Honors | Geology of Sculptors' Material
H205 | 0014 | Basu, A


HON H205 Topics course is the same as COAS Topics Natural Science and
Mathematical credit N&M

Topics Courses open to Freshmen and Sophomores Only

9:05-9:55a  MW  GY 447
9:05-9:55a  F   GY 245

Critical evaluation of properties of rocks and minerals used in sculptures.
Origin and distribution of marble (limestone), quartzite (sandstone), jade,
alabaster, and other common earth-materials. Critical appraisal of the
choice of material by sculptors mostly in Western Europe; geology of
localities famous for sculptures and studios. Two lectures and one
laboratory per week.

Goal:  Research in an undefined field, i.e., the application of geology to
aesthetics. Students will learn to formulate a scientific research project
and complete it on time.

Theme:  The central theme of this course is the process of discovering
knowledge within the theoretical and empirical constructs of the science of
geology vis a vis objects of art that are beyond rational explanation. We
expect to introduce "a way of thinking" that connects science (requiring
reproducible results) and products of art (necessarily unique). Yet, an
object of art could be viewed as a product of industry from geological raw
materials. We address neither a controversial question nor a relevant issue;
rather, we focus on an intellectual curiosity about a rational connection
betwee4n seemingly unrelated disciplines and entities. How would one go
about finding the connection, if any, and how would one approach the problem
in a scientifically valid way, constitute the core of the course.

Textbooks:  None. Instead we will have reading assignments from several
books on reserve in the Geology Library (6th Floor) and in the Fine Arts
Library (2nd Floor). Initial assignment will be: Feynman: Surely You're
Joking, Mr. Feynman (Pages 191-198) and Press Siever: Understanding Earth
(Pages 9-17).

Course Organization:  The course will be organized in three thematic parts,
not necessarily in a sequence. One part will consist of gathering
information from textbooks, e.g., properties of minerals and rocks and the
processes that formed them, and, the geological reasons for the occurrence
of these materials at certain places on the earth. The second part will be
the examination of the actual material used by sculptors in fashioning their
products. A third part, and the most challenging, will be an analysis of the
reasons why a certain material was used for a sculpture. This third part
will be carried out first in groups and then individually as projects.

Students will visit the IU Art Museum regularly to familiarize themselves
with objects of art and consult the Fine Arts Library and the museum's
archives for information on the material used in some of the sculptures.
Attempts will be made to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art and possibly
the Art Institute of Chicago to examine a variety of sculptures (subject to
funding for "field work").

Examinations and Grading:  Grading will be on an "A-F" scale; "P-F" will not
be permitted and an "I" will be allowed only for medical reasons and
extremely extenuating circumstances. Visiting an out-of-town museum may be
required subject to funding.

Two intra-term lecture examinations              10%+15%=25%
Two lab examinations                                       10%+10%=20%
Oral and written presentations of group projects

5%+20%=25%
Oral and written presentations of individual projects

5%+25%=30%