Science Outside the Classroom

Jan 8, 2013

Tonight’s Omaha Science Café explores science outside of the traditional classroom.

In the summer, Dr. Devin Nickol, assistant professor of internal medicine at UNMC, teaches a class at UNL’s Cedar Point Biological Field Station in western Nebraska. 

He says the class looks at some of the basic principles of epidemiology and is largely held outside of the classroom.

Epidemiology explores how diseases and populations interact.  Dr. Nickol says each day the students spend time collecting insects or animals.

Students then design experiments in the lab to help carry out whatever principles they are studying that day.

He says the field class was born after he struggled teaching this information to medical students.

"It tends to be somewhat dry if someone is just lecturing you on it.  On the other hand, if you go out and see how the principles really work in the real world, it becomes very fun and very enlightening.  It’s interesting when you start to understand how you look at a situation that’s very chaotic, like a disease, affecting a population of insects, and you can, very simply, by using some of these principles, figure out what’s going on.”

The Omaha Science Café takes place at 7:00 tonight at the Slowdown.  There is no charge to attend.