SO503 Spring 2006

Lecture Syllabus 

Mon 01/09/06   Course introduction  
Wed 01/11/06  

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.
  • Wed 01/18/06   Scientific writing and presentations
  • Discuss the importance of priority in scientific research, and the role of refereed and peer reviewed journals.
  • Understand the importance of abstracts, and the need for clear, concise, and informative abstracts.
  • Describe the importance of oral and poster presentations for scientific research. 
  • Mon 01/23/06   Anatomy of a Scientific Paper
    • Discuss the parts of a scientific paper
    • Discuss the citation style used in science, and the preponderance of journal articles in the references cited
    • Discuss the weaving of geology, biology, climatology, and GIS in this paper's tracing of past climates and snakehead distribution.
    • Paper analysis checklists
    Wed 01/25/06   Research project briefings (1st and 2d periods)  
    Mon 01/30/06   NE Pacific earthquakes (EOS, 24 Jan 2006)
    • Understand the measures of earthquake size
    • Understand the importance of the T phase.
    Wed 02/01/06   Discussion of a paper ("Temporal and spatial history of the 1999–2000 Endeavour Segment seismic series, Juan de Fuca Ridge", Bohnenstiehl and others, 2004) Each student will come to class prepared to lead the discussion on a section of the paper from the Paper analysis checklists (two people will share the discussion and conclusions section).
    Mon 02/06/06   Scientific remote sensing--EOS paper


  • 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.
    Wed 02/08/06   Scientific remote sensing--EOS paper  
    Mon 02/13/06   Scientific remote sensing--EOS paper  
    Wed 02/15/06 (no class) Summary of scientific paper  
    Wed 02/22/06   Radar altimeters and hurricane Katrina--EOS paper
    1. Discuss the parameters we can measure with a radar altimeter (sea surface height or geoid, significant wave height, and wind speed), and what in the radar return we use to measure each.
    2. Describe what the radar altimeter indicated about the possible driving force behind Hurricane Katrina's intensification.
    Mon 02/27/06   Time series analysis
    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.

    Wed 03/01/06   Time series analysis  
    Mon 03/06/06   Discussion of scientific writing 
    1. Discuss the advantages of the active voice in scientific writing.
    2. Understand the citation style in science, especially the important of correctly citing multiple authors, and the correct citation style for papers in multi-authored volumes.
    3. Understand the importance of clear, concise text.
    4. Understand the necessity for clearly and completely indicating the source of data and any transformations used on it.
    Wed 03/08/06   Scientific presentations
    • Discuss the importance of substance over gimmicks in scientific Power Point presentations.
    • Discuss the importance of the slide contents to the presenter and the audience.
    • Consider the amount of text that should be on a slide, and the relative balance between text, graphics, and blank space.
    Mon 03/20/06   Basics of computer mapping
    • Understand the difference between vertical and horizontal datums.
    • Understand the difference between a tidal datum and a vertical datum like NAVD88.
    • Understand the structure and properties of a digital elevation model.
    Wed 03/22/06   Tree ring dating, climate reconstruction--EOS paper
    • Discuss the use of tree ring data as a proxy for past climate.
    • Understand how cross correlation allows merging records from living trees and dead wood.
    • Describe the interdisciplinary nature of tree ring research.
    Mon 03/27/06      
    Wed 03/29/06   History of El Nino--GSA Today Paper
    • Discuss the general characteristics of El Nino circulation, and how these can be deduced from microfossils.
    • Differentiate cosmopolitan and endemic animals, and their relative advantages for paleoclimate work.
    Mon 04/03/06      
    Wed 04/05/06   Test 2  
    Mon 04/10/06   Physics Today
    • Slowing of Atlantic Ocean overturning
    • Mapping fish populations with sonar 
    • Discuss how we can try to monitor ocean circulation over time, and how this relates to global climate change.
    • Discuss how sonar mapping can help determine fish populations
    Wed 04/12/06   EOS, 4 April 2006, Integrating Enhanced Satellite Data Maps Into Coastal Management
    • Discuss the use of time series analysis of satellite imagery to model upwelling and ocean fronts, and its importance to management of natural resources.
    Mon 04/17/06   Baltimore Sun
    • Discuss the challenges for scientific research in times of tight budgets.
    Wed 04/19/06  
    • EOS, 18 April 2006 Mapping Supports Potential Submission to U.N. Law of the Sea
    • EOS, 18 April 2006 Satellite Maps Show Chesapeake Bay Urban Development
    • Understand the importance of bathymetric mapping, both for scientific purposes and legal reasons for delineation of the US EEZ
    • Describe the use of land classification maps derived from satellite and their use in environmental monitoring of the Chesapeake Bay
    Mon 04/24/06   Library research techniques
    • Discuss the use of databases in finding relevant journal papers, especially the Web of Science and its ability to find more recent papers that cite a particular paper.
    • Discuss strategies for reading papers, and which sections are most important.
    Wed 04/26/06 last class Course review