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Earth Sciences
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 to Tuesday, December 13, 2016
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Living at the Nuclear Brink: An Introduction by Dr. William J. Perry

I have been living at the nuclear brink for all of my adult life, and throughout my career in academia, private industry, and the U.S. government, I have dealt first-hand with the evolving nuclear threat. Nuclear weapons may seem like 20th century history, but the choices we make about these weapons in the 21st century will decide your future in truly fundamental ways. Because most people do not understand just how serious these dangers are today, their governments are not taking adequate preventive actions: actions that are readily achievable. And so, we are drifting towards a nuclear catastrophe. This is why I have dedicated the balance of my life to educate the public about these dangers, and this is the reason I have created this course. I have been joined in this effort by an outstanding and uniquely qualified group of educators and public servants who share my concerns about nuclear weapons.

The key goals of this course are to warn you of the dangers you face and to give you some insight on what could be done to avoid those dangers. My challenge in this course is to make vivid to you that the dangers of nuclear weapons, far from being historical curiosities, are existential dangers today. You will have the opportunity to engage in discussions about these topics with both world experts and peers from around the globe.

You can take this course any way you wish. To earn a Statement of Accomplishment, you will view all of the lectures, participate in weekly forums, and complete quizzes on the course content. We have organized the course segments in a logical order, both chronologically and thematically. However, each segment stands alone and can be viewed independently, and still be a useful experience, even if you do not seek a Statement of Accomplishment.

The course differs from many others in a fundamental way: our goal is not just to provide facts for your education, but to inspire you to take action. You have the power to make a difference, and I believe that this course will give you the knowledge and motivation to do so. You can read more about this subject, and find ways to become involved, by visiting the website of the William J Perry Project:


There are no prerequisites for this course except for curiosity in the subject and a passion for learning.


Week 1: Introduction; What Are Nuclear Weapons and Why Were They Developed?

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 2: Nuclear Proliferation in the United States and Around the World

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Joseph Martz; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 3: Under a Nuclear Cloud: Early Cold War

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 4: Fear and Loathing and Relief: Later Cold War

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. David Holloway

Week 5: A Lack of Intelligence

Dr. William J. Perry; Philip Taubman

Week 6: Dilemmas of Nuclear Policy

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. David Holloway; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 7: New Nuclear Dangers: Nuclear Terrorism

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Week 8: New Nuclear Dangers: South Asia and Proliferation

Dr. William J. Perry; Dr. Scott Sagan; Dr. Martha Crenshaw; Dr. Siegfried Hecker; Dr. Andre Kokoshin

Week 9: What Has Been Done, and Can Be Done, about Nuclear Dangers

Dr. William J. Perry; Amb. James Goodby; Secretary George Shultz

Week 10: What Next?

Dr. William J. Perry; Joseph Cirincione


William J. Perry

William J. Perry was the 19th Secretary of Defense for the United States, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1993-1994) and as Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (1977-1981). Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Hoover Institution, and he serves as Director of the Preventive Defense Project. In 2013, Perry founded the William J. Perry Project ( to engage and educate the public on the dangers of nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

Joseph Cirincione

Joseph Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He is the author Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and is the author or editor of five other books on nuclear weapons and national security policy. He has also published hundreds of articles on these topics and is widely cited in the media. Mr. Cirincione serves on the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations.

Martha Crenshaw

Martha Crenshaw is a world-recognized expert on political terrorism and is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) and a Professor of Political Science by courtesy at Stanford. In 2011, Routledge published Explaining Terrorism, a collection of her previously published writings.

James Goodby

James Goodby has had a long and distinguished career in the United States Foreign Service. He has received five presidential appointments at ambassadorial rank, and notably, he has been intimately involved as a negotiator and policy adviser in the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the negotiation of the limited nuclear test ban treaty, START, the Conference on Disarmament in Europe, and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

Siegfried Hecker

Siegfried Hecker is one of the world’s experts on the Russian nuclear program, working with Russian nuclear laboratories to secure and safeguard the vast stockpile of ex-Soviet fissile materials. Dr. Hecker is a professor (research) in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford, a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, former Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and former co-director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation.

David Holloway

David Holloway is perhaps the world’s expert on the development of the Soviet nuclear program and has published widely on this subject; his book Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956 (Yale University Press, 1994) was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 11 best books of 1994. Dr. Holloway is the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, a Professor of Political Science, and an Freeman Spogli Institute Senior Fellow.

Andre Kokoshin

Andre Kokoshin has held many positions in the Russian government, including Deputy Minister of Defense from 1992 to 1997, when he played a key role in the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. He is currently a member of the Russian Duma; he holds a Ph.D. in History and is an associate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Joseph Martz

Joseph Martz is a physicist and employee Los Alamos National Laboratory with a 25+ year career focused on issues surrounding nuclear security, nuclear weapons, and stockpile stewardship. In addition to his research at Los Alamos, he has led national project teams including the recent reliable-replacement warhead design competition and several complex nuclear material experiments.

Scott D. Sagan

Scott D. Sagan is widely-recognized expert on nuclear security issues; his books in this area include The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Princeton University Press, 1993), and with co-author Kenneth N. Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: An Enduring Debate (W.W. Norton, 2012). Dr. Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University.

George Shultz

George Shultz has had a highly distinguished career in government, academia, and the world of business: he has held four different federal cabinet posts; he has taught at three of this country’s great universities; and for eight years he was President of Bechtel, a major engineering and construction company. He is current Professor of International Economics at the Graduate School of Business and a Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

Philip Taubman

Philip Taubman was a reporter and editor at the New York Times for nearly 30 years, specializing in national security issues; he published Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage in 2004, and The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb in 2012. He is currently a Consulting Professor at CISAC, and also serves as Stanford Associate Vice President for University Affairs, working on special projects for Stanford's president, John Hennessy.


The course already started! Is it too late to join?

No worries! You can start whenever you join the course. However, we will be having a number of interactive sessions throughout the course, so it is worthwhile to “catch up” so that you can participate knowledgeably in these sessions.

How do a earn a Statement of Accomplishment?

If you are interested in receiving a Statement of Accomplishment from Stanford University at the end of this course, please note that you must complete the following:

Reflective Writing: Each week, you will answer a "thought question" about what you are learning and how it applies to your own beliefs about nuclear weapons.

Short Quizzes: After each unit, there will be quiz question to help you gauge your learning. You will have two attempts to answer the question correctly and unlimited time.

Gaining a score of at least 75% allows you to receive the Statement of Accomplishment.

Please note that a Statement of Accomplishment is optional. We welcome all participants to this course, whether you seek a Statement of Accomplishment or not.

Is there a textbook for the class?

No, but there will be suggested readings for each unit.

Living at the Brink

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Welcome to the Stanford Online Mini-Course "Interactive Microbiology and Foundations of Scientific Practice." In this course you will learn about some fascinating phenomena at the microscopic living world - and at the same time practice the key aspects of the scientific method.

Also, note that the total number of participants is restricted for each session. If a session is already full - please try to sign up for another one.

Upcoming Sessions:

Session 7: August 30 - September 4

Session 8: September 6 - September 11

Session 9: September 13 - September 18

About This Course

This is a mini-course with short identical week-long course sessions that will give you a firsthand experience on how microscopic single celled organism can propel themselves through water and detect light - and then ultimately swim towards or away from this light source. At the same time you will lean and practice the key components of the scientific method.

The goals of these course sessions are three fold:

(1) Become fascinated by the wonders of these small organisms and the world they live in - features that are usually hidden from the naked eye.

(2) Gain a quantitative understanding of how a microscopic cell can propel through water, how to detect light, and how these activities are enabled by some building blocks ("organelles") of the the cell. You will also explore interactive models that help you understand how all these parts work together to achieve robust light response behavior.

(3) Be (or become) a scientist and practice the essential components of the scientific method! Explore yourself - perform your own experiments, observations, analyses - and draw your own conclusions. These skills translate to many other scientific projects you may undertake in the future.


There are no special requirements to take this course. We expect some curiosity about biology and interest to perform some simple data analysis. You need to work with (the freely available) "google spreadsheets" (or similar data processing program like MS Excel).

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the sessions be available?

Each session will run for one week. You can enroll in them during that time. Sessions will become inactive and archived after they are run.

Do I get any credit or a certificate?

No, the course sessions do not offer any kind of credit or certification.

Do the course sessions include the ability to earn a Statement of Accomplishment?


Do you have an attendance limit - and what should I do if the course is already full?

Yes - we do have a limit of how many participants we can accommodate in any give course offering. If you first choice is already full - then sign up for another one. In case of very high demand - we will make more course offerings avaiable in the near future.  

Course Staff

Ingmar Riedel-Kruse

Assistant Professor, Bioengineering Stanford


Zahid Hossain

Graduate Student, Bioengineering and Computer Science



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Tuesday, March 29, 2016 to Friday, June 10, 2016
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This interdisciplinary course encompasses the fields of rock mechanics, structural geology, earthquake seismology and petroleum engineering to address a wide range of geomechanical problems that arise during the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs.

The course considers key practical issues such as prediction of pore pressure, estimation of hydrocarbon column heights and fault seal potential, determination of optimally stable well trajectories, casing set points and mud weights, changes in reservoir performance during depletion, and production-induced faulting and subsidence. The first part of the course establishes the basic principles involved in a way that allows readers from different disciplinary backgrounds to understand the key concepts.

The course is intended for geoscientists and engineers in the petroleum and geothermal industries, and for research scientists interested in stress measurements and their application to problems of faulting and fluid flow in the crust.


Introductory Geology and Geophysics
Familiarity with principles of drilling and petroleum production


  • 20, 90 minute lectures (in ~20 minute segments). 2 lectures will be made available each week, starting March 29, 2016.
  • Lecture 1 is a course overview to introduce students to the topics covered in the course. Lectures 2-17 follow 12 chapters of Dr. Zoback’s textbook, Reservoir Geomechanics (Cambridge University Press, 2007) with updated examples and applications. Lectures 18 and 19 are on topics related to geomechanical issues affecting shale gas and tight oil recovery. Lecture 20 is on the topic of managing the risk of triggered and induced seismicity.
  • 8 Homework assignments (and associated video modules) are intended to give students hands-on experience with a number of the topics addressed in the course.
  • The course grade will be based solely on homework assignments. There will be no quizzes or exams.
  • Homework assignments will be graded electronically and will consist of multiple choice and numerical entry responses.
  • There will be an online discussion forum where students can discuss the content of the course and ask questions of each other and the instructors.


Dr. Mark D. Zoback

Dr. Mark D. Zoback is the Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics at Stanford University. Dr. Zoback conducts research on in situ stress, fault mechanics, and reservoir geomechanics with an emphasis on shale gas, tight gas and tight oil production. He was one of the principal investigators of the SAFOD project in which a scientific research well was successfully drilled through the San Andreas Fault at seismogenic depth. He is the author of a textbook entitled Reservoir Geomechanics published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. He is the author/co-author of over 300 technical papers and holds five patents. He was the co-founder of GeoMechanics International in 1996, where he was Chairman of the Board until 2008. Dr. Zoback currently serves as a Senior Executive Adviser to Baker Hughes. Dr. Zoback has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2006 Emil Wiechert Medal of the German Geophysical Society and the 2008 Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and in 2012 elected to Honorary Membership in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He is the 2013 recipient of the Louis Néel Medal, European Geosciences Union and named an Einstein Chair Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He recently served on the National Academy of Engineering committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the Secretary of Energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. He currently serves on a Canadian Council of Academies panel investigating the same topic. Dr. Zoback is currently serving on the National Academy of Sciences Advisory Board on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fatemeh Rassouli, Graduate Teaching Assistant

Fatemeh Rassouli is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Stress and Crustal Mechanics research group in Stanford's Department of Geophysics. She runs a laboratory based research project studying time-dependent behavior of shale rock samples at reservoir stress and temperature conditions. Fatemeh completed her B.S. in Mining Engineering at University of Tehran, Iran, with honors in 2008. She also holds a master’s degree in Mining Engineering from University of Tehran and a master’s degree in Geophysics from Stanford University. Fatemeh was a visiting scholar at Tokai University and Toyota National College in Japan in 2010 and MIT in 2015. She currently collaborates with the Stanford Rock and Borehole Geophysics consortium.

Noha Farghal, Graduate Teaching Assistant

Noha Farghal is a 5th year PhD candidate in the Geophysics Department at Stanford University. She is a member of the Zoback Stress and Crustal Mechanics Group, working with Prof. Mark Zoback on identifying and characterizing faults and fracture networks in 3D seismic data from tight gas reservoirs. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in Physics from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and holds a Master degree in Physics and a Master degree in Geophysics. Noha's teaching experience include 3D seismic processing (GP224 at Stanford), nuclear physics and solid state physics laboratories as well as scientific thinking courses.


Can I at least access the course materials, even if I can't take the course?

Yes. All course material is archived and available for download for non-commercial purposes. To do so, register for the course.

Will I receive a Statement of Accomplishment in this course?

Yes. A Statement of Accomplishment will be given to those students who obtain more than 70% of the maximum points on the 8 homework assignments.

Do I need to purchase a textbook for the course?

While it is not required to purchase the Reservoir Geomechanics textbook for this course, it is recommended. Lectures 2-17 follow the 12 chapters of the book. The book provides significant additional detail and explanation of the course concepts. It is available through:
Cambridge University Press:
Amazon and Kindle:

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016
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This course covers key topics in the use of quantum mechanics in many modern applications in science and technology, introduces core advanced concepts such as spin, identical particles, the quantum mechanics of light, the basics of quantum information, and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, and covers the major ways in which quantum mechanics is written and used in modern practice. It follows on directly from the QMSE-01 "Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers" course, and is also accessible to others who have studied some quantum mechanics at the equivalent of a first junior or senior college-level physics quantum mechanics course. All of the material for the QMSE-01 course is also provided as a resource. The course should prepare the student well to understand quantum mechanics as it is used in a wide range of current applications and areas and provide a solid grounding for deeper studies of specific more advanced areas. 


Quantum mechanics in crystals

Crystal structures, the Bloch theorem that simplifies quantum mechanics in crystals, and other useful concepts for understanding semiconductor devices, such as density of states, effective mass, quantum confinement in nanostructures, and important example problems like optical absorption in semiconductors, a key process behind all optoelectronics. 

Methods for one-dimensional problems

How to understand and calculate tunneling current. The transfer matrix technique, a very simple and effective technique for calculating quantum mechanical waves and states.

Spin and identical particles

The purely quantum mechanical idea of spin, and how to represent and visualize it. The general ideas of identical particles in quantum mechanics, including fermions and bosons, their properties and the states of multiple identical particles. 

Quantum mechanics of light

Representing light quantum mechanically, including the concept of photons, and introducing the ideas of annihilation and creation operators.

Interaction of different kinds of particles

Describing interactions and processes using annihilation and creation operators for fermions and bosons, including the important examples of stimulated and spontaneous emission that correctly explain all light emitters, from lasers to light bulbs. 

Mixed states and the density matrix

Introducing the idea of mixed states to describe how quantum mechanical systems interact with the rest of the complex world around us, and the notation and use of the density matrix to describe and manipulate these.

Quantum measurement and quantum information

Introducing the no-cloning theorem, quantum cryptography, quantum entanglement and the basic ideas of quantum computing and teleportation, and returning to the idea of measurement in quantum mechanics, including the surprising results of Bell’s inequalities.

Interpretation of quantum mechanics

A brief introduction to some of the different approaches to the difficult problem of understanding what quantum mechanics really means!


The course is designed to build on a first course on quantum mechanics at the junior or senior college level, so students should have at least that background. The material here is specifically matched to follow on from the Stanford Online QMSE-01 "Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers" class, and all the material from that class is provided as background in the online course materials here. No additional background beyond that class is presumed here.


David Miller

David Miller is the W. M. Keck Foundation Professor of Electrical Engineering and, by Courtesy, Professor of Applied Physics, both at Stanford University. He received his B. Sc. and Ph. D. degrees in Physics in Scotland, UK from St. Andrews University and Heriot-Watt University, respectively. Before moving to Stanford in 1996, he worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories for 15 years. His research interests have included physics and applications of quantum nanostructures, including invention of optical modulator devices now widely used in optical fiber communications, and fundamentals and applications of optics and nanophotonics. He has received several awards and honorary degrees for his work, holds over 70 US Patents, is a Fellow of many major professional societies in science and engineering, including IEEE, APS, OSA, the Royal Society of London, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the US. He has taught quantum mechanics at Stanford for more than 10 years to a broad range of students ranging from physics and engineering undergraduates to graduate engineers and scientists in many disciplines.


Do I need to buy a textbook?

You do not need to buy a textbook; the course is self-contained. My book “Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers” (Cambridge, 2008) is an optional additional resource for the course. It follows essentially the same syllabus, has additional problems and exercises, allows you to go into greater depth on some ideas, and also contains many additional topics for further study.

How much of a time commitment will this course be?

You should expect this course to require 7 – 10 hours of work per week.

Does this course carry any kind of Stanford University credit?


Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment?

Yes, students who score at least 70% will pass the course and receive a Statement of Accomplishment. Students who score at least 90% will receive a Statement of Accomplishment with distinction.

We recommend taking this course on a standard computer using Google Chrome as your internet browser. We are not yet optimized for mobile devices.

Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers 2  Course Image

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Thursday, July 30, 2015 to Wednesday, September 30, 2015
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This course provides an overview of women's health and human rights, beginning in infancy and childhood, then moving through adolescence, reproductive years and aging. We consider economic, social, political and human rights factors, and the challenges women face in maintaining health and managing their lives in the face of societal pressures and obstacles.

We focus on critical issues, namely those that may mean life or death to a woman, depending on whether she can exercise her human rights. These critical issues include: being born female and discrimination; poverty; unequal access to education, food, paid work and health care; and various forms of violence. Topics discussed include son preference, education, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, violence in the home and in war and refugee circumstances, women's work, sex trafficking, and aging.

Our MOOC will have a special focus on creating an international network of engaged students. We will ask students to take part in interactive discussions and cooperative exercises and to share their own experiences. We also ask students to engage with the communities they live in, in order to deepen their understanding of the issues and tie academic ideas to real-life circumstances.


What basic principles form the foundation course?

Because we believe that what we do is important but that the way we do it is more important, we attempt to teach and learn according to a set of principles that will guide the content and processes of the course. These are: compassion, mutual learning, respect, transparency, trust, and truth.

What do I need to take this course?

An interest in health and social justice. It will be useful to have an open mind, willingness to hear different points of view, and a commitment to positive social change. 

Access to the Internet. A stable internet connection will also be useful, as much of the other content, including video interviews and lectures will be delivered online.

The course already started! Is it too late to join?

No you don't have to worry. Because it is an online class, you can comfortably jump into this course the first couple weeks while it is running. You get to review the material and watch video lectures and interviews on your own time! However, you'll want to get up to speed so you can interact with the other students in this international online community.

Is there a textbook for the class?

The primary text for the class is a book on international health and human rights, From Outrage to Courage: The Unjust and Unhealthy Situation of Women in Poorer Countries and What They Are Doing About It (Second Edition), by Anne Firth Murray. If you are interested in having a copy of the book, you can obtain one from We will also make individual chapters available online during the course.

Can I receive a Statement of Accomplishment for this course?

Yes, participants who successfully complete the required elements of the course will receive a personalized Statement of Accomplishment. Please note that online courses do not include university credit.

Course Staff

Anne Firth Murray

Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, was educated at the University of California and New York University in economics, political science and public administration, with a focus on international health policy and women’s reproductive health.

For the past twenty-five years, Anne has worked in the field of philanthropy, serving as a consultant to many foundations. From 1978-1987, she directed the environment and international population programs at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in California. She is the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women, which aims to seed, strengthen, and link groups committed to women’s well-being and human rights. In 2005, Anne was nominated along with a thousand activist women for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Anne is a Consulting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University, where she teaches on women's health, human rights and love as a force for social justice. She is the author of the books Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change and From Outrage to Courage: The Unjust and Unhealthy Situation of Women in Poorer Countries and What They Are Doing About It, on international women's health.

Kevin Hsu

Kevin runs a design studio, Skyship Educational Design, developing open online courses (MOOCs) and deploying digital tools in the classroom. He is dedicated to crafting new experiences for students and developed some of Stanford’s earliest social science MOOCs for a global audience, including “Democratic Development” featuring Prof. Larry Diamond. He also co-teaches the International Urbanization Seminar with the Program on Urban Studies at Stanford University.


International Women's Health Course Feature

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Course Description

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the most significant problems facing the world today. Solutions to these problems invariably require a large-scale conversion of our energy infrastructure.

This course will provide you with proven methods and techniques to develop and evaluate strategies for changing the infrastructure at the local, regional and global levels to provide a healthy and sustainable future.

You Will Learn

  • Alternative energy solutions and how to rank them in terms of multiple factors, including carbon-equivalent emissions, air pollution health impacts, land requirements, water requirements, reliability and others
  • Case studies for determining wind as an available and viable sustainable energy source for the world
  • Technical feasibilities of powering the world and individual regions by considering the account costs, transmission needs, jobs, materials and tradeoffs of the solutions you are evaluating


Mark Jacobson, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford School of Engineering

Additional Resources


Planning for a Sustainable Future

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Monday, May 18, 2015
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People depend on nature to sustain and fulfill human life, yet the values of nature are typically ignored in decisions. Mapping and modeling ecosystem services can help highlight the diverse benefits provided to people by nature (what and where) and explore how those benefits might change under different management options--thus bringing information about nature’s values into decisions in practical ways. With these approaches, we can improve the state of biodiversity and human well-being by motivating greater and more cost-effective investments in both.

This course introduces the Natural Capital Project’s (NatCap’s) approach to using ecosystem service information to inform decisions. It uses specific examples from Department of Defense installations to illustrate how the approach works in these environmnets, highlighting key methods and tools used in implementation.

Split into five modules, NCP102 first gives an overview of the inception of the Natural Capital Project's work with the Department of Defense, and explains why these ideas and approaches can be widely applied in other DoD contexts. Module 2 introduces the concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services, the stocks and flows of vital benefits flowing from nature to people. The thids module describes InVEST, NatCap’s software tool for mapping, modeling, and valuing ecosystem services. In addition, it provides guidance on project scoping and on matching approaches and tools to a project’s goals, decision context, timeline, capacity, and quality of data available. Modules 4-5 offer an overview of the skills needed to use InVEST models, including recommendations for how to effectively summarize and communicate model outputs to stakeholders and other audiences.


This course is intended for those interested in how natural capital approaches can inform decisions taken by governments, multi-lateral development institutions, and non-governmental organizations, with particular focus on informing Department of Defense land management decisions. It can be a resource for individuals interested in simply learning about these concepts or for those interested in using the NatCap’s approaches and tools in their research or to influence decisions.


There are no prerequisites for this course. However, we recommend that you download InVEST and GIS software (either QGIS or ArcGIS). GIS is not mandatory if you do not intend to follow the technical examples or complete the optional assessment contained in modules 4 and 5. InVEST requires a Windows operating system environment to run.


Henry Borrebach

Project Manager for Outreach and Training - Lead Instructor

Henry Borrebach is on the Natural Capital Project's training team, overseeing online education and the annual Natural Capital Symposium, as well as coordinating NatCap trainings around the globe. Henry has extensive experience in applied pedagogy and international education, and he is passionate about making the science behind conservation accessible to the public. He is currently working with the team to develop online training courses that make NatCap's approach and tools available to a wider audience. Henry holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. from Florida International University. Before joining the project, he co-founded the O, Miami international poetry festival.

Shan Ma, PhD


Shan Ma is part of the team that adapted and applied InVEST at three Department of Defense demonstration sites to inform their resource management and land-use policy. In particular, she led the valuation of different ecosystem services of interest at the installations. Her research interests lie in non-market valuation of ecosystem services and its implications for real-world policy. Shan Ma earned her Ph.D. and M.S in agricultural, food and resource economics from Michigan State University, and a bachelor's degree in environmental economics and management from Renmin University of China. Shan Ma was a Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow with the Board on Agricultural and Natural Resources at the National Academies before joining the Natural Capital Project.

Brad Eichelberger

GIS Analyst

Brad Eichelberger is part of a team that adapted and applied InVEST at three Department of Defense demonstration sites to inform their resource management and land-use policy. He altered existing InVEST tools to meet the land manager's goals. He has also worked closely with the hydrology team to develop the freshwater InVEST models. Prior to joining the Natural Capital Project, he was an ecologist with the Natural Heritage Program in Pennsylvania and conducted research on rare species and associated habitat. Brad earned his M.S in applied ecology and conservation biology and a B.S. in biology from Frostburg State University and has received ESRI's Special Achievements in GIS award for his previous work.

Gregg Verutes

Geographer and Science Education Lead

Gregg Verutes leads NatCap's training program which hosts both introductory and technical workshops throughout the world. His current focus is developing innovative techniques that utilize maps, games, and problem-based exercises to teach students, scientists and practitioners about valuing nature. Gregg also serves as a GIS specialist for the marine team working on coastal zone management and spatial planning in Belize, Vietnam and the Americas. He worked previously for National Geographic as a GIS instructor and a visiting scientist with the World Wildlife Fund's Conservation Science Program. Gregg received his M.S. from San Diego State University and his B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.


Do I need to complete all the modules in the course?

While the lessons contained in each of the five modules are intended to stand alone, we strongly encourage all participants to begin by reading through the Course Roadmap. This section explains how the course is organized and provides important background information about the case studies included throughout. To launch the Course Roadmap, click the "Start here" button on the top-left panel of the Courseware.

Do you offer a Statement of Accomplishment for completing the course?

The course is structured to provide two levels of accomplishment. Students completing only Modules 1-3 will be provided with a Statement of Accomplishment for Intro to Ecosystem Services. Students who complete Modules 1 through 5 (including the assessment exercise) will receive a Statement of Accomplishment in Ecosystem Services and Applications.

Do I need to buy a textbook?

This course is completely free. Links to download all the necessary course materials and tools are provided within each unit.

How long should it take to complete this course?

The course is divided into five modules. It should take approximately one hour to finish each module and about five hours to complete the entire course.

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Natural Capital Approach

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Worldview Stanford
Accepting Applications:
January 1, 2015 - September 21, 2015
Course Starts Online:
September 21, 2015
Fee and Application.
This course is offered through Worldview Stanford. Worldview Stanford is an innovative Stanford University initiative that creates learning experiences for professionals to help them get smarter about the complex issues and dynamics shaping the future.

Course Description

What's driving big data?: We increasingly live our social, economic, and intellectual lives in the digital realm, enabled by new tools and technologies. These activities generate massive data sets, which in turn refine the tools. How will this co-evolution of technology and data reshape society more broadly?

Creating new value: Big data changes what can be known about the world, transforming science, industries, and culture. It reveals solutions to social problems and allows products and services to be even more targeted. Where will big data create the greatest sources of new value?

Shifting power and influence: As data becomes even more valuable, who will own and control access to it? Will big data create information oligarchs or reduce inequality by giving access to people at the margins? How will brokers of big data influence our purchases, behavior, and beliefs?

Managing the tradeoffs: The promise of big data is accompanied by perils—in terms of privacy, security, reputation, and social and economic disruption. How will we manage these tradeoffs individually and in business, government, and civil society?

Featured Experts

Learn from a variety of sources and Stanford experts, including:

  • Lucy Bernholz, philanthropy, technology, and policy scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
  • Sharad Goel, computational scientist studying politics, media, and social networks
  • Margaret Levi, political scientist specializing in governance, trust, and legitimacy
  • John Mitchell, computer scientist, cybersecurity expert, and Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning
  • Jennifer Granick, attorney and director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society
  • Michal Kosinski,psychologist and computational scientist studying online and organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business


Big Data Continuing Studies

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Monday, June 22, 2015
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This course is designed as an introduction to the study of economics. Participants will be exposed to the economic way of thinking and learn about the functioning of a modern market economy. The early part of the course focuses on microeconomic analysis including the behavior of consumers and firms. We analyze markets for goods and services and policy choices that affect these markets. The later part of the course moves on to macroeconomic concepts such as national production, employment, inflation and interest rates. We explore models that determine long-run growth and short-term fluctuations in national economies. We then discuss the role of government regulation, monetary policy, and fiscal policy.


This course is designed as an introduction to the study of economics. Participants will be exposed to the economic way of thinking and learn about the functioning of a modern market economy. The early part of the course focuses on microeconomic analysis including the behavior of consumers and firms. We analyze markets for goods and services and policy choices that affect these markets. The later part of the course moves on to macroeconomic concepts such as national production, employment, inflation and interest rates. We explore models that determine long-run growth and short-term fluctuations in national economies. We then discuss the role of government regulation, monetary policy, and fiscal policy.

Part 1

The Basic Core

  • Getting Started
  • Observing and Explaining the Economy
  • The Supply and Demand Model
  • Using the Supply and Demand Model

The Competitive Equilibrium Model

  • Deriving Demand
  • Deriving Supply
  • Market Equilibrium and Efficiency

Firms and Industries Changing Over Time

  • Cost and Changes at Firms Over Time
  • The Rise and Fall of Industries

Deviations from Competition

  • Monopoly and Market Power
  • Between Monopoly and Competition
  • Antitrust Policy and Regulation

Labor Markets

  • The Labor Supply and Demand Model
  • Labor Model Cont. – Min. Wage and Discrimination

Key Economic Policy Issues

  • Taxes, Transfers and Income Distribution
  • Public Goods and Externalities
  • Government Failure and Success

Financial and Capital Markets

  • Markets for Physical Capital
  • Financial Markets: Risk and Return

Part 2

Macro Facts and Measures

  • Getting Started with Macroeconomic Ideas
  • Measuring Production, Income and Spending of Nations

Long Run Macro

  • Determining Consumption, Investment and Govt. Shares
  • Employment and Unemployment
  • Productivity, Economic Growth and Determining Factors
  • A Look at Money, Inflation and the Fed

Short Run Macro

  • Introduction to Economic Fluctuations
  • Economic Fluctuations Model
  • Using the ADIA Model

Macro Policy Issues

  • Intro to Macroeconomic Policy
  • Fiscal Policy
  • Monetary Policy
  • Monetary Policy Analysis

International Economic Issues

  • Gains from Trade
  • International Trade Policy – Tariffs and Quotas


Do I need to buy a textbook?

No. All required course materials will be provided through the online platform. The textbook Principles of Economics, Seventh Edition, by John B. Taylor and Akila Weerapana, may be used as a study resource, but is not required. Used books, earlier editions, rentals, or e-books versions of this book are options to keep the cost down.

Will I receive Stanford credit for this course?

No. For those interested in a for-credit, Stanford Summer Session course covering similar material, see Econ 1V.

Can I receive a statement of accomplishment for this course?

Yes. If you receive a 50% or better you will receive a Statement of Accomplishment. If you receive a 75% or better you will receive a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction. You must complete this requirement by Sept. 4, 2015. No matter which option you choose, getting through the requirement is a major accomplishment!


John B. Taylor

John B. Taylor is the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University. He was previously the director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and was founding director of Stanford's Introductory Economics Center. He has a long and distinguished record of public service. Among other roles, he served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors from 1989 to 1991 and as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 2001 to 2005.

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Worldview Stanford
Coming Soon.
This course is offered through WORLDVIEW Stanford. Worldview Stanford is an innovative Stanford University initiative that creates learning experiences for professionals to help them get smarter about the complex issues and dynamics shaping the future.

Fee and Application.

Course Description

This unique course combines hands-on training in the scenario planning methodology with a deep exploration of the environmental, economic and social uncertainties that will shape the future of what we eat, where our food comes from, and whether we will be able to count on its supply and safety in the coming decades.

Online: Get grounded in the latest research and perspectives on the future of the global food system. Learn about some of the biggest challenges—from climate change, population growth, changes in consumption, agricultural practices, and political disputes—as well as the opportunities for boosting resilience through scientific, technological and social advances. 

At Stanford: Develop Scenarios on the Future of Food to 2030. Tap Stanford experts on food to deepen your knowledge. Learn—by doing—the original scenario methodology pioneered by Royal Dutch Shell and Global Business Network, working directly with seasoned practitioners.

  • Identify driving forces and critical uncertainties
  • Develop a scenario framework, stories, and implications
  • Learn scenario planning tips and best practices

Featured Experts

Learn from a variety of sources and Stanford experts, including:

Chris Field

climate scientist and co-chairman of IPCC Working Group II

Meg Caldwell

environmental lawyer and Executive Director of the Center for Ocean Solutions

David Lobell

expert on food and agriculture, Deputy Director, Stanford Center of Food Security and the Environment

Buzz Thompson

natural resource attorney and co-director of the Stanford Woods Institute


The Future of Food Scenario Training

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