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    Vassar College
  Dec 15, 2017
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ESCI 109 - Hot Topics in Earth Science and the Media

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
From fracking to mountaintop removal, BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, invasive species and their impacts on native ecology, and global warming, geology and related ecologic processes have been major topics in the news lately. This course examines the science behind different natural processes and phenomena (e.g. How do coal beds form? What makes a particular stratigraphic level potentially valuable for hydraulic fracturing? What do we know about responding to oil spills? What does the paleontological record tell us about species invasions?) and also examines media portrayals of these hot-topic issues. Students gain a deeper understanding of the scientific community’s knowledge on these issues and develop the ability to assess whether or not media coverage is fair and accurate. We also discuss how science itself is portrayed in the media and the importance of accurate and accessible scientific communication. 

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

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