University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Freshman Seminars Related to the University Symposium, Fall 2007

In Fall 2007, four Freshman Seminars are offered on topics related to the University Symposium on Time: TimeEndtime Conspiracy TheoriesWhat a Difference a Day Makes; and Einstein for Everyone. Please note that these courses are open to first year students only. Registration takes place during Orientation.


IofT 1905, Section 005
Wednesday, 3:35 – 5:15 p.m.2 credits
216 Lind Hall
Instructors: Christopher Macosko (Chemical Engineering) and Paul Capel (Civil Engineering)

Is time travel possible? Really, what is time? Although time is an integral part of science and an integral part of everyday life, it is a complex topic that has been discussed by scientists and philosophers for centuries. The weekly topics in this seminar will alternate between the science/engineering aspects of time and the broader philosophical/societal aspects of time and strive to make connections between them. The science and engineering topics will include kinetics, radioactive decay, paleogeology, measurement of time, and aging processes. The philosophical and societal content will include such topics as the arrow of time, cyclic and linear time, and the beginning and end of time. We will even spend some time talking about how to manage your time better!

Endtime Conspiracy Theories

ANTH 1907W, Section 001
Thursday, 9:05 – 11:30 a.m., 3 credits
389 Hubert H. Humphrey Center
Instructor: Hoon Song, Anthropology

This seminar begins with the brief history of how the modern notion of time-space came about. What does our notion of time have to do with how we distinguish ‘occult’ beliefs from those of the ‘mainstream’? As the idea of time and its dominance came to be challenged, alternative regimes began to proliferate around the globe including witchcraft, magic, apocalyptic militia movements, and millennial cults. We will examine an alternative strand of views in the West that reconceptualized the individual-collective relationship in modern societies.

What a Difference a Day Makes

CFAN 1910W, Section 001
Tuesday and Thursday, 1:15 – 2:30 p.m., 3 credits, CLE: Writing Intensive
70 BioSci, St. Paul Campus
Instructor: Beth Waterhouse, Fisheries and Wildlife

Can you recall a day in your life that has made a dramatic shift in the way that life is lived out? This course practices personal communications through the writing of a “memoir of a day.” Students will think about and talk about their place in time, in the world, and on campus. A few direct experiences will be combined with time in class to read and write. Then the memoir of a day will become a focus and final project. As a writing intensive course, two other writing assignments will be expected, but never fear – the instructor is good at getting to the basic elements of good writing. This may serve as one of the better review writing courses you need as you enter your college education.

Einstein for Everyone

PHYS 1905, Section 004
Wednesday, 9:05 – 11:00 a.m., 2 credits
236A Physics
Instructor: Michel Janssen, History of Science and Technology

An introduction to Einstein and his science with a minimum of mathematics. We cover special relativity (1905), its implications (time dilation, twin paradox, and E=mc2), and its history. We also cover Einstein’s work on general relativity, which makes gravity part of (curved) space-time, from 1907 till about 1920. For this period, we also look at Einstein’s personal life. Finally, we examine his attitude towards quantum mechanics. This seminar should give you a good understanding of some of Einstein¹s most revolutionary ideas, of how he arrived at them, at what personal price, and in what broader socio-political and cultural context.

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