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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
 



E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 2
The Normal Environment: The Way Things Are Now


E-Seminar 3
Atmosphere: Stratospheric Problems


E-Seminar 4
Atmosphere: Problems at Ground Level


E-Seminar 5
Water: It's Not Just H2O


E-Seminar 6
Waterborne Infections


E-Seminar 7
Food: Land Use and Health Risks


 
Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease
E-Seminar 1, The Normal Environment: How Things Got This Way

Taught by: Dickson Despommier

Description
E-Seminar Description
In an age characterized by a rapidly changing environment, in which emerging and reemerging diseases continue to confront us, how can we predict the next major threats to human health? Are we, in fact, aiding the spread of disease by destroying the barriers that keep us from it? In his series of seven e-seminars, Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Columbia professor of public health and microbiology Dickson Despommier illuminates the connections between the disruption of ecosystems and eruptions of human disease. In this first of the e-seminar series, The Normal Environment: How Things Got This Way, Despommier explains the interconnectedness of life on earth by exploring the evolution of life itself, and the cycles of nutrients that link us to all the other life on the planet.

Minimal prior knowledge of science is required for this course, including basic concepts of atoms, molecules, and cells.

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Credits:Not-for-Credit
Prerequisites:None
Moderator:None
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
e-seminar?
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.



E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Understand the concept of complexity as a driving force in evolution on earth, and the major events in evolution that enable life as we know it today to exist.

•    Relate the connectedness of earth's organisms to the process of evolution as well as to nutrient cycling.

•    Define "ecosystem" in terms of interconnectedness and the conditions for life to exist.

•    Understand the "Gaia Hypothesis" as it relates to the subject of interconnectedness and the conditions for life.

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Outline
1.Introduction
2.Evolution of Complexity, from 5 billion years to 500 million years ago
3.What is an ecosystem?
     The Periodic Table
     Biogeochemical cycles
     The Gaia Hypothesis
4.Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Dickson Despommier is Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University. He earned his B.S. degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University, his M.S. degree in medical parasitology at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Notre Dame. He then spent three years as a guest investigator at Rockefeller University before joining the faculty at Columbia, where he has taught and conducted biomedical research over the past thirty years.

Despommier's research interests include molecular aspects of intracellular parasitism, river ecology, and more recently, medical aspects of ecology, which he has termed "Medical Ecology." Despommier is author of over seventy peer-reviewed journal articles, three textbooks, and 13 review articles in books dealing with medical aspects of parasitism. He has been awarded the highest honor the Columbia health sciences faculty bestows, the Dean's Distinguished Medal for Outstanding Teaching, and has been elected teacher of the year numerous times, both at Columbia University, and at other Universities where he has been a visiting professor. In 2003, he was the recipient of the American Medical Student Association's (AMSA) National Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.


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Recommended Reading
Margulis, Lynn. Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. Basic Books, 1998.

Dubos, Rene. So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events. Transaction Publishers, 1998.

Odum, Eugene P. Essence of Place. University of Georgia Press, 2000.

Patz, Jonathan. Ecosystem Change and Public Health: A Global Perspective. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

IBM-COMPATIBLE PC
Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MACINTOSH
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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