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Geology is not a field for the man who is just interested in rocks and things. Unless it is intensely interesting as a hobby or unless you intend to make a career of it, you had better major in something else. If you are good, however, and do have a definite interest, Geology is a field that is very likely to reward you with a job when you graduate. Right now, for instance, oil and mining geology are all the rage, and the men properly equipped for work in these fields are few. For another branch of the subject, paleontology, there are few specific openings except in museums and in teaching.
If you concentrate in Geology you will have a selection of five sub-fields: general geology, mineralogy, economic geology, paleontology, and a special field known as structural geology, in which you will have to take a special exam.
If you are at all interested in the field it will not hurt you to take Geology 1. Even if it does not stimulate your interest enough to woo you into the field, a year with the genial Kirtley Mather should prove entertaining as well as the inevitable instructive. The course is one of those that is recommended so that the non-scientific student can say that he has had a science course, but this is a case of academic license. The material is well-organized and the lab work is easy. If you're gunning for a good mark, though, and really do intend to concentrate, you'd better attend the labs faithfully.
Mather is the main attraction of the course. His interests pause at geology as a perch from which to leap to visions of the New Order. His discourses are exceedingly competent, and they provide the student with a satisfying knowledge of one more feature of the world about him. If all survey courses fitted the needs of both concentrator and distributor as does this one, this talk of Area Courses would be much less necessary.
Concentration in Geology requires the passing of two full courses in the related fields of physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, and engineering sciences. Out of this selection, chemistry is especially recommended as an aid. Take Chem. A, or if you have a course in school, Chem. B, Any other related course which interests you will fill the bill.
Geology 2a is absolutely indispensable if you are majoring seriously in the field. Although the only stated prerequisite is Geology 1, don't be misled and take the course without having more experience than the elementary course provides. Junior year will be soon enough. The lab and theory are difficult, and be sure you have your trig in hand. 2b is a dull course, but it, too, is probably essential. It demands a great deal of detailed memorization of the structure of the entire United States. You'd better get this one out of the way as soon as possible.
If You'd Rather Have Mather
If you're one of the frequent concentrators who was lured into the field by Mather's Geology 1 lectures, you'll find especially interesting his discourses on glacial geology, 5, and on petroleum, 17. They are delightful, if only because Mather is Mather.
Other than that the only rule is to take the courses that interest you. For the oil fan Geology 8, labelled with the fascinating name of stratigraphy, is a good bet, but don't get into it before you've been exposed to 17, because its value isn't apparent until you know something about your black gold. Geology 3 gets you out in the open on nice spring and fall days, but don't let nature call until your senior year or you may find the competition too stiff. Don't let anyone kid you into wasting your time on Math 2, if you don't fancy the Calculus, before going in for seismic surveying in 9b. The course is good stuff for the lubrication addicts, but in the whole year you only get one problem that requires Math 2.
Before you get through with the field you ought to drop in on Professor Romer in Paleontology 4b. Romer is an eminent man in his field and one of the personalities in the department. There's a difference of opinion on Graton in the first half of 10; some of the students consider him to be a great man but others can't seem to take him seriously. Gibson is more infomal in the second half of the course.
Natural Sciences (Concluded) BIOLOGY
The field of Biology offers infinite variety in courses and men, but like the other science fields the concentrator should be fairly sure of his interest and should be aiming to pursue it after college. Of late it has become a much less popular major for pre-Medical students than it once was, in as much as the Medical Schools are seeking a more general cultural background. However, as a training for work in pure science Biology is probably unexcelled. The stiff and well organized labs give you the best sort of fundamentals and the variety of subject matter a certain amount of scope. Yet if you have something very specific in mind like Sanitary Engineering it is probable that the Biology department is not the best place for you.
Actually the staff and facilities of the department here at Harvard make one of the best in the country. It is better off financially than most, and there are many outside institutions such as the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Gray Herbarium, the Arnold Arboretum, the Botanical Museum and the Harvard forest connected with the department. The Biology Laboratory has excellent facilities, and there is a very thorough library. Lastly the faculty is large and brilliant.
There is no division within the field and a review of the main courses is sufficient to pass the general exam at the end of Senior year. With the field so definite there is little need of tutorial to tie the different branches together. The material is all right there in the courses and must be learned rather than synthesized. Further the labs are so extensive, taking as much as four afternoons a week, that the student hasn't much time for tutorial. Also there are frequent tests which preclude extensive research.
One course in Physics, probably C, and one in Chemistry are required. Chemistry 2 is especially valuable to the field, but requires more chemistry than one usually has. Anthropology is excellent for a related course. A reading knowledge of French and German is desirable. Of the basic courses including Biology D two should be taken Freshman year.
Biology D is a very good elementary course under the able leadership of Professor Hisaw. Hisaw's trump is his wonderful sense of humor which overcomes any delinquencies in his organization. Darrah in the first half year is not so well liked but is considered helpful. This is an excellent course for non-concentrators.
Of Biology 1, 2, and 3, two courses are required, and two more advanced courses.
Biology 1 on Botany is one of the best liked courses in the department. It is given in the first half year by Weston who is said to put romance into Biology and in the second by Wetmore who, while somewhat strained, organizes very well. The labs required perhaps too much drawing but are fairly easy.
Biology 2 on Comparative Anatomy and the Evolution of Vertebrates, has been an excellent course under Romer, but faces a revolution this year when it is turned into a half course. 3 on Physiology is particularly strong on lab technique and methods of research. For this reason it is a fairly difficult course and probably should not be taken until Junior year. Redfield, Wald, and Stier are all highly commended lecturers.
The more advanced courses are all good on their particular branch. 2 on Animal Embryology is good for pre-Medical work; Hoadley while not too good a lecturer treats his fascinating material in a very thorough way. 24 on Animal Histology is a very essential and good supplement to Biology 2; Dawson's are very concise and well organized, but the lab is extensive, difficult, and probably the most important part of the course. Cleveland's course 23 was considered good and could stand being a full course his lectures, while conversational are interesting and well organized. 29 like 3 involves a good deal of research and is recommended for honors candidates. 16 on Economic Botany is particularly good for concentrators in fields such as Anthropology and Agricultural Economics.
Of the men in the department Thimann Wald and Dawson were all highly recommended and in general the quality of teaching was considered high. On the whole therefore Biology is a well organized compact field for those who have a fairly definite idea of what they want.
If you do decide to concentrate in Geology get the survey course and the correlation courses in chemistry and physics out of the way as soon as possible. You really should have at least two of them behind you by the end of your Freshman year. The courses suited to the Sophomore year are Mineralogy 2, Geology 2b, Geology 17a, Geology 18b, and Paleontology 1. In the Junior year try Geology 10, 2a, 8a and b, or-Mineralogy 8a and 9b. Hold over Geology 3, 9a and 9b till your last year.
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