Course Description: This course may be unlike any you have ever taken. It may challenge some of your ideas about the past, present, and future. For example, some broadly accepted notions from science fiction and other literature will be examined and shown to be unworkable. Other widely-held beliefs about the past, present, and future will also be appraised. The course includes glimpses of our distant past and insights into our present, as well as in-depth exploration of times that may come. We’ll consider possible fantastic futures in energy, space exploration, and extraterrestrial intelligence as well as in human health and aging. Along the way, we’ll review predictions made, examine major challenges that could curtail any future, and find insights that help better understand those challenges and what we might do to meet them. It is expected that all participants be fully vaccinated and that masks and social distancing be observed.

Instructor: Richard A. Scribner, PhD led the Science, Technology, and International Affairs program at Georgetown University. As a U.S. Department of State official, he dealt with global environmental and nuclear nonproliferation issues and participated in international negotiations. He developed and ran the Congressional Science Fellowship program for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and also its Arms Control and International Security program. He was the first Director of a counterterrorism research institute at Dartmouth, and, for years, a consultant to the U.S. Federal government. Dr. Scribner is the author of books and articles on arms control, science and public policy, and climate change.

Schedule: Eight sessions. Thursday, Feb. 17 to April 7, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Location: Room 201, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 801 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach Fee: $50

Materials: None required. Instructor will provide handouts and a variety of electronic links.