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Honors Program
Course Description

Honors First Year Experience: Linked Courses

A Series of Unfortunate Geological Events and Mathematical Disasters

"Earlier in my life, I thought I was in love with the answers. I found out later that I was really in love with the questions . . . " - Roger Dunsmore.

HONR 194O A Series of Unfortunate Geological Events (Block 3)

In this course we will explore the basic principles of physical geology through a catastrophic compendium of natural and manmade geologic disasters. From earthquakes to landslides to dam breaches to volcanic eruptions, disasters are the basis of geological transformation. On field excursions through Southwest Montana we will learn to appreciate our current landscape as the result of a long series of extremely unfortunate geological events.

Throughout the course we will improve our ability to make observations, increasingly using the language of geology to describe what we observe and using our own observations, with insights gained from prior scientific work, to interpret Earth. Each day we will be engaging with real Earth materials and real Earth data, including 4 - 6 days (weather dependent) out in the spectacular geology that surrounds the University of Montana Western. Field observations, written work and outside reading are designed to begin exploring how culture defines the land, and how land defines culture which will continue into the Literature and the Land Course.

HONR 194P Mathematical Disasters (Block 4)

Disasters are exactly the sort of thing that mathematicians love to think about. The field of probability theory is well-suited to modeling all sorts of disasters, but especially geological disasters. Southwest Montana is a hotspot for geological disaster so we will have no lack of examples to model. In this course we will delve into modeling local earthquakes, landslides, floods, and perhaps a supervolcanic eruption or two.

Honors First Year Experience: Linked Courses
The subject matter in these two courses will be interrelated and each course will substitute for general education requirements in each field of study. The purpose of Honors First Year Experience is to foster extended collaboration among students engaged in the study of ideas that transcend specific disciplines. These courses will emphasize active involvement and project completion. First Year Honors Linked Courses are an excellent way to begin your undergraduate explorations of Experience One. Students must register for both classes, one after the other during Blocks 3 and 4.


General Education in Science: GEO 101
General Education in Mathematics: STAT 121

Instructors: Dr. Rebekah Levine and Dr. Joseph Eason

Time: Fall 2020, Blocks 3 & 4,

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