Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Mexico

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February 26, 2008

Tri-Division Course Students Headed to Mexico

Dr. Dan Rogers is curious. The Spanish Professor owns a giant telescope and is a part time astronomer, assisting real astronomers through carefully documented observations when he has the time. He also has an acute curiosity of the ancient Mayan civilization.

“Sounds like a great course,” Rogers said. “There was a problem: I needed a real astronomer and historian to do it.”

Beginning a year ago, it was that curiosity that drove Dr. Rogers to contact Physics Professor James Brown and History Professor Rick Warner to create the Tri-division course Archaeoastronomy. Students have the choice of taking the course as a History credit, Spanish credit or non-lab Physics credit.

All students were required to learn visual astronomy that would be known by the Mayans – why Venus moves the way it moves, what the moon phases are and what were the major constellations. Students will also learn other aspects of Mayan culture including their architecture and it is all interrelated with astronomy.

In addition to the classroom education, students will travel to Mexico to observe the Mayan ruins and, through connections made by Dr. Warner, meet real life archaeologists and anthropologists working at ancient Mayan ruins.

Throughout the planning and implementation of this course, Dr. Rogers had one real barometer to measure the success of the unprecedented tri-division academic venture.      

"It should be cool,” he said. “There should be a wow factor. There should be joy in learning something new - not because its practical but because there is pure joy in learning something new and interesting.”

Throughout their venture these students will be posting pictures and commentary about what they see and what they are experiencing.

Student Participants: Yousuf Bahrami, Naun Benitez, Tyler Daugherty, Justin Gardner, Trenton Bash, Andrew Chelton, Adam Fritsch, Robert Campbell, Joshua Lopez, Rabin Paudel, Nathan Rutz, Sabir Shrestha, Michael Washburn, Zafer Ahmed, William Beard, Steven Zajac.

Campbell will be coordinating the blogging effort from Mexico. Computer Services Macie Rudoff will also be doing some photography and video taping of the trip.