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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • 12 (Fall 2003) 
  • Course Title:
  • Solving Complex Problems 
  • Course Level:
  • Undergraduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Kip Hodges
    Prof. Rafael Bras
  • Course Introduction:

  • 12.000 Solving Complex Problems

    Fall 2003

    Course Highlights

    This course features student projects, as well as useful information for web design in the tools section.

    » Watch a video introduction featuring the course instructor.
    Prof. Kip Hodges (RM - 56K) (RM - 80K) (RM - 220K)

    Course Description

    Solving Complex Problems provides an opportunity for entering freshmen to gain first-hand experience with working as part of a team to develop effective approaches to complex problems in Earth system science and engineering that do not have straightforward solutions. The subject includes training in a variety of skills, ranging from library research to Web Design.

    Each year's course explores a different problem in detail through the study of complimentary case histories and the development of creative solution strategies. Beginning in 2000 as an educational experiment sponsored by MIT's Committee on the Undergraduate Program, and receiving major financial support from the Alex and Britt d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education, the subject is designed to enhance the first-semester freshman experience by helping students develop contexts for other subjects in the sciences and humanities, and by helping them to establish learning communities that include upperclassmen, faculty, MIT alumni, and professionals from many walks of life.

    In Fall 2003, students from the Class of 2007 were challenged with “Mission 2007”:

    • To design the most "environmentally correct" strategy for oil exploration and extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and
    • To perform a cost-benefit analysis in order to evaluate whether or not the hydrocarbon resources that might be extracted from beneath ANWR are worth the environmental damage that might result from the process.

    Special Features

    Technical Requirements

    Special software is required to use some of the files on this page: .rm.


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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