ENT 1906: Magnificent, Miniature Minds: From Dancing Honeybees to Cyborgs

3 CreditsFreshman Seminar

Did you know that honeybees can be trained to recognize human faces or that desert ants can count their steps while walking? Have you ever thought about how an octopus ‘knows’ how to match its body coloration to its marine environment and a monarch butterfly can find its over-wintering site located thousands of miles away? These are just a few examples of the extraordinary abilities that invertebrate animals display, reflecting the mighty power of their miniature brains and nervous systems. In this course, we will discuss the fascinating behaviors of animals with miniature brains and how their numerally-limited nervous systems enable them to do what they do. We will also explore how a deeper understanding of small-brain networks can inform us about how our own brains work, and how such knowledge can be used to engineer adaptive robots, cyborgs and smart machines. This course is designed to be integrative—including disciplines intersecting with animal behavior, entomology, evolution, ecology, neuroscience, psychology and bioengineering. A major goal of this course is to widen one’s view of the importance of invertebrate animals in the field of neuroscience and gain an appreciation of the translational impact that this knowledge can have and will continue to have on our society and daily lives. Students will also be introduced to basic concepts in neurobiology and learn how small neural networks operate.

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All Instructors

A- Average (3.567)Most Common: A (50%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

86 students
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  • 4.56


  • 4.53


  • 4.24


  • 4.24



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