry. Students will directly confront the original writings of the philosophers, scientists, and theologians studied, and there will be frequent short writing assignments in addition to one longer paper.


Professor Douglas Leonard, dleonard@hampshire.edu
413-559-5422, 201 Cole Science Center, Hampshire College
Meeting Times Monday, 7:00 -- 10:00 PM
Wednesday, 1:00 -- 2:20 PM
Meeting Place Cole Science Center, Rm. 333, Hampshire College
Office Hours Doug's office hour schedule


Have a great summer!


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    dleonard@hampshire.edu

    Last Updated 2004.05.17 By Douglas Leonard