Interested in diving deeper into the themes of the 2024 On the Same Page selection Oppenheimer? Consider enrolling in one or more of the following courses.

Instructors: If you are teaching a course in fall 2024 or spring 2025 that assigns Oppenheimer and/or related topics, let us know!

Fall 2024 Courses

L&S 10: The On The Same Page Course
Aileen Liu

L&S 10 is a course for new students (first-year admits or transfers) who would like to engage with the On the Same Page selection or theme for their year in a more in-depth way than the average student might. They will take full advantage of the On the Same Page events and programming planned for the fall of each year, and will enjoy opportunities to discuss the book or theme with faculty and fellow students.

“I was hoping that the course would offer new perspective and food for thought—and it absolutely did! I really loved the experience of this class start to finish, from reading this awesome book, to our in-class discussions, to the thought-provoking events hosted throughout the semester. Amazing class!”

“I signed up for the course because I thought it would be a good way to meet other people at Berkeley since I am a freshman. My hope was realized, I got to meet some new people and I even recommended the class to some friends that I met at the beginning of the semester.“

“As a transfer student, I was highly interested in the book chosen, the activities assigned to the course, and the chance to engage with the local community through the course. I thought it was a perfect gateway to both UC Berkeley and Berkeley. I was right! It’s been my favorite course this semester.”

AMERSTD 10: Introduction to American Studies: Going Nuclear
Christine Palmer, Mark Brilliant

From the moment that scientists first split the atom in the 1930s, “going nuclear” has conjured up dystopian fears alongside utopian hopes—from mushroom clouds, reactor meltdowns, Superfund sites, and planetary annihilation, on the one hand, to cancer treatment, war deterrence, job creation, and planetary salvation through clean energy, on the other hand. Through an exploration of these and other examples of the utopian/dystopian (or, hopeful/frightful) understandings of “going nuclear” in twentieth century American history and culture, this course will introduce students to the concepts and methods of American Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study.

COLWRIT R1A 017: Perspective-Taking: (How) Can We (Ever) Reach Common Ground?
Michelle Baptiste

This interactive experiential course focuses on “Perspective-Taking: (How) Can We Reach Common Ground?” We’ll delve into the lives of two complex individuals: Robert Oppenheimer and George Floyd, as well as explore tense opposing perspectives on current events: the mining controversy at Oak Flat on Apache Land as well as the influential US presidential election. You will engage in discussions of science and ethics, politics and law, racism and activism, civil rights and indigenous land rights, mainstream media and social media, education and democracy, technology and medicine. As a member of a community of writers, you will have the opportunity to write from these different angles to interpret what most interests you in each text – crafting a film analysis after viewing UC Berkeley’s On the Same Page selection: the movie Oppenheimer and then writing text analysis essays on two books – one a cradle-to-grave biography and another that combines diverse written genres while also weaving in illustrations; finally, you’ll use Lakoff’s nation as family metaphor theory as a lens through which to compose a rhetorical analysis comparing two politicians’ speeches. Ultimately, you will revise selected pieces to design and publish a reflective multimodal portfolio showcasing your best work of the course!

DATA C104: Human Contexts and Ethics of Data – DATA/History/STS
Cathryn Carson, Ari S Edmundson

Data-driven services and artificial intelligence-powered devices now shape the innumerable aspects of our lives. Beneath the surface of these technologies, computational and increasingly autonomous techniques that operate on large, ever-evolving datasets are revolutionizing how people act in and know the world. These new tools, systems, and infrastructures have profound consequences for how we think of ourselves, relate to one another, organize collective life, and envision desirable futures. At the same time as data technologies shape social life, they are products of historical and institutional dynamics, deep-rooted social structures and political cultures that bear the marks of human intentions, interests, and desires.

ENGIN 125: Ethics, Engineering, and Society
Karl A Van Bibber

How should engineers analyze and resolve the ethical issues inherent in engineering? This seminar-style course provides an introduction to how theories, concepts, and methods from the humanities and social science can be applied to ethical problems in engineering. Assignments incorporate group and independent research designed to provide students an opportunity to contribute novel findings to the emerging field of engineering ethics while building their analytical and communication skills. 

HISTORY 14: Introduction to the History of Japan
Andrew E Barshay

This undergraduate survey course will introduce students to the history of the Japanese archipelago, from antiquity to the present day, with a special focus on regional contacts, internal developments, and global exchanges. Beginning with the pre-textual archaeological record, we go on to explore the introduction of rice agriculture, Chinese writing and forms of political organization, and Buddhism as these culminated in the high aristocratic cultures of Nara and Heian. We then turn to the development of warrior (samurai) culture, the emergence and persistence of warrior rule in its successive phases. Particular attention will be given to the Tokugawa/Edo period, the flourishing of popular culture, the indigenous sources of Japanese industrialization and modern economic development, and the border and frontier interfaces of Edo Japan with China, Korea, the Ainu, the Ryukyus, and Europe. These considerations will form the basis for an interpretation of the Meiji restoration, the formation of the Japanese empire, and the regional conflicts leading to WWII and Japan’s defeat and surrender. In the final phase of the course we will discuss the postwar (or post-imperial) era and its extension into recent decades. This course is also intended to introduce students to some fundamental techniques of historical research and analysis and to major critical approaches to historical sources in general and those of Japanese history in particular. Course readings will include a wide range of primary sources (translated from Japanese into English) along with selected secondary (interpretive) materials. The course will offer students the opportunity to improve their academic writing and research skills while familiarizing themselves with the history of Japan.

HISTORY 30: Science and Society

Science as we know is the product of a historical process. In this course, we will explore the origins of its concepts, practices, goals, and cognitive authority by surveying its roots in their diverse social and cultural settings. We will trace the development of conceptions of the natural world from antiquity through the Middle Ages up to the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. In this way, we’ll study the relations of modern science to other forms of knowledge—magical, religious, and philosophical. Our considerations will have a truly global reach, and all the main branches of science and technology fall within our purview.

HISTORY C182C / ISF C100G / STS C100: Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society
Shreeharsh Kelkar

This course provides an overview of the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) as a way to study how our knowledge and technology shape and are shaped by social, political, historical, economic, and other factors. We will learn key concepts of the field (e.g., how technologies are understood and used differently in different communities) and apply them to a wide range of topics, including geography, history, environmental and information science, and others. Questions this course will address include: how are scientific facts constructed? How are values embedded in technical systems?

HISTORY C187 / LS C140V: The History and Practice of Human Rights
Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann

What are human rights? Where did they originate and when? Who retains them, and when are we obliged to defend them? Through what kinds of institutions, practices, and frameworks have they been advocated and affirmed? And which are the human rights that we take to be self-evident? The rights to speak and worship freely? To legal process? To shelter and nourishment? Is health care a human right? If so, can human rights ever be global in scope? Or is the idea of universal human rights a Eurocentric delusion or, worse, a neoliberal ploy? History will not answer these questions for us, but historical understanding can help us answer them for ourselves.

With a focus on the last two centuries, and especially the late twentieth century to the present, “The History and Practice of Human Rights” offers historical perspective on some of today’s most challenging issues, from state violence, military intervention, and international justice, to inequality, corporate abuse and environmental disaster. Much of our analysis of these topics will center on the law, but we will also consider how the media and social movements have influenced the emergence of human rights thought and practice around the world.

NUCENG 100: Introduction to Nuclear Energy and Technology
Guanyu Su

The class provides students with an overview of the contemporary nuclear energy technology with emphasis on nuclear fission as an energy source. Starting with the basic physics of the nuclear fission process, the class includes discussions on reactor control, thermal hydraulics, fuel production, and spent fuel management for various types of reactors in use around the world as well as analysis of safety and other nuclear-related issues. This class is intended for sophomore NE students, but is also open to transfer students and students from other majors.

PHILOS 5: Science and Human Understanding
Ezra Rubenstein

Introduction to the Philosophy of Science.

PHILOS 104: Ethical Theories
Nicholas G Kolodny

The fundamental concepts and problems of morality examined through the study of classical and contemporary philosophical theories of ethics.

PHYSICS 24: Big Science
Steven M Kahn

This seminar will examine the characteristics and implications of “big science” experiments, i.e. those with costs at the level of several hundred million dollars or more. How and why have experiments grown to this scale? How do such experiments get born? How do they get funded? How are they managed? What are the effects (positive and negative) on the sociology of science at this scale? Some of the big experiments discussed in class are: James Webb Space Telescope-NASA, Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), Human Genome Project, etc. Prerequisites: Students with some scientific background, either in the mathematical and physical sciences, the biological sciences, or in engineering. Students should have an interest in some of the larger societal aspects of science.

POLSCI 124A: War!
Ron E Hassner

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Is this necessarily true? Wars are brutal and horrific events, but are they all necessarily the result of miscalculation, accident, or fanaticism? Can war serve a rational purpose? Are wars governed by rules and do states care about these rules? This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate students.

POLSCI 124M: The Scientific Study of International Conflict
Michaela Mattes

The goal of this upper-level seminar is to familiarize students with the scientific approach to studying international conflict, provide them with a deep understanding of the basic factors that exacerbate or mitigate international conflict, and sharpen students’ analytical and research skills.

PUBPOL 155: Introduction to Security Policy
Daniel J Sargent, Janet Ann Napolitano

This course introduces students to the arena of security policy. Students will learn the origins and evolution of the governing framework for security policy in the United States, including the post-9/11 creation of Homeland Security, and key methodologies of security policy, including risk assessment. The course will evaluate the variety of scales at which security policy is enacted, from state/local to federal and even international. The course delves into defining security dilemmas of the present: the challenge of securing democracy against both internal and external threats; the challenge of cybersecurity in a networked world; and global climate change. The course concludes with a required one-day crisis simulation exercise.

PUBPOL 190: Emerging Technologies & National Security Policy
Andrew W Reddie

Course examines current problems and issues in the field of public policy. Topics may vary from year to year and will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Open to students from other departments.

SOCIOL 166: Society and Technology
Joseph Klett

This course studies the interaction between society and technologies in a comparative and multicultural perspective. Some topics covered include the relationship between technology and human society; technology, culture and values; technology in the new global economy; development and inequality; electronic democracy; how technology has transformed work and employment; and the challenges of technological progress and the role that society plays in addressing these challenges.