Our course selections have not yet been finalized for 2018. Following are descriptions of 2017 courses, many of which will be repeated in 2018.
Body Quest: An Exploration in Anatomy and Physiology
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.
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are…
All over the world, including the U.S., millions of computers are under control of malicious software created by foes located at the far ends of the world. They even have their own internet, known as the darknet. The language they use is computer code. What does this code look like? How does it work? Where does it hide? How does it get in? Oh, and code needs a computer infrastructure to play with. We surely need to take a peek into the inner workings of this infrastructure as well. This is a truly magical world to explore where just the words true and false, by the billions, make the impossible possible…Will you join me and others to explore the hackers’ playground?
The Dark Night Sky – Serious Questions for Real Astronomers
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.
When studying a mathematical subject for the first time, it’s certainly necessary to solve a certain number of routine problems in order to hone technical skill. However, there comes a time when a student of mathematics must transcend the familiar, and face difficult problems by relying on a mix of cleverness, experience, and raw nerve. We will consider such problems from a variety of mathematical fields. We’re going to encounter problems that we may not be able to solve, and a few that nobody has yet been able to solve. But we’re not going to be afraid to try.
Electron Control: Understanding and Constructing the Fundamental Digital Circuitry of Computing
Although the conceptual ingredients for the modern computer date back to the 1830s, the hardware to enable its operation at useful speed and interface had to await inventions of physics: the transistor (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1956) and the integrated circuit (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000). We will use these components to build from scratch on a connection board the fundamental circuitry of computing, including circuits that make decisions, add, count, store and move information, and make LEDs (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2014) light up in revealing patterns.
Order of Magnitude Physics: How to Get Answers to Everyday Questions
How fast was oil leaking from the BP Deep Horizon oil spill? What is the gravity on the Moon? How high can an animal jump? What is the terminal velocity of a parachutist? What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow (African or European)? Students will learn to ask and answer order of magnitude questions in physics using a variety of analytical techniques. We will also do experiments to verify and further explore the answers to these questions.
The Science of Strength
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?
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.
2D Animation with Photoshop and After Effects
This course will cover the basic functions of Adobe Photoshop and After Effects with special consideration of their animation capabilities. Students will learn to manipulate images and video in 2D and 3D space. These techniques, with this software, are common in broadcast and internet advertising, TV show and movie credits, corporate video, and short form entertainment.
Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink
Voted by past students as one of the best 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, 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.