Science impacts our lives every day, but we do not always know the details behind the amazing processes that shape our existence. In this class, we will discuss some big questions in biology, and some of the research achievements that are applied to making our lives better. We will explore questions such as—What does it mean to be human? How do we inherit or develop instinct? What are genetically modified organisms and are they bad for us? Are probiotics really all that they are cracked up to be? Is gene therapy really the future of medicine? Join us this fall to ponder these exciting and relevant topics in biology.
The great explorations of the natural world of the United States occurred primarily from the early 1700s to the late 1800s.This period was the zenith of discoveries of the ecosystems and wildlife in this virtually unknown new world. The Lewis and Clark Expedition, the establishment of Yellowstone as the United States’ and the world’s first National Park, and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad were a few of the phenomenal and historic events of this era. The documentation of previously unknown plants, animals, insects, birds, and ecosystems generated great interest here and in other countries—becoming the foundation of the Natural History of the United States and the Naturalists who trekked the wilderness collecting plants and animals for the emerging sciences. We will first learn of the key European figures whose writings influenced many of the people who became explorers, plant collectors, ornithologists, and naturalists in the emerging scientific community of the United States. In addition, we will make our own discoveries of the struggles, perils, and unique lives of the key founding Naturalists during this formative era—people such as John James Audubon, Ferdinand Lindheimer, Mark Catesby, and Alexander Wilson. We will explore a truly exciting and revelatory period of history!