These courses focus on a particular area of research using perspectives from several scientific disciplines and demonstrating connections among scientific principles, their technological applications, and social consequences. A lab or field experience is required. For additional enrollment information, see the Fall 2005 Schedule of Classes.
The Origins of Humanity
MW, 2:00 - 3:20
This class explores the evolutionary roots of humanity. It is intended to provide a foundation in how the scientific method can reveal aspects of our ancestry, using the fossil record of early humans, the behavior of living primates, and the behavior of living hunter-gatherer people. The course is a lecture format with a weekly lab and a field project. The core of this course is Darwinian theory, and all components of it. These principles explain how an ape ancestor evolved and diversified over 5 million years, leading to modern homosapiens.
Humans and their Environment
Professosr Kiefer & Bakus
TTh, 9:30 - 10:50
The goals of this course are to teach ecological and evolutionary principles that control the size and species composition of populations plant species buy also the human population. We will see how the activities of humans have modified and destroyed natural communities, and how the human population is itself ultimately constrained by these principles. Each week the course material is presented in two 80-minute lectures and is discussed in one 120 minute discussion group. The discussion group also includes local field trips, a computer lab devoted to population dynamics, and several laboratory studies. Grades are based upon examinations, papers, and participation during the discussion group. This course explores principle of energy and material transformations, genetics, evolution, and ecology.
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BISC 150L is designed to bring students to a level of understanding of modern Biomedical Science that will enable them to make rational decisions on personal, ethical, and political issues in health and disease. This level will be reached through lectures, reading of texts and news media, discussions, and laboratory experiments.
BISC 150Lxg is a participatory course. Frequent lecture-participation exercises will encourage students to attend and to take ethical and social positions on health issues; critical assignments will allow students to evaluate public and media views on controversial subjects; a research project will lead students to become true experts on a subject of their choice; and laboratory experiments will give an appreciation of modern biotechnology. Examinations, which count for about half of the course grade, will be open book and open notes. Course grades will be assigned according to a curve inlcuding all of the graded components.
Chemistry in Life: AIDS Drug Discovery and Development
This course is designed primarily for non-science majors, including students with majors in business or law. Students will be guided through an inquiry on the genesis of new molecular technology for medicine, with focus on the science underlying new anti-viral agents or diagnostic reagents from conception to clinical use. The techniques and methodologies of chemistry and biochemistry will be brought to bear on this theme, which will be developed at several levels: 1) basic scientific principles involved in a particular drug or analytical technology design example; 2) legal (patent) and regulational aspects of drug discovery and approval; 3) economics of delivering drugs to the market; 4) economic issues of research and development costs; 5) ethical issues. The overall approach will be to place chemistry and biochemistry within a practical, real-world context.
For more information about the course, visit its website: http://ocw201-1.usc.edu/203/.
EXERCISE SCIENCE 205Lxg
This course is designed to allow students to understand the scientific basis of human performance. What are the underlying factors that cause fatigue during exercise? Are these factors the same, regardless of what kind of exercise? What can be done to prevent or reduce levels of fatigue? In addition, the course looks at factors that can improve exercise tolerance, such as training, ergogenic aids and drugs. It is a course that will be of interest to the general student as well as the elite athlete. Lectures include discussions of the physiological, biochemical, morphological and nutritional contributions.
Lectures are three days per week, and there is a formal 2-hour lab section each week. The laboratory exercises will allow students hands-on experience to test some of the theoretical concepts that are discussed in the lectures. These experiments are aimed at helping students understand scientific conclusions. In other words, how do we know what we know? Some of the laboratory exercises include the measurement of aerobic capacity, body composition, strength and anaerobic capacity. It should be emphasized that athletic performance in the laboratory is NOT a prerequisite for an excellent grade.
The Atmospheric Environment
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
The following course description belongs to Professor Bauer.
This course examines the nature and behavior of Earth's atmosphere -- the thin gaseous envelope surrounding our planet -- including its composition, origin, structure, and dynamics. Specific emphasis will be placed on understanding the fundamental trends, which ultimately affect our day-to-day lives as well as past and future societal adaptations to extreme weather conditions. Our foray into these topics will be situated squarely within a scientific framework with particular focus on scientific methodologies and the unique insights that they are able to reveal.
In addition to lectures, there are a series of laboratory assignments that are designed to introduce you to the tools of scientific inquiry and to give you practical experience in implementing these tools to explore various problems pertaining to the atmospheric environment. These assignments are linked to the lectures, but do not duplicate the lecture materials. You must register for one laboratory session in addition to registering for the lectures. Your weekly laboratory assignments will be graded and returned, and the midterm test and final exam will have a laboratory component to them. In other words, the laboratory sessions are critically important.
TTh, 9:30 - 10:50
The environment has always posed risks to its human inhabitants. While we may pride ourselves on just how far civilization has progressed in protecting us from the varieties of the physical world, we cannot escape the nagging worry that natural disasters seem to be impacting greater numbers of people and greater amounts of property than ever before. This course will provide an introduction to extreme geophysical and atmospheric events inquiring into the scientific nature of these phenomena as well as their time/space distribution. Methodologies for analyzing these events will be discussed and students will have the opportunity to make their own measurements and analysis through laboratory exercises. As different disaster typologies are developed in class consideration of structural and non-structural modifications and mitigation will be developed and students will develop an appreciation of how and why some strategies seem to ameliorate effects of hazards while others seemingly exacerbate the situation.
This course is designed to explore the interrelationship between science and technology by focusing on a related set of natural hazard phenomena including geophysical events (earthquake, volcanism, mass movement, and coastal zone erosion) and atmospheric events (hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding) as well as fire. How society has, continues to and will attempt to cope with these events is clearly a major thrust of this course.
Environmental Geographic Information System
TTh, 9:30 - 10:50
This course introduces students to the evolving science, technology, and applications of Geographic Information Systems. These methods are increasingly used to advance scientific knowledge of the natural and built environments, and they have been applied to problems of water supply, soil water distribution, erosion and deposition, non-point source pollution, crop yield and growth, and ecological modeling. The lab assignments provide "hands-on" exposure to computer processing of environmental information with a variety of GIS software packages.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES 125Lxg
Earth History: A Planet and Its Evolution
MWF, 9:00 - 9:50
Our planet has a history extending back over 4.5 billion years. The objective of this course is to use basic principles of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to decipher clues to this history that have been written in the rock record. A weekly laboratory section will emphasize skills in observation and analysis of data. A field trip will be required to visit rocks in their habitat. Through this effort you will gain an appreciation of the processes that have shaped our planet. An emphasis will be placed on observational phenomena and differentiating between competing hypotheses. I will assume that the students may have had minimal exposure to science in high school and have not previously taken a college science course. We will discuss questions such as: Where did the Earth come from? How and why does our planet differ from others? Why did life emerge from the sea? Why did the dinosaurs die? Will California fall into the Ocean? Will our climate change? Why do earthquakes occur?
For further information about the course, visit the instructor's course website: http://earth.usc.edu/~dhammond/geol125.html.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES 150Lxg
The Earth's climate influences all aspects of Earth's environment and plays an important role in determining the economic vitality development within a society. The Earth's climate also plays an important role in determining patterns of biological change. Earth's geological history teaches us that some climate changes that have occurred have been very abrupt and had dramatic effects on the Earth's biota. Future climate changes are inevitable and, to some extent, predictable. Yet predicting exactly how, why and when climate will change is very difficult, requiring sophisticated scientific data gathering techniques and advanced computer models in order to make even the most fundamental predictions, like what the climate will be tomorrow or the next day. Understanding the climate system and being able to make accurate statements about future climate change is of such importance to our social well being that climate research is a major focus in the United States scientific community.
This course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to the science of climate change. In this course we will examine how the climate system operates. We will investigate records of past climate on Earth ranging from the time of the dinosaurs to the dawn of man. We will examine the impact of climate change on biological, sociological and economic patterns on Earth. We will also examine some of the controversial aspects of potential future climate change, including global warming and greenhouse effect and El Niño. The course consists of three lectures each week and one laboratory . In the laboratory the students will participate in the development of scientific hypothesis which will then be tested by conducting an experiment or making observations. The laboratory assignments will provide a hands-on experience with the science of climate change.
The laboratory portion of the class is intended to help you understand the complexity of the climate system, how it operates and how it is susceptible to change. We will examine real climate data and will use this data to learn how climate change is evaluated. You will also be asked to form work groups (of approximately 5 people) to conduct a research project. The project will be to investigate a climate event. You can use all the resources you've learned in the class to document as much about the climate of this event as possible. The group will then present its findings on the last week of the class.
For further information about the course, visit the course website: http://earth.usc.edu/~geol150/.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES 240Lxg
TTh, 12:30 - 1:50
In this course we explore earthquakes, volcanoes, seismic Sea Waves, and participate in a thorough discussion on the physical principles and their impacts to the human society, as well as how we cope with these hazards.
In A Word
TTh, 11:00 - 12:20
Please contact the Linguistics department for course description.
Language and Mind
TTh, 12:30 - 1:50
The following course description belongs to Professors Mintz and Walker.
This course introduces students to the stuffy of language as a cognitive science, focusing on the mental representations of the sounds of speech. Some questions that will be addressed throughout the course are: What are the sounds of the world's languages? How can they best be classified and understood? How are sounds represented in the mind? How are sounds produced by the human vocal apparatus? How are sounds transmitted through the air? How are they decoded by the ear and by the brain? How do children learn to understand speech? So speakers of different languages perceive speech differently? How are signed languages similar to and different from spoken languages? What goes wrong when language is impaired in an individual? How is speech related to reading?
Throughout the course we will emphasize the scientific methods used by researchers to investigate these and other questions. Because this course is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing primarily from the fields of Linguistics and Psychology, students will be introduced to the different methods, techniques, and technologies used by researchers in both fields.