Understanding Science: An Introduction to Science
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." - Albert Einstein
At a Glance
- Classroom course
- 2 hours a week
- Wednesdays 18:30 - 20:30
- 20 weeks: October to March
- Tutor: Linda van Keimpema
- Fees from £230 to £420
- Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Science is everywhere: it allows you to make a nice warm cup of tea, to see all the objects around you, and to cross water by walking over a bridge. Science also holds our galaxy together, it makes the laws that drive biodiversity, and describes the nature of subatomic particles - the building blocks of everything. Diving into the diversity and beauty of science will bring you an adventurous ride full of knowledge and surprises.
This 20-week course aims to give you just a taste for that adventure, as we travel through the entirety of scientific understanding (or at least as much as we can fit in). Starting with the cosmos, we will travel through our universe and discuss all the objects we meet on the way. Landing on Earth we will learn about the ever changing aspects of our planet, and how Earth can support life. We will learn about the chemical building blocks of life, discover how our genetics determines who we are, see how our body works and can be improved using modern medicine, and explore how the knowledge of mathematics, artificial intelligence, and applied sciences shaped the modern world.
Each week we will explore a new topic, as well as discussing the science that is going on in the world around us and how we think that science will affect our future. If you have ever wanted to learn more about science and the way everything works, join us for what promises to be an exciting ride!
No prior knowledge of science is required, just an inquisitive mind!
Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.
Session 1: The Universe
In this session we will discuss the origin of the universe, and discover how stars and planets were born. We will learn about the different objects which we can find in the universe today.
Session 2: The Solar System
We will take a close look at our Solar System, learning about the interplay between the Sun and Earth. We will discuss the other planets circling the sun: their unique features and their moons.
Session 3: Astrobiology
We will learn what is needed for life, examples of extreme life on Earth, and where we might find extra-terrestrial life. We will take a close look at the Moon and its interaction with Earth.
Session 4: Geology
We will discuss the timeline of Earth and how our planet changed over the billions of years it has been around. We will discover the structure of the Earth and how internal movements lead to earth quakes and volcanoes.
Session 5: Climate
In this session we will learn about the changes in Earth’s atmosphere: weather and climate. We will discuss how the weather changes over short and long time periods.
Session 6: Quantum Physics
We will discover the build-up of atoms, and the nature of the different elementary particles. We will learn how new atoms are detected and the laws of physics which apply at this smallest scale.
Session 7: Chemistry
In this session we will learn how atoms come together to for a molecule. We will discuss radioactivity and how energy can be generated in nuclear reactions.
Session 8: Origin of life
We will find out how life emerged on Earth, what life needed and what the early life looked like. We will learn how we can look back in time and study this early life.
Session 9: Evolution
We will learn how organisms evolved, how this gave rise to many species, and about major extinction events which limited diversity. We will take a close look at the evolution into modern humans.
*** Christmas break ***
Session 10: Genetics
In this lesson we will learn everything about the genetic code of life: DNA. We will discover how DNA determines what you look like and how it is inherited over generations.
Session 11: Cells
We will discuss the different types of cells and how they come together to make up a body. We will dive into all the contents of the cell, and learn the variety of protein functions.
Session 12: Human Body
In this session we will learn how humans develop from a fertilised egg. We will discuss how the human body is build up and how organs can communicate with each other.
Session 13: Disease
We will learn what can cause a disease and how the immune system is able to prevent diseases. We will discover how pharmaceuticals are designed to prevent and cure diseases.
Session 14: Medicine
We will discuss how different types of pharmaceuticals are designed to help fight of diseases. We will learn how a vaccine works and can trigger the immune system to prevent you becoming sick.
Session 15: Neuroscience
We will discuss the aspects of the brain: how it is build up and how it performs all it’s different functions. We will learn how brain cells work - and work together - and how memory is formed.
Session 16: Mathematics
In this session we will discover the diversity of mathematics. We will learn how important and widely applicable mathematics is, and will do some exercises including counting in the binary system.
Session 17: Computers
We will dive into the development of the first computers, and how they became the amazing machines we have today. We will learn about artificial intelligence and it’s many implications.
Session 18: Applied sciences
We will learn how science is the basis of many modern day equipment. We will focus on the mechanisms of electricity and magnetism, learn how light is used, and discuss the development of transport.
Session 19: History of science
We will follow the history of science and scientific discoveries, recognising how it changed over decades and discussing modern day science.
Session 20: Scientists
What makes a (good) scientist? We will discuss well known and acknowledged scientists, as well as some less known scientists, and discuss how we think science should progress in the future.
There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.
Your tutor will be Dr Linda van Keimpema who completed a PhD into molecular neuroscience and has taught biology, physics, mathematics and other science-related topics at VU University in Amsterdam and at Kaplan International College in London. She is a strategic teaching fellow at the Faculty of Medicine of Imperial College London.
Course Delivery: Classroom Taught Courses
Courses delivered in-person in a classroom*
This course takes place at our South Kensington Campus and will be classroom taught.
All courses lasting two hours have a 10-minute break in the middle. For one hour courses there is no break.
Covid-19 and Safe Distancing for Classroom-based Courses
Please be aware of covid-19 safe-distancing requirements and adhere to them. We ask if possible that participants on this course take a home swab test (lateral flow test) before joining each session of the class. Swab tests can be ordered free of charge prior to the start of the course from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or obtained free of charge from many pharmacists.
* In the event of the government or Public Health England requiring further lockdown measures the class will transfer online and any remaining sessions will be taught entirely online.
Course Fees and Rate Categories
|Hours||Weeks||Standard Rate||Internal Rate||Associate Rate|
|40||20|| £420 (Early Bird Rate: £380*)
||£250 (Early Bird Rate: £230*)||£330 (Early Bird Rate: £300*)|
|* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October only | All fee rates quoted are for the whole 2-term course.|
Rate Categories and Discounts
- Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.
- Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
- Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
- Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
- Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact firstname.lastname@example.org before completing the online enrolment form
- Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
- Austrian Cultural Forum staff
- City & Guilds College Association members
- Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
- Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
- Harrods staff
- Historic Royal Palaces staff
- Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
- Members of the Friends of Imperial College
- Members of the Kennel Club
- Members of the London Zoological Society
- Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
- Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- Natural History Museum staff
- National Health Service (NHS) employees
- Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
- Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
- Royal Geographical Society staff
- Science Museum staff
- Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
- Students (non-Imperial College)
- Teachers and other staff of UK schools
- Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
- Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
- Victoria and Albert Museum staff
It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.
Applicable terms & conditions
Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.
|Hours||Weeks||Autumn term||Spring term||Summer term||Summer School|
|40||20||18 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (9 weeks)* PLUS||10 Jan - 26 Mar 2022 (11 weeks)||n/a||n/a|
|* Followed by the Christmas break|
Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021
Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:
- Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
- First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
- The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
- The following email notifications are sent:
|What is sent||When is it sent||What does it contain|
|1. Payment confirmation||Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application||
|2. Enrolment confirmation||Is sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received||
|3. Programme information||Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts||
|If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756
- Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Dr Linda van Keimpema at email@example.com
- Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.