Freshman Seminars 2021 Fall


SOC Title








M 9:30-10:20

FRH 4135



DO, A.

M 11:00-11:50

DBH 1427




F   2:00- 2:50p

PSCB 220




M   3:00- 3:50p

DBH 1420




W   10:00-10:50

MM 302




Th   3:00- 3:50p

SSL 105




Th   4:00- 4:50p

ALP 1120



WU, J.

Th   11:00-11:50

HIB 341




W   2:00- 2:50p

ALP 2700




M 2:00- 2:50p








Neural technologies – a new way to cure paralysis?
Neural interface technologies are systems which convert nervous system activity into the control of external devices. This essentially allows a person to directly mind control computers, robots, and other devices without the need to generate any movements. Such technologies can potentially help people with severe paralysis to control assistive or prosthetic devices to interact with their environment again. This seminar will introduce fundamental concepts underlying how these systems operate.

As a faculty member in the Department of Neurology, Dr. Do undertakes research in brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and develops the technologies that become clinical tools to treat paralysis. He serves as the PI/co-PI on several federal, state, and foundation grants to undertake this research. As a result of this research, breakthroughs were achieved in the field. One notable breakthrough is the development of a BCI, which for the first time in human history has enabled a person with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury to regain brain-controlled walking. Dr. Do also undertakes clinical duties at the UCI Medical Center, where he practices general neurology and neuro-rehabilitation.

Advanced Photography
This seminar will discuss the physics of modern-day digital cameras and lenses and will discuss different photography composition techniques for portrait, landscape, and other types of photos. The seminar will also explore analysis methods including software such as Lightroom. This seminar is part technology and part creative applications. A genuine interest in photography and an access to at least an entry level DSLR is essential to get the most out of this seminar series.

Professor A. Cooray is an astrophysicist whose research is on developing space telescopes and observatories to observe the universe at infrared wavelengths. He also advised NASA as a member of the advisory council and leads a number of NASA-funded projects to analyze data and build next-generation space equipment. This seminar is mostly based on his experience as a published astrophotographer using digital cameras. The seminar will discuss modern cameras to more complicated cameras used in space for telescopes such as Hubble and James Webb.

Controlling the World with Your Mind – Brain-Computer Interfaces for Communication and Control
Neuroscience research has rapidly evolved through the development of brain-computer interface systems. Through the use of noninvasive brain measurements, such as electroencephalogram (EEG), patients are now able to communicate, regain motor function, and control their world around them. This lecture will provide insight into the neuroscience, biomedical engineering, and computer science concepts behind brain-computer interfaces and their applications.

Dr. King received her BS and MS in robotics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College, and her PhD in brain computer interfaces in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UCI. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UCI, where her current research focuses on engineering education, women’s health, wireless health devices, brain-computer interface technologies, and neurorehabilitation.

Let’s Take Pop and Rock Music Seriously!
This course explores the interconnections between British and American pop and rock music, musical techniques, current events, and social identity from the 1950s through the early 1970s. We approach these questions primarily by way of source readings — selections from journalism, criticism, and composer interviews and autobiographies that date from the period itself, which we will read in conjunction with a broad representative sampling of music recordings.

Music historian David Brodbeck regularly teaches a GE course entitled “The Beatles and the Sixties.” His most recent publication is “‘You Don’t Just Stick It Together’; or, What Paul (and John) Learned from Brian, to be published in Rock Music Studies 8 (2021): in press.

In this course, you will learn the basics of bubbles in water. We will discuss how bubbles are formed and released, and how they travel through liquid. We will also see applications of bubbles to clean water and how to study them. Bubbles of various sizes will be discussed!

Diego Rosso is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of Chemical Engineering and Material Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also Director of the Water-Energy Nexus Center. Since 2000, he has been investigating aeration systems and the water-energy-carbon nexus of water reclamation and reuse processes.

Race and Gender in STEM
This seminar will examine the ways that scientific practice and ideology interact with race, gender, and class. How has “science” been used to justify or cover up racialized, gendered and class-based violence? Who gets to “do” science? Do notions of scientific “authority” implicitly rely on assumptions about race, gender, and class? Co-taught by Dr. Jenn Fang (MB&B) and Prof. Jesse Wolfson (Math), this seminar will explore these issues through sample case studies from a range of STEM fields.

Dr. Jenn Fang is an Assistant Project Scientist who studies vascular biology in organ-on-a-chip platforms. She has a minor in Asian American studies and founded Reappropriate, the largest and longest running Asian American race and gender blog.
Prof. Jesse Wolfson is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics who studies algebraic equations using tools from geometry and topology. He has a long-running collaboration with and serves on the board of directors of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, a Brooklyn based “Post-African/neo-Hoodoo modern dance” company. He also co-founded the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the nation’s first and largest student think tank.

Being the Future: First Generation Student Community and Success in the Humanities (open only to Humanities students)
What does it mean to identify as a first-generation student and to pursue a degree in the Humanities? We will attempt to answer these questions through interactive class meetings and assignments, in which we’ll explore topics like building community on campus, developing sustainable habits, and articulating what you want to contribute to/expect from the university. Our goal is to help you transition successfully and confidently to college and continue on a path of success as a student and person.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, professor of Asian American Studies and director of the UCI Humanities Center, is collaborating with Scott Lerner, lecturer in the Composition Program and coordinator of the School of Humanities First Generation Student initiatives, to offer this course. Scott co-founded Lucid, a journal of first-generation writing published by the Composition Program and will be collaborating with Judy to develop new programming for first-gen students who are humanities majors.

Emptiness and Quantum Physics
What is the true nature of time and space? What is the ultimate essence of all phenomena? Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Modern Physics are both on quests for answers to these fundamental questions. We will explore the key concepts in Modern Physics, including Einstein’s Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, as well as those in Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy, including Interdependence and Emptiness. We will discover striking similarities in these two frameworks and discuss the implications for humanity.

Mu-Chun Chen is a Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She is a theoretical particle physicist in search of the origin of elementary particle masses and the origin of the cosmological asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the Universe.

Black Holes for Fun and Profit
A firm prediction even of ordinary gravity according to Newton, and even more so from Einstein’s General Relativity, is that sufficiently compact masses will pull in light and everything else from their surroundings. We call these black holes and, while at one time, they were mostly the playground of theoretical physicists, we now have firm evidence that they exist in the centers of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, in orbits with normal stars and other black holes, and probably other places, accounting for some of the most spectacular astronomical objects, like quasars, X-ray binaries, and gamma ray bursters. We’ll look briefly at all of these.

Virginia Trimble is a native Californian and graduate of Hollywood High School, UCLA, and Caltech (PhD in astronomy), with honorary degrees from the University of Cambridge (England) and the University of Valencia (Spain). Over the years, she has worked on a wide variety
of topics in astronomy and physics, including supernova explosions, white dwarfs, gravitational waves, black holes, the structure of scientific research communities, and history of astronomy and physics. She currently holds minor offices in the International Astronomical Union, the American Physical Society, and the American Astronomical Society. No, she didn’t know Einstein, but she does know, or has known, everyone else who has received a Nobel Prize for achievements closely related to relativity and black holes, and many wonderful colleagues
who did not win such prizes.

Magic of Engineering
Engineering makes our lives significantly better by equipping us with the tools for a more sustainable, healthy, safe, joyful, and equitable future. From combustion in our cars, to microchips in our phones, to electricity, to space travel, to clean drinking water we can see the magic of engineering in nearly every aspect of our lives. In this seminar, together we will explore current societal challenges that await engineering solutions. The only requirement is to come to class with an open mind!

Professor Natascha Buswell is an assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her PhD is in Engineering
Education and she researches the development of teaching methods of graduate students and faculty.

Alejandra is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her research is focused on renewable energy systems
modeling. Her career goal is to be a teaching professor after she graduates.