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Professor's video series explains all facets of Earth
Date:1/29/2008

Videos have been the bailiwick of rock stars at least since the days of Bob Dylan. But now theyre spilling over into a new arena - academia.

Michael E. Wysession, Ph.D., associate professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has 48 lectures on planet Earth coming out in a video format in February. Its a sort of brainiac's boxed set. Each 30-minute lecture focuses on an aspect of the Earth, from its origins and composition to its climate, orbit, pollution and relationship to human history.

The Teaching Company, the leading maker of video college courses, based in Chantilly, Virginia, produces How the Earth Works. Wysession has also written a 250-page print book to accompany the lectures. His audience includes schools and libraries but mostly consists of individual professional people - doctors, lawyers, engineers - who tend to seek knowledge in areas of their curiosity, but not of their expertise. A version of the course for home-schooled students is also in the works.

The lectures are designed to give someone a full sense of the history of the Earth and how it works," Wysession said. To me, its a real mission to increase peoples understanding of the fundamental issues involved with the Earth, pollution, evolution, climate change, and the environment. I hope they give a sense that people are also a big part of the story. We are not separate in watching things happen to the Earth. We, people, are now the Earths greatest agents of geologic change. We need to understand that power if we are to ever be able to use it responsibly. Thats the lesson I want people to take home with them.

The Teaching Company looks for people who have stellar reputations in their fields but who also are known to give entertaining, inspiring lectures.

Much of the material for the videos comes from a course, Earth and the Environment, that Wysession
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Contact: Michael E. Wysession
mwysession@wustl.edu
314-935-5625
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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