Classes

NOTE: You will receive one credit hour for completing the Late Summer Honors course. This credit will appear on your Fall Semester transcript. Please register for 17 or fewer credit hours for Fall Semester so you do not exceed the 18 hour per semester credit limit.

2019 Class Information 

Randomness, Determinism, Fate, and Chance
Todd Fisher and Michael Call

From Renaissance debates about free will to modern neurological experiments, human beings have long wrestled with notions of randomness, determinism, fate, and chance. To what extent is the world around us predictable? How about our own actions and decisions? In this course, we will examine different and evolving ways of thinking about these issues through two, sometimes distinct, fields of human inquiry: mathematics and the humanities. The invention of probability math in the 17th century sparked a revolution in economics, politics, and even theology, and the field’s later developments (including the emergence of chaos theory) continue to impact the way that we view the world and our place in it. How have writers, artists, and composers reflected (or even at times opposed) this shifting perspective? Out of the seeming chaos of a course that combines mathematicians like Descartes and Poincaré with Surrealist poetry and aleatory music, order will emerge, providing a richer appreciation of human thought and creativity.

The Science of Obesity
James LeCheminant

Obesity is a complex disease associated with poor quality of life, diminished psychosocial health, and increased risk of disease. The public health burden of obesity at present and for the foreseeable future is staggering.  Indeed, obesity is among the most urgent public health problems in modern society.  Despite increased scientific research and public health measures, the prevalence of obesity in the United States remains at record high levels. Why has obesity increased dramatically in the US over the last 50 years?  What tools and resources are available to assess, prevent and treat obesity?  What can we do as communities and individuals to help?  In this course we’ll discuss the trends, health implications, assessment, prevention, treatment, hot topics, and future directions of human obesity.  We’ll explore the most pertinent scientific literature through a multi-disciplinary approach, including elements of exercise science, nutrition, psychology, physiology, endocrinology, genetics, bariatric medicine, and public health in order to address these fundamental questions.

Dimensions of Disillusionment
Mark Purves and Katya Jordan

Why is everybody so bummed out?  This course explores this question by focusing on the theme of disillusionment reflected in the plays of Anton Checkhov, specifically: Uncle Vania, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. Few works of art rival Checkhov’s plays about the struggles we encounter when our treasured ideas are overturned or called into question.  At bottom, Chekhov’s dramatic works ask us to accept the inevitability of disillusionment in an open, honest, and forgiving way, ultimately strengthening our testimonies of the restored Gospel.

Music and Lyrics and Theater: Putting it all Together
Jaren Hinckley

Stephen Sondheim is often eclipsed in the history books by such great Broadway musical creators as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, Lerner and Loewe, Andrew Lloyd Webber, etc., yet his musicals consistently won top awards.  His fans are often rabid in their loyalty to him and his works.  His detractors are often equally rabid in their criticisms.  Why?  What do his musicals contain that result in such divergent views?  This course will attempt to answer these questions by surveying the career of Sondheim, and focusing on his compositional techniques and lyric-writing abilities.  We will focus most specifically on his collaborations with James Lapine.  Through close readings students will gain a greater understanding of Sondheim’s creations and his influence on the world of musical theater.

How Do We Know What We Know?
James Patterson

This course will explore how our understanding of the natural world has developed throughout history. We will begin with an overview of pre-classical and classical understanding of nature, including the Greek natural philosophy of Aristotle and Ptolemy. We will then explore how modern ideas emerged and replaced those earlier ideas, particularly during the Renaissance.  Examples will include, but not be limited to: development of the heliocentric model of the solar system, Newtonian mechanics and the break from Aristotle, discovery of the cell and DNA, Darwinian evolution, development of atomic and molecular theory, development of quantum theory, cosmology and the Big Bang theory. We’ll discuss how models aid our understanding of the natural world and look at current frontiers in science, including recent work at the Large Hadron Collider and the ramifications for string theory, climate modeling, and other topics to be chosen by the students. We’ll also consider the "conflict" between science and religion and how we can be practicing members of the Church and also practicing scientists.

Riding Provo/Writing Provo
Joey Franklin and Jamin Rowan

With all of Provo as our classroom, we will help students learn new ways of thinking about their relationship to the city they now call home. We will cycle through historic neighborhoods, walk the streets of downtown, canoe the Provo River, hike Rock Canyon, explore the new Bus Rapid Transit system, and take a ride on Front Runner, all in the name of civic engagement. Each day students will explore public and personal aspects of civic issues important to Provo citizens. We will meet representatives from campus and community organizations engaged in making Provo a better place to live, work, and play. All the while, students will write intensively about their experiences and use their creative and critical faculties to cultivate a deeper understanding of not only how they can shape the places they live, but also how those places will inevitably shape them.

Adapting Science Fiction
Carl Sederholm

50 years ago, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 changed science fiction by giving audiences new ways of thinking about humanity, alien encounters, and artificial intelligence.  In this class, we will study 2001 not only as a landmark science fiction film, but also as a fascinating study of the adaptation process.  The film is unconventional in that the novel appeared after the movie and the novelist (Arthur C. Clarke) worked on the novel while on the set of the film.  We’ll study Kubrick and Clark’s collaborative process and how it sheds light on the nature of adapting science fiction to the big screen.  As part of this study, we will compare 2001 to the 2007 film Arrival, looking at how that film was also adapted, how it compares and contrasts to the short story it was based on, and how it also challenges audiences to think in new ways about encountering the alien. 

Why Stress? Stress, Health, and the Plan of Salvation
Patrick Steffen

In John 16:33, the Lord said “…in the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  Life is stressful, particularly college life, and recognizing this fact is the first step towards healthy adaptation.  The second step is to identify your personal stressors and then implement effective coping strategies that work in your life.  The goals of this course are to teach the basic physiology underlying stress and the psychological factors that contribute to stress, and then experiment with stress directly.  Students will conduct an experiment on their own stress physiology, learning how to collect objective physiological data, such as heart rate, using inexpensive technology and smart phone apps.  Students will then write brief reports of their experiment and share their experiences with the class.

Can Well-behaved Women Make History?
Heather Belnap

Over 40 years ago, noted historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich made the passing comment that “well-behaved women seldom make history”—an observation that was meant to point out that ordinary women’s lives have been overlooked.  Over the years, this slogan has come to mean quite the opposite—that women who have advanced important social, political, and cultural causes are the ones who have refused conventional ideas of female propriety. 

In this course, students will study key women in modern history who have effected important social, cultural, and political change.  We’ll begin with the women of the French Revolution, moving through the suffragette, New Woman, and Civil Rights movements, and end with a discussion of women in the contemporary scene.  We will ask how women have responded to and shaped debates regarding individual agency, citizenship, roles and spheres of influence, and other issues central to the human experience in the last 200 or so years. Writings, artworks, and other creative products by and about women, along with representations of women in media (paintings, photographs and popular prints, television shows, films, advertisements, videos) will form the basis of this course.  We will also be visiting various museums and special collections to view art and documents.  For the final project, students will research and deliver an academic presentation and then participate in our culminating activity, a “Dead Dames Debate.”

The Mathematics of Secrecy
Paul Jenkins and Darrin Doud

Ancient secret codes, modern computer encryption, and perfect secrecy:  In this course we will learn about the mathematics of cryptography. We’ll look at codes and ciphers in literature and in Brigham Young’s letters, and study classical cryptosystems, elementary number theory, public and private key cryptography, RSA, quantum cryptography, and how to keep credit card numbers safe on the Internet.  No advanced mathematics prerequisites needed, just curiosity and a love of puzzles.  OV GLOI ENHII UBX MONN NPHAV LBM GB XIP HVQ YAPHC TONOGHAU KAHQP PVEAUDGOBV.