What does it take to make a human being capable of superior performance? If you had the ability to craft such a being, what would he – or she – look like? Since the times of Ancient Greeks and Romans, we have tried to capture perfection – in art, literature, religion, mathematics, philosophy, athletics, even war – and these ideas are being redefined by the modern advances in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, medicine, and pharmacology.
How do our genetic makeup (nature) and social influences (nurture) contribute to our happiness and health? What are the multiple causes of illnesses like diabetes and depression? How are they treated and why? This course will develop your understanding of illness and its biological and environmental contributing factors. Critical analysis and research skills will be practiced through readings and discussions on disease and well-being from a variety of sources and perspectives. We will also explore how to measure and enhance the happiness and health of others.
Why are peppers spicy? Did you know that the male and female sex hormones are almost identical in their chemical structures? What do TNT and sunscreen have in common? To answer these questions, we will take a look at the molecules that make up the everyday world. These molecules have shaped history, started wars, and made some great meals. In this seminar, we will also come to a better understanding of how much chemistry influences us and how to think scientifically about these interesting questions.
This course also fulfills the HU general education requirement
Given that Alan Turing’s work breaking the German code was significant in defeating Nazi Germany in the Second World War, and given that you are likely reading this on a computer, Alan Turing is a part of your world. The course is an exploration of the life and work of Alan Turing and a course that will ask you to consider Turing’s best known legacy: the concept of artificial intelligence. We will consider who Turing was through biographical, fictional, and film versions of his life.
In the life sciences there is always someone who was the first to describe the world we see around us. In a world of increasing environmentalism, everyone experiences ecology, but most people know very little about how or why we know the things we do about the world we live in. In a globally connected world, understanding how these discoveries influenced our modern environmentalism is crucial to becoming an ecologist.
This course also fulfills the SS general education requirement
Is $4 gas here to stay? Should we still drill in the Alaskan
wilderness after what we just saw happened in the Gulf of Mexico? What are the
consequences of buying oil from OPEC? Why are there so many new wind farms in
the North Country? Should we fund more nuclear plants or rely instead upon
hydro-electric dams? Is there such a thing as “clean coal”? What about new
For the first time in human history, we are living in a
world immersed in scientific communication.
More and more information (in all media) is based on science—from
natural and human disasters and climate to deciding on your first home and a
bottled water of choice. In order to be
a well-informed citizen, you should be competent in critically and
scientifically examining information (and disinformation) that is pouring
through these media (e.g., radio, TV, internet). In this seminar, we will develop your scientific reasoning and communications skills, which will ma