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ENVE 727: Risk Assessment

Lecture: Monday 6:00-8:50 p.m., Curtis 352
Dr. Patrick Gurian, Alumni Engineering 270-K, 215-895-2889,, Office Hours: M 5-6 pm, 8:50-9:05pm, and by appointment

Dr. Charles Haas, Alumni Engineering 270-B, 215-895-2283,
Text: Should We Risk It? Kammen and Hassenzahl
Course Overview: This class introduces students to risk analysis, an interdisciplinary field that uses tools from statistics, engineering, toxicology, decision analysis, and psychology to assess and manage risks. The course covers both qualitative and quantitative methods that are generally applicable, but the emphasis will be on environmental applications.

Assignments (Grading)

Homework (ungraded): Homework problems will be assigned at the end of each class. Answers will be distributed by email and students are expected to check their own work. Some exam questions will closely resemble homework problems.

Midterm (30%): An exam will be given in class on January 31. It will be open-notes and open-book and will emphasize homework problems.

Risk Analysis Report and Presentation (30%): Students will work in teams of 2 to 3 to complete a risk analysis. Students are free to choose their own topic although some suggestions are available. Groups will be formed by the instructors, although substantively-based student requests will be considered if submitted during the first week of class. The project will consist of a topic proposal to be given in an oral presentation in class on January 24, and a final presentation in class on March 7 and a written report due March 7. Evaluation by group members will also constitute a portion of the project grade.

Final Exam (40%): The final exam will be cumulative but will emphasize material covered after the mid-term. It will be open book and open notes.

Tentative Schedule

Date Topic Reading Assignment
January 3 Definition and history of risk analysis, mass-balance models Chapters 1 and 2  
January 10 Probability and statistics review Chapter 3  
January 17 No Class: MLK day    
January 24 Uncertainty analysis Chapter 4 Proposal presentations due
January 31 Midterm    
February 7 Decision tools for risk Chapter 9  
February 14 Valuing fatal risk reduction    
February 21 No Class: Presidents' Day    
February 28 Risk communication Chapter 10  
March 7 Student group presentations   Term project presentation. Report due March 11.
March 14 Final Exam: 6:00 pm to 8:50 pm, Randell 121