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Spring 2020

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Presidential Dream Courses - Spring 2020

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History of Ecology and Environmentalism: Climate Change in History


HSCI 3473

Peter Soppelsa and Suzanne Moon

Focusing on the modern period of history in global perspective, this course explores the history of climate change from the emergence of climate science to the debates and projects aimed at mitigating or adapting to climate change. We will explore both the climate’s influence on human societies and human impact on the climate. The course therefore tells parallel stories of environmental change, human environmental knowledge, and human action on environmental issues. Under the broad umbrella of climate change, topics may include agriculture, deforestation, disasters, globalization, land use, population control, and the extraction and management of natural resources. Guest speakers will highlight: the Little Ice Age; problems of scale, risk, and infrastructure in climate research; indigenous responses to climate change; and imagining a low-carbon future. The course historically examines both the diagnosis of environmental problems and the design of environmental solutions, to show how past problems and solutions may inform wiser ethical and political choices today about environmental issues in the Anthropocene epoch, none more urgent than climate change.

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Water Resources Management

CEES 4373/5373

Tiantian Yang

Water is one of the most valuable resources relevant to our social functioning, environmental health, and economic growth. To manage water is a challenging task, and the study of water resources management requires interdisciplinary expertise and collaborative efforts from different aspects of sciences and technologies to economics, policy, and decision-making. This CEES 4373/5373 Water Resources Management is an interdisciplinary course to study both the natural dynamics of water cycles, and the decision making and planning theories to effectively manage surface water resources in order to achieve higher social-economic gains, ecological and environmental benefits, security and equity, and natural yields. This is a slash-listed course offered to both graduate students and senior-level undergrad as professional elective is designed to educate and foster future water managers and planners, and to equip them with fundamental theory and knowledge on how to manage surface water resources and water-related infrastructures towards higher resiliency, reliability, and sustainability under a changing climate and various weather conditions.

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Quantum Hybrid Systems

PHYS 4970/5900

Kieran Mullen

A second quantum technology revolution is upon us! The first used the laws of quantum physics to design systems in which the energy is “quantized,” to allow only certain values. This idea is at the heart of technology ranging from TV remotes to supercomputers. Now, two other features of quantum mechanics, entanglement and superposition, are becoming accessible to control. To do so we must unite the incredible delicacy and uniformity of single atoms with the robust control and reproducibility of larger devices, forming “quantum hybrid systems.” This new technology will play an important role in future sensing, computing, and communication applications.

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The Wrongfully Convicted

The Wrongfully Convicted

SOC 3900

Susan F. Sharp, B. Ann Borden, Vicki Zemp Behenna

This course will explore wrongful conviction and exoneration of the innocent from both a sociological and criminal justice perspective. We will focus on various causes of miscarriages of justice, including poor investigative techniques by law enforcement, inaccurate eyewitness identification, faulty forensic evidence, unreliability of government informants, prosecutorial misconduct, and the intersection of race, gender, class and age. We will examine the effects of wrongful convictions, including the lengthy post-conviction appeals process, lack of attention and resources available to prisoners claiming innocence, preservation of evidence, and others. We also will study the aftermath of exoneration following release from incarceration, including reintegration, government compensation, marginalization, and other social challenges of the innocent. You will hear the personal stories of exonerees, those who helped them secure their freedom, experts knowledgeable in the causes and effects of wrongful convictions, and others involved in ensuring that the innocent have a voice. 

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