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Course Catalog > Description of Courses
GEOLOGIC WONDERS OF THE U.S. PARKS;  A GEOLOGY OF NORTH AMERICA  Moderators:   Gayle Hartis (919-933-1251, and Barbara Nagler (919-933-0059,   This is a fascinating introduction to the geological forces that created the topography of land now occupied by North American national parks.   Beautifully illustrated, these 36 half hour lectures from the Great Courses will take us to more than a hundred spectacular sites, guided by Ford Cochran of National Geographic Expeditions.   More specifically, in addition to providing topographic information about unique park features, Dr. Cochran will take us beneath their surfaces -- to learn about the volatile geologic processes now at rest or in motion or soon to act.   Such information can provide us with profound insights into the fragility and dynamism of our planet.   Gayle and Barbara will show two lectures per meeting.  Monday, 9:15-10:45.

HOW THE EARTH WORKS, PART I  Moderator:  Rosalinde Milazzo (919-942-6716).   This Great Courses series is taught by Dr. Michael E. Wysession, a world traveler, and award-winning instructor and geophysicist at Washington University.   He will introduce us to the big picture of how various natural forces worked and are still working, separately or together, to make life on planet earth possible for humans, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects and plants.    These forces include:  fire, climate, volcanoes, plate tectonics, salt and fresh water and time.    Thus, scientists in many fields, such as, biology, physics, geology, are constantly:  investigating how natural forces affect earth's livability; and predicting what danger points exist to threaten that livability.   Rosalinde will show two lectures per meeting. Tuesday, 9:15-10:45.   

THE HISTORY AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ISLAMIC GOLDEN AGE   Moderator:  Bisharah Libbus (919-771-6567,   This course will inform us about major scholars and their achievements during the Islamic Golden Age in the Greater Middle East (750 - 1258).   We will be introduced to major advances in literature, medicine, arts, his-tography, algebra, astronomy, physics and chemistry and the men who originated new fields of knowledge, e.g.:  ibn Jabr (algebra), al-Khawarizmi (algorithm), al-Haytham (optics), ibn Sinna (medicine) and ibn Khaldun (sociology, histography, and political economy).   Prof. Eamonn Gearson, Johns Hopkins University (and the Great Courses), will integrate several perspectives.   With his engaging style and deep knowledge of the area's history, he will provide an insightful survey of the culture and science of the Middle East at the height of a wave of innovation and discovery.   This trove of knowledge and culture served as a fore-runner in the developing European Renaissance, playing a critical and nurturing role. Thursday, 9:15-10:45.
HOW TO DRAW, PART II Moderator:  Nancy Goudreau (703-329-2933,   This is a contin-uation from the spring term, 2017.   Armed with sketchbooks, ink, pencils, we will attend to lectures of David Brody, university painting/drawing professor (and Great Courses) and learn how master draftsmen developed practical methods to represent reality and abstracts and how we too can use similar techniques.   By participating, we'll become familiar with some core principles and drawing 'grammar':  shape, composition, value, light and shadow, linear perspective, texture and color.   During class, we will: *critique the usefulness of the lecture; *compare / share our efforts to accomplish the lecture goals; and *decide as a group how best to spend our time, to make progress that we can recognize.   NOTE: Participants from the spring 2017 term have priority for registration, received by end of August.    For others, previous enrollment in a drawing course that included study of 'line' / 'proportion' is needed. Limit of 12 students. Tuesday, 11:00–(NOTE) 12:45.

INTRODUCTION TO PALEONTOLOGY  Moderators:  Larry Nielsen (919-967-3572, ) and Jim Freedman (919-401-0311,   New technologies have opened new doors into the 4.54 billion year history of our world.   From recently discovered fossils to new theories about our ancestors, such exciting science is exploding with new game-changing information.  This 24 lecture course (from the Great Courses) provides a walk back in time through earth's history from a lifeless planet to our world of today -- allowing us to explore the latest paleontological discoveries and our understanding of the history of life on earth.   Produced in partnership with the Smithsonian, our guide is Dr. Stuart Sutherland, an active paleontologist and multi-award winning teacher.  Discover a history more thrilling than science fiction could ever imagine.Thursday, 9:15-10:45.

MODERN AMERICAN ESSAYS  Moderator:  Phil Lassiter (734-309-9879,   With spirit and good humor, we will discuss American essays of the 21th century from the Best American Essays, 2016.   Based on our considerable life experiences, we will analyze and interpret each essay and the author's perspectives -- directly relating how the text impinges on our own lives.  NOTE:  Both new students and those from previous terms are welcome. Friday, 9:15-10:45.

THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE    Moderator:   Glenn Wrighton (919-929-3406,   We’ll explore the history of the U.S. cinema industry from early silent films through classic Hollywood genres, including musicals, thrillers and westerns.   We will cover the work of some of our greatest directors, such as:  Griffith, Chaplin, Keaton, Capra, Hawks, Hitchcock, and Altman.    Every third session will feature a film viewing, associated with the lectures.   The lectures, with some film clips, are included in a MIT OpenCourseWare course for undergrads, taught by Prof. David Thorburn. Tuesday, 11:00-12:30.

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