GENED 1107. Energy Bodyworks

How we conceptualize the universe influences what we can discover and know – and vice versa. The history of the understanding of the human body puts forth an instructive embodiment of this principle. This course explores historical and contemporary thinking about the human body, the most recent paradigm of which is as a machine of interconnected components that function together according to force (N) and energy (J) laws. Course topics include historical thinking, the scientific method, and the human body as a force machine. This machine acts through the forces of muscles, leading to movement such as walking and gait, and it is driven by the interconnected system of lungs, heart, blood, and metabolism. The machine constantly interchanges gravitational, mechanical, and chemical energies to do useful actions. How the machine can and does break down, represented by illness and disease, is considered within this context. The student who graduates from Energy Bodyworks should (i) expect and welcome the evolution in scientific understanding in all matters health and otherwise during the span of a lifetime, (ii) be critically cognizant of the body as a mechanical and chemical machine, and thereby (iii) be positioned as a lifetime steward of the body, both personally for one’s own well-being as well as civically for health issues that transect country and globe.

Note: This course has an enrollment cap and requires that by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, September 5, you use my.harvard to request instructor permission to enroll. If requests to enroll do not exceed available seats, permission to enroll will be granted on Friday, September 6. If interest exceeds available seats, a lottery of those who have requested permission will run on Friday, September 6, and all participants will be notified of the results via Harvard email. For more information, including how to request permission, please see or visit the course’s Canvas site.








Course ID: 


Subject Area: 

General Education

Research Areas: 

  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2019-2020 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

Connect with us

Follow HUCE to stay updated on energy and the environment at Harvard and beyond.

Subscribe to our mailing list