PHYS 231
Facts of Life Fall 2012 Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;
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The cancer death rate scales like (age)6 so it was thought that a proliferating cancer cell must have acquired 6 mutations. The probability of having had N sexual partners scales like N2.4. Body Mass Index = Mass / Length2. The heart rate is proportional to the organism’s mass0.75. The number of policemen scales like population1.15. Power-law relationships often describe emergent phenomena of self-organizing systems. In this course we will learn how to obtain data and plot it in an informative way, including estimates of the errors of fits. We will learn how to describe phenomena with differential equations and to find analytic and numerical solutions. With those tools we will study the human experience: births, body size, sex, death rates (by cause, by age, by gender), metrics of cities, distributions of common names, population growth rates, per capita use of energy, the spread of disease, etc. Projects will involve applying the methods to new phenomena.
The Class: Type: tutorial, plus one lecture per week
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1247
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly problem sets, projects
Prerequisites: MATH 105
Enrollment Preference: maturity, curiosity, diversity
Distributions: Division III; Quantative/Formal Reasoning;

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