Richard Harwood's Courses

Physical Science 205

Issues in Science, Technology and Society:

     Global Warming

Physical Science 205: Global Warming
Course Syllabus - Spring 2012

1880 to 2009 Temperature Graph

Course Description

GEOG 105: Physical Science 205: Global Warming is an Honors Program course which considers the impact of global warming as it relates to issues in science, technology and society. IAI: P9 900N

Class Meetings

Building 2 Room 219
11:00 - 12:15 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday


Richard Harwood

Office Hours

Monday 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Tuesday 3:00 - 4:00 p.m., Wednesday 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. To arrange a meeting talk to me in class, or during office hours. E-mail: Click here to see Richard Harwood's schedule.

Course Schedule

Date Plows, Plagues & Petroleum Pages
Jan. 17 Introduction to Course: Global Warming Perceptions  
Jan. 19 Preface
Part 1: What has Controlled Earth's Climate
Chapter 1: Climate and Human History
Jan. 24 Part 2: Nature in Control
Chapter 2: Slow Going for a Few Million Years
Jan. 26 Chapter 3: Linking Earth'c Orbit to Its Climate 25-34
Jan. 31 Chapter 4: Orbital Changes Control Ice-Age Cycles 35-45
Feb. 2 Chapter 5: Orbital Changes Control Monsoon Cycles 46-54
Feb. 7 Chapter 6: Stirrings of Change
Murder in the Pleistocene? (handout)
Feb. 9 Part 3: Humans Begin to Take Control
Chapter 7: Early Agriculture and Civilization
Feb. 14 Chapter 8: Taking Control of Methane 76-83
Feb. 16 Chapter 9: Taking Control of CO2 84-94
Feb. 21 Chapter 10: Have We Delayed Glaciation? 95-105
Feb. 23 Chapter 11: Challenges and Responses 106-114
Feb. 28 Part 4: Disease Enters the Picture
Chapter 12: But What About Those CO2 "Wiggles"?
Mar. 1 Chapter 13: The Horsemen of the Apocalypse 127-138
Mar. 6 Chapter 14: Pandemics, CO2, and Climate 139-146
Mar. 8 Part 5: Humans in Control
Chapter 15 Greenhouse Warming
Mar. 13-15 NO CLASSES
Spring Break
Mar. 20 Chapter 16: Future Warming: Large or Small? 159-168
Mar. 22 Chapter 17: From the Past into the Distant Future 169-174
Mar. 27 Epilogue
Chapter 18: Global-Change Science and Politics
Mar. 29 Chapter 19: Consuming Earth's Gifts 190-194
  Storms of My Grandchildren Pages
Apr. 3 Preface
Chapter 1: Vice-President's Climate Task Force
Apr. 5 Chapter 2:The A-Team and Secretary's Quandary 17-27
Apr. 10 Chapter 3: A Visit to the White House 28-58
Apr. 12 Chapter 4: Time Warp 59-69
Apr. 17 Chapter 5: Dangerous Reticence 70-89
Apr. 19 Chapter 6:The Faustian Bargain 90-111
Apr. 24 Chapter 7: Is There Still Time? 112-139
Apr. 26 Chapter 8: Target Carbon Dioxide 140-171
May 1 Chapter 9: An Honest, Effective Path 172-222
May 3 Chapter 10: The Venus Syndrome 223-236
May 8 Chapter 11:Storms of My Grandchildren
Take Home Final Exam
May 15 Global Warming Perceptions Revisited
What Do We Do Now? What Can You Do?
10:15 a.m.: Take Home Final Exam due

The schedule is subject to changes during the semester. Students are responsible for keeping track of changes. The web page schedule will be updated when changes occur.

Text Material - Required

Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming, by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump, 2009, ISBN 978-0-1360-4435-2

Plows, Plagues & Petroleum, by William F. Ruddiman, 2005, ISBN 978-0691146348 (also available for Kindle from

Storms of My Grandchildren, by James Hansen, 2009, ISBN 978-1608195022 (also available for Kindle from


There is only one exam for this course. This will be a take home essay-style exam that will be handed out before the end of the semester. It will be due at 10:15 a.m. on May 15th.

Essay Policy

Students should read the instructor's Essay Policy.

Daily Writing Assignments

Each class period will be focused on one or more chapters in the reading materials. Prior to coming to class, students will need to read the assigned chapter and write a one page paper. Each of these papers will require the student to summarize the major thesis of the chapter, the important points or evidence presented within the chapter. Additionally, each paper must include at least 3 questions related to the chapter topic. These questions should primarily be directed at information, statement or passages within the chapter that the student does not understand. Again, the focus, of the paper and the questions, is the topic and content of the chapter.

Written assignments will be due at the beginning of class each day. Assignments not turned at the time of class are considered to be late. Late assignments will not be accepted for credit.

Daily Writing Assignment Format

• Each written assignemt is to be a typed, single (one) page only, and single-sided. If more than one page is submitted, points will be deducted.

• The student's name, the instructor's name, the course title, and the assignment title is required. This information is to be placed within the page header.

• The paper must be: typed; double-spaced; 12 point Arial font; the body of the summary is to have 1-inch margins (the header is outside of this 1 inch margin); black ink on white paper.

• Do not use direct quotes from the books. Citing information from the books is not necessary as this is a summation of the book and it is assumed that all of your information is coming from that source. All statements and summaries are to be in your own words.

• Each paper is required to also have, at the bottom of the page, 3 questions (these questions may be single spaced). They must be in the form of a question, and specific to the topic. Additionally, at the end of the question indicate the page number and paragraph number if the question refers to a specific statement or passage. For example, if one of the readings has the statement, "As many as a third of the species known to science may be at risk of extinction if average temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius". A possible, acceptable question would be, "How can a small rise in temperature cause the extinction of even a single species? pg.173, p.2"

• Proofread carefully. Although content will be of paramount importance, spelling and grammar will also be considered in scoring points. Use grammar and spell-checking software as points will be deducted for each spelling/grammatical error.

Daily Writing Assignment: Example Paper.

Daily Discussion and Participation

Each class period discussion will be focused on one or more chapters in the reading materials. Students will be expected to be able to verbally summarize the major thesis of the chapter, the important points or evidence presented within the chapter. Discussion will be directed at understanding the major topics of the chapter and addressing the questions raised by students within their summary papers. Student may and are encouraged to seek out and bring in additional sources of information, news or magazine articles that are pertinent to that day's discussion. Make sure you have the internet web address or a printed copy of the article so that the information can be shared with the class.

Extra Credit

There are no extra credit assignments. (although additional sources of information, news or magazine articles will be looked upon favorably!)


The final grade will be calculated according to the following percentages:
     Daily Writing Assignments - 40%
     Classroom Discussion and Participation - 40%
     Final Exam - 20%


All grades will be assigned using the following scale:
     90-100% = A
     80-89% = B
     70-79% = C
     60-69% = D
     <60% = F
No incompletes (I) will be given for any reason.

My policy on grades is that you will receive the grade that you earn. I do not "give" grades, you earn them. The grade that you earn will be based upon your knowledge of the required material, your skills in the required activities and your participation, performance and attitude.

Attendance and Participation

Daily attendance is considered part of your participation grade. You will be evaluated on a scale of 0 to 3 for class attendance and participation during the daily discussions. If you are not attending, you are not participating in class discussion and will receive a zero for that days participation. Note that participation is a major portion of your grade. Be aware, if you miss four lecture class hours, either consecutively or cumulatively, you may be officially withdrawn from the class for non-attendance.

Missed Classes

I am not interested in hearing excuses for missed classes. Whether you are in class or not, you are responsible for all material and announcements presented. It is your job to make sure you have all of the current information. Late written assignments will not be accepted - no exceptions.


You are all adults and I expect you to have behavior appropriate to a college level class - this is not High School. The classroom environment should be professional and friendly. Anyone showing disruptive behavior will be asked to leave. Disruptive behavior includes but is not limited to: a) using profanities, b) intentionally damaging classroom or laboratory materials, c) using cellular phones (Cell phones are to be turned off during class and exams), d) playing video games, surfing the internet or using a computer for anything other than class related activities while the instructor is addressing the class or during class discussion, e) placing feet on the lab table tops while class is in session, f) excessive talking while the instructor is addressing the class, and g) creating an environment that is not conducive to learning for others.

Cheating in any form will not be tolerated. Copying another's work, plagiarism and cheating on written assignments or exams may be punishable by a failing grade on that assignment or exam, or a failing grade for the course - depending on the severity of the incident.

Food in the Classroom

I have no objection to your bringing food or drink into the classroom. However, it is your responsibility to clean up after yourself. Because other instructors and students use this classroom, don't leave your trash on the lab benches. Put all aluminum cans, plastic bottles and office paper in the proper recycling containers in the hall. Throw all other trash in the waste can in the classroom. If I find trash being left on the lab benches in lecture I will ban all food and drink for everyone for the remainder of the semester.

Due Dates

You are responsible for knowing due dates (every class is a due date) and the exam date. They are on your syllabus, know them, even if they are not announced in class.

Class Preparation

You must read the assignments prior to coming to class and write a one-page summary paper. Be prepared to discuss the material. A discussion requires at least two people that have read the material and are prepared to examine that information. A discussion with only one participant is a lecture.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:
1) Discuss and explain the evidence for global warming.
2) Discuss and explain the causes and contributing factors of global warming.
3) Apply critical thinking to popular media news and articles related to global warming.
4) Scientifically speculate or hypothesize as to the globe's climatic future.
5) Describe some of the possible solutions or activities for living in a globally sustainable environment.

Withdrawal from the Course

Students are strongly encouraged to talk with the instructor before withdrawing from the course to discuss your reasons for withdrawal, and to discuss options other than withdrawal. If you need to withdraw from the course for any reason, you may do so without instructor approval prior to completion of three-quarters of the course. Withdrawal from the course is the responsibility of the student. Students may either complete the Add/Drop form or send a letter, fax, or email from the student's account to the Registrar. After three-quarters of the course is completed, but no later than the last scheduled day of instruction, students must obtain instructor permission to withdraw from the course. Students may not drop the course after the last day of instruction. (see the Student Handbook for the official college policy on withdrawals)