David J. Helfand
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About David J. Helfand
David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University for thirty-nine years, served half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy. He also recently completed a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society, the professional society for astronomers, astrophysicists, planetary scientists and solar physicists in North America. He is the author of nearly 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia's Core Curriculum in 50 years by introducing science to all first-year students.
In 2005, he became involved with an effort to create Canada's first independent, non-profit, secular university, Quest University Canada. He served as a Visiting Tutor in the University's inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and was appointed President & Vice-Chancellor the following year to lead this innovative experiment in higher education. For six years in a row, Quest has been ranked #1 in North America in the National Survey of Student Engagement.
He completed his term as President of Quest in the fall of 2015 and returned to Columbia where he now heads the Committee on Innovative Teaching and Learning. His first book, "A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age" appeared in January 2016.
Learn more at http://www.davidjhelfand.info
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Books By David J. Helfand
We have billions of bytes of data at our fingertips. But how much of it is misinformation—or even disinformation? A lot of it is, and your search engine can’t tell the difference.
As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it—indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to survive on this crowded and finite planet.
This survival guide supplies an essential set of apps for the prefrontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining. It will dissolve your fear of numbers, demystify graphs, and elucidate the key concepts of probability, all while celebrating the precise use of language and logic. David Helfand, one of our nation’s leading astronomers and science educators, has taught scientific habits of mind to generations in the classroom, where he continues to wage a provocative battle against sloppy thinking and the encroachment of misinformation.
“Provides a vital antidote to the ills of misinformation by teaching systematic and rigorous scientific reasoning.” —The Times Literary Supplement