The last 30+ years have witnessed a revolution in the area of cryptography, bringing real-life security problems to the attention of a vast research community. This revolution created modern cryptography, where researchers started rigorously treating and solving several problems that only a few years before were unknown or seemed impossible to solve. Today modern cryptography is a well-established mathematical discipline, generating a significant amount of interest among theoreticians (building on its strong connections to older disciplines such as complexity theory, number theory, information theory, combinatorics and coding theory), and practitioners (having found several applications to common, real-life problems). This class offers a summary introduction to modern cryptography, and specifically its main problems, solutions and open questions with a heavy focus on application aspects, including real-life uses of modern cryptography solutions.
Behavioral finance is the integration of psychology and finance. Using the tenets of psychology – the study of how the mind works – behavioral finance delves into the decision-making process under conditions of uncertainty – in this case, the market. In this course, Philip Maymin, PhD, will introduce the concept of behavioral finance and its history as well as the definition of rationality and what it means to be “rational.” He will focus questions of arbitrage, limits to arbitrage, market over- and under-reaction, common investor biases and the ways in which investors’ decision-making deviates from rational process. Most importantly, Dr. Maymin will frame these discussions around what these concepts mean for the nonprofessional investor when making decisions about finance – or other areas of life – in an uncertain environment.
The average life span is increasing across the globe, and with it the social and economic concerns of caring for an aging population. Dr. Brian Levine, a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and expert on human memory, will explain the processes underlying healthy brain aging, how healthy aging is differentiated from dementia and how the major dementia syndromes are recognized.
Cosmic Frontiers offers an introduction to cutting-edge research in modern astrophysics and black hole physics from the front lines of those investigations. In the first part of this 2-part series, Pankaj Joshi, PhD and Senior Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, will take you through the important developments of the past decades. In Part I he will also discuss the implications of Einstein's theory of gravity, the need for a quantum theory of gravity, recent discoveries in black hole physics and other important topics.
In Part II of this 2-part course, Dr. Pankaj Joshi will focus on cutting-edge research, theories and developments in astrophysics and cosmology today. Students will learn how black holes and space-time singularities arise, their unusual properties and relationship to other phenomena such as quasars. Dr. Joshi will also discuss how investigations into the gravitational collapse of massive stars relate to quantum gravity theory and the implications for our understanding of the universe.
For any disaster, government resources are vital, but not enough. It takes a village to both prepare for and respond to any catastrophe, including businesses, nonprofits, community and faith-based groups, individuals as well as all levels of government. In this class, Dr. Yuko Nakanishi will explain the guidelines, plans and resources available through FEMA for the entire community to work together to build a safer future. These resources include the National Incident Management System, National Response Framework and National Preparedness System, which together provide a consistent and scalable approach to develop the skills needed for an effective response. Students will learn best practices of an effective strategy as well as the roadblocks that impede it.
Human memory is a multifaceted cognitive capacity that is both mysterious and fascinating. Why are we able to remember some things and not others? When is memory failure normal and when does it herald brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s? In this course, Dr. Brian Levine, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, will discuss what is currently known about human memory processes, with an emphasis on neuroscientific research. Students will draw upon the latest neuroimaging evidence to learn how the brain processes information for later storage and retrieval. Special focus will be placed on autobiographical memory, or memory for one’s own past, as a naturalistic mnemonic capacity essential for understanding memory mechanisms in the brain. After establishing a foundation for understanding normal human memory function, Dr. Levine will outline how memory fails due to aging, stress, psychiatric conditions and brain diseases, synthesizing information with research from clinical samples, functional brain imaging and cognitive science with videos of cases and participatory demonstrations. Finally, Dr. Levine will review techniques for improving memory function, both those that work and those whose claims are overstated.
Get an inside look at cutting-edge research in particle physics with Don Lincoln, PhD, who was on the teams that discovered the Higgs boson and the top quark. In this course, you'll gain a wide perspective of our modern understanding of the universe, beginning with a historical look at how scientists came to this understanding and moving into the exciting new theories and questions being explored using particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider. You'll also explore topics of dark matter and energy as well as the connection between cosmology and what particle physics can tell us about how the universe began.
Brain injury is a major public health issue, affecting people of all ages. Dr. Lynn Schaefer, a board certified clinical neuropsychologist and brain injury specialist, will explain the different types of brain injury and the difficulties with thinking, memory, and behavior that may result from damage to the brain. Dr. Schaefer will discuss the neuropathology of brain injury and why certain brain regions are more vulnerable to injury than others. She will also describe both the cognitive and psychiatric symptoms of brain injury as well as the roles of the many rehabilitation specialists that care for people with brain injury. Finally, there will be a discussion about how to help prevent this “silent epidemic” of brain injury.
Creativity is one of the most fundamental and fascinating human abilities. The scientific study of creative thinking has been an area of interest in cognitive psychology and, more recently, in cognitive neuroscience. In this course, Dr. Evangelia G. Chrysikou will introduce students to the psychology of creativity and innovation in problem solving, science, invention and the arts. She will present an overview of the topics at the forefront of scientific research on creativity, including issues of definition; the importance of studying creativity scientifically; the relationship between creative thinking and ordinary cognitive processes, such as attention and memory; the manner in which the brain is involved in the creative process and different techniques that can promote creativity in individuals as well as groups.