MSE 024 – Freshman Seminars

Course Number:  MSE 24
Course Units:  1

The Freshman Seminar Program has been designed to provide new students with the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small seminar setting.  The Department offers the following selections:

The Bicycle: Introduction to Engineering Materials

UNITS: 1 (Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.)

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Thomas Devine

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Beginning with the very first meeting, students will get their hands dirty taking apart bicycles, analyzing their designs, methods of construction and uses of materials. The basic tools of materials science and engineering will be utilized to learn about characteristics such as strength, fabricability, joinability, and resistances to fatigue, corrosion, and wear that are required of the materials selected for various components of the bicycle. Some reading outside of the classroom will be required as well as a final oral report, which describes the advantages and disadvantages of the bicycle investigated.

COURSE FORMAT: One hour of lecture per week.


 

The Silicon Century

UNITS: 1 (Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.)

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Oscar D. Dubon

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

The realization of the first solid-state transistor more than fifty years ago sparked a revolution in electronics that has touched nearly all aspects of our lives. From the development of the transistor radio to the sequencing of human DNA, electronics, have played a central role in countless technological and scientific achievements during the twentieth century. At the heart of this revolution lies silicon, the material used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. We will review the events that shaped the electronics revolution, the advances in materials science that have driven the evolution of silicon-based devices, and the emergence of new materials that my enable further innovations and discoveries in the twenty-first century. We will also explore the important connection between research activities at UC Berkeley and developing technologies in Silicon Valley.

COURSE FORMAT: One hour of lecture per week.


 

Materials in Music

UNITS: 1 (Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.)

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Ronald Gronsky

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Is a rosewood fretboard any better that a maple one? Why does the same brass cymbal go from “crash” to “clunk” when aged? Can the tonal range of magnetic pick-ups be enhanced in single coil, humbucking, or triple-wound configurations? Does it really matter if those strings are nickel-wrapped? Is Platinum better? The answer to these questions lies in the microstructure of materials, as illustrated in this hands-on-seminar for musicians, poets, or engineers. We will establish the relationship between the acoustical signatures of various materials used in music and their microstructures, to show how performance (tone) can be optimized through microstructural manipulation.

COURSE FORMAT: One hour of lecture per week.


 

Materials and Weapons of War Through History

UNITS: 1 (Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.)

INSTRUCTOR: Professor J. W. Morris, Jr.

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

For most of known history, advances in materials technology have appeared primarily in two areas: objects of art and weapons of war. The former build civilizations. The latter have often set its course, as critical military engagements from Kadesh to Kosovo have most often been dominated by the forces with the superior technology. In this seminar we shall use the development of weapons through history as a vehicle to understand the important properties of different types and classes of materials, and trace their technological development and technical significance across the millennia.

COURSE FORMAT: One hour of lecture per week.


  

Physics and Materials Science of Skateboarding

UNITS: 1 (Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.)

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Daryl Chrzan

PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  

The popularity of skateboarding and other extreme sports is increasing at a rapid pace. The sports are termed extreme in part because they place the participants and their equipment under extreme conditions. This seminar course will explore the extreme conditions associated with skateboarding, and how materials science has been used to evolve the original sidewalk surfers into the modern day skateboard. Topics to be discussed include the physics of skateboarding (including an analysis of the inevitable slam, pool riding, and street skating) and the implications of this physics for the design of wheels, bearings, boards and trucks.

COURSE FORMAT: One hour of lecture/discussion per week.