Faculty of Science

 

UBC Science brings together a community of students and scholars internationally recognized for their commitment to discovery and innovation - both in the lab and in the classroom.

Our researchers conduct world-leading work in the life, physical, earth and computational sciences, and the Faculty delivers top-ranked programs across 18 disciplines and four interdisciplinary tracks.

The 2020 program will offer packages consisting of two courses. Each course will have 39 hours of class time, taught by UBC instructors. Classes are interactive and may include group work, class discussion, guest lecturers and field trips. Course credit may be granted by the participating universities.

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June 6 - July 6, 2020 Course Packages

 

Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Sustainable Food and Farming Systems

Our food and farming systems are one of the greatest causes of global environmental problems. Agriculture covers a third of the world's land, and is responsible for continued deforestation, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, depletion of freshwater resources, and water pollution. This course provides an overview of global agriculture (what does the spatial distribution of crops and livestock, irrigation and fertilizer use, look like), its historical evolution, environmental consequences, socio-economic dimensions (who/where are farmers, land tenure, labour, food sovereignty, right to food, access to food), and some proposed solutions for addressing these challenges. We will cover topics such as the Green Revolution, sustainable intensification, organic farming, agroecology, genetically modified foods, smallholder systems, and supply chains. Assignments that use data science to understand and find sustainable farming solutions will also be included.

Sustainable Diets and Nutrition

Despite rapid growth in cereal production over the last 50 years, hunger and malnutrition persist. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 7 people today remain undernourished, while 2 billion are malnourished (which includes obesity and micronutrient deficiencies, in addition to undernourishment). A nutritious diet is critical to raising the quality of life of a large section of the world’s population. At the same time, decreasing consumption of meat-intensive foods is being seen as solution to reducing the environmental footprint of our food system. This course will explore what a healthy and sustainable diet means. It will touch on concepts such as calories versus nutrition, dietary diversity, dietary trends, macro vs micro nutrients, vegetarian/vegan diets, fad diets, food safety, and the relationship between diets, human health, and planetary health. It will investigate the role of dietary shifts as a critical pathway toward meeting the UN Sustainable Development goals.

Nature Matters: Ecology, the Environment and You

Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people lie at the heart of many sustainability issues (such as food security, energy production, corporate environmental responsibility, and resource management), in ways not often reflected by management and policy approaches. This course will explore human impacts on ecosystems, the processes by which ecosystems render benefits for people (ecosystem services), methods for analyzing impacts and benefits, and the ways that individuals and organizations incorporate such information into their decision-making. Through field trips to a range of ecosystem types, lectures, and exposure to innovative organizations in the public and private sector, this course will consider the opportunity for innovative progress towards sustainability from stronger and deeper ecological grounding, and how students can support this type of progress in their careers and day-to-day lives.

Oceans in the 21st Century

This course provides an overview into ocean conservation issues, including the integrated and often conflicting role of oceans in biodiversity conservation, food security, climate change, and ecosystem services to humans. The course includes lectures and field trips that cover a variety of ocean issues, as well as guest lectures from and/or visits to organizations that are tackling components of these challenges in a variety of ways. Simulations and workshops will help students consider the variety of stakeholders involved in decision-making. Content, discussion, and exposure to experts and innovative research and strategies will equip and empower students to better understand and become more engaged in ocean issues, no matter how close they are to a coast.

 

Integrated Sciences

Game Theory

Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers. As such it is applicable to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in computers and organisms. Game theory has been widely recognized as an important tool in many fields including computer science, biology, economics, political science and psychology. In this course we will consider representations of games (normal, extensive, and characteristic-function forms), game types (cooperative/non-cooperative, symmetric/asymmetric, zero-sum/non zero-sum, simultaneous/sequential, etc.), history, awards, and game theory in popular culture.

Symmetry

The mathematic definition of symmetry is that an object is invariant to various transformations; including reflection, rotation, or scaling. Mathematical symmetry may be observed with respect to spatial relationships, through geometric transformations and other kinds of functional transformations, with respect to the passage of time, as an aspect of abstract objects, theoretic models, music, and language. Symmetry in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious proportion and balance. In this course we investigate symmetry and asymmetry in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, and in the arts, specifically architecture, fine art, and music.

 

July 11 - August 11, 2020 Course Packages

 

Chemistry

Tackling Global Challenges with Modern Chemistry

Sustainability. Renewable energy. Nanomaterials. Clean water. Antibiotic resistance. This course explores upcoming challenges in modern society – and presents the impacts, analysis and potential solutions that modern investigators in the field of chemistry are actively studying. Students will be presented with case studies to explore the important problems facing our society.

Environmental Chemistry of the Oceans and Atmosphere

Picture Earth from Space—the Earth is a blue and white speckled gem. The blue of the sea. The white of the clouds in the Air. This course explores the chemical composition and reaction processes of the air and/or the seas. Case studies may involve the chemical processes associated with atmospheric interactions with solar radiation, the stratospheric ozone layer and the ozone hole, photochemical smog, air and water pollution, corrosion treatment and microbial transformations within natural waters.

Pre-requisite: University 1st year Chemistry

All participants must be at least 19 years of age.

 

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

The Dynamic Planet

This course considers how an active and evolving Earth system has created the planet we know today, one that supports diverse life and is rich in natural resources. Using international and Canadian examples, we will examine the origin of our planet and its composition and structure. From mountains to glaciers, earthquakes to volcanoes, ancient rocks and mighty dinosaurs, Canada is a wonderful natural laboratory that we will use to investigate our active and dynamic planet.

Earth Treasures

Canada is also known for its spectacular precious metals and gems, some of them housed in our departmental museum, The Pacific Museum of the Earth. This course investigates the formation, exploration, mining and aspects of marketing of gemstones and precious metals. We touch on topics such as fundamental scientific concepts, natural and synthetic gems and explore the world of fine jewelry. The origin, valuation and exploration strategies for gems such as diamonds and precious metals such as gold and platinum will be investigated here and placed into a fascinating international and Canadian geological context.

Our emphasis is on active learning teaching methods where students are inspired to explore the subject matter through field trips, labs, discussions and in class activities.

Ocean and Atmosphere Systems

In this course you will assess and quantify the principal components of the global energy balance, how the energy balance affects the structure of the ocean and atmosphere and produces the winds and currents that control weather, air pollution and the biosphere. You will examine ocean productivity and the important geochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, and how over geologic time, ocean and atmospheric processes coupled with the evolution of the life to regulate climate and climate change.

Marine Biodiversity

Students will explore the incredible diversity of marine ecosystems, and identify the factors that regulate ocean habitats and how marine ecosystems develop in response. Ecosystems’ properties, including diversity, resilience (or lack of resilience) to environmental change and its impact on neighboring ecosystems will be considered. The fascinating marine ecosystems and habitats to be studied include hydrothermal vents, intertidal zone, coral reefs, estuaries, deep sea, and polar ecosystems. A particular emphasis will be placed on our beautiful and diverse local marine ecosystems. Examine the responses of ecosystems disturbances, the evolution of ocean plankton, invasive species, climate change and pollution.

Our emphasis is on active learning teaching methods where students are inspired to explore the subject matter through field trips, labs, discussions and in class activities.

 

Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Climate Change: Causes, Consequences and Adaptation

Climate change resulting from the use of fossil fuels in the global energy system is perhaps the single greatest collective challenge facing society in the 21st century. This course will explain the science behind human induced climate change, and examine possible consequences and impacts across the world. We will study how experts make predictions of future climate change and its impacts, and how societies will need to re-organize their economies and institutions to adapt to new climate realities. This course will include field trips and presentations by industry guest speakers, as well as speakers from non-governmental organizations and the public sector.

Energy for Sustainable Development

Climate change is only one of many challenges we face, and large-scale innovation in energy systems will be needed to meet multiple objectives including reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Technological and business innovations have begun to transform the global energy system. From the development of renewables such as solar and wind, to the deployment of complex networked technologies (such as Electric vehicles), or the diffusion of novel 'mundane' technologies (such as improved cook stoves in the developing world), techological innovation holds the key to our energy future. This course will examine what is driving these innovations, how might their promise be reached and their benefits be maximized, and what social and policy efforts are needed to sustain them. This course will include field trips and presentations by industry guest speakers, as well as speakers from non-governmental organizations and the public sector.

 

Integrated Sciences

Game Theory

Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers. As such it is applicable to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in computers and organisms. Game theory has been widely recognized as an important tool in many fields including computer science, biology, economics, political science and psychology. In this course we will consider representations of games (normal, extensive, and characteristic-function forms), game types (cooperative/non-cooperative, symmetric/asymmetric, zero-sum/non zero-sum, simultaneous/sequential, etc.), history, awards, and game theory in popular culture.

Symmetry

The mathematic definition of symmetry is that an object is invariant to various transformations; including reflection, rotation, or scaling. Mathematical symmetry may be observed with respect to spatial relationships, through geometric transformations and other kinds of functional transformations, with respect to the passage of time, as an aspect of abstract objects, theoretic models, music, and language. Symmetry in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious proportion and balance. In this course we investigate symmetry and asymmetry in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, and in the arts, specifically architecture, fine art, and music.

 

For academic inquiry about Integrated Sciences packages, please contact:
Integrated Sciences, 2020 Vancouver Summer Program

Dan Naidu: intsci@science.ubc.ca

 

Click here for information about Earth, Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences packages.