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Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Spring 2016-2017
WWS 353 / MAE 353 (STN)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare

Alexander Glaser

This course provides students with a basic technical understanding of the science and technology relevant to current and emerging national and global security issues. Topics covered in this course include nuclear weapons and their proliferation, biotechnology and biosecurity, delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction, new media and big data, cyberwarfare, machine learning, autonomous weapons, and superintelligence. In the second half of the semester, students work in small teams on in-depth case studies exploring a current or emerging global-security issue of their choice and combining both technical and policy analysis.

Sample reading list:
Bostrom, Global Catastrophic Risks
Feiveson, Glaser, Mian, von Hippel, Unmaking the Bomb
Bohannon, Biologists Devise Invasion Plan for Mutations
Bostrom, Get Ready for the Dawn of Superintelligence

Reading/Writing assignments:
Weekly readings and blogs posts or comments; 5 problem sets (most of them in the first half of the semester); midterm exam; team projects and presentations (in the second half of the semester); final exam.

Mid Term Exam - 15%
Final Exam - 25%
Class/Precept Participation - 15%
Problem set(s) - 20%
Other (See Instructor) - 25%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
No prerequisites..

Other information:
The content of this course is more than 50% science. Students will be asked to submit blog posts/comments (10% of grade) and to complete team projects (15% of grade). WWS course online waitlist form -


Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42834 L01 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm T Th   Robertson Hall   016   Enrolled:72 Limit:75
44278 P01 10:00 am - 10:50 am Th   Wallace Hall   333   Enrolled:19 Limit:15 Closed
44279 P02 11:00 am - 11:50 am Th   Wallace Hall   333   Enrolled:15 Limit:15 Closed
44280 P03 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm Th   Bendheim Hall   215   Enrolled:17 Limit:15 Closed
44281 P04 10:00 am - 10:50 am F        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled
44282 P05 11:00 am - 11:50 am F   Bendheim Hall   215   Enrolled:9 Limit:15
44393 P06 11:00 am - 11:50 am Th   Robertson Hall   014   Enrolled:12 Limit:15
43451 P99 TBA        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled