The discussion of Machiavelli's politics continues in the context of his most famous work, The Prince. A reformer of the moral Christian and classical concepts of goodness and evil, Machiavelli proposes his own definitions of virtue and vice, replacing the vocabulary associated with Plato and the biblical sources. He relates virtue, or virtu, to manliness, force, ambition and the desire to achieve success at all costs. Fortune, or fortuna,...more
In this lecture, Professor Mazzotta introduces Purgatory and proceeds with a close reading of Cantos I and II. The topography of Mount Purgatory is described, and the moral system it structures is contrasted with that of Hell. Dante's paradoxical choice of Cato, a pagan suicide, as guardian to the entrance of Purgatory ushers in a discussion of freedom from the standpoint of classical antiquity, on the one hand, and Judaism, on the other. ...more
In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled the Islamic Caliphate beginning in 750. The Abbasids moved the capitol of the Caliphate to the newly-built city of Baghdad and created a state characterized by a strong administration and well-organized tax system. The state sponsored a cultural flowering, based in part on the translation of classical Greek and Roman texts. Professor Freedman ends the lecture by...more
This second lecture on Paradise Lost looks at hell and its inhabitants, as depicted in Books I and II. Milton's struggle both to match and outdo his literary predecessors is examined by way of allusions to the works of Homer and Edmund Spenser, particularly the cave of Mammon episode in Book Two of The Faerie Queene. The presence of classical mythological figures, such as Medusa and Mulciber, in the Christian hell of Paradise Lost is ponde...more
This lecture is devoted to discussion of the wonderful Quantum world. Classical Mechanics, in spite of all of its impressive predictive power, fails to explain many microscopic behaviors. This led to the development of Quantum Mechanics, where electrons orbit nuclei in discrete energy levels, light can behave as a particle, and particles behave as waves. The location of microscopic particles can only be expressed in terms of probabilities....more
The idea of ecological communities has changed tremendously over the past forty years. The classical view stated that there were so many different species because evolution packed them tightly into the available niches. The modern view emphasizes the idea of trophic cascades, or top-down control in food chains. This emphasized the importance of predation in ecology, although it downplayed the significance of food webs, which showed the int...more
In this lecture, we use the overlapping generations model from the previous class to see, mathematically, how demographic changes can influence interest rates and asset prices. We evaluate Tobin's statement that a perpetually growing population could solve the Social Security problem, and resolve, in a surprising way, a classical argument about the link between birth rates and the level of the stock market. Lastly, we finish by laying some...more
In this second lecture on Paradise Regained, the three temptations are examined and Milton's unusual departure from their account in the Gospel of Luke is discussed. The poem's tacit assertion of the superiority of knowledge and ethics over action is probed. Considerable time is spent examining the Son's rejection of classical literature. Finally, Book Four's allusion to the riddle of the sphinx serves as a springboard to a consideration o...more
Professor Sylvia Ceyer breaks down the Octet Rule covering molecules with an odd number of valence electrons, octet deficient molecules, and valence shell expansion. She concludes with ionic bonds as a classical model and mechanism discussing the Harpoon Mechanism, limitations of the model, and energy of interaction vs. the radius of an electron.
Algorithm Section Of The Course, Unconstrained Minimization, Initial Point And Sublevel Set, Strong Convexity And Implications, Descent Methods, Gradient Descent Method, Steepest Descent Method, Newton Step, Newton's Method, Classical Convergence Analysis, Examples
(April 12, 2010) Robert Sapolsky introduces a two-part series exploring the controversial scientific practice of inferring behavior to genetics. He covers classical techniques in behavior genetics and flaws, the significance of environmental factors, non genetic inheritance of traits, and multigenerational effects and relationship to epigenetic differences.
Heredity and Classical Genetics. Dominant and recessive traits. Heterozygous and homozygous genotypes.