Science, Discovery and the Universe
- Last Updated on Thursday May 22, 2014
Questions continue to surround the creation and development of the universe. Discovering and studying natural phenomena such as the formation of solar systems and galaxies, students in the Science, Discovery & the Universe (SDU) program search for answers on the nature of the universe.
Exploring the issues of satellite mission design and engineering, the Deep Impact mission to find water on the moon, the possibilities for life on other planets, and the ability for graphics and statistics to be misleading, SDU students think critically about the intersection of science, exploration and communication in the process of discovery. Students integrate discussions of scientific inquiry with psychology, statistics, pop culture, and religion to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of science and its uses in society.
SDU students work directly with distinguished faculty to explore the processes behind science, particularly astronomy, through interactive investigations of the nature of the universe and our perceptions of it through discussions, debates, in-class experiments, lectures, guest speakers and group projects. Each semester, our faculty engages our community in the most up-to-date findings of multiple aspects of the universe--from the formation of new galaxies and solar systems to the intricacies of measurement instrumentation, to NASA and private spacecraft missions, to the philosophies of science and its communication. SDU introduces students to research techniques used by astronomers, computer scientists, physicists, geologists, astro-physicists, and engineers and other involved in the study of the cosmos.
Beyond the classroom, SDU encourages students in both their freshman and sophomore years to research their queries and curiosities with professors, program associates and consultants. Sophomores engage in practicum experiences through primary research, internships, service-learning or a web programming course. In the past, students have worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, experimented with ferroelectric memory research on campus, worked on primary research in laboratories with senior researchers, studied the feasibility of commercial space development and examined the effects of the media's science reporting.
Experiential learning excursions allow SDU students to observe and analyze scientific developments. Students visit the University of Maryland Observatory, the Baltimore Aquarium, the Howard B. Owens Science Center Planetarium, and an annual overnight trip to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia, where students use the 40-foot telescope to analyze the Milky Way.
SDU is sponsored by the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. Students live in Centreville Hall.