Sunday, January 5, 2014

Science and Medicine

University of Virginia - How Things Work I - Professor Louis A Bloomfield - Physics is all around us; from the cars we drive to the computers we use, and this course, designed explicitly for people with no science background, aims to show you the physics behind how the world works. The course takes examples from the world around us and uses them to showcase physics in action, from how levers work, wheels roll, ice skaters glide across the ice, and so on. The class is case study driven, so while there's a little bit of math involved, it's nothing you'll need to study up for. The goal is to get people thinking about science and understanding the role that physics plays in... well, everything. The University of Edinburgh - The Discovery of the Higgs Boson - Professor Luigi Del Debbio - The discovery of the Higgs Boson was a huge milestone for physics, and it verified a lot about our understanding of the universe, how particles obtain mass, and went a long way towards completing the Standard Model of particle physics. If all of that means nothing to you, but you did hear about the Higgs when it was discovered, that's because it was also one of the most covered and publicized scientific events in recent memory, even earning Peter Higgs, the man for which the particle is named, a Nobel Prize. So how did it happen? What is the Higgs Boson, and what does it mean that we discovered it? This course will tell you, and help you explore the purpose and design of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which was so instrumental in its discovery. The University of Southampton - Exploring Our Oceans - Professors Jon Copley and Verity Nye - More than half of the Earth's surface is covered by water, and while we largely have them mapped, so little of it has actually been explored that it's remarkable. The depths of the oceans still harbor amazing creatures, formations, and ongoing processes that clue us in to how the Earth was formed, how everything we know got here, and what the Earth will look like thousands or millions of years from now. This course will show you some of those mind-blowing sights and stories, from the icy depths of the poles to the tropical trenches near the equator. University of Bath - Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development - Dr Momna Hejmadi - If you've ever heard that someone in your family had a certain type of cancer and it made you worried, or that a direct relative of yours died of cancer, you undoubtedly started wondering and researching about whether their type of cancer is hereditary or influenced by genetics. This course explains how genes and genetic expression can influence cancer, how genes can make people more or less likely to develop cancer, and the fundamental differences between cancer cells and regular cells. Essentially how cancer forms, how it differs from normal cells in our bodies, and what makes some people more or less likely to develop it. Duke University - Introduction to Astronomy - Professor Ronen Plesser - Without a doubt, you've looked up at the starry night sky and wondered what was out there, what you were looking at exactly, how far away from us it was, and what it looked like close up. This introduction to Astronomy course will help you understand not just what it was you were looking at, but the processes and mechanisms that describe how the stars and planets came to be, how they move around the sky, what they look like near and far, and more. You'll start with basic, naked-eye astronomy and progress from near-earth out to the far reaches of the galaxy, learning more about everything you pass along the way, and then beyond to quasars, supernovae, and the universe as a whole, exploring what we know about it and, more interestingly, what we don't know. Australian National University - The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe - Professors Brian Schmidt, PhD and Paul Francis, PhD - If you've ever wanted to sit in the tutelage of a Nobel Prize winner, now's your chance. This course from the Australian National University is led by Brian Schmidt, 2011 Nobel Prize winner in Physics and one of the people responsible for the discovery of dark energy—the mysterious inflationary force that's causing our universe to continually expand at an ever-increasing rate. What is dark energy? Why is the universe still expanding? How do we detect dark energy? These are all contemporary questions in modern astronomy and cosmology, and while there may not be specific answers, there are plenty of theories. Join Schmidt and Francis in exploring some of the greatest mysteries of the Universe in this course—things that, for all we know and understand, we still don't have the data or technology to puzzle out just yet. University of Birmingham - Good Brain, Bad Brain - Professor Alison Cooper - We know a lot about the brain and how it works, but a detailed map of it and what every part of the brain does still eludes us. For as much as we understand about neurology and neuroscience, there's just as much that's not clear to us, or has conflicting reports and studies over the years. This course will guide you into the topic of neurological science, help you get your bearings around how the brain works, what—beyond our thoughts and feelings—it's capable of doing, what we know, and what we're trying to figure out. Designed for the non-technical or non-medical person, by the end of the class you'll have a whole new appreciation for your own brain, and how it works diligently around the clock to keep you alive, inspired, functioning, and healthy. University of Alberta - Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology - Professors Philip John Currie and Victoria Megan Arbour - A lot has changed in the field of paleontology since you were a child, and that's comfortable to say without knowing what age you may be. Dinosaur physiology used to be extremely poorly understood, but even today, thanks to DNA sequencing, better imaging tools and technologies, and never-before seen samples and fossils, we know more about dinosaur biology than ever before. In this course, you'll learn about the myriad dinosaur species that roamed the earth in the Mesozoic Era, from 250 to 65 million years ago. You'll study how dinosaur species evolved and adapted to their changing world, developing new techniques to attack and defend themselves, run, jump, swim, and fly, find mates, settle down, and, of course, what brought the age of the dinosaurs to an end and what that end probably looked like. University of Exeter - Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions - Professor Tim Lenton - This course aims to take the topic of climate change, set it against the natural climate variations of the past, and examine—with real data—the causes and influences of the global climate shifts of the past several hundred years. It's a multidisciplinary course with a heavy focus on provable science, and incorporates experts from multiple fields to discuss the data at hand, the impacts of climate change, and what can be done to avert, remedy, or correct for those effects. Stanford University - EP101: Your Body in the World: Adapting to Your Next Big Adventure - Professor Anne L. Friedlander, PhD - If you wanted to climb a mountain, base jump, or dive into the deepest parts of the ocean, would you be physically ready? You may be in good shape (or maybe not), but drastic things happen to our bodies when we put them in amazing situations. This course will help you prepare for your next big adventure, and rather than just teach you lessons, you'll hear from experts, doctors, and adventurers, watch them as they do what they do best, and see real videos of amazing things that only humans can do. You'll learn how the body responds to cold, heat, stress, altitude, pressure, even how the aging process works, and more, in a truly exhilarating environment. University of Oklahoma - Chemistry of Beer - Professor Mark Morvant, PhD - Beer is delicious, and can even be nutritious, since it's fortified with minerals and vitamins that your body actually needs. In this course, you'll understand the chemistry that's not just going on in your bottle or glass of beer, but the chemistry behind how beer is made, how beer was made in the past, and the differences between styles and types of beer. You may want to have some knowledge of general or organic chemistry for this course to make the most of it, but since it's free (and not for credit unless you're a UO student), you might be able to squeak past on an otherwise incredibly interesting topic.

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