The following Liberal Arts courses are available for Spring 2014 registration. Learn about the rest of our Spring 2014 electives here, or find a complete list of courses offered in other years here.

Energy in the 21st CenturyEnergy in the 21st Century

The near meltdown of Fukushima, the upheavals in the Middle East, the BP oil spill, and the looming reality of global warming have reminded all of us that nothing has more impact on our lives than the supply and demand for energy.  The procurement of energy dominates our economy and foreign policy more than any other factor.  But the “energy question” is more confusing, contentious, and complicated than ever before.  We need to know if nuclear power will ever really be safe.  We need to know if solar and wind power will ever really be viable.  And we desperately need to know if the natural gas deposits in Pennsylvania are a windfall of historic proportions or a false alarm that will create more problems than solutions.  Our goal will be to debunk misinformation while maintaining a positive tone, and develop energy expenditure calculations on the regional, national, and international levels that could enable us to make individual, societal, and national choices that would benefit the world at large.

taught by Malcolm Pringle

Acoustics: Theory and PracticeAcoustics

Two of the finest concert halls in the Western world are within five blocks of NEC.  Inside these spaces a listener finds quiet, solace from the typical noisy urban environment.  Great acoustic spaces envelop and enhance great musical performances, as architecture, aesthetics, and music combine to create a unique multi-sensory sensory experience for the listener. In this class we will explore the physical theories and architectural practices that contribute to spaces that support musical performance.  Students will apply theoretical principles to real-world situations and develop strategies for maximizing musical quality in a variety of acoustical environments.  Mathematics will be used as a common language for communicating the many dimensions of information represented in music.

taught by Andrew Carballeira