Category IV: Investigations in Science and Technology
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.
The Origins of Humanity
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.
Readings and Assignments:
Texts: Boyd and Silk: How Humans Evolved
Physical Anthropology Reader
Goodall: Through a Window
Plus other supplemental readings and much hands-on work in TA-run labs.
Note: The readings and assignments list for Spring of 1999 may be subject to change. Please contact the department for verification.
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 150g
Human Health and Disease
M. M. Appleman
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.
Topics include: The molecular and cellular nature of man
Nutrition, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis
Human genetics and genetic diseases
Cancer, its treatment and its prevention
Infection and the immune response
HIV, HIV therapy, and AIDS
Neurology and mental disease
BISC 150Lg is a participatory course. Frequent lecture exercises will encourage students 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 one third of the course grade, will be open-book.
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 230g
Brain, Mind and Machine
W. O. McClure
The goal of BISC 230g is to bring the excitement of the neural sciences to a general education audience. The 1990's have been designated the Decade of the Brain by the US Congress; the next century might well become the Century of the Brain. The function of the brain is simple: it generates behavior. All behavior; any behavior. How this happens is not simple. Neuroscience is expanding our understanding of the brain and its functions in remarkable ways. We can visualize the human brain as people think and create. We can see parts of the brain become active as we feel emotions of love; of hate; of rage. The secrets of errors in the way the brain works are becoming known. We can learn about mental illness, and may be able more effectively to help those terrorized by it. Autism, depression, and ADD are all diseases which we can now study.
BISC 230g has a laboratory / discussion which meets for three hours each week, and is supplemented weekly by three hours of lecture. Laboratory sections are about 20 students in size. The course uses three examinations, several quizzes and lab reports, a verbal presentation, and a term paper as the basis for assigning grades.
BISC 230g examines thinking, perception, movement, sleep memory, emotion and other aspects of behavior in both healthy and diseased individuals. Examples come from many kinds of animals, from planarians and squid to monkeys and man. The fields of biology, chemistry and physiology are central to our study, but concepts from physics and medicine are also used. The fundamental principles include evolution, development, and psychological concepts of learning and behavior.
BISC 230g uses a textbook from the area of biological psychology supplemented with readings from Influence, a text of social psychology by Robert Caildini., A laboratory manual written by the instructors will be used. For the verbal presentation and term paper (which are expected to be on the same topic), use of the library and standard reference sources will be required. The laboratory and other aspects of the course will requires use of the World Wide Web, with which the student must become familiar. In addition to quizzes and examinations, assignments include lab reports, which average one every two weeks; occasional homework problems, which will be given in class to familiarize the student with simple calculations; the verbal presentation, and the term paper.
Materials for the 21st Century: Synthetic Polymers
This course satisfies the G.E. requirements in Category III, but is usually taken in preparation for major requirements in the sciences or professional schools. Please contact the department for course description.
Crises of a Planet
"Crises of a Planet" is a study of the interactions between humankind and our dynamic earth. On a planet where the human population is exploding, our activities are increasingly in conflict with the natural order of planetary processes, especially those active at or near the earth's surface. Such processes include faulting and earthquakes, volcanic activity, landsliding, the hydrologic cycle and flooding, and physical aspects of climate change including the "Greenhouse Effect" and ozone loss in the stratosphere. The course also surveys geologically-related health aspects, among them exposure to radon, asbestos, and environmental pollution. Laboratory sessions use a hands-on approach to illustrate methods that geologists use to develop an understanding of how the Earth works. Fieldtrips in the Los Angeles region provide "real world" examples of geologic processes and environmental problems.
We focus in this course on the interaction of natural earth processes and human activity. Mankind has become in many ways an aggressive agent of geological change, in almost all cases upsetting a pre-humankind natural equilibrium. The ramifications of such negative interactions and the sometimes unexpected chains of events such interactions lead to are explored in this course.
Readings and Assignments:
Text readings (the textbook may change from semester to semester)
Two one-day required field trips are held to investigate coastal, erosional, sedimentological, landslide, and tectonic processes (including a visit to the San Andreas plate boundary).
In a series of about more than 20 lectures, we will discuss: the causes of earthquakes. Where they occur? -- Earthquake belts (why in California?) and the Pacific ring of fire. Fault zone studies with a field trip to the world-famous San Andreas fault. Earthquake recording, location, and the Richter magnitude scale. Earthquake waves and the study of earth's interior and exploration of nature resources. Earthquake prediction, and earthquake resistant designs in structures.
Grading by a normal distribution curve: Approximate breakdowns: two midterms, 16% each; lab, 31%; final, 31%; one Saturday San Andreas fault field trip, 6%. Old Exams are on file in the Leavey Library Reserve Shelves.
What phenomena and their related scientific principles does this course explore? Earthquakes, volcanoes, seismic Sea Waves, and a thorough discussion on the physical principles and their impacts to the human society, as well as how we cope with these hazards.
Readings and Assignments:
A. Earthquakes (Newly Revised and Expanded) Author: Bruce A. Bolt
B. Piece of Mind in Earthquake Country - Author: Peter I. Yanev
C. This Dynamic Earth, by Kious and Tilling of the U. S. Geological Survey.
D. Weekly Laboratory exercises
Instructor Background: Professor Leon Teng
Education: B.S. (Geology) National Taiwan University, 1959.
Ph.D. (Geophysics and Applied Mathematics), California Institute of Technology, 1966
Professor of Seismology, USC, 1976 -- .
Member of Academia Sinica
Governor appointed Member of California Mining and Geology Board, and
Chairman of Geological Hazards Committee
Numerous, published more than 100 scientific papers on earthquake studies. Please check at my Website: Ta-Liang Teng's Homepage
Language and Mind
Please contact the department for course description.