Courses for 2014

Body Quest: An Exploration in Anatomy and Physiology

Area: Anatomy
Instructor: Kim Geier
Course Website by student Danial Hussain

In this aptly named study of anatomy and physiology, students spend much of the time dissecting a fetal pig and comparing it to humans. Students also spend some time comparing the anatomy of other vertebrates by dissecting a variety of specimens. In the past students have visited a necropsy lab, an autopsy lab, the College's cadaver lab, a physical therapy facility, and a museum about medicine at the time of the Civil War to see how far knowledge has come.

Compu-Tekhne – The Computer as Tool

Area: Computer Science
Instructor: Bob Powers
Course website by student Candace Williams

This course is an introduction to problem-solving via computer programming. Students will learn how to think about problems as programming problems, how to develop algorithms, and how to use various software tools to solve a variety of problems, including the incorporation of data gathered by remote means into programs which use that data. Students will also experiment with simple robots. Basic keyboard and mouse skills are required; some previous programming experience is preferable, but not required. The course teaches the fundamentals of Visual Basic programming, including syntax, event-driven programming, compiling applications with the native code compiler, working with controls, handling run-time errors, manipulating form and control properties, and much more.

The Dark Night Sky—Serious Questions for Real Astronomers

Area: Astronomy
Instructor: Harold Butner
Course website by students Ellie-Anne Daniel and Katy Hooper

What precisely is a comet? Are we really in danger of colliding with a comet or an asteroid? Have such events happened in the earth's past? These questions will provide a starting point for an investigation of current understanding of the age, size, and nature of the universe. Students will keep a nightly journal of a variety of naked-eye observations of the night sky, will use the Internet as a source of information, will use telescopes to observe astronomical phenomena, and will analyze a variety of astronomical data in the laboratory.

Introduction to Complex Function Theory and Analytic Number Theory

Area: Mathematics
Instructor: John Zacharias
Course website by student Suyash Bhattarai

The joining of the ideas of calculus to complex numbers began in the early 19th century and reached a climax at the end of the century with the proof of the Prime Number Theorem, a 100-year old problem about the distribution of prime numbers, thus launching the field of Analytic Number Theory. This course will introduce students to many of the beautiful and powerful tools of Complex Function Theory and their applications to Number Theory and Fourier Analysis.  Topics will include complex differentiation, contour integration, Riemann’s Zeta function, and the Riemann Hypothesis.

It's Elementary

Area: Chemistry
Instructor: Ceil Fahrman
Course website by student Eleana Jordan

It's Elementary site

In this course we will uncover the cause of the diversity of matter.  We will explain how elemental properties result from atomic structure. We will use simple physical concepts to define complex atomic bonding and to explain chemical reactions. And we will do all this using the scientific method as it has been done for centuries. 
Through careful observation and the testing of hypotheses, we will reconstruct the periodic table and discuss plausible alternatives. We will accomplish all of this through demonstrations, hands-on lab activities, simulations, inquiry activities, and problem solving. Once this level of understanding is achieved, we will explore student-generated topics of interest related to chemistry.

Mathematical Models, Programming, and Problem Solving

Area: Mathematics
Instructor: Doug Thomasey
Course website by student Gregory Ziegler

This class is designed around all aspects of applied mathematics broken up into two major parts. For the first half of the class, through mathematical software as well as techniques involving differential equations, students will investigate how to develop, analyze, and use mathematical models to solve real world problems. These problems will range from basic exponential equations to more complex systems of differential equations. The use of mathematical software will be taught, and we will also learn how to write proper mathematics electronically. The second half of the class will be based around the fundamentals of problem solving. Students will be introduced to various types of problems that mathematicians have faced in the past and will examine how these mathematicians went about solving them (or attempting to solve them). The class will then be broken up into small groups to research problems that may be of interest. Students will then look into possible solution approaches towards solving these problems or if the problem is too difficult, other insight into a specific part of the bigger problem that may be worth investigating.

Moving Electrons Around for Fun and Profit

Area: Physics/Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering
Instructor: John Gardner
Course website by student Michael Xiao

All these electronic gadgets we use—someone had to figure out how to make them from scratch. Was there an underlying idea? Yes, there was: electrons. Just move them where you want them to go and they can do marvelous things for you. How do you control where they go? You use the basic building block of modern electrical circuitry, the transistor (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1956), and its follow-on, the integrated circuit (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000). After understanding how the transistor works, we are going to build most of the digital electrical circuitry used in a computer, including circuits that make decisions, add, count, store information, and make LEDs light up in revealing patterns.

The Science of Strength

Area: Physiology
Instructor: Steve Smith
Course website by student Sonya Feeser

The Science of Strength will encompass a broad range of scientific and theoretical constructs applicable to the development of a sound strength and conditioning program. The program will focus on aspects of strength and conditioning that maximize an individual's athletic potential while reducing the risk of injury. Implementing a functional and sport-specific program will provide athletes the underlying structure required to perform at their optimal level of play. Areas covered in the course include muscle physiology, biomechanics, psychological components for optimal sports performance, nutrition, and various applications for fitness testing.

Tales from the Genome: What Will Your Future Bring?

Area: Genetics
Instructor: Allison Jablonski
Course website by student Connor Parsons

Principles of genetics and biotechnology are explored, including Mendelian inheritance, DNA structure and replication, mutation, recombinant DNA technology, and the molecular basis of disease. Lab exercises include DNA extraction, DNA electrophoresis, transformation of E. coli, karyotyping of human chromosomes, as well as recombinant DNA, the use of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP's) in forensic science, and PCR (polymerase chain reaction).  Research reports and presentations on genetic disorders and on bioethical topics will be presented by student teams.

Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

Area: Environmental Science
Instructor: Diana Duckworth
Course website by student Jeremy Smith

Voted by past students as one of the best Summer Residential Governor’s School experiences and particularly relevant in light of recent droughts in Virginia, this course provides a comprehensive field-and laboratory-based study of water resources. Basic hydrology, including water movement and stream and lake dynamics, as well as sources of pollution, laboratory techniques for water quality analysis, and water treatment techniques form the core for this course. Course content also includes analysis of land use as it affects water supply, water quality and watershed management decisions.