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MWF 11:30 AM-12:20 PM, R 11:30 AM-12:20 PM
In terms of curricula, the honors course MAT 2500H does not differ substantially from its analogue MAT 2500, intended for general students in the sciences and engineering. However, the pace of the course is somewhat accelerated in order to allow for additional material, and there is greater focus on the underlying theory. Expectations are also higher in the honors section(s).
TR 10:00-11:15 AM
Algorithms are well-defined step-by-step instructions for solving problems. Proliferation of computers in all aspects of the modern life has led to recognition that learning algorithmic thinking is important for students in most majors. In this course students will study major methods of algorithmic problem solving (backtracking, divide-and-conquer, greedy, and several others) by solving a wide variety of puzzles from medieval river-crossing problems to latest brainteasers of the Information Age. Students will also have an opportunity to conduct an independent research on a puzzle topic of their choice.
In addition to their fun aspect, puzzles have an advantage of crystallizing algorithmic ideas without computer programming. Therefore no computer programming skills will be assumed or taught in this course.
TR 1:00-4:30 PM
In this course, we will delve deeply into selected questions in genetics and practice science as a way of knowing. By reading and discussing both seminal scientific papers on foundational genetic concepts we now take for granted, and contemporary papers on still ongoing controversies, we will uncover underlying assumptions and examine closely how scientific thinking proceeds. Among other things, we will explore problems in human heredity, the idea of the “gene” and its transformation over time, the genetic regulation of complex animal development, and the concepts of mutation, selection and evolution. In laboratory, we will make use of classical genetic and modern molecular techniques in team-based research projects to address questions in model organisms such as Drosophila, zebrafish, bacteria, and even ourselves. By using the theoretical and experimental approaches typically practiced by geneticists when confronted with the unknown, we will realize both the power and the limitations of the scientific method. Throughout the semester, we will also consider the impact of genetic technologies on various aspects of human society, such as the practice of medicine, law, ethics, agriculture and global sustainability. It is my hope that you will take from this experience a deeper understanding of genetics, and a better sense of the place of scientific investigation within the greater endeavor of human beings to inquire into the nature of things.
MW 6:10-9:00 PM
Lecture and Laboratory. 4 credits
A concentrated introduction to the field of genomics, including a laboratory component.
Students will learn about DNA sequencing projects, and how those projects have impacted biological questions. Areas explored will include: genome annotation, comparative genomics, molecular phylogenomics, DNA microarray technology, DNA sequence polymorphisms and mapping, next generation sequencing, and model system genomics. There also will be a survey of current techniques in proteomics and synthetic biology. Students will apply their knowledge to solve bioinformatics problems, develop genomic hypotheses and perform laboratory exercises to test hypotheses. Students will be evaluated by three exams, laboratory presentations, problem sets, a written project, and a written proposal (for graduate students).
Prerequisites: BIO 3351 or graduate status or permission of the instructor.