Topics in Science (SC 210). Class presentation available for viewing.

Click here to view the presentation from the April 17 class meeting: SC 210 TOPICS IN SCIENCE Tajima


From the perspective of physics professors and engineers, we will explore two very different topics that are of interest to inquiring minds: How religion and science can coexist, and the future of fusion energy. In our fusion class, we will learn about work being done in Orange County towards making virtually unlimited energy a reality.

Monday, April 10: Science and Religion

Science and religion are often viewed as pursuits that are in conflict with each other. But, at their heart, both are about asking deep questions into the nature of reality. In this presentation, we explore the big questions around reality, such as creation and the nature of free will, and present how approaches from science and faith intersect on these challenging issues.

Presenter: Professor Michael Dennin,

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education, UCI.

Monday, April 17: Approaches to Nuclear Fusion

Lecture 1: Nuclear Fusion Energy:

What is nuclear fusion and why the interest? Various routes to fusion: magnetic confinement, colliding beams, and inertial confinement.  What are the differences and who is involved?  What is the historical perspective?

Presenter: Martin Cooper, Ph.D., former Senior Technical Advisor, Department of Energy, including the Fusion Energy Division, and OLLI STEM committee member.

Lecture 2: Fusion with a Particle Accelerator:

UCI has been at the forefront of integrating the concept of fusion with a particle accelerator. This technology can produce an entity more stable with higher energy than just hot plasma.


Toshi Tajima, Professor (see the presentation above)

Norman Rostoker Chair

Department of Physics and Astronomy, UCI, and Chief Science Officer, Tri-Alpha Energy


Dennis Silverman


Mondays, April 10 and 17

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon


The Irvine Station-Onken






SC 211: Exploring Our Universe. Class presentation available for viewing.

Our view of the universe will soon take a giant leap forward. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear first-hand from the scientists making history. In October 2018 the successor to the Hubble, the $8 billion James Webb Telescope, will be launched. We will learn about the mission directly from the program’s chief engineer.

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SC 209: GEOLOGY OF NATIONAL PARKS: Part 2. Western Mountains, Colorado Plateau. Class presentation(s) available.

Join us for the second of a multi-semester series of classes addressing the geology of the National Parks (NPs), focusing this semester on the remainder of the Western Mountain group, and portions of the Colorado Plateau not previously covered in recent geology classes.

Each National Geographic DVD lecture will provide an account of the human significance of the region, as well as a description of the geological phenomena that are responsible for its interesting features. There will be time for questions and discussion in each class session, led by members of the OLLI STEM Committee.

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SC 206: The Impacts of Climate Change. Part 3 – Extreme Events. Class presentations available.

As our planet warms, humankind must discover solutions to global ecological problems before it is too late. We are being impacted by changing temperatures on land and in the ocean, changes in sea level and acidity, increasingly frequent extreme weather events, biological extinctions, and more. Please join OLLI for the third in a series of classes on the impacts that a changing climate is driving. During this semester’s sessions we will focus on extreme events.  Specific research assessments for mega-storms, increased large storm frequency, flooding, drought, wildfires, cold and heat waves, erosion and mudslides and infrastructure impact will be addressed.

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SC 205: Big Data. Class presentation available.

It is estimated that 90 percent of all the world’s data has been generated in the last two years. This data can be either used or abused. In this course, we will discover how we can extract useful information from this digital fire-hose. The term Big Data describes the tasks of storing, processing, and analyzing extremely large amounts of data previously unavailable, ignored, or unable to be processed by older technologies.  Big Data is distinguished not only by its huge volume, but also by the concurrent presence of disparate data types and much faster data capture rates.  We will review how Big Data is collected, stored, analyzed and searched, and explore its implications in fields ranging from manufacturing to Constitutional rights and national security.

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Happiness 101. Class presentation available.

This class will explore the concept of happiness from the perspectives of ancient philosophers, world religions, indigenous cultures and contemporary psychologists and philosophers. Happiness is a complex value with cultural, religious, ethnic, social, and interpersonal dimensions. Class enrollees will discuss their own definitions of happiness.

The following questions will form the outline for class discussions:

  • What are the roles of age, gender, marriage, religion, and state of health in achieving happiness?
  • What are the roles of income, wealth, education and social status in achieving happiness?
  • What values, thoughts, and general behaviors enhance personal happiness?
  • Can a person who has experienced many adversities be happy?
  • Do the political and economic conditions in a country affect its citizens’ sense of happiness?

On the premise that the achievement of happiness is a combination of chance, random circumstances, and deliberate personal choices, class participants will identify how they can enhance their happiness. Continue reading

SC 204 – The Internet of Things. Class presentation available.

By 2020, it is expected that 30 billion devices will be connected to each other through the Internet. That’s an average of five connected devices for every person on the planet. Your body will be monitored 24/7; advertisers and the government will know exactly where you are every second of the day. This “Internet of Things” or “IoT” is happening now and will transform your life as our devices become truly “smart.”

First, we will hear about commercial applications from Lantronix, a local company pioneering in early IoT. Then we will visit researchers at UCI’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). For the past decade, Calit2 has been developing IoT applications to improve our lives.

Wednesday, March 1: Lantronix: An IoT Real Life Application
Presenter: Daryl Miller, VP of Engineering, Lantronix

Class Presentation: UCI2017-IOT-NoVideos

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SS 308 DEMOCRACY AND EMPIRE: Hellenistic Greece from Alexander the Great to Cleopatra VII. Class presentation available.

Hellenistic Greece from Alexander the Great to Cleopatra VII

This course will explore the history, culture, and art of post-classical Greek antiquity, focusing on the period between two of the most studied and renowned figures of the ancient world: Alexander the Great and Cleopatra VII. We will learn and analyze how the ancient world changed with Alexander and his successors, emphasizing the political, social, and cultural transformations; changes in the religious landscape; and formation of the state.  We will also discuss the legacy of the Hellenistic world as an integral part of our intellectual heritage.

Presenter: Andromache Karanika,

Associate Professor of Classics, UC Irvine. Professor Karanika received her Ph.D. at Princeton and has published numerous articles on Homer, women’s oral tradition, lament, pastoral poetry, and, recently, the treatment of Homer in Byzantine literature. She is the author of Voices at Work: Women, Performance, and Labor and also co-authored a textbook on Modern Greek.  She is currently working on a book of wedding songs and poetics and the interactions of lyric and epic. She teaches a wide range of courses at UC Irvine from ancient mythology and history to medical humanities and the Humanities Core Curriculum.

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SC 203: The Pentarius Deep Dive Project and the Future of Technology. View class presentations and class video lectures.

Presenter: Chris Welsh is a real estate entrepreneur, technology investor and advisor, and explorer. Born and raised in Newport Beach, Chris is an instrument aircraft, seaplane, glider and helicopter pilot, and licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain. His tech advisor positions include companies in material science, online resources, and apps. He is also an advisor to two investment syndicates.

Wednesday, March 1: The Pentarius Project – Raw Ocean Exploration

The Pentarius Submarine is designed to dive to 36,000 feet – it can reach anywhere in the ocean. From initial missions to document chemical munitions dumpsites, to chasing giant squid and exploring the deepest trenches, Pentarius has an ambitious schedule of dives ahead. In the first class, the project’s developer and pilot, Chris Welsh, will talk about each of these topics, the knowledge gained and ramifications of the effort, and the technology of the submarine that makes it all possible.

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SC 201 THE WORLD, ITS RESOURCES AND HUMANKIND: Part 2. Class presentations available.

The world’s natural resources are necessary for human life and the development of civilization. The location of these resources has always fashioned our history and dictated the economics of the time, which cast the politics that color our way of life. Understanding this helps explain what happened in the past and our world today.


This is Part 2 of the series of eight lectures over two semesters (Part 1 was in Fall 2016). We will address: the physical location of natural resources, the historic events caused by their exploitation, the related economic problems, the ensuing politics, and the waste management issues created. Continue reading

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