Science and technology are becoming increasingly important in public policy. From environmental sustainability to homeland security, policy-makers routinely make decisions that require input from, and have impact on, society. In order to form rational judgments on the complex challenges society encounters today, one must possess both an understanding of the underlying scientific and technical issues and an appreciation for relevant economic, political, legal, historical and ethical dimensions. . Currently, there are very few courses available in either field that offer our students the opportunity to come at these topics in an interdisciplinary manner and, more importantly, to learn how to interact effectively with experts from drastically different backgrounds.  
The objective of this class is to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum between the College of Science and the College of Law on the broad, interconnected issues of science and public policy, law and regulation. The topic addressed within this class focus mostly on environmental science, water pollution, climate change, renewable energy, genetic engineering, vaccines...


Scientists have identified greenhouse gases – CO2 from fuel combustion, CH4 and N2O from agriculture and farming – as the main cause for global climate change. These gases are mostly naturally occurring, but the increasing emissions of these gases have never been so substantial. Since the industrial revolution, cheap energy from fossil fuels has been an extraordinary boon to mankind. Driven by the explosive energy of coal, oil, and natural gas, our society has enjoyed a remarkable three-century long wave of prosperity. However, 200 years of burning carbon has had a drastic impact on our environment and climate change is now the world's most significant existential challenge. ​

Dr. Gianetti explains how chemists can help tackling global climate change. More precisely, he discusses how species called catalyst can be used to convert green house gases to more benign chemicals.