FALL 2015

Sector V - Living World

  • Neurobiology of Brain Disorders

    Marc Dichter, Professor of Neurology

    The human brain is clearly the most complicated and magical organ in the body. We don’t completely understand how it works, but we do know, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the human brain is prone to failure, either by acute injury, chronic degeneration, genetic flaws in its composition, or unknown disturbances in its behavior. Diseases of the brain can take many forms but are all uniformly devastating for individuals, families, and our society, and are also very costly. This course will explore the ways in which various brain disorders (both neurological and psychiatric) manifest themselves and discuss their underlying neurobiological mechanisms. In addition, the social and economic impact of these diseases on society will be considered, as well as some well publicized political issues surrounding many of these brain disorders. The course will consist of lectures, readings, discussions, and organized debates.

    BIBB 030 301      
    Tuesday and Thursday | 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • This is Your Genome! Fascinating Experiments in Heredity

    Greg Guild, Professor of Biology

    Your genome represents the complete set of genetic instructions that guides your development from a single cell into a living, thinking, and reproducing organism. This course will examine the ideas that led to our current understanding of genomes with particular emphasis on the molecular biology that revolutionized our concepts of gene and genome structure and function. We will fast-forward through the heredity/chromosome/DNA/gene-structure era and spend some time in the genome-sequencing era of the late 1990s and early 2000s. We will then consider how genome science is revolutionizing our understanding of gene variation, human disease, population biology and evolution. The course will include field trips to the Penn genomic core facilities.

    BIOL 021 301      
    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday | 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Sector VI - Physical World

  • Introduction to Environmental Earth Science: How Earth Works. A freshmen seminar for ENVS200 students

    Alain Plante, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science

    This seminar is offered to interested students enrolled in ENVS200: Introduction to Environmental Earth Science. The course as a whole exposes students to the principles that underlie our understanding of how the Earth works. The goal of Earth System Science is to obtain a scientific understanding of the entire Earth system by describing its component parts (lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere) and their interactions and by describing how they have evolved, how they function, and how they may be expected to respond to human activity.

    Students in the seminar will undertake the same recitation work as the rest of the ENVS200 course. In addition, the seminar extends the work of the main course with in-depth discussions of relevant current events and a social media project.

    Students must enroll in both the freshman seminar (section 301, below) and each of the following:
    ENVS 200.001 | Tuesday and Thursday |10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    ENVS 200.201 | No separate meeting, but registration is required.

    Quantitative Data Analysis
    ENVS 200 301      
    Monday | 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • Honors Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion

    Alan Johnson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    This course parallels and extends the content of PHYS 150, at a significantly higher mathematical level. Recommended for well-prepared students in engineering and the physical sciences, and particularly for those planning to major in physics. Classical laws of motion: interaction between particles; conservation laws and symmetry principles; rigid body motion; noninertial reference frames; oscillations.
    Students must enroll in both the seminar (PHYS 170.301, shown below) and one of the labs ( PHYS 170.302 or PHYS 170.303, below). The seminar meets for a fourth hour on Mondays from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
    302 NG 15 T 0300PM-0500PM STAFF 15 OPEN LAB
    303 NG 15 R 0100PM-0300PM STAFF 15 OPEN LAB

    PHYS 170 301      
    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday | 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Sector VII - Natural Sciences & Mathematics

  • Structural Biology and Genomics

    Ponzy Lu, Professor of Chemistry

    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.

    CHEM 022 301      
    Tuesday and Thursday | 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.