The Changing Face of Science Reflected in Exciting New Courses

PSYC 146a Evolutionary Psychology
Prerequisite: PSYC 1a, PSYC 51a, PSYC 52a or permission of the instructor.
Approaches psychology using two core ideas: evolution and computation.
Investigates the mind as a functional system which performs
computations to solve adaptive problems. Topics include perception,
objects, tools, family, mates, trade, property, and culture. Usually
offered every year.

Mr. DeScioli

The philosopher David Hume argued that the human mind is the most fundamental subject of scientific inquiry because the rest of the sciences depend on the mind and our understanding of it. At the same time, the human mind has been the most difficult subject for scientists to grasp. But after centuries of deliberation, debate, and countless dead ends, we can finally say, most basically, what the mind is–an evolved computational system. The field of evolutionary psychology investigates the mind by using modern evolutionary biology and cognitive science. Evolutionary theory tells us, broadly, that function is the driving force behind the adaptations and devices which collectively comprise organisms. Hence, to understand evolved systems–including the human mind–we need to map the structure of these devices onto the functions which they perform. Cognitive science tells us that the mind is a computational control systems, i.e., it maps input from sensors into output in behavior, and provides theories about the representations and algorithms that the mind uses to solve problems like navigating environments, formulating comprehensible utterances, fighting for resources, or choosing a suitable mate. Together these fields show that the mind is a dazzling array of computational programs, each specialized to solve specific adaptive problems, which are combined and recombined to produce the incredible complexity and novelty of human behavior.
In this course, we will investigate some of these mental programs by looking at their information-processing logic in light of theories about their evolved functions. Topics include perception, objects, tools, family, mates, trade, property, and culture. Some of the topics covered will provide insight into the evolved mental programs which underlie reasoning in the physical, biological, and social sciences–thus supporting Hume’s project of placing the natural sciences on a firm foundation in psychology.

BISC 8a Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Prerequisite: High school biology and chemistry. Does NOT meet the
requirements for the major in biology.
Examines the science, history, policies and ethics behind this
biomedical field. Although stem cells and regenerative medicine are
touted as the next breakthroughs in human therapies, they have also
engendered much argument and controversy. This course provides the
scientific context for understanding the debate over stem cell
research, and discusses the promises and pitfalls of the field.
Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Lau

CBIO 106b Chemical Biology: Medicinal Enzymology
Prerequisites: Satisfactory grade in BIOL 22a and BIOL 22b and CHEM
25a and CHEM 25b or the equivalent.
Introduces students to the conceptual framework and experimental
methods in medicinal chemistry. Topics include mechanisms of
drug-target interactions, strategies for lead optimization and issues
in metabolism, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Readings drawn
from textbooks and the original scientific literature. Usually offered
every third year.
Ms. Hedstrom

Interactions of the antibacterial drug trimethoprim with its target dihydrofolate reductase

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