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Adult Education

Winter/Spring 2021 Course Schedule - All Courses Will Take Place on Zoom

Paleontological Collection Stories from Philadelphia's Natural History Museums  

Professor Jason Downs

6 Thursdays, April 15 - May 20, 2021, 6:30-8:00 PM

Each class will offer a behind-the-scenes look into a fossil collection at one of Philadelphia's natural history museums: the Wagner Free Institute of Science and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The course will look at major scientific discoveries and collection stories from the last two hundred years. During each class period, a video collection tour will be paired with dialogue with Professor Downs, who will appear live from each museum.

The course will be held online and requires registration. Register online here. If you need assistance, please call 215-763-6529 x14.

Botany Series: Knowing the Plant Families - Shortcuts to Plant Identification

Professor Karen Snetselaar

6 Thursdays, February 18 - March 25, 2021, 6:30-7:45 PM

The ability to assign unknown plants to the correct family is a useful skill for anyone interested in plant identification and culture. This course will survey several dozen plant families with important representatives in our forests and gardens.  In addition to learning the important recognition features, the course will discuss representative members of each family based on their economic and ecological importance.

The course will be held online and requires registration. Register online here. If you need assistance, please call 215-763-6529 x14.

 

Past Courses 2020

Architecture and Urbanism Series: Public Health in the City

Professor Michael Lewis

6 Tuesdays, October 6 - November 17, 2020, 6:30-7:45 PM (No class on Nov. 3)

The current pandemic reminds us that disease and the fear of disease have always shaped cities. This course looks at how doctors, architects, and city planners responded to disease, and how their responses changed along with changing medical knowledge. Because of its importance in the history of medicine and of public philanthropy, Philadelphia gives us a unique resource in studying these issues first hand.

The course will be held online and requires registration. Register online here. If you need assistance, please call 215-763-6529 x14.

History of Science Series: Plagues and Epidemics in History

Professor Darin Hayton

6 Wednesdays, October 7 - November 11, 2020, 6:30-7:45 PM

Through a series of case studies, this course analyzes the impact of epidemics on human societies, including mortality rates, efforts to contain the contagion and the infected, attempts to treat the purported illness, and expressions in art and literature.

The course will be held online and requires registration. Register online here. If you need assistance, please call 215-763-6529 x14.

Ground Plan: Using Plant Functional Groups in Landscapes and Gardens

Professor Karen Snetselaar

5 Tuesdays and 1 Thursday, January 14 - February 18, 2020, 6:30 - 7:30 PM.

At the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 100 N. 20th Street (20th and Arch Streets).

The amazing diversity of plants can cause challenges for people trying to develop general principles for activities such as ecological restoration, planting for resistance to invasive species, and development of low-maintenance assemblages of native plants for landscaping.  Results obtained in one location aren’t easily generalized to places where different plant species are found.  The functional groups concept gets around this by grouping plants with similar functions in the landscape design or ecosystem.  This course will explore the idea of functional groups from several different angles.  It will include considerations relevant to home garden planning as well as how well the concept has worked in a few scientific studies.

This course requires preregistration. Preregistration begins on December 9, 2019.

Register online here or call 215-763-6529 x23.

Living Small: Adventures in the Bacterial World

Professor Joseph Rucker

6 Wednesdays, January 22– February 26, 2020, 6:15 – 7:30 PM.

At the Independence Branch of the Free Library, 18 S. 7th Street (between Market and Chestnut).

This course will be an exploration of the world of bacteria, including how they grow and reproduce, how they interact with each other and other organisms, and how they contribute to human health.
No preregistration required. Register by completing a form at the class.

Field-Based Paleontology in Pennsylvania and the Canadian Arctic

Professor Jason Downs

8 Saturdays, January 25 – March 14, 2020, 10:30 - noon.

At the Penn Museum, 3260 South St. The entrance for the course is at the east end of the building by 33rd and Spruce Streets.

This course will share research results from the last two decades of Philadelphia-based paleontological projects by Professor Jason Downs and his collaborators. The course will communicate the process of paleontology, from fieldwork and collection building to observations and descriptive writing to statistical analysis of quantitative paleontological data. The subjects of the projects covered will include Tiktaalik roseae and the vertebrate fin-to-limb transition, ancient armored aquatic vertebrates from tiny juveniles to a gigantic new species, and the origin and early evolution of the jawed vertebrate skeleton.

This course requires preregistration. Preregistration begins on December 9, 2019.

Register online here or call 215-763-6529 x23.

The Noble Nobel

Professor Paul Angiolillo

6 Mondays, January 27 – March 9, 2020 (No class February 17), 6:30 - 7:45 PM.

At the Falls of Schuylkill Branch of the Free Library, 3501 Midvale Avenue.

For most scientists, the Nobel Prize represents the “Holy Grail” of accomplishment. This six-week course will explore the history of—and the controversies surrounding—the Nobel Prize. The focus will be on prizes that were primarily given for achievements in physics and chemistry. Each class will give the necessary scientific background to understand the reason(s) for the award for that given year. In some cases, the presentation will highlight the contention surrounding several celebrated Nobel Prize awards. Whenever possible, local history will be incorporated into the discussion.

No preregistration required. Register by completing a form at the class.

Recycling Realities

Professor Kevin Cannon

6 Tuesdays, March 24 – April 28, 2020, 6:30 - 7:30 PM.

At the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 100 N. 20th Street (20th and Arch Streets).

In 1960, 94 % of the municipal solid waste generated in the United States was disposed of in landfills or open burn pits.  In 2013, the majority of waste was still landfilled (53%), but 34 % was recycled and 13 % was burned with energy recovery.  Changing technologies, waste compositions, regulations, and increasing environmental awareness drives how we and the rest of the world treat solid municipal waste. This course will survey current recycling technologies and policies, with emphasis on the recovery of value from municipal solid wastes.  In addition to addressing the recycling of glass, paper products, food wastes, and traditional common metals (iron, aluminum, copper, etc.), special attention will be paid to plastics and technology metals recycling.

This course requires preregistration. Preregistration begins on December 9, 2019.

Register online here or call 215-763-6529 x23.

 

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