Physics H190, Spring 2012

Physics of Energy and Environment

Physics H190 Spring 2012 Class Picture
When and where: Wednesdays 4-6 pm, 156 Dwinelle Hall

Format: One 2-hr lecture/seminar session per week (student participation strongly encouraged), bi-weekly homework assignments

Instructor: Professor Dmitry Budker

Professor's Office hour: by appointment (send e-mail to setup), 273 Birge

Synopsis and goals of the course:
The course will dwell on the rich and complex physics (which we will attempt to make as simple as meaningfully possible) related to the thermal balance (or as some may say, lack thereof) of our planet,  including the physics of radiative energy transfer, the greenhouse effect, the physics of clouds, ocean circulation, etc. We will also discuss the topics of energy production (OK, energy is conserved, but not all energy forms are equally useful), consumption, and distribution; whether human activity is a significant factor affecting the Earth's climate, and various other things of this sort. In the course, the students will learn many useful research skills, including how to make "back-of-the-envelope" estimates, how to effectively search for relevant information, how to judge technical validity of information, what to do when different experts are saying the opposite, and how to present science to a critical audience. 

Required text: none

Recommended texts:

Grading policy: the grade will be based on the homework, participation, and oral presentation in class

Invaluable resource: questions on organizational aspects of the course may be directed to Ms. Claudia Trujillo of Physics Student Services


Find out about the most recent Nobel Prizes in Physics!

Lecture Notes, Electronic Tutorials

Assorted Physics-Related Links, Web Resources


Oral-presentation topics

Acknowledgment and Disclaimer: This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).