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    The mission of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is to enhance the quality of life for mature adults by promoting intellectual growth in a center for senior learning. In collaboration with the University of California, Irvine, we provide unique educational experiences in an environment of social interaction.
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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

SC 212 – The Addictive Brain. Class presentations available for viewing.

Eighty million Americans can be considered addicts. Each of us probably knows someone who has been affected, or we may have been addicts ourselves (for example, with cigarettes or coffee). The convergence of psychology and neuroscience has led to a new understanding of the specific changes in the brain that are associated with addiction. These lectures will describe the changes that chemicals or behaviors have been shown to induce in the brain that result in the hallmarks of addiction: abuse, dependence and craving.

January 3: The basics of addiction, the neuroscience of reward, chronic drug use and the reward system

January 10: The genetics of addiction, how drugs affect the brain, cravings for coffee and cigarettes

January 17: Alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine

January 24: Opioids, street drugs and prescription medications

January 31: Gambling, junk food, pornography, and video games

Class Presentations:






Presenter: (Via Great Courses DVD):

Thad A. Polk, Ph.D., Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

Developer/ Discussion Leader:

John B. Bush, Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley. John is an OLLI STEM Committee member and has taught many popular OLLI classes.


SC 214 – GEOLOGY OF NATIONAL PARKS: Part 1 – The Far West. Class presentations available.

DVD Lecture with Discussion

The 100-year-old U.S. National Park System is one of America’s treasures. Join us in the first of a multi-semester series of classes addressing the geology of the National Parks, focusing this semester on the far western continental United States. Each 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. The last week of the class, we will be joined by Mark Bordelon, an OLLI favorite local geologist, for a lecture specifically about Joshua Tree National Park.

Friday, January 6: Grand Teton National Park (earthquakes, glaciers, landslides), Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords Alaska National Parks (plate tectonics, glaciers, remnants of erosion)

Class Presentations:




Friday, January 13: Yosemite National Park (valley formation, volcanic activity, glaciers, streams and rivers), Sierra Nevada Area National Parks (glaciers, gold, water, sequoias)



Friday, January 20: The San Andreas Fault Area National Parks (tectonic activity, faulting, uplift), Denali Area Alaska National Parks (crustal collisions, faulting, mountain building, micro-plates)

Class Presentations:



Friday, January 27: Mark Bordelon, The Geology of Joshua Tree National Park (crustal collision, zonal geology, volcanic plutons, remnants of erosion)


Ford Cochran (via Great Courses DVD), Geologist and Program Director, National Geographic Expeditions

Mark Bordelon, Adjunct Geology Professor, Irvine Valley College

Class Presentation:


Developers/Discussion Leaders:

John Bush and Gary Oberts, OLLI STEM Committee members


Fridays, January 6, 13, 20 and 27

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon


The Irvine Station-Onken

SC 213: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY. Class presentations available.

This class is Part 1 of a planned multi-part series on Synthetic Biology. We will discover how DNA can be engineered and how the technology can be used to modify organisms producing saleable products.

Wednesday, January 4: Basic Molecular Biology of DNA: provides background information and an explanation of terms and concepts necessary to understand subsequent classes. This session will answer the questions, what is DNA, where is it found, what is its purpose, how is it formed, how does it duplicate, and how does it transfer information to make proteins?

Class Presentation: olli-intro-dna-presentation-1

Presenter: Steve Wunderly, Ph.D., synthetic organic chemist with a background at Beckman Instruments in the fields of Nuclear Detection (liquid and solid scintillation counting) and molecular biology (automating DNA synthesis and sequencing). Steve is an OLLI STEM Committee Member.

Wednesday, January 11: Genetic Manipulation: presents details of how genetic changes are made to DNA in the context of living organisms. Historically, genetic manipulation of plants and animals occurred slowly by selective breeding and nuclear irradiation of seeds. In modern times, direct laboratory gene editing methods accelerated this process. In the last year a precision method of genetic manipulation called CRISPR has made the process even less expensive and faster.

Presenter: Chang Liu, Professor, UCI Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Class Presentation: ccl-continuing-education-lecture

Professor Liu’s research is in the field of synthetic biology, chemical biology, and directed evolution using advanced, genetic engineering methods. He earned his Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute.

Wednesday, January 18: Synthetic Biology.  What is Synthetic Biology? We will explore this concept through examples of some of the many ways research into genes and mechanisms of natural organisms are used to create cost-effective products that benefit mankind.

Presenters: Nancy DaSilva, PhD, CalTech; Sheryl Tsai, PhD, UC Berkeley;

Alon Gorodetsky, PhD, CalTech; Chang Liu, PhD, Scripps, UC Berkeley

Class Presentations: 



Developers: Phil Friedel, Vern Roohk


Wednesdays, January 4, 11 and 18

2:00 – 4:00 PM


The Irvine Station-Onken

SC 215: THE WORLD, ITS RESOUCES, AND HUMANKIND – Part 1. Class presentations available.

The world’s natural resources are necessary for human life and the development of civilization. The location of these resources has fashioned our history and dictated the economics of the time, coloring our politics and affecting our way of life. Understanding the science, economic and social history of our resources helps to shape today’s resource policies and investment decisions.

This series of eight lectures over two semesters will address: the physical location of the natural resources; the historic events caused by their exploitation; the related economic problems; the ensuing politics; and the waste management needs that remain. All of these aspects are strongly inter-connected to present-day environmental problems and to our very existence. Part 1 of this series will address:

  1. Water (essential to life and more; its shortage and its biologic impact)
  2. Food (wheat, plants, the effect of the food chain and its impact on our health)
  3. Lumber (in construction and more; deforestation and afforestation actions)
  4. Iron and precious metals (for the have and have nots) Part 2 in the Spring of 2017 will continue with lectures on stones, energy, radioactive sources and transportation.

Presenter: Edgar M. Moran, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UCI Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. Moran has researched the development of humankind as a function of the natural resources it needs. Dr. Moran recently taught the very popular OLLI course Practical Health – Our Body Systems in Health and Disease.

Class Presentations:

January 6:

The World-Its Resources – and Humankind – Bibliography

UCI – OLLI – The World Its Resources and Humankind-Lecture-1-Humankind-01-06-17– Class Presentation (Updated)

January 13:


January 20:


January 27:




Developer: Gary Oberts


Fridays, January 6, 13, 20 and 27

1:00 – 3:00 PM


The Irvine Station-Onken

Rise of Radical Islam (SS 312 & 318). Class presentations available.

This course will focus on the social and political evolution of the modern Islamic World. The topics focus will shed light on the nature of the jihadist movements that dominate the headlines. Their ideologies and worldview have their roots in hundreds, if not thousands of years of history. To understand them requires us to know their past.

October 25 & December 1: The essential beliefs of Islam and rise of Muslim societies and empires. The split of the Islamic faith into Sunni and Shia factions. The impact of European imperialism on the Near East.

Class Presentation: rise-of-jihad-Class 1

November 1 & December 9: The rise of anti-colonialist movements and Western support for puppet regimes in the Middle East. Ataturk, Nasser and Khomeini – three models of leadership for the region. The Arab –Israeli conflict. The modern version of Jihad arises from conflicts in Lebanon, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Class Presentation: jihad-Class-2

November 8 & December 15: Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 attack. The US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the long-term consequences. The Arab Spring and the civil war in Syria. The establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and its appeal to Jihadists around the world.

Class Presentation:  rise-of-jihad-Class-3

Presenter: Rainer Feldt taught The History of the Contemporary Middle East class at Saddleback College for 16 years and has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East. He lived for an extended time in Istanbul, Turkey, Kibbutz Amiad in Israel, and Karachi, Pakistan

Developers: Al Fuller and Jonathan Weil


The Irvine Station, Onken Classroom


SC 211: The Human Microbiome: Friends and Foes. Class presentation available.

The human microbiome refers to the vast diversity of bacteria and other microorganisms (including the chemicals they produce) residing within and on the surfaces of every person.  The population of microorganisms in one person’s microbiome is at least ten times greater than the number of cells constituting the average human body.  How does this vast collection of tiny cells impact our lives as humans?  How do these populations change with time, our diet, medications, and other environmental situations?  What in the world is a fecal transplant?  And what is another meaning for gut check?   Many scientists postulate a strong relationship between the types of microorganisms in our bodies and the development of obesity, diabetes, autism, and premature birth.  This course will describe the nature of the human microbiome and update recent research findings.


Barbara Pogosian, MS, Microbiology, CSULB, California certified Public Health Microbiologist, retired Professor of Biology, Golden West College.

 Vern Roohk, Ph.D., Physiology and Biochemistry, University of California, Davis. He is a biomedical device consultant, a technical author and an OLLI STEM Committee Member.

Class Presentations:

December 12: Human Microbiome

December 19: Human Microbiome-Part 2


Mondays, December 12 and 19

10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon


The Irvine Station-Onken


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