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SCI 06 — Photographing Nature: Using a Camera to Study the Natural World

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Time: 7:00—9:30 pm
Date(s): Mar 30—Jun 1
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Apr 12
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $525
Format: On-campus course
Limit: Limit 18
Status: Open
This course will utilize the idiom of photography to help students learn about nature, enhance their powers of observation, and better understand scientific concepts. The course builds upon the pioneering photographic work of Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), who used his camera to answer questions about human and animal locomotion. (Much of this work was funded by Leland Stanford Sr.) A secondary goal will be to discuss the grammar, syntax, composition, and style of nature photography in order to enhance the use of this medium as a form of scientific communication. Themes to be explored include change across time and space; taxonomy; habitat preservation; weather and climate change; species diversity; survival and reproductive strategies; ecological niches and co-evolution; carrying capacity and sustainability; population densities; predator- prey relationships; open-space management; and the physics of photography. We will make use of the abundance of local areas that preserve and showcase nature through optional Saturday field trips to Jasper Ridge, Año Nuevo, the Stanford Dish, the Palo Alto Baylands, and the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden. Assignments will have a photographic, a written, and an oral component.

This course utilizes photography for scientific observation. Students should have a digital SLR camera available for use.

Robert Siegel, Professor (Teaching) of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford

Robert Siegel’s courses focus on virology and infectious disease, global health and development, island biogeography and ecology, Darwin and evolution, and photography. Siegel is a docent at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge and at Año Nuevo. He has received numerous teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching. Siegel received an MD from Stanford and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Colorado.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks