### HP 300: Chaos and Coherency (Honors Course)
Course Syllabus - Fall
1999
**Professor** : David Kaup (office : SC 353, phone : 268-2360, email
: kaup@clarkson.edu)
**Office Hours** : MWF 11:00 - 12:00, TTh 10:00 - 12:00. I'll also be
glad to make an appointment for some other time - just let me know when
(call or send email).
** Professor **: J.A. MacDonald (office: Snell Hall 329 Ext. 3870, email:
macdonaj@clarkson.edu
** Office Hours: ** 10AM-2PM TTh (1-2PM after Nov. 17), 1-4PM W,
1-2:30PM F, and by appointment.
** Professor: ** Hayley H. Shen (office: Rowley Lab 132 Ext. 6614,
email: hhshen@clarkson.edu
**Office Hours: ** 9:30-12:00 TTh and by appointment.
**Goals: ** The goals of this course will be to i)improve the student's
ability to communicate, ii) to give him a through understanding of the
scientific method, and an ability to apply the scientific method in his
career and life, and iii) to give him an understanding of how it relates
to critical thinking.
** Approach: ** For the purpose of achieving these goals, the subject
of coherency and chaos will be used as a means to an end. It would be
unreasonable to expect all students, regardless of their major, to achieve
a given high mathematical level of competence in chaos theory. However,
we shall strive to give each student an understanding of what the phenomena
of coherency and chaos are, and will give examples of where these phenomena
occur. We do have a wide background of students to accommodated in this
course. We will try to communicate the same ideas and concepts to one
and all.
The first part of the course will lay down basic concepts, such as observation,
truth, causation, and effect. We shall discuss the various criteria for,
and definitions of each. Key to the scientific method is how does one
test for the truth of something. We shall present and discuss various
means for testing for truth, or the truth of something. After the basics
are introduced, we shall examine applications in the field of the financial
markets (Prof. MacDonald), and in the field of granular flow (Prof. Shen).
One of the primary purposes of this course is to give the student training
in the scientific method. It will also operate as an open seminar, with
discussion and questions encouraged from the students. In the process
of this course, you will observe your classmates, and maybe even the professors,
at times, violating the scientific method. You may also observe the scientific
method being subtly altered to fit the agenda of the speaker. If you observe
these points, consider that you have learned something and have gained
an ability in observation. Feel free to comment on them, if you wish.
However, as we all know, such comments can lead to very {\it exciting}
discussions. We professors will encourage such, to the extent that time
will allow.
** Textbooks: ** Required: ** CHAOS: Making a New Science **,
James Gleick [Penquin Books (1987)].
Recommended: **EXPLORING CHAOS **, Ed. Nina Hall [Norton & Co. (1993)].
Recommended: **CHAOS And ORDER In The STOCK MARKET**, Edgar E. Peters
[Wiley & Sons (1991)].
** Proposed Outline: **
- Week 1 -- Scientific Method, Critical Thought, and Truth. What are
they? When to use what? How are they best used?
- Week 2 -- Solitons and Coherence: What are they? What can one do with
them?
- Week 3 -- Chaos: What is it? How does one test for it? How does it
differ from Coherency? Why is it not Randomness?
- Weeks 4-7 -- Prof. MacDonald's material on Chaos in the Financial
Markets.
- Weeks 7-10 -- Presentations by Students.
- Weeks 11-1 } -- Mixing and Chaos by Prof. H. Shen.
** Seminars ** The textbook chosen for this course, is a descriptive
book, with few mathematical equations. Thus all students are expected to
be able to follow and understand it. During weeks 7-10, all students will
be expected to present a seminar from some chapter in these textbooks. You
may do this in pairs, in which case, your seminar would be expected to cover
one period ( < 40 mins. + 10 mins. for questions). If you want to work alone,
then your seminar would only cover one half of a period ( < 20 mins. + 5
mins. for questions). I suggest that you select your topic as soon as possible,
before someone else selects it. Simply submit your topic to me, on a full
sheet of paper, with that day's date, our course number, your name(s), and
any {\it necessary} restrictions on the date of your seminar. It is expected
that students whose major belongs to the topic chosen, would (or could)
expand in deeper depth on the topic, than the textbook does. HOWEVER, from
past experience, I would recommend that you avoid complexities, and keep
it simple, but {\it through, and understandable} to your classmates.
Of course, these seminars will be graded by Profs. MacDonald, Shen and
myself. The grade will be based on how well you presented the material,
how understandable it was to the audience, and how much interest it generated.
Each member of your audience will also critique your seminar, and submit
recommended grades to the professors, based on how well they felt that
you presented the material.
** Research Paper: ** All students will prepare a research paper,
somehow related to the topics of this course. It could be on an application
of the Scientific Method, or a critique of some "scientific result". Prime
candidates for the latter are any area where claims or predictions by
authorities and/or experts of that area can be demonstrated to be untrue.
The rules for this is as follows:
- You must find a possible topic, go to the library and prepare a bibliography.
You may (but are not required to) ask the professors in your department
for suggestions. Before the end of the third week of classes, you must
submit your bibliography. If it is approved, then you may continue.
- Before the end of the sixth week, you must submit an outline of your
research paper. The outline must be somewhat detailed, defining what
topics you will cover in each section of the paper. It must be approved
before you can continue. It is expected that your paper will be more
than just a literature survey. It must require some application of the
scientific method on your part, whereby you are to present your case
and then draw an independent conclusion.
- Before the end of the eleventh week, your research paper must have
been submitted.
- All research papers will also contain a glossary, which will define
{\bf all} technical terms used in the paper. What terms must be included?
Well, if most of your classmates could not define a given term in your
paper, then that term must be included in the glossary. The definition(s)
of any term in the glossary must be in your own words, and must be sufficiently
clear such that any of your classmates could read the definition and
understand the meaning of the term. I also require that when I read
your definition, then I would understand the term.
- The research paper must be a minimum of ten pages, excluding any
title page or table of contents, in 12 pt. font, double spaced, with
no more than one inch side and bottom margins, and a 1.5 inch top margin.
- You are expected to use correct English and to have no misspellings
in your paper. You are also expected to compose the paper so that all
sections and paragraphs flow easily from one to the next, with the expressed
ideas and concepts being easily followed and understood by the reader
(be that reader one of your classmates, or Prof. MacDonald, or Prof.
Shen, or me).
- The grade of a research paper will be based, in part, on how well
you can meet the above deadlines and criteria. Each day an item is late,
will mean a 1 point penalty. Thus one week late will be a penalty of
almost one letter grade.
**Exams and Grades: ** There will be a midterm exam (15 %) and a final
exam (15 %). Profs. MacDonald and Shen will each assign 15 % of the grade,
based on any work that they assign during their 4 weeks of presentations.
The seminar presented will count 15 % of the grade. The research paper will
account for 25 % of the grade. The grading scale will be A=90-100, B=80-89,
C=70-79, and D=60-69. The two exams will be based on anything covered in
the course, up to that time. Emphasis will be on the material presented
in the seminars, key definitions, and anything else that you would be expected
to know. After all, this is an Honors Class. On the final exam, you may
be asked questions from any seminar presentation, and even from your own
research paper. |