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University of Southern California

USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

“A polymath is one who not only mastered one or several disciplines, but one who uniquely synthesized them, integrated them. ”—Sidney Harman

Spring 2012 / Polymathic Pizza - Weird Science
Continuing Questions: What Genes Do Not Yet Explain About Human Individuality


Wednesday, February 8 2012


Doheny Memorial Library, Room 241


Open to undergraduates


While genes determine whether a fertilized egg will become a mouse or a man, there is a level of biological randomness that causes identical twins to differ even before birth. This levels of randomness helps understand the limited success of the human genome projects in finding gene differences that underlie most variation in cancer, heart disease, and longevity.

Caleb Finch

Caleb Finch

Caleb Finch is University Professor and ARCO/Keischnick Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science at USC.  His major research interest is the study of genomic controls of mammalian development and aging.  He has authored and edited numerous books and articles and held distinguished lectureships across the country.  For this work, he has received most of the major awards in biomedical gerontology.  In addition, he has recently co-authored a book for the general public, Aging: A Natural History.

Spring 2014 Series

Quadrant Series with Edwin McCann

The Academy for Polymathic Study guides its enquiries through four flexible pathways or Quadrants:  (1) critical and integrative thinking; (2) study of the polymaths; (3) the tapestry of knowledge; and (4) communication.

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Undergraduate Series:

Polymathic Pizza, Part II: Global Issues

Ours is a global civilization, and USC is a global university with a global student body.  This spring, the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study will sponsor a polymathic pizza oriented to global issues. 

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Graduate Series:

Objects of Knowledge III

This third season of a series of conversations examines the diverse ways that images and things interact, embody and generate ways of knowing, which guide the course of human action and understanding and engender creativity and innovation. 

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The Goethe Society

The Goethe Society, an undergraduate organization affiliated with the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, will continue its enjoyment of the cultural resources of the USC campus and greater Los Angeles. 

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