Introduction

In 1854, a cholera epidemic swept through the London neighborhood of Soho. In the course of about three weeks, over 600 people died. This incident was, tragically, not unusual in London or the rest of the 19th century world as a whole. The scourge of cholera seemed unstoppable and, even worse, unpredictable. But one doctor -- ignored by the scientific community at large -- set out to prove that he knew how cholera was spread.

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Join us for this one-week, immersive learning experience. We will explore John Snow’s London, from the streets of Soho to the dataset that helped create the map that changed our understanding of cholera and epidemiology forever.

This course features interactive tools including an interactive ArcGIS map of the 1854 cholera outbreak and a Timeline JS of John Snow’s investigation. 

This module is a part of PredictionX, which looks at the history of attempts to predict the future. PredictionX courses will cover topics from omens and oracles in ancient civilizations to modern computer simulations.

Meet The Faculty

Alyssa Goodman

Alyssa Goodman

Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy; Founding Director, Initiative in Innovative Computing, Harvard University

Alyssa Goodman is a physicist by training (Sc.B, MIT 1984, PhD, Harvard 1989), but an artist at heart. She combines her passions for science and art with interests in computing, archaeology, the history of science, and new technologies in her work, which spans astrophysics, data visualization, and new approaches to STEM education. She was named “Scientist of the Year” by the Harvard Foundation in 2015. The PredictionX effort began during Goodman’s sabbatical as “Scholar-in-Residence” at the WGBH media organization in Boston, and crystallized into the highly collaborative project you see today when HarvardX committed to creating re-usable, modular, online, multi-media content.

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