The Superbug Epidemic
The discovery of penicillin ushered in a new medical era - the antibiotic era - where patients no longer died from simple infections. We are now in a seemingly never-ending cycle of new antibiotics. However, the pipeline for antibiotics has slowed and we are rapidly entering the superbug era. We will use antibiotic resistance as a lens through which to understand the critical role that science plays in public health policy. At the end of the course, students should understand how these science-based public health decisions are made with the help of different stakeholders, which in this case include the government and healthcare system, basic and clinical scientists, the food industry and pharmaceutical companies, doctors and veterinarians, individuals and their communities.
Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism and Radiation
This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 151, at a somewhat higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Electric and magnetic fields; Coulomb's, Ampere's, and Faraday's laws; special relativity; Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation.
Students must enroll in both the seminar (section 301, shown below) and one of the labs (302 or 303, below). The seminar meets for a fourth hour on:
Mondays from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
PHYS 171.302 (lab) | Tuesday | 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., or
PHYS 171.303 (lab) | Thursday | 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Structural Biology and Genomics
Structural biology is the scientific method of describing, predicting and changing the properties of living organisms, including humans, based on “complete” genome chemical structures (sequence) and 3-dimensional structures of cellular components. The intellectual and technical revolutions that occurred during the 20th century made this possible. It is today's approach to understanding biology and solving problems in medicine. We will discuss how macroscopic biological properties, such as reproduction, locomotion and viral infection, are determined by the physics and chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids. Changes in biological function, in hereditary diseases like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, result from minute changes in individual proteins. Much larger changes in genome and protein structure are often tolerated without consequence. Understanding and exploiting these phenomena at the molecular level is the basis of new technology in the agricultural, energy and drug industries. The broad range of medical, social and political problems associated with the advances will be considered. We will attempt to distinguish real progress from fads and fashion. The weekly reading assignment will be Science and the Tuesday New York Times. This is a two-semester seminar with 0.5 credit unit each semester of the academic year.
This course will explain in non-mathematical terms how essentially all biological properties are determined by the microscopic chemical properties of proteins. It will also explain how research results, especially those of structural biology, are presented to its various audiences.
Proving Things: Algebra
This course focuses on the creative side of mathematics, with an emphasis on discovery, reasoning, proofs and effective communication, while at the same time studying arithmetic, algebra, linear algebra, groups, rings and fields. Small class sizes permit an informal, discussion-type atmosphere, and often the entire class works together on a given problem. Homework is intended to be thought-provoking, rather than skill-sharpening.
Students must enroll in both the seminar (section 301, shown below) and one of the labs (101 or 102, below).
MATH 203.101 (lab) | Tuesday | 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., or
MATH 203.102 (lab) | Thursday | 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Math in the Age of Information
This is a course about mathematical reasoning and the media. Embedded in many stories one finds in the media are mathematical questions as well as implicit mathematical models for how the world behaves. We will discuss ways to recognize such questions and models, and how to think about them from a mathematical perspective. A key part of the course will be about what constitutes a mathematical proof, and what passes for proof in various media contexts. The course will cover a variety of topics in logic, probably and statistics as well as how these subjects can be used and abused.Quantitative Data Analysis
Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) Seminar, Part I
This is the first part of the two-semester seminar designed to introduce students to the VIPER program and help them prepare for energy-related research. Research articles on various energy-related topics will be discussed, and students will be guided toward their research topic selection. Library research, presentation of data, basic research methods, research ethics, data analysis, advisor identification, and funding options will also be discussed. Sample energy topics discussed will include: Applications of nanostructured materials in solar cells; Solid oxide fuel cells; Global climate modeling: radiant heat transfer; Nanocrystal-based technologies for energy storage; Photo-bioreactor systems for mass production of micro-algae; Advanced rare earths separations chemistry; Modeling of oxides for solar energy applications; and Electronic transport in carbon nanomaterials.