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Mon 08 Feb 2021 - Mon 22 Feb 2021

18:00 - 20:00

3 Sessions

Online

Are we alone? Are there aliens out there? Will we ever visit them on their planet or even live on another planet? Explore life in space, the creation of our planet, the parameters for searching for and finding life elsewhere, and the possibilities of becoming an inter-planetary species.

To listen to Brad talk about this course, click on the image below.


This course is being offered as online only. Live streaming and presentation links will be provided after enrolment.

Course outline

  • Week 1 - Life and Astronomy: This will be an introduction to life in space from the context of astronomy.  What does astronomy has to say about how realistic it is that other life forms exist, and can we visit them?  We will explore topics such as exoplanets, the types of life that could exist, all centred around the Drake equation.
  • Week 2 - Living in space: We will explore the nature of living in space and being an inter-planetary species.  We will examine the health effects of space travel and how it will impact future exploration. 
  • Week 3 - What if there is life in space: What happens when we ask the question "Is Anybody Out There" and the answer is yes?  We will explore topics such as what happens to us if they are there and what happens to them? If life is possible, why haven’t we found?  We will also examine how the laws of physics impact the practical aspects of space travel and living in space, including whether life from space has come to Earth.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should,

  • have an understanding and appreciation of life in the context of the Universe
  • be able to identify and explain the current issues of both living in space and space travel for species
  • have some understanding of the questions and discussion of 'aliens' in both your everyday life and in society.

Who should enrol

Anyone who has ever wondered if we are alone - but has wanted to know more. If you've asked any of these questions and wondered whether it is possible to live in space - this course is for you!  No prior knowledge of astronomy (or maths) is necessary.


Tue 06 Apr 2021 - Tue 11 May 2021

18:00 - 20:00

6 Sessions

Online

Physics doesn’t lie so why is there so much heat and controversy generated by this debate?

The science behind global warming has been developing for over 150 years and many climate scientists have spent much of their careers in investigating and trying to understand the physical processes involved and the implications for the future.  This course explores the science, history and issues surrounding this subject through lectures from some of the world experts in their fields who are here at the ANU. There will be also time allocated each session for discussion.

Course outline

Week 1: Weather and climate- what is the difference? (Clem Davis/Janette Lindesay)

  • Weather and climate basics
  • Evidence of climate change and the role of Greenhouse gases

Week 2:  Past climates and Oceans (Nerilie Abram/Will Howard)

  • Past climates: What can they tell us?
  • Climate change and oceans

Week 3: Local climates (Margi Bohm/Ian Fry)

  • Micro climates. How do they affect us?
  • Climate change and Island States

Week 4: Societal impacts (Mark Howden/Liz Hanna)

  • Adaptation or mitigation?
  • Climate change and human health

Week 5: Global Impacts of climate change (Will Steffen/Jamie Pittock)

  • Present climate change in the broader earth system perspective
  • What is happening in developing countries?

Week 6: Economic and Agricultural impacts (Paul Burke/Steve Crimp)

  • Approaches for reducing emissions
  • Agriculture and climate change 

Note: Topics/weeks may change depending on availability of speakers.

This course will be presented by ANU academics who are experts in this field. Guest speakers will include:

Who should enrol

This course is designed for people who are confused about the competing claims with respect to climate change and global warming, or just want to learn about the latest science. It is not designed to be used as a professional development course.  So here is your chance to interact with some of the world experts in their fields from the ANU on the topic. 

What our students say

"Loved that the science was current and enjoyed hearing from the different experts"

"I endorse the nature of the course that appeals to the general population including children who have their future vested in better understanding of the environment and how we can all contribute to remediating the climate for the better world. Science plays the vital role in providing comprehensive pictures of our contribution both historical and the projection of the future out look if we choose to neglect taking steps in the right direction. We owe it to our blue-green Planet."

No dates are currently scheduled.

Look up and behold - the wonders of the Universe! Discover planets, stars, black holes and much more in this introductory course. And no maths or physics required! Weather permitting, observe the cosmos using the outreach telescope of Mt Stomlo's Observatory.

Course outline

  • Introduction to astronomy: a brief look at the way the picture of the Universe has changed over centuries, the people who changed it and the tools and methods they used. You'll be introduced to some basic concepts of Earth's place in the Universe, why the night sky changes over the course of days to years, and what are the projects of the future.
  • The life of stars: a look at how stars form, live and die. How do you measure the properties of stars? How does ourSsun compare? Introducing the "colourful zoo"; white dwarfs, red giants, black holes, etc, and the all-important H-R diagram.
  • Planetary systems: planetary systems are the left-overs of star formation. You will look at how our Solar System formed, and the hundreds of others that have been discovered in the past decade. You will also look at the "tiny bits"; comets, asteroids and meteors. Finally, you will consider the possibility of life on other worlds.
  • Observing night : come warmly dressed for a peek through several telescopes at some of the things we have been discussing. You'll also check out what can be seen in the night sky without a telescope. (This week is weather dependent and may be moved to the following week.) 
  • Galaxies: are the basic unit of the universe. You will look at the various types of galaxies, their formation and interactions. How does our galaxy, the Milky Way, compare? Learn about dark matter and why we can't see it as well as the mysterious jets that some galaxies emit.
  • Cosmology: What can you tell about the age, size, and current state of the universe? What is it made up of?  How did it start?  How will it end?

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • have an appreciation of the science of astronomy
  • be able to identify and apply techniques of observation to our galaxy and beyond
  • be able to identify some of the modern technologies that are applied in this research field and understand how this has impacted our modern life.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who has looked into the night sky and wanted to discover more about what you see. Astronomy speaks to the heart of our human pursuit of discovery and exploration. If you have a passion for understanding the Big picture then this course is for you. No prior knowledge of Astronomy (or maths) is necessary.

What our students say

"We are such a small part of the broader universe and this course provided a tremendous introduction to astronomy, physics, and the world."

"A subject I have always loved. To look at the universe and how we endeavour to understand how this wonderful everything began, how it works and why it does the things it does."

No dates are currently scheduled.

The earth’s climate is warming. New temperature records are being set around the world on a regular basis. Severe weather events are becoming more regular and affecting more people. In Australia, droughts are becoming longer and more severe and winter rainfall in southern Australia is decreasing.

How can we adapt to live in this warmer world? What can we do to prepare ourselves for these changes? What impacts are these changes going to have on a local, regional and global scale?

Explore many of these aspects of climate change through lectures from some of the experts in their fields both from ANU and other agencies.

Course outline

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand the impact and threats to both human and natural environments of climate change, locally, regionally and globally
  2. Understand how can we adapt to climate change both on an individual and societal level
  3. Understand the costs/benefits in changing to a reduced carbon world.

Who Should Enrol?

Anyone Interested in learning about climate, environment, sustainability.  

**This is designed as a companion course to 'Sustainable Futures' **


No dates are currently scheduled.

Environmental sustainability is the greatest challenge of our time. We see the magnitude of the challenge in the decline of the natural world. But the causes of this decline, its consequences, and its solutions are all about us humans. Learn the basics of sustainability and discover cutting-edge research, and inspiring solutions from researchers at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

The course will cover a diverse range of natural and social science aspects of sustainability. Each session will involve a different topic with a combination of lectures and exercises. Speakers are mostly emerging young researchers at the forefront of their disciplines from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. The course co-ordinator is Dr Steven Lade, a visiting researcher from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

Course outline

Content may be modified depending on teacher availability.

  • August 7 - Steve Lade - Introduction and historical timeline of sustainability
  • August 14 - Juliana Lazzari - Biodiversity science
  • August 21 - Claudia Munera - Adapting biodiversity conservation to climate change
  • August 28 - Justin Borevitz & Helen King - Regenerative agriculture
  • September 4 - Bronwyn Wilkes - Food systems and human health
  • September 11 - Kate Harriden - Indigenous perspectives and water
  • September 18 - Anna Lukasiewicz - Justice and sustainability
  • September 25 - Nick Abel & Steve Lade - Climate, politics, and what can I do

Learning outcomes

At completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the biophysical changes being experienced on our planet
  • describe how sustainability underlies human wellbeing
  • identify how we can build sustainable futures at the individual and societal level.

Who should enrol

Anyone Interested in learning about climate, environment, sustainability.  

**This is designed as a companion course to 'Living with climate change' **

No dates are currently scheduled.

Look up and behold - the wonders of the Universe! Discover planets, stars, black holes and much more in this introductory course. And no maths or physics required! Weather permitting, observe the cosmos using the outreach telescope of Mt Stromlo's Observatory.

This course is being offered online and face-to-face. To enrol as an online student, please check the box at enrolment point. Live streaming and presentation links will be provided closer to start date.

Course outline

  • The Inner Planets: a look at the four rocky, inner planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars.  Why are they rocky and not gas giants?  How have we explored them?  Why are people not going to Venus? What missions are planned in the future?  
  • The Outer Planets: Why is Jupiter the biggest planet in our Solar System? Saturn is famous for its rings, but what are they and how were they made?  This week we will explore the four large gas giants, and what makes them unique, and what makes them so far very common in the Galaxy.
  • The Far Out and Little Things: Why is Pluto not a planet, and what do we know about it? What is the difference between asteroids and comets and what do we know about them?  You will look at the "tiny bits"; comets, asteroids, meteors, and objects at the edge of our Solar System.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • have an appreciation of the planets in our Solar System
  • be able to identify missions to objects in our Solar System and the technology needed
  • understand what small objects exist in our Solar System, and why we are just now understanding it
  • appreciate how unique Earth is in the context of our Solar System.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who has looked into the night sky and wanted to discover more about what you see. Astronomy speaks to the heart of our human pursuit of discovery and exploration. If you have a passion for understanding our home, our Solar System, this is for you. No prior knowledge of Astronomy (or maths) is necessary.  This course is complementary to Astronomy for Fun, but it is not required.

No dates are currently scheduled.

Understanding birds will explore all aspects of birds – origins, ongoing evolution, structure, behaviour, ecology and conservation issues – with an emphasis on Australian and local species. No prior knowledge required. Includes two field trips to identify and discuss local species.

Course outline

Topics covered include

1 - The Definition of a Bird; bird ancestors and evolution

  • Definition
  • Ancestors
  • Evolution of the Australian Avifanua

2 - Bird–watching Techniques and Tools

  • Field Guides
  • Reference Books and Tapes
  • Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Techniques

3 - Basic Adaptations

  • Understanding flight
  • Maximum Size – mechanics
  • Minimum Size – temperature control
  • Feathers
  • Skeleton and Musculature
  • Wing Shape
  • Respiration and Circulation
  • Digestive Tract and Feeding; Excretion
  • Reproduction, Nests and Eggs (to 78/2)
  • Senses and Vocalisations
  • Swimming
  • The Flightless Option

4 - Australian Bioregions and Habitats

  • Bioregions
  • Habitats

5 - Bird Ecology and Behaviour

  • Community and Population Ecology
  • Migration and Nomadism
  • Territory
  • Flocks
  • Colony
  • Reproductive Strategies
  • Courtship
  • Feeding Strategies
  • Climate Change and Birds

6 - Brief Introduction to Taxonomy 

7 - The Australian Bird Fauna – an outline

  •  Considers all the Australian bird families in order, with mention of, and some detail about, all local species.

Course dates

7 Tuesday evenings: 22 October - 3 December

2 Field trips: 8am - 11am, Saturday 30 November & 7 December

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who would like to discover more about birds.