Classes

    How to Build a Habitable Planet (Gen Ed 1018)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    The relationship between human beings and Earth is the central problem of our time; can an understanding of Earth’s history reveal a place for us in a process of planetary evolution that might influence our behavior?

     

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    Charles H. Langmuir

    Poster for Gen Ed 1018 - How to Build a Habitable Planet. Includes images of earth as well as a construction worker. Text describes course.

    Is Earth one of many planets in an inhabited Universe, or is it the result of a low-probability accident? And what does the answer to that question tell us about humans’ relationship to our planet? The aim of this course is to place human beings in a universal and planetary context as we investigate the steps of planetary evolution and their significance to our current relationship to Earth.... Read more about How to Build a Habitable Planet (Gen Ed 1018)

    Why Is There No Cure for Health? (Gen Ed 1079)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    Given all our technological advances, why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases?

     

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    David M. Cutler

    Around the world, billions of dollars are spent on health care treatments, public health initiatives, and pharmaceutical research and development. So why are we still not able to prevent preventable diseases, provide affordable healthcare for millions of people, and deliver cures for curable diseases? And what are the best ways to address these issues? Because these questions are so large, we will focus our discussion around questions like: What steps should be taken to address epidemics? How should the United States reform its health care system? And how should prescription drugs be produced and sold?... Read more about Why Is There No Cure for Health? (Gen Ed 1079)

    Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy (Gen Ed 1094)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can we address the issue of climate change, reducing the damages by preparing for impacts already underway and fixing the problem by transforming our energy system?

     

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    Daniel Schrag

    This course will consider the challenge of climate change and what to do about it.   Students will be introduced to the basic science of climate change, including the radiation budget of the Earth, the carbon cycle, and the physics and chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere.... Read more about Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy (Gen Ed 1094)

    Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    In a time when histories are being contested, monuments removed, and alternative facts compete with established orthodoxy, how do we evaluate competing narratives about what really happened in the past?

     

    Histories, Societies, Individuals icon with textScience & Technology in Society icon with text

    Jason Ur and Matthew Liebmann

    What happened in the past? How do you know? Even though today we take great pains to document every major event that occurs, more than 99% of human history is not written down.... Read more about Can We Know Our Past? (Gen Ed 1105)

    Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    Can vaccines solve the problem of infectious global pandemics?

     

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    Galit Alter, Allan M. Brandt, and Ingrid Katz

    Vaccination is among the oldest and most effective of medical interventions, yet paradoxically, it is also one of the most controversial. In its modern form, it has been used for centuries to prevent some of the most virulent infectious scourges of our time. Today, immunization is one of the most successful and effective interventions available to medicine and public health, reducing morbidity and mortality across the world.... Read more about Vaccines: History, Science, Policy (Gen Ed 1175)

    Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health (Gen Ed 1093)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How can health care systems be restructured to provide high quality care even to the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet?
     

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    Arthur Kleinman, Anne Becker, and Salmaan Keshavjee

    If you are sick or hurt, whether you live or die depends not only on biological factors, but social ones: who you are and where you are, what sort of healthcare system is available to help you survive, and what kind of care is available to help you recover, if society believes you deserve it. The global coronavirus pandemic illustrates with dramatic urgency the role social forces play in patterning health inequities and determining individual fates. The vulnerabilties of those most likely to get sick and die from COVID-19 stem from the ongoing effects of systemic racism on racialized subjects, the devaluation of eldercare and precarity of low-paid work under neoliberal forms of governance, and material effects of colonial-era power structures that render health care systems dangerously weak or inaccessible for many communities. Now, as ever, it is imperative to develop frameworks and methodologies to identify and to intervene effectively in harmful social configurations that cause illness and suffering.

    ... Read more about Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health (Gen Ed 1093)

    How Music Works: Engineering the Acoustical World (Gen Ed 1080)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    Music and technology are two dimensions of humanity that have been interdependent for tens of thousands of years; what can this intersection teach us about our past and our future?

     

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    Robert Wood

    How does Shazam know what song is playing? Why do some rooms have better acoustics than others? How and why do singers harmonize? Do high-end musical instruments sound better than cheap ones? How do electronic synthesizers work? What processes are common in designing a device and composing a piece of music? How is music stored and manipulated in a digital form? This class explores these and related themes in an accessible way for all concentrators, regardless of technical background.... Read more about How Music Works: Engineering the Acoustical World (Gen Ed 1080)

    Sleep (Gen Ed 1038)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    How does sleep affect your health, your safety, and our society?

     

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    Charles Czeisler and Frank A.J.L. Scheer

    What is sleep? Why do we sleep? Why don't we sleep? How much sleep do you need? What are circadian rhythms? How do technology and culture impact sleep? This course will explore the role of sleep and circadian timing in maintaining health, improving performance and enhancing safety.... Read more about Sleep (Gen Ed 1038)