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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geosciences (GEOSC)

GEOSC 110H (GN) The Science of Gemstones (3) An exploration of the geological uses of gems and of the physical and chemical properties underlying their brilliance and color.

GEOSC 110H

GEOSC 110H The Science of Gemstones (3)
(GN)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

From Biblical times to the present, gems and precious metals have served as the standard by which empires have measured their worth. Through the ingenious marketing of an international cartel, diamonds have become identified with the oldest and most sacred of human contracts. To what can we attribute the unique allure of pretty minerals? Although we will consider the history and folklore associated with gemstones, this course will focus on the value of gems to scientists. We will see what crystals tell us about the chemical symmetries that govern the atomic architecture of matter, and we will explore the physical attributes that give rise to the brilliance, color, and durability of gems. Finally, we will learn how geologists have used gems to reveal the history and inner structure of the earth.


General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Summer 2002
Prerequisite: high school chemistry and trigonometry

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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