Academic Catalog 2020-2021

Math and Science (MSCI)

MSCI-110  Intro to Physics/Chemistry  - (3 Credits)  

This introduction to physics and chemistry is designed to prepare architecture students for their technological courses involving building, building materials, and building infrastructure. The course is non-calculus based.

MSCI-200  Math & The Imagination  - (3 Credits)  

This course is a survey of basic mathematical concepts that demonstrate the nature of mathematics. Topics are chosen from areas such as the concept of paradoxes and controversies, infinities, elementary number theory, modular arithmetic, fractals and chaos, topology, elementary probability and statistics.

MSCI-201  Symmetry, Shape & Space  - (3 Credits)  

This course explores some visual aspects of mathematics. Topics are chosen from areas such as geometric constructions, tessellations of the plane, symmetry groups, Platonic and Archimedean solids, spirals, Fibonacci numbers, the golden mean, phyllotaxis, spaces of dimension greater than three, and non-Euclidean geometry.

MSCI-202  CAD Math  - (3 Credits)  

Introduces students to the mathematical principles underlying their computer programs. It familiarizes them with equations of lines and planes, forms for rotation and translation figures on a computer, transformations for 3-D, and prospective projections onto the screen.

MSCI-204C  Personal Finance Mathematics  - (3 Credits)  

This course is designed to improve the quantitative literacy of its students by exposing students to many of the financial decision they will face in their lives. Students will work with mathematical tools that are commonly used to gain insight and clarity ion these decisions, as well as how to communicate the results of their calculations. Our discussion of money will flow the way it does through adult lives, from earning an income and paying taxes to spending, saving, investing, and borrowing when we don't have money to get what we want or need. This course will lead you on the path to equipping yourself with the necessary mathematical tools and know-how to handle money in a informed way.

MSCI-210  Science & Society  - (3 Credits)  

The science and Society course explores some of the most pressing science issues facing the human condition today. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and writing, the class will explore such issues as climate change, alternative energy, genetic engineering, emerging infectious diseases, and the overall forecast for the human condition in the next several decades. Students will gain an appreciation of how science can inform policies that will shape our society, and will recognize the limitations of our current knowledge in prediction how modern technology will shape the human condition in the future.

MSCI-220C  Science of Light  - (3 Credits)  

This introduction to light and optical phenomena in nature and technology will acquaint students with various physical aspects of light. We will delve into optical effects in nature such as the formation of rainbows, the colors of the sky and bubbles, mirages, the formation of images by our eyes and reception of those images by the rods and cones of our retinas. The use of light in technology will be explored by examining topics such as fiber optics, light sources (from the sun to light bulbs to pixels), one-way mirrors, 3D movie glasses, and image formation with pinholes, lenses and mirrors. Special attention will be paid to the operating principles and functioning of cameras from their lenses, to their viewfinders, apertures and filters.

MSCI-222C  Intro. to Electronics  - (3 Credits)  

This is a science course intended for the student curious about modern electronics and its use in enhancing their own designs as well as in preparation for Pratt's DDA and ID courses in interactive installations and robotics. Covering basic physics and electronics theory with practical applications in circuit design and interfacing, the course requires students to use critical and logical thinking to construct working electronic circuits that provide for control of input and output devices, the safe and reliable connection of one circuit to another or to a embedded controller (Arduino, Raspberry PL, etc.) or computer port.

MSCI-223C  Astronomy  - (3 Credits)  

This is a course in basic astronomy, which will provide an overview of our current understanding of the universe around us. Topics will include the origin of the universe, galaxies, stars, planets, interstellar matter, black holes, supernovas, space travel, and the possibility (or not) of extraterrestrial life, as well as the observational techniques we use to reveal the universe.

MSCI-225C  Starstruck: Meet Our Universe  - (3 Credits)  

This course provides an overview of our current understanding of the universe, allowing students to explore the vastness and details of the cosmos while inviting them to integrate scientific ideas into their own works of films, podcasts, discussions, and writing include the origin of the universe and that of matter, galaxies, stars, planets in and outside of our solar system, black holes, supernovae, dark matter, dark energy, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, space travel, as well as the observational techniques used to reveal the cosmos. Students will gain perspective on our place in the universe as we explore how we know what we know, exposing how science is a process rather than an outcome. Discussions will also address the underrepresentation of minorities and women in the science.

MSCI-232C  Chemistry of Arist's Materials  - (3 Credits)  

This is a \"hands-on\" core course that introduces students to the chemistry behind artists' materials, including the chemistry of frescoes, traditional oil paintings, dyes, inks, illuminated manuscripts and textiles. Laboratory experiments, trips to museums, molecular visualizations of materials, films and multimedia presentations also part of the course. By the end of the semester, students produce their own fresco and tempera paintings, illuminated manuscripts and dyed textiles and are able to discuss the chemistry involved in each of these processed and how these different typed of works of art deteriorate with time.

MSCI-250C  Geology  - (3 Credits)  

This course provides a survey of the composition, structure, and history of the solid earth, with emphasis on how internal processes shape the earth. Major areas of focus include plate tectonics, the rock cycle, seismology, volcanic processes, and mineral resources.

MSCI-251C  Planet Earth  - (3 Credits)  

In this course we analyze how the earth works: the ways in which solar energy, internal heat, and human civilization mold the earth's surface environment-its scenery, climates, and vegetation. We examine the Earth's component parts and interactions in order to better understand its past, present and future.

MSCI-252C  Natural Catastrophes  - (3 Credits)  

Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, meteors, and climate change impact our world. In this course we take a \"real world\" case history approach to examining the physical causes of natural disasters and , equally important, the human contribution to them. We also discuss the engineering, planning, and political steps necessary to prevent disasters and equally important, the human contribution to them. We also discuss the engineering, planning, and political steps necessary to prevent disasters or at least soften their impact.

MSCI-262  Botany  - (3 Credits)  

Botany is the scientific study of plants. This course provides an introduction to the essential components of botany. This includes: Morphology (what does a plant look like? How can we describe the differences between plants to classify them and understand how they are related to each other?), Physiological function (how does a plan work What does it need to grow? How does it respond to environmental stressors like drought?), and Cellular function and genetics (How are plant cells different from animal cells? what about plant sex? how do plants reproduce and evolve into the great diversity of plant on planet earth?)

MSCI-264  Form and Design in Nature  - (3 Credits)  

The natural world is constructed from quite simple components. These components are however configured into increasingly complex degrees of myriad forms which are then reflective of their function within specific environments. This course will survey this diversity of form and design beginning with molecules which, in their simplest configurations, give rise to water and minerals (including fossils) and, more complexly, biological macromolecules. We will then consider more complex and interesting than just 'mushrooms') and plants (flowers are just the beginning). Finally, we will conduct a more thorough investigation of the great variety and beauty of aquatic and terrestrial animal life form the simplest sponge to humans. All of the above will be presented from an evolutionary perspective via weekly lectures and hands-on micro-and macroscopic examination and study of laboratory specimens. Trips to parks and museums will be required. There is an expectation of sustained class engagement and personal responsibility in timely and accurate completion of assignments.

MSCI-264C  Form and Design in Nature, Core  - (3 Credits)  

The natural world is constructed from quite simple components. These components are however configured into increasingly complex degrees of myriad forms which are then reflective of their function within specific environments. This course will survey this diversity of form and design beginning with molecules which, in their simplest configurations, give rise to water and minerals (including fossils) and, more complexly, biological macromolecules. We will then consider the 'lower' life forms: protists (single-celled free-living organisms), fungi (much more complex and interesting than just 'mushrooms') and plants (flowers are just the beginning). Finally, we will conduct a more thorough investigation of the great variety and beauty of aquatic and terrestrial animal life form the simplest sponge to humans. All of the above will be presented form an evolutionary perspective via weekly lectures and hands-on micro-and macroscopic examination and study of laboratory specimens. Trips to parks and museums will be required. There is an expectation of sustained class engagement and personal responsibility in timely and accurate completion of assignments while adhering to the highest artistic standards as that befitting a student of Pratt Institute.

MSCI-270C  Environmental Science and Ecology  - (3 Credits)  

Like any other organism, humans rely on their environment-most prominently the living part of that environment-in order to survive. But unlike any other species, humans have the ability to re-shape the diverse environments they inhabit in profound, fundamental, and potentially destructive ways. This course explores how living ecosystems function and how that functioning provides the resources required by both individual humans and the societies we form. It also considers how we have transformed our environment I n ways that can threaten both our own health and the health of the ecosystems upon which human civilization depends. Many scientists suggest that we have entered a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene; this course explores ways in which the \"age of humanity\" can become a sustain able-rather that apocalyptic-episode in evolutionary history.

MSCI-271  Ecology for Architects  - (3 Credits)  

Architects build structures that serve as environments for organisms: human beings. Therefore, it is crucial that architects understand the ways in which organisms interact with the environment and other organisms. This course will investigate topics in ecology that will enable students to think more broadly about what it means to design living and working spaces.

MSCI-280  Environmental Science for Construction Management  - (3 Credits)  

The underlying nature of our world, as revealed through science, has a controlling impact on the materials, designs, and structures available for construction of our built environment. Conversely, both the act of fabrication of our built environment and the nature of the structures we build have a profound effect on our natural environment. This course will introduce concepts in the natural, biological and physical sciences that clarify these interactions and prepare students to understand the environmental impact of their construction choices.

MSCI-281C  Green Building Science-Core  - (3 Credits)  

To achieve a sustainable future, we need buildings that provide for our comfort and security while imposing a far smaller impact on the environment than do today's buildings. This course will use many techniques of physical science to see how this can be done, both in new construction and in today's built environment. An introduction to climate science is also included. The course is worth three (3) credits and fulfills the Math and Science CORE course requirement.

MSCI-282C  Climate Change Science-Core  - (3 Credits)  

Human civilization is threatened by its own success at a level not seen in recorded history. The threat, climate change, is well understood scientifically, technically, and economically. Although now penetration the cultural realm, the political response remains woefully inadequate. This course will use the techniques of science to promote a deep understanding of the nature and urgency of the threat, preparing students to take part in the struggle against climate change that will occur in their lifetimes. The course will be based largely on reports of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), augmented by recent literature findings.

MSCI-300  Calculus I  - (3 Credits)  

Topics in analytic geometry, functions of one variable, limiting processes, differentiation of algebraic and trigonometric functions, definite and indefinite integrals are covered.

MSCI-301  Calculus II  - (3 Credits)  

Applications of the definite integral; transcendental functions; methods of integration; improper integrals; curves in rectangular polar and parametric forms; interactive and numerical methods.

MSCI-302  Statistics  - (3 Credits)  

This is a comprehensive survey course in statistical theory and methodology. Statistical theory topics include descriptive statistics, data analysis, elementary probability, and hypothesis testing; methodology topics include sampling, goodness-of-fit testing, analysis of variance, and least squares estimation.

MSCI-330  Chemistry for Art History  - (3 Credits)  

This course introduces Art History majors to the basics of chemistry and the chemistry behind artists' materials and techniques. Students engage in guided activities, such as guided laboratory experiments, to gain insight into the properties and chemical behavior of artists' materials. Lectures are developed to reinforce the understanding of chemical principles and address their connection to artist materials. In addition, several guest speakers including art conservators and conservation scientists will introduce issues in related to their field of expertise.

MSCI-331  Chemistry of Roman Art  - (3 Credits)  

In this course students will gain an understanding of the chemistry involved in the art and architectural materials utilized in ancient Rome. The course will draw on research from Pompeii and Herculaneum, which provide a wealth of preserved information about the history, technology, and culture of the Roman people. Through case studies, students will learn about the chemistry of Roman building materials, glasses, and pigments. Deterioration of wall paintings and mosaics will be discussed and students will learn how scientific analysis can provide guidelines for conservators on how to preserve the art at the ancient sites.

MSCI-362  The Evolution of Sex  - (3 Credits)  

This course explores the evolution of sexual reproduction as an alternative to nature's original means of propagating genes (asexual cloning). We'll explore why sex evolved, weighing the benefits and liabilities associated with sexual reproduction and will also look at the diversity of sexual strategies employed across all kingdoms of life, considering the conflict and cooperation inherent in the reproductive process. The course will conclude by looking at the sexual behavior of humans and our closest primate relatives.

MSCI-381  Green Building Science  - (3 Credits)  

To achieve a sustainable future, we need buildings that provide for our comfort and security while imposing a far smaller impact on the environment than do today's building. This course will use many techniques of physical science to see how this can be done, both in new construction and in today's built environment. An introduction to climate science is also included. Each student will carry out a detailed energy assessment of an actual building.

MSCI-382  Climate Change Modeling  - (3 Credits)  

Human civilization is threatened by its own success at a level not seen in recorded history. The threat, climate change, is well understood scientifically, technically, and economically. Although now penetration the cultural realm, the political response remains woefully inadequate. This course will use the techniques of science to promote a deep understanding of the nature and urgency of the threat, preparing students to take part in the struggle against climate change that will occur in their lifetimes. Students will prepare an actual climate change mitigation plan for a city, state, or country of their choosing. The course will be based largely on reports of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), augmented by recent literature findings.

MSCI-432  Nature of Color  - (3 Credits)  

In this course we study how color is created at the atomic and molecular level by interaction of light at the physical surface of reflective objects. From there we elucidate the chemistry of the perceptive organ, the eye, via its interaction with light with some coverage of the neurological/perceptual factors of the synthesizing organ, the brain. We will perform several lab experiments treating the nature of color from both a physical and chemical perspective.

MSCI-433  Degradation of Art and Design Materials  - (3 Credits)  

In this course students will gain an understanding of how art and design materials degrade and how they can be preserved. Dirt plays a major role in the deterioration of materials therefore optimal cleaning methods are a necessity. Scientific methods are important for the study of art and design materials. The use of multi-spectral imaging and polarized light microscopy for characterization of art and design materials will be discussed. We will cover how to determine realistic goal for treatments. Students will choose an art or design material and get a chance to scientifically characterize, clean, degrade, and apply a treatment allowing for a deeper understanding of the materials they use in their practices.

MSCI-436  Toxics in the Environment  - (1 Credit)  

This course focuses on toxic and hazardous substances in the environment, with particular emphasis on trace metals and organic compounds associated with construction materials and the urban/industrial environments. It examines issues such as urban air quality and indoor air pollution, the persistence of toxic chemicals in the environment, and the regulation and cleanup of toxic substances. Case study discussion focuses on sources and exposure to toxic substances in the built environment in general, and the New York City urban environment in particular.

MSCI-438  Chemistry of Modern Polymeric Materials  - (3 Credits)  

The development of synthetic polymers such as plastic, rubber, and nylon is one of the main achievements of the 20th century. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of organic chemistry within the context of modern polymeric materials. Students will prepare various synthetic polymers but also work with commercial available polymeric materials. Works of art made of such materials are extremely challenging to conservators since they are vulnerable towards deterioration. Signs of degradation such as discoloration, stickiness, and cracking are usually observed within less than 30 years. Analytical instrumentation will be used to identify and characterize molecular changes before and after artificial aging.

MSCI-490  Special Topics  - (3 Credits)  

Focuses on areas of topical interest and current faculty research. The subject matter of these courses changes from semester to semester as a reflection of new scholarly developments and student/faculty interests. Since schedules and topics change frequently, students should seek information on current MSCI-490 offerings from the Department of Math and Science by emailing to sci@pratt.edu or checking the Department's web page: https://www.pratt.edu/academics/liberal-arts-and- sciences/mathematics-and-science/math-science- courses