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S103 Discovering Science

Starts 1st February 2003 (or, more accurately, November 2002)

S103 Study Calendar

My S103 Diary
Block 12 Life, the Universe and everything
Block 11 Boom! And then there was!
Block 10 Luverly stuff!
Block 9 Continuity & Change
Block 8 Atoms, bloody atoms
Block 7 Quantum Physics (first part)
Block 6 Beginners' alchemy
Block 5 Awful stuff (energy)
Block 4 Biology
Block 3 - Earth, Stars and things
Block 2 and the rain gauge
Block 1 - In the beginning

Biology Glossary

Chemical Substances

OU S103 Course Description

S103 Website

Course Induction

New Scientist


Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science

MadSci Libe

DiscoverySchool (maths help)

tcaep SI Units

From Quarks to Quazers

Scientific Notation

Seismic Monitor


The Virtual Earth

Bill's S190 Page

UK Climate Impacts Programme

Climate Change

Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research


The Nine Planets

Galileo: Journey to Jupiter


Hyper Physics

USGS This Dynamic Earth: Story of Plate Tectonics

ODSN Plate Tectonic Reconstruction Service

NASA Earth Observatory

Cascade Range Volcanoes and Volcanics

Natural Environment Research Council

Cells Alive!

Wayne's Word


English Nature

The Wildlife Trusts

UK Biodiversity

National Biodiversity Network

Biology Links (Harvard Uni)

Online Biology Book


DNA animations


ATP Synthesis

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research

Chemistry Tutorials

Advanced Chemistry Devolopment (downloads)

General Chemistry Online

Reaction Tutor

A visual interpretation of the Periodic Table of Elements

Web Elements (more Period Table)

The Orbitron

The Periodic Table of Comic Books


Molecule of the Month

Molecules with Silly Names

Quantum Zone

Electron Arrangements

Back to OU

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I had registered for A211 - Philosophy and the Human Situation, for next year - but, because of the change in circumstances at home, I decided that there might be *too* much concentration and reading required for that course, so have changed it to this one. I really HAD to do it sometime anyway - and now I am very much looking forward to it (though am confused as to why nearly all the OU Routes links for the course are concerning aluminium!)

The first lot of course materials arrived on 20th November (which was seemingly odd for a course that didn't start until 1st February!) Further comments about this course can be found on my diary page.

The blocks:

Block 1 Water for life explores the nature and importance of water, on which all life depends. It also introduces the study, writing and mathematical skills that you will need and that are developed throughout the course.

Block 2 A temperate Earth? investigates global temperature changes, and the phenomenon of global warming as a consequence of both natural and human-induced activity.

Block 3 The Earth and its place in the Universe introduces the galaxies that comprise the Universe, and our solar system as a tiny speck in the Milky Way Galaxy, and then focuses on the Earth to examine its internal structure and dynamic behaviour.

Block 4 Unity within diversity looks at the nature of the life that inhabits the Earth's surface: the features that all life-forms have in common, how organisms are related to each other and how they differ.

Block 5 Energy considers the fundamental physical property that keeps you alive and active, keeps the sun shining and (literally) makes the world go round.

Block 6 Our world and its atoms explores the nature of atoms, the basic building blocks of all materials.

Block 7 The quantum world takes you inside the atom to learn about the even tinier particles of which the hundred or so known types of atom are made, and which help to determine their differences.

Block 8 Building with atoms looks at how atoms bond with each other in different combinations, through chemical reactions, to produce the enormous diversity of materials known to humankind, from fertilizers to polymers and pharmaceuticals.

Block 9 Continuity and change is about the chemistry of living organisms and the chemical processes that provide the energy to maintain life, moving on to consider how a blueprint for development is passed down from one generation of organisms to another (genetic theory). It also asks how changes within populations of organisms take place (evolution).

Block 10 Earth and life through time looks not only at how life has evolved since it began about 3,800 million years ago, but also how the pattern of continents and ocean basins and the rocks they are made of have evolved over geological time.

Block 11 Universal processes takes you beyond the Earth and the solar system once more, and back some 11000 million years to the moment when the Universe originated in a cosmological ‘big bang'; and we look at what happened in the first second of its existence.

Block 12 Life in the Universe Finally, we speculate on how and why life on Earth began and whether it is likely to exist anywhere else - a question that may very well be answered before the twenty-first century draws to a close.

TMA Marks

TMA01 - 92% (doesn't count towards assessment)
TMA02 - 81%
TMA03 - 80%
TMA04 - 80%
TMA05 - 94%
TMA06 - 92%
TMA07 - 81%
TMA08 - 87%

Coursework = 86%, using substitution, as below(?)
ECA score = 86%


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The Open University Home Page

OU Student Home Page

OU Departments

Earth Sciences

Biological Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

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