Announcement: The Summer 2017 session (HSSP) is currently underway. The materials from Fall 2016 are currently being prepared for publication on MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). Please stay tuned.

The OCW materials will be here:

For my high school students: You cannot access Stellar, and that is okay. The OCW page linked above is better than Stellar.

For MIT undergrads: The accredited undergrad class is not happening in Fall 2017, but feel free to email me with questions about pharmacology, when this class may happen, and other MIT classes you might like.

In the Fall 2017 semester, I am hoping to host several one-off lectures and movie screenings. Add yourself to the DATB-Fun mailing list to receive the announcements.

This announcement was updated on 2017-07-26 at 2 PM by Zak Fallows.

About ES.S10: Drugs and the Brain (DATB)

One Sentence Description:

This class is a multidisciplinary introduction to pharmacology, neurotransmitters, drug mechanisms, and brain diseases from addiction to schizophrenia.

One Paragraph Description:

From Abilify to Zyrtec, the world is full of fascinating drugs. If you are poisoned by sarin nerve gas, you may be able to save your life by huffing some BZ nerve gas. This class will explain that chemical curiosity, plus a lot more interesting tidbits of pharmacology. The structure of the class interleaves basic concepts with specific examples and entertaining tangents, so it is not loaded with boring abstract theory. In the first class you will learn what a neurotransmitter is, and you will immediately apply that knowledge when we discuss the mechanism of caffeine. The class is highly multidisciplinary, including topics such as patent law, medical ethics, history, and the fluid dynamics of spinal anesthesia. This seminar is open to basically everyone, but MIT students get preference.

Lottery Closed

The lottery for Fall 2016 has already run, and the results have been announced via email.


Course Title: Drugs and the Brain

Course Number: ES.S10

Department: ESG

Instructor: Zak Fallows

Credits and Grading:

This course provides 6 units of general elective credit, graded Pass / Fail. The units are useful toward the requirement that all MIT undergrads must take 180 units beyond the GIRs.


Meets once a week on Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 PM.

Location: Room 24-619 (at ESG).

This is a Fall 2016 course, this class starts in a few days.

Learning Materials:

This chart I made should give you an idea of why the class is awesome:
Recreational Drugs and Neurotransmitters Chart

Learn by taking interactive drug quizzes. No experience necessary. Quizzes take less than 5 minutes each:
DATB Quiz Site

See all the class materials from 2013 on MIT OpenCourseWare:
OCW Materials from 2013