PHYS 107

Energy and the Environment

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective January 11, 2010 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course explores the physics principles (such as force and energy, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, chemical physics, and nuclear power generation) related to the use of energy and its effects on the environment. Topics such as power production, acid rain, fuel resources are studied. The consequences of fundamental physics on public policy are also discussed in this context. Include lab. Intended for general education students.

Special information

Note: First day attendance required except by instructor permission.

Learning outcomes

General

  • Apply the vocabulary, concepts and methods of physics to current and historical cases, including electrical power generation, home heating and insulation, transportation, etc.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.
  • Communicate their experiential findings, analyses, and interpretations both orally and in writing.
  • Critically evaluate environmental and natural resource issues related to energy usage and conservation in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills and the ability to use arithmetic and elementary statistics at a level appropriate for graduates of bachelors degree programs.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic etc.) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate environmental issues from a natural science perspective, asking questions about the evidence presented, and making informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses by performing a field experiment in physics, including the collection of data, statistical and graphical analysis of results, and an interpretation of its sources of error and uncertainty.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Understand and explain the physics principles, including force and energy, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and chemical physics that relate to the use of energy and its effects on the environment.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 3: Natural Sciences

  • Demonstrate understanding of scientific theories.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses by performing laboratory, simulation, or field experiments in at least two of the natural science disciplines. One of these experimental components should develop, in greater depth, students' laboratory experience in the collection of data, its statistical and graphical analysis, and an appreciation of its sources of error and uncertainty.
  • Communicate their experimental findings, analyses, and interpretations both orally and in writing.
  • Evaluate societal issues from a natural science perspective, ask questions about the evidence presented, and make informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.

Goal 10: People and the Environment

  • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.