What you'll learn

  • John Snow’s role in creating modern epidemiology

  • Description of 19th century London life

Course description

In 1854, a cholera epidemic swept through the London neighborhood of Soho. In 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.

Join us for this one-week, immersive learning experience where we 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.


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

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