FSS > Undergraduate Division > Letters & Science > UC Berkeley

Integrative Biology 24, Section 3
The Age of Dinosaurs: What Do We Know? (1 unit, LG)
Professor Kevin Padian
Wednesday 12:00-1:00, 1101 Valley LSB, Class number: 46310

Course Threads Dinosaurs were big funny animals, and "Jurassic Park" was cool. But what's behind all this? In this seminar we use dinosaurs to explore how we know what we know about extinct life, and the methods and approaches that scientists use to study evolution in general. We also explore common myths, such as the idea that dinosaurs were slow and slow-witted, and that an asteroid drove them to extinction. Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology is the largest collection of fossils in any university in the world, and we use it on a weekly basis in this course. A notebook, some writing, and strong initiative in participation are required. Students don't need any preparation for this course except an interest in the subject and the desire to understand how science is constructed. This course is designed to be taken for a letter grade. Students who elect to take this seminar should enroll under the letter grade option.

Students interested in the class should add themselves to the waitlist and send the instructor a paragraph explaining their interest in the class by August 1, 2017 (to kpadian@berkeley.edu). Enrollment is limited to 8 students and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. This is a Course Threads Theme Seminar.

Kevin Padian has been teaching at Berkeley for thirty-six years, mostly courses in evolution, paleontology, and the history of these fields. Research in his lab centers on how large-scale changes get started in evolution, particularly the major new adaptations in vertebrates such as flight, the emergence of dinosaurs, and the evolution of unusual structures and behaviors. He also spends a lot of time on the creation-evolution issue, educating the public about what science is and isn't.

Faculty web site: http://ib.berkeley.edu/people/directory/detail/5468/

Quotes from Fall 2016 seminar:

It is an amazing course. Don’t be intimidated by the professor; he’s actually a really great person and a great resource for any struggles you may have.

Speak up, and think about quality questions while Kevin is teaching.

The professor is super welcoming to motivated students; they should ask questions that come to mind, even if they seem silly or simple.

"Take it. It's really fun and interesting. You get to talk to ridiculously interesting people and it will be your favorite course." - student in spring 2015 seminar

"Science can be fun! The professor does a great job of engaging the students and making them take responsibility for their education." - student in fall 2014 seminar

"It's not JUST dinosaurs. Professor Padian is amazing and helps with all aspects of freshman year." - student in fall 2014 seminar

"The professor is great and very approachable. He takes time to get to know his students and offers himself as a resource. The material that we learn/ cover in the course is also fascinating and intriguing." - student in spring 2014 seminar

"It’s a great course where you will learn a lot about the subject matter as well as about campus and life at Cal in general." - student in spring 2014 seminar

"The professor really wanted to make sure we were okay in such a new environment, and didn’t hesitate to give us pointers about how to be successful at Berkeley." - student in fall 2013 seminar

"My experience was that Professor Padian not only helped us with dinosaurs but also with our new lives at Berkeley." - students in fall 2013 seminar

"Professor Padian is easily the most helpful faculty member on campus." - student in spring 2012 seminar

"You will not regret taking this course." - student in spring 2012

"I wish it lasted for longer than an hour." - student in spring 2011

"Professor Padian truly cares about the students. He focuses on how you are doing as a freshman." - student in spring 2010
Freshman and Sophomore Seminars are co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Division
of the College of Letters & Science and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.
For further information about the program,
contact Alix Schwartz (alix@berkeley.edu / 642-8378).

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