Light and Life: Vision, Photosynthesis, DNA, and Melanoma|
Fall 2009 not offered
Light is the basis for many important processes on Earth, and this course is designed to introduce students to many of these fundamental processes. The first third of the course will focus on the nature of light and its interaction with matter. We will then turn to the process of vision and how light is detected by humans and animals. The second third will focus on light as an important energy source. We will discuss the natural process of photosynthesis and the role it plays in the global carbon cycle. The role that sunlight plays in the phenomenon of global warming will also be explored. We will also discuss the artificial capture and harnessing of light energy, as in solar energy. The last part of the course will explore how light interacts with humans directly. Topics to be discussed include how light affects our moods and seasonal affective disorder and the role of light in the onset of melanoma and other UV-light-related health problems. This course provides an introduction to the importance of light in the living world for basic biological processes.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENVS)
Selected papers from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, THE SCIENTIST and SCIENCE NEWS. Other readings from newspapers and magazine articles.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Problem sets, two midterms, web page. The final project will be the construction of a web site related to one of the topics discussed in class.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Although there are no prerequisites for this course, a good background in science is strongly recommended.
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