Chemistry has a rich history, including ancient theories on the nature of matter and recipes for converting lead into gold. Modern research and applications are equally exciting, and include topics such as creating more efficient solar collectors and the reactions of natural and human-made chemicals in the environment. We will explore these topics as we learn about atomic structure and the periodic table, reaction stoichiometry, chemical bonds, molecular structure, and other concepts central to modern chemistry. Many of these topics are related to current health and environmental issues. For example, discussions of pH and reduction-oxidation reactions include research on the natural chemistry of surface waters and the effects of acid rain on aquatic organisms.

Carbon can form bonds with itself and almost all of the other elements, giving rise to an enormous variety of carbon-containing molecules. Early organic chemists struggled with the structure of one – a cyclic molecule called benzene - until Friedrich Kekulé solved the puzzle in a dream: he saw the carbon atoms “twisting in a snake-like motion. But look! What was this? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes.” In this course we study the chemistry of these carbon-based compounds – their structures, properties and reactions. Many examples include descriptions and mechanisms of biological reactions. This is an intermediate chemistry course and provides essential background for biology, chemistry, pre-med, and pre-vet students.  

In this course we will read and practice journalism, both as it is traditionally considered -- e.g., the essay as it has been defined in magazines like The New Yorker, or the expository report as practiced in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal -- and in the many variations on traditional journalism that have emerged since the 1960s: gonzo print journalism, various forms of online writing, radio essays, etc. Our goal will be to read (and listen to and watch, in the case of radio and video essays) as much interesting and provocative journalistic writing as possible, by writers as various as H.L. Mencken, Jonathan Raban, Hunter S. Thompson, Seymour Hersch, Annie Proulx, Jon Krakauer, Terry Tempest Williams and others. Our goal, in the end, will not be so much to arrive at narrow definitions of journalistic style and practice as to expand our own writing to include a range of styles, voices and modes of presentation.

And, as this will be a writing seminar, we will also write a lot, about the journalism we have read, and in journalistic pieces of our own. Discussion of the course texts will alternate with writing conferences, workshops, and work on grammar, style and structure.

Elementary Spanish

Marlboro College

Otoño 2012Course description

This course offers a dynamic and interactive introduction to Spanish. This is a language course for first-year students of Spanish and is designed to aid development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. This course will be conducted in Spanish and will introduce you to the basic grammar structures of the Spanish language and to the most important socio-cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. In order to achieve these goals, you need to participate actively in class. In addition, you are expected to commit more time to preparing for all classes, doing the exercises that have been assigned in class and attending the activities on campus that are also part of this course. The course covers the basic grammar structures of the Spanish language along with a variety of vocabulary and cultural topics through extensive use of video, classroom practice, and weekly conversation sessions with a student assistant. It prepares students for the second-semester Spanish course to be offered in Spring 2013. 

Language change is both inevitable and fascinating. In this class, we’ll explore how the sounds, words, and structures of languages change over time and how evidence from existing languages can be used to reconstruct parent (proto-)languages (historical linguistics). We’ll also look at approaches to comparing and classifying the world’s attested languages (comparative linguistics). We’ll employ a range of empirical and theoretical models and techniques as we analyze phenomena from dead and living languages. In-class examples will come primarily from the Indo-European language family, but students will have the opportunity to apply what we learn to a language or language family of their choice. Previous study in linguistics is helpful, but not required; students with no linguistics background should be prepared for a steep learning curve. Prerequisite: At least one year of Latin and/or Greek, or instructor permission.