More topics in Modern Science

Ref: C2338128

The pace of scientific discovery and technological development continues at an increasing rate. This course aims to provide basic coverage of some currently active topics - e.g. the origin of life on Earth, the modern telescope, the future of humans, the search for extra-terrestrial life, etc. The last two sessions are open to group preferences.

Course aim

Present an overview of several areas of current scientific study and technological development. I aim at an interactive 'Horizon'-style presentation, but at a slghtly higher level.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Course for - An awareness of general science background would be helpful but not essential. Basic maths & English skills are necessary e.g. basic numeracy and occasionally basic algebra e.g. equations

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the development of the modern telescope, on land as well as in space, and anticipate the possible discoveries that may spring from the James Webb Space telescope due for launch later in 2018
  • Give an account of how life on Earth may have started from non-living chemical processes and its application to locations other than the Earth.
  • Discuss the current stage of developments in Artificial Intelligence systems and describe possible developments in the area of trans-humanism.
  • List some of the recent extreme technological achievements in areas such as measurement of time, weight, electricity etc., their implications and applications.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • By 'additional work' I have in mind the reading and perusal of tutorial Handouts in between sessions. This activity won't be tested - I just recommend it in order to get the most from your sessions.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be asked to evaluate the tutorial presentation and your own learning at the end of each Session by means of an Evaluation Form. Students may join a 'Bcc' email whereby you will receive Tutor Reflections, feedback and statistics.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A notepad and pen would be useful: a file/folder in which to keep tutorial material is a good thing too.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre-reading is required as essential but some knowledge at a general science level would be beneficial - terms such as atom, galaxy, star, planet, velocity, acceleration, etc. would be helpful.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Over the years many students have attended other courses I have presented - 'The Atom', 'Topics in Modern Science', 'The Universe - a Long & Winding Road', etc.

Download full Course information sheet

More topics in Modern Science


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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