Civil and Environmental Engineering 24, Section 3

Waves - Ideal, Real, and In-Between (1 unit, P/NP) SEATS AVAILABLE

Professor Evan Variano
Thursday 4:00-5:00, 544 Davis Hall, Class number: 37078

The science fiction of a particular period often reflects the cultural struggles and anxieties of that time, while drawing inspiration from contemporary scientific discovery. In this course, we will examine fiction (primarily English-language short stories, novels, radio plays, television, and film). We’ll consider the actual biological science behind them (as it was understood at the time that the text was written), the ways in which authors apply and extrapolate science in their narratives, and to what ends. We’ll also discuss a few trends in science fiction, and how these trends have changed over time, and explore why.

Instructor Bio

Dr. Variano studies fluid motion in the environment, with a special focus on the air-water interface. As an innovator of laboratory techniques, he has found ways to directly observe fluid behavior in new and revealing ways. He uses his measurements to describe the underlying physical processes that control the motion of pollutants, nutrients, and plankton in the world’s oceans. The constant tension between observing the world in all its complexity and simplifying it for engineering purposes is what drives his research program; this tension is a central theme that we discuss in the seminar. Undergraduates contribute in significant ways to his research efforts, with several students joining the lab each year. He has also published a paper on best practices for integrating research experiences and classroom learning.

This seminar is part of the following programs

Food for Thought