PMU199H1

2017-18 First-Year Seminars | PMU199H1: Physical and Mathematical Universes (Category 5)

A few First-Year Seminars give preference during the first round of enrolment to students with membership in the college offering the course - if this is the case, the college name will be listed beside the course title. During the second round of enrolment, first-year students at any college may enroll if space is available.

Refer to the 2017-18 Arts & Science Timetable for the schedule information of each offering.

PMU 199H1F: The Physical and Mathematical Universes (5): 2017 Fall Offerings

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Section Title College
L0111 Great Astronomical Issues  
L0112 Astronomy at the Frontier  
L0131 Climate Change  
L0161 Video Game Design  
L0241 Life and Death in the Solar System  
L0242 Earth and Life Through Time  
L0291 Exploring Math Around Us!  
L0341 Emergence in Nature  
L0411 Understanding Statistics Using Real Data (with TUTORIAL)  

PMU 199H1S: The Physical and Mathematical Universes (5): 2018 Winter Offerings

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Section Title College
L0111 Great Astronomical Issues  
L0112 Astronomy at the Frontier  
L0131 Great Discoveries and Grand Challenges in Chemistry  
L0241 Resources and Sustainability  
L0242 Earth, Portrait of Planet  
L0291 Magic and Mathematics  
L0292 Exploring Math Around Us!  
L0293 Mathematics Explorations  
L0341 Modern Physics for the Curious  
L5131 Chiral Drugs and Catalysts  

 


PMU 199H1F: 2017 Fall Offerings

PMU 199H1F | Section L0111
PMU 199H1S | Section L0111

Great Astronomical Issues
There are some fundamental questions which humankind has asked itself over the centuries. Many of these involve astronomical origins, events, and objects. Astronomers now have the tools with which to attempt to answer some of the most fundamental questions, such as "Where did it all begin, where are we in space and time, are we alone, and who and what are we?" This seminar will explore some of these great issues. The selection of topics will be made initially by the instructor, but will be modified by the seminar participants at the first class meeting. Topics could include: stellar evolution and the future of the Sun, origin of the elements, origin and future of the Universe, origin of the Earth, origin of life, and extinction of the dinosaurs, global warming, the scientific method, astronomy and the public. Participants will be expected to join actively in lively discussions and to prepare and lead some of the seminars.

Instructor: H. Neilson, Astronomy
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0112
PMU 199H1S | Section L0112
                                                               

Astronomy at the Frontier
This seminar series aims at building up general scientific literacy, by discussing selected topics in current astronomy, cosmology, and space science. We will delve into the physical foundation behind the questions being asked and how the answers are being sought. Students will have an opportunity early in the course to select topics of particular interest to them and this will govern the choice of readings as well. Topics could include: formation of stars; lives and deaths of stars; stellar corpses: white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; planets around other stars; recent results from Hubble and other telescopes; architecture of the solar system; exploration in the solar system; the invisible universe: dark energy and dark matter; first light; formation of galaxies; the age and future of the universe. Participants should be comfortable with basic mathematics and quantitative reasoning. Students will be expected to do independent research for essays, presentations, etc.

Instructor: Fall – H. Yee & Spring – D-S Moon, Astronomy
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0131

Climate Change
Recently, the news reported that the ice caps have melted to their lowest areas ever. Such stories appear in the news from time to time, and one cannot help but wonder - is this due to climate change? What are the evidence and arguments for and against climate change generally? What exactly are the predicted consequences? What are the potential challenges and opportunities from the point of view of science, technology, economy, politics, society, etc? In this course, we will learn about how to critically appraise information and how to use the scientific method; and then we will use these tools as well as the scientific and non-scientific literature to explore these and other related topics from a non-scientist's perspective.

Instructor: A. Dhirani, Chemistry
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0161

Video Game Design
This course introduces students to the elements behind video game design, including topics such as the psychology of play, character and level design, human-computer interaction, graphics, artificial intelligence and playtesting. Students in this course use game design tools to create a 2D game project, following the milestones commonly used in the game design industry. This course is not targeted at computer science majors, and no previous experience in computer science is required. The ability to communicate, an understanding of other people and an enthusiasm for the subject matter are more essential traits for students in this course.

Instructor: S. Engels, Computer Science
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0241

Life and Death in the Solar System
Earth is the only planet in the solar system known to support life. Through directed readings, seminars, videos and lab visits, participants in this course will work with instructors whose own research tackles important questions concerning the origin of life on earth; the limits to life on this planet; implications for life under extreme conditions elsewhere in the solar system; and the life cycles of the planets themselves. The course will involve reading of scientific literature, student-led discussions, oral presentations and research projects, as well as potential field trips to sites in Southern Ontario.

Instructor: C. Sutcliffe, Earth Sciences
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0242

Earth and Life Through Time
This seminar will look through the lens of earth history to explore drivers of change in the biosphere and the impacts of these changes. We will focus on episodes of mass extinction, and the spectacular landscape changes and speciation events which often followed. Abrupt or gradual climatic changes, massive volcanism, asteroid impacts, catastrophic carbon releases, and human activity will be evaluated as the causes of major extinction events in Earth history. The course will involve reading of scientific literature, student-led discussions, oral presentations and research projects, as well as potential field trips to sites in Southern Ontario.

Instructor: T. Santimano, Earth Sciences
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0291
PMU 199H1S | Section L0292

Exploring Math Around Us!
This course aims to develop an appreciation for mathematics that occurs in everyday life. The course will feature a variety of mathematical topics accessible to those who are interested but not pursuing it further at the University level. The topics may include symmetry and shapes, Mobius strips, combinatorics and counting, puzzle solving, fractals, game theory, cake cutting problems, etc. Apart from problem-solving and experimenting with mathematical ideas, students will be expected to make group presentations on a topic that they would like to explore further.

Instructor: Y. Qing, Mathematics
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0341                                                               

Emergence in Nature
The universe is not a rigid clockwork, but neither is it formless and random. Instead, it is filled with highly organized, evolved structures that have somehow emerged from simple rules of physics. Examples range from the structure of galaxies to the pattern of ripples on windblown sand, to biological and even social processes. These phenomena exist in spite of the universal tendency towards disorder. How is this possible? Self-organization challenges the usual reductionistic scientific method, and begs the question of whether we can ever really understand or predict truly complex systems.

Instructor: V. Deyirmenjian, Physics
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1F | Section L0411                                                                     

Understanding Statistics Using Real Data
The author introduces and explains important statistical concepts using many datasets analyzed over his career working with colleagues in medicine, public health, and the exercise and nutritional sciences. Topics include games of chance, randomized block and completely randomized statistical designs, random sampling and randomization, summary statistics such as the proportion, mean, median, standard deviation, standard error and the correlation coefficient, the p value and confidence interval, bias and confounding variables, collinearity, measurement error, the correct choice of a sampling unit, parametric and non-parametric analyses, simulation and the Central Limit Theorem. These issues are studied without calculus and very little algebra. Instead, students learn how to interpret results obtained from real studies using the well-known statistical package SAS. Students are not expected to create SAS computer programs but receive and use programs created by the author to analyze these datasets.

Instructor: P. Corey, Statistical Sciences
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S: 2018 Winter Offerings

PMU 199H1S | Section L0111: Great Astronomical Issues - see above

PMU 199H1S | Section L0112: Astronomy at the Frontier - see above

PMU 199H1S | Section L0131

Great Discoveries and Grand Challenges in Chemistry
The stories of how great discoveries in chemistry came about vary widely but are always fascinating. This course will explore both how great discoveries have come about and how chemists seek to provide tools to address the grand challenges of today. Specific topics vary each year. Sample topics include the local Nobel-prize winning discovery of insulin, the power of new materials, chemists’ role in the discovery of the ozone hole and chemistry-enabled strategies to address our planet’s energy needs. Through this seminar course, students will develop an appreciation for the power of chemistry and the scientific method.

Instructor: R. Kluger, Chemistry
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L0241

Resources and Sustainability
The rise of humanity is intricately linked to the exploitation of natural resources. From its earliest attempts to use fire and extract metals from rocks, to coal-fired steam that brought the industrial revolution, hydrocarbons that fuel international travel and trade, nuclear energy to produce electricity, and the reliance on smartphones in our daily lives, the planet’s resources have brought innovation and problems and require us to ask questions regarding sustainability. This course will explore the gamut from resource extraction and trading, to its societal consequences including global politics, environmental pollution, and remediation. The course will involve reading of scientific literature, student-led discussions, oral presentations and research projects, and potentially field trips to sites in Southern Ontario.

Instructor: A. Miall, Earth Sciences
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L0242

Earth, Portrait of Planet
Modern Earth Sciences, touches on virtually all aspects of modern life, from the atmosphere to large scale natural disasters. This course will explore how earth sciences has shaped our society and our understanding of the earth as a system. Potential course topics include (but are not limited to), the great climate change crisis and what do we know about climate change in the past, to the literally earth moving ideas of plate tectonics (and the associated natural disasters). The course will involve reading of scientific literature, student-led discussions, oral presentations and research projects.

Instructor: U. Wortmann, Earth Sciences
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L0291

Magic and Mathematics
In this course we will look at magic tricks! Not just any magic trick, but ones that involve only Mathematics and maybe a flair for the presentation. Some magic tricks involve only elementary Mathematics, others involve very deep Mathematics. In the discussions, we will talk about the tricks and the Mathematics behind them.
Students will be expected to participate in class, and to give a presentation in lecture

Instructor: B. Galvao-Sousa, Mathematics
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L0292: Exploring Math Around Us! - see above


PMU 199H1S | Section L0293

Mathematical Explorations
This course is meant to develop an appreciation for, and an understanding of, the subject of mathematics. The course will feature a variety of mathematical topics accessible to those who are interested in mathematics and who did well in it in secondary school, but who are otherwise not pursuing it further at the University level. The topics may include infinity, the "fourth dimension", Mobius strips, golden rectangles, secret codes, puzzles, fractals, and so on. The history of mathematics, the ways in which mathematicians communicate ideas, and the perception of mathematics in the public-at-large and in the media may also be explored. Apart from problem-solving and experimenting with mathematical ideas, students will be expected to write brief non-technical papers and/or make a presentation on some aspects of mathematics. Students already taking calculus will not be permitted to take the course.

Instructor: Dietrich Burbullah, Mathematics
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L0341

Modern Physics for the Curious
Have you wondered about the origin and workings of the natural world around us? Have you found physical science interesting but inaccessible because it was too full of math and jargon? Have you felt a pull to become more science-literate? If so, this seminar course is for you -- or for anyone interested in understanding more about the universe, including our planet, seen through the lens of modern physics. Ideas on the menu will include: particle physics, space and time, relativity, black holes, quantum physics, unification forces, string theory, and big bang cosmology. The intriguing story of these integrated phenomena unfolds over a wide distance and a long time. No prior experience with physical science will be required, but familiarity with Grade 10 mathematics will be assumed. Students from diverse academic backgrounds are warmly welcome.

Instructor: A. Peet, Physics
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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PMU 199H1S | Section L5131

Chiral Drugs and Catalysts
Life without chirality is unimaginable. From the simplest forms of life to humans we all share the same basic chiral building blocks of life including amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Understanding the origin of life would not be complete without understanding homochirality of amino acids in life. This course will start with fundamental concepts of chirality and advance to origin of chirality in life and case studies of chiral drugs and chiral catalysts. Some examples of how chiral drugs and catalysts are prepared and how they work will be discussed.

Instructor: J. Chin, Chemistry
Breadth category: 5 The Physical and Mathematical Universes

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