Attention Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Two New Multidisciplinary Courses
for the Winter Quarter, 2012


A diverse group of scientists, artists and educators are creating an emergent strategy for improving science education about sustainability.


Gateways to Emergence in Science and Society:
Toward a Science of Sustainability

There is a major national need for defining and developing the Science and Technology of Sustainability, a discipline combining the fundamental and applied research we need to make proposed “Clean Energy” technologies economically competitive. Our students will become aware of the importance of such “sustainability-related“ research and be inspired to consider a career in this area. Through a Distinguished Public Lecture Series, we are enlisting the help of colleagues who are world leaders in their fields. [ learn more ]

Course #: PHY 150 / CHE 298
Time: WED/FRI 8:30-9:50a
Location: 4440 Chemistry Annex
Instructors: Alexandra Navrotsky/
David Pines

The Internet as a Medium for Education
about Science and Sustainability

There is also a major national need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education outside the traditional classroom. Our response: developing flexible educational materials for the internet taking full advantage of the unique properties of the medium. A studio course for upper division and graduate students from diverse disciplines will be challenged to develop just such a resource. Under the broad rubric of science and sustainability, targeting a key demographic of 11 to 18 year olds and their teachers, students will collaborate to determine the concept, content, design and implementation of a new online resource for science education. [ learn more ]

Course #: TCS 198 / CHE 298*
Time: FRI 10a-5p
Location: 207 Cruess Hall
Instructor: Stephen Hartzog
*Alexandra Navrotsky

Distinguished Public Lecture Series – 2012

1/10: Climate Change: Human Causes and Responses
Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
1/19:  Smart Materials for a Sustainable Future
Ivan Smalyukh, University of Colorado, Boulder
1/26: The Physics of Sustainability
Peter Littlewood, Associate Director, Argonne National Laboratory
2/2: The Emergent Challenge of Sustainability
Simon Levin, Princeton University
2/7: Using Emergence to Inspire Kids to Love Learning about Science and Technology
Shawn Carlson, MacArthur Fellow and Founder, LabRats™
2/9: Gateways to Environmental Education
Peter Smerud, Director, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center
2/16: Gateways to Emergence: Natural and Stealth Disasters
Susan Kieffer, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2/23: Gateways to Carbon on Earth
Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institute of Washington

Synergies between the two courses abound. The students and faculty in TCS 198 provide a valuable design/web skill resource for students in PHY 150, who will be developing web-based materials in order to receive credit for the course. Some students in PHY 150 may choose to collaborate with students in TCS 198 on joint projects. The lectures and lecturers in PHY 150 provide a valuable resource for students in TCS 198, so one may expect that the latter will audit many of the lectures in the former. Indeed, some enterprising students may elect to take both courses.

The entire initiative is an experiment. If it is successful, there is a major pay-off, as we will be collectively making a significant contribution to changing the ecology of learning and teaching about science in this country and elsewhere.

Downloadable Course Flyers:

TCS 198 / PHY 150 Flyer - Letter Size Paper (pdf)
TCS 198 / PHY 150 Flyer - Legal Size Paper (pdf)
TCS 198 / PHY 150 Flyer - Tabloid Size Paper (pdf)


Our courses involve a multidisciplinary group of programs, both from within UC Davis and from outside the university. TCS 198 is made possible by a grant from the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Facilities for TCS 198 are provided by the Design Program at UC Davis.


Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

“Come to Wolf Ridge, a nationally respected and accredited K-12 school and residential learning center. Our educational activities immerse participants in nature exploration, cultural history, outdoor skills, team-building, and personal growth.”

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

The Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter

“ICAM-I2CAM is a distributed experiment-based multi-institutional partnership whose purpose is to identify major new research themes in complex adaptive matter—the search for an understanding of emergent behavior in hard, soft, and living matter.”


Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology–Organized Research Unit

“NEAT is a multidisciplinary research and education program which links the fundamental physics, chemistry, and engineering of small particles and nanomaterials to several challenging areas of investigation.”



“A unique adventure in science education. LabRats, first and foremost, is a community of mentors and like-minded learners who come together to explore great issues in science and to prepare young people to accomplish great things in life.”

LabRats Science Education

Office of the Provost, UC Davis

“[W]e not only recognize our ethical imperative to contribute to a sustainable future, but also believe we must grow our University‚Äôs leadership role in the development of sustainable technologies in agriculture, the environment, health, and other areas.


Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division

“The Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences creates the foundations in science and mathematics to understand and solve some of our biggest questions of nature today, and to create new solutions for tomorrow. ”


Design Program

“Design is at the nexus of culture, science, technology and creativity. At the center of this dynamic field of study and transformation is the Design Program at UC Davis.”


Technocultural Studies Program

“We concentrate on transdisciplinary approaches to artistic, cultural and scholarly production in contemporary media and digital arts, community media, and mutual concerns of the arts with the scientific and technological disciplines.”