Physics 80 — Energy and the Environment

The course will address the sources and uses of energy in the US and world society, and how the availability and side effects of energy consumption influence the human condition. In particular, the course will examine: world and domestic energy use trends and their relationship to standards of living; per-capita energy use and population trends in under-developed and developed countries; types of energy resources, their geopolitical distributions and expected lifetimes; the technological and scientific basis of energy extraction from various resources, including hydrocarbons, solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear; the associated environmental impacts of such conversion and use; the economic costs associated with each type of energy; and political and safety concerns associated with each resource. This course satisfies a half-course requirement for the physics major and fulfills the Integrative Experience graduation requirement. Prerequisite: open to students who have successfully completed the core courses in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology and humanities.

    Meetings, Fall 2019