University Courses

Below are the courses Dr. Havas teaches at Trent University to undergraduate students.

1. Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (BEEF), ERSC 3660Y
Course Description:

Concern and controversy about the health effects of electromagnetic fields produced by power lines, microwave ovens, computers, and more recently by cell phones, telecommunication antennas and a growing variety of wireless technology continues to grow. Some of the older studies on naturally produced geomagnetic and geoelectric fields and their effects on organisms, especially humans, are receiving renewed attention. Society’s focus on chemicals has overshadowed the fact that most physiological functions in living organisms are electrochemical in nature. This perspective has opened up vast new frontiers for research including the healing effects of electromagnetic energy. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the biological effects (both positive and negative) of electromagnetic energy and to enable students to pursue a more focused area of research. Students have the opportunity to do primary research as well as critical literature reviews. Emphasis is on class discussion and sharing of ideas.

2. Environmental Communication, ERSC 3501H
Course Description:

This course is designed to help students develop an ability to communicate scientific information effectively to nonscientific audiences, including the general public, the media, policymakers, community stakeholders, businesses and others. The emphasis is on written and oral communications, including print, multimedia and Internet-based formats.
Assigned exercises involve a variety of formats, including written articles, oral presentations, magazine writing and visual design. Computers and audiovisual equipment are used extensively. Students wanting to pursue careers in environmental research, journalism, education, public relations or community outreach may find this course valuable.

3. Pollution Ecology, ERSC 3550Y
Course Description:

The course covers a wide range of environmental problems, focusing on those of current concern but also looking at historical challenges that have occurred. It examines the scientific aspects of the problem, as well as community, governmental and corporate responses. Particular emphasis is on the response of biota and ecosystems to anthropogenic pollution, as well as the recovery and rehabilitation of the ecosystem. The lessons that can be drawn from the application of ecological principles to ecosystem responses are discussed. Lecture topics include pollutant case histories (metals, organics, nutrients, asbestos, electromagnetic radiation), the use of pollutant as bioindicators or early warning indicators, the transport, transformation, and fate of pollutants, food chain effects, as well as the effects of mining and smelting activities, transportation, and energy. Examples are drawn from human health and from both terrestrial and aquatic systems for a range of taxa and from a wide geographic area. Matters of current public concern are introduced. While the emphasis is on ecology, the social, economic and political aspects are also included. A basic understanding of ecology, biology and chemistry is helpful. In the seminars, students discuss divergent views on controversial environmental issues and assess the factors that come into play during decision-making. While the course covers a wide range of topics, students are offered the opportunity, through reading lists, discussions and projects to pursue topics of particular interest in greater depth.