Scholar of sleep returns to class

It was a sad day for Stanford when William Dement, MD, PhD, delivered in March 2003 the last lecture of his wildly popular undergraduate course, Sleep and Dreams. He had been teaching the class for 33 years and said that he just felt the time had come to leave the podium.

But Dement, whose pioneering research led many to hail him as "the father of sleep medicine," apparently could not stay away from the lecture hall. He has revived the legendary course for the winter quarter, beginning today, and is ready to teach.

Dement, the Lowell W. and Josephine Q. Berry Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, said student demand was one of the main reasons behind the resurrection of the class. And he wants to ensure that as many students as possible receive basic knowledge about sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation.

More than 700 students are enrolled for Dement's comeback course, which has typically been one of Stanford's most attended. Nearly 20,000 students have taken the class since its inception.