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Harvard University

PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854

Harvard University via edX


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 this infectious disease was spread.

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, public health, and epidemiology forever.

This course features interactive tools including an interactive ArcGIS map of the 1854 Broad Street 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.

Taught by

Alyssa Goodman


4.9 rating, based on 7 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at edX based on 31 ratings

Start your review of PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854

  • Interesting short course which explores how John Snow deduced that cholera was a water-borne disease in 1850s London. As well as a glossary, supplementary readings and videos, the course also included some unusual resources such as an interactive version of Snow's map of Soho and Google Ngrams.
  • This mini-course was full of information about John Snow, the epidemic of cholera in 1854. How it started, the way it affected people and how it changed views on how cholera was transmitted to people. I enjoyed this course very much!
  • An interesting mini-course about John Snow and epidemiology. I found that the videos and readings were well-put together and the timeline, glossary, and additional resources provided lots of other information on the subject that assisted in my research. Certain videos can be quite long, however, and could have been easily split into separate sections rather than kept as a whole. Otherwise, the course has no other issues!
  • Profile image for Ngân Hà
    Ngân Hà
    A very interesting course. I was able to learn a lot about Cholera and John Snow and the story behind his map. The related materials to this mini course is also brilliant and I appreciate it a lot. This course has helped me to know more about Cholera in general, cholera in Haiti and helped me to understand more about the work of epidemiologists.
  • I found this course to be quite interesting. It is short and can be completed in a week. There are plenty of optional links for furthering knowledge.
  • Anonymous
    Quickly treated during my Masters in Public Health. An interesting lesson to perfect your knowledge of John Snow.

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