Course Catalog

PHYSICS OF NATURAL & UNNATURAL DISASTERS (SC1060)

Type: 
GE130

Managing risk associated with natural environmental disasters (volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc.) and unnatural disasters (oil spills, nuclear fallout, toxic spills, groundwater exhaustion, eutrophication, global warming) is a fundamental aspect of environmental policy. In this course, students will learn about the underlying physical processes of the most common and costly environmental disasters afflicting society today, and will examine historical landmark cases, discussing damage cost models (infrastructure, life, ecosystem) and risk minimization strategies (relocation, protection, resource or technology discontinuation).

THE OCEAN ENVIRONMENT (SC1070)

Type: 
GE130

This course is an introduction of the science of oceanic environment, from submarine canyons to zooplankton, from global warming to the growing plastics problem in mid oceanic gyres, from acidification to wave dynamics. We will explain oceanography's most important concepts and debunk its widely (and wildly) held misconceptions.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (SC1080)

Type: 
GE130

This course explores how and why animals, including humans, behave the way they do. Topics include natural selection; the interplay between genes and the environment; learning; the influence of neurons and hormones on behavior; foraging; mating; cooperation; communication; and social behavior. In the labs, students will use the scientific method to carry out lab- and field-based research projects. Please note that an additional fee will be charged for this course.

HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH (SC1090)

Type: 
GE130

How did we get here? Why do we look the way we do? Are we alone in the universe? How and when did life begin? Why are there so many different species of plants and animals on the planet today, and how did humans become so dominant? Scientists have made enormous headway in mapping the evolution of life on Earth, from single-celled organisms as early as 4.1 billion years ago to the huge diversity of organisms that currently roam our planet. The aim of this course is to explore this long and exciting history of life (and death). We will meet many life forms that have long since gone extinct, such as the dinosaurs, and uncover the possible reasons for their demise. As we go, we will learn about the underlying mechanisms that drive the evolutionary process, ultimately generating the diversity that we see today. The final section of the course will focus on human evolution – from our roots in the African plains several million years ago to our recent rise to the top of the food chain. We will address the enormous impact that humans have had on this planet since our arrival, an epoch known as the Anthropocene. We will end by speculating on what is to come – how will we ultimately affect life and the planet? Will our brains get bigger or smaller? Can we control the evolutionary process? Each week, you will attend two 1-period (80 min) lectures and a 2-period lab.

TOPICS IN SCIENCE (SC1091)

Type: 
GE130

Topics vary. Provides the opportunity to learn new and different scientific topics from visiting faculty. Must take lab.

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