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Freshman Lab

plinthThis laboratory class provide us with the occasion to pay attention to the world of nature, to think about the distinction between the artificial and the natural, and to understand what we can of the natural world.

Some time is spent at the laboratory bench, some in the field observing and thinking about things, and some time is spent discussing things and examining and testing what other persons have claimed to discover about natural things.

The sciences of nature have over the last several centuries prospered mightily and you and your tutors are at least familiar with some of the great constructions they have put together. Nevertheless, we will for a good long while pretend to be ignorant of what we now know (or what we think we know; or what we think someone somewhere knows). We will try to begin our studies with very basic matters, starting from common experience of the worlds around us and in front of us. In this way we will have a common starting point; in this way also, we can reflect carefully about the activity of making sense of the natural world without getting too caught up in trying to know everything we can about it. By sticking to the beginnings of the sciences of nature, we can stay in touch with what you may be reading in Seminar and we will be keeping step with your progress in the Mathematics Tutorial.

As other students of nature have in the past, in a few instances we will have to rely on reliable reports of others. We should take these reports (and indeed everything in the manual) with a grain of salt.