SO503 Syllabus & Objective

Spring 2002 (End of semester)


  Course introduction  


  Scientific societies

Visit these web sites, and come to class ready to discuss the functions of a scientific society:

  • Discuss the role of scientific professional societies in holding meetings, publishing papers, and publishing newsletters.
  • Describe the funding of scientific research with grants, and the difference between "hard" and "soft" money.
  • Understand the role of "big science" versus individual research projects.
  • Know the major funding agencies for earth sciences: NSF and ONR, and the difference between NRL and ONR.
  • 1/14/2001

      Scientific writing and presentations
    1. Discuss the importance of priority in scientific research, and the role of refereed and peer reviewed journals.
    2. Understand the importance of abstracts, and the need for clear, concise, and informative abstracts.
    3. Describe the importance of oral and poster presentations for scientific research. 




      Computer basics
    • Discuss scanning and the tradeoffs with selecting the dpi to use, and how this varies for printed and screen (Powerpoint or WWW) use.
    • Discuss raster and vector computer devices.
    • Understand the relationship between bits and bytes


      Comp time for noon research brief  


      Map Projections & Datums
    • Discuss the things users might want in a projection: equal-area, conformality.
    • Discuss the three surfaces used to develop geometric projections.
    • Discuss the measurements used to define an ellipsoid: a, b, f, and eČ.
    • Discuss the historical and other reasons why different datums have been used.
    • Discuss the difference between a local datum like NAD27 and an earth centered datum like WGS84.


  • Discuss the components and importance of GIS.
  • Discuss the types of data used in a GIS: vector, raster, and grid.
  • Discuss the uses of filtering and querying available with a GIS, and how they help scientific inquiry.
  • 2/6/2001



    x-week DEMs  


    x-week Exam  


       Remote sensing  
    • Understand the relationships among wavelength, bandwidth, radiometric resolution, spatial resolution, and signal to noise ratio, and how these vary with position in the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Discuss the tradeoffs involved with increasing spatial resolution.
    • Discuss the reasons why remote sensing concentrates on certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.


      Time Series   
    1. Use the Nyquist frequency to develop a sampling strategy for a periodic function.
    2. Describe the use of Fourier analysis to investigate the periodic nature of a time series.
    3. Differentiate cross correlation and autocorrelation, and define lags and the correlation coefficient.


       EOS: vol.83, no.7, p.61
    •  Discuss the use of satellite data to track ocean circulation


    • Define contouring, and give examples of how scientists use the procedure.
    • Understand that computer contouring interpolates between know data points and then connects these points.
    • Differentiate grid and triangulation contouring.
    • Discuss how one set of triangles can be mathematically described as best for triangulation contouring.
    • Discuss derivative products such as three dimensional views that can be produced from grids or TINs (Triangulated Irregular Networks).
    • Discuss why increasing the order of a trend surface increases the rČ value.


       EOS: vol.83, no.8, p.73
    •  Discuss the use of bottom mapping, acoustic scintillation tomography, and water sampling to measure circulation patterns on the Juan de Fuca Ridge.


      Sea level rise:  Physics Today, March 2002, p.35
    •  Discuss the challenges in using tide gauges to estimate Global Sea Level Rise
    • Understand the best estimate of GSL as 2 mm/yr


       EOS: vol.83, no.9, p.85  


    • Understand the challenge for earth scientists to place multiple dimensions of data on a 2D display.
    • Resist the urge to use "chart junk" to make a graph more complex than needed 
    • Discuss the case study on the shuttle Challenger's O-rings, and how a lack of focus on the graphics presented contributed to the decision to launch


       Research time  


    x-week  EOS: vol.83, no.13, p.145
    • Discuss the seismic waves generated by an earthquake, including the T waves
    • Discuss the use of stations in the Indian Ocean to monitor earthquakes and nuclear testing
    • Interpet the graphs used in the paper


    x-week  Exam  


      Exam review  


    • Discuss the sources of error and error measures with GPS surveys: CEP, and RMS
    • Describe how the GPS system runs, and why clock error is a 3rd or 4th unknown requires an additional satellite for the solution.


      Physics Today, April 2002
    • Discuss how science (especially the earth sciences) will deal with the energy challenges
    • Describe how physics is used in oil exploration


      DSDP/ODP (EOS)
    • Discuss the history of the deep sea drilling program, and where it is headed


      Chesapeake Bay SAV and sea level rise (EOS, vol.83, no.16)
    • Discuss the use of mixing models to get sub-pixel accuracy in models of the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
    • Discuss why ratios (NDVI, NDWI, and NDSI) are used in remote sensing.
    • Discuss why sea level rise presents problems for the marshes in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.


      Course review  



     (links for most of the individual labs were on the main course web page)

    1/8/2002 Spreadsheet, Filtering Data, GPS


  • Describe the operation of a digital filter applied to one dimensional data.
  • Appreciate what should go on a graph or figure in a scientific work, and evaluate graphs for effectiveness.
  • Understand the importance of ASCII text files for transferring computer data from one application to another.
  • 1/15/2002 Word processor, vector data  
    1/22/2002 River flow with excel  
    1/29/2002 Climate data analysis  
    2/5/2002 GIS  
    2/12/2002 DEMs  
    2/19/2002 Remote sensing
    1. Understand the use of two dimensional filters with imagery.
    2. Understand the use of ratios with satellite imagery, and their effects.
    3. Understand the use of principal components with imagery.
    4. Understand why remote sensing often uses false color.


    2/26/2002 Time series  
    3/5/2002 Contouring  
    3/19/2002 Tide gauges and sea level rise  
    3/26/2002 Graphics  
    4/2/2002 GPS I  
    4/9/2002 GPS II  
    4/16/2002 Tree rings  
    4/23/2002 Presentations on research topics