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THINK 61: Living with Viruses

By examining this interplay of viruses and culture, this course challenges students to think beyond conventional disciplinary distinctions through questions about the impact of biology on human behavior as well as the potential of humans to shape biology through genetic engineering. The specific goals of this course are to engage students to examine the microbial world and how they interact with it. We will examine three overreaching questions: How do viruses effect our lives? How have they shaped our culture? How will they shape our future? Topics covered will include the question of whether a virus is alive, the importance of immunity, and the role of viruses in not only human culture but what makes us distinctly human.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SMA

THINK 65: Preventing Human Extinction

Is human extinction inevitable? Is it necessarily bad for the planet? What might we do to avert human extinction? n99.9% of all species that have inhabited the planet are extinct, suggesting our extinction is also a distinct probability. Yet, the subject of human extinction is one that poses deeply disturbing implications for the thinkers themselves, namely us humans. This course will explore a series of plausible scenarios that could produce human extinction within the next 100 years and simultaneously consider the psychological, social, and epistemological barriers that keep us from seriously considering (and potentially averting) these risks. Students will . . .
Terms: Spr | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-SI, WAY-SMA

THINK 68: Our Genome

Genomes reveal a wealth of information with implications far beyond the linear sequence of the DNA. We will consider two questions related to the genome, coupled with examples from real-life consequences. Firstly, what does the genome say about our past: where we came from and how we might fit into the tapestry of the human race? We will look at examples from history and anonymized patients to highlight the consequences of these question for people. Next we will consider what the genome tells us about the future: how might it foretell our individual future and how might this be translated into patient treatment? We will examine the promises, pitfalls, and implications for the advances in medicine and healthcare promised by genomic research.
Terms: Win | Units: 4 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA

URBANST 109: Physics of Cities (CEE 6)

An introduction to the modern study of complex systems with cities as an organizing focus. Topics will include: cities as interacting systems; cities as networks; flows of resources and information through cities; principles of organization, self-organization, and complexity; how the properties of cities scale with size; and human movement patterns. No particular scientific background is required, but comfort with basic mathematics will be assumed. Prerequisites: MATH 19 and 20, or the equivalent
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SMA
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