Physics 102x
Energy and Society
Spring 2012

This page is always under construction

Instructor: David Newman
Office: 112 NSCI
Office Phone: 474-7858
Home Phone: 458-8576 (if all else fails!! But please not after 11 PM)

Office Hours:

Monday 2:00-4:00pm in 112 NSCI

Wednesday 2:00-4:00pm in 112 NSCI


Semester schedule (calendar)


Review/Make-up/Problem Sessions

Web Projects (under construction)

Web information to help with the projects

Formula sheet for Exam 1(PDF format)

Final Grades (new)

This syllabus is located at:

Course Syllabus

In approaching this (and all) classes, please note the following ancient chinese proverb:

Teachers can open the door,
but you must enter by yourself.


Prerequisites:. Basic math will be used.

Materials Needed:

Required Text:s

Energy and the Environment (2nd Edition), R. Ristinen and J. Kraushaar


Calculators may be used during Exams and quizzes. So, if you do not have one a basic, simple scientific calculator with trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions is all that you need.

Content: The course is aimed at non-technical majors with an interest in the conflict generated by the desire for a clean and healthful environment and the desire for the higher standard of living made possible by inexpensive energy sources. The course begins with definitions of power and energy with emphasis on common terms such as BTUs, horsepower, miles per gallon, and kilowatt hours. Reserves of the exhaustible sources of energy (coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium) will be discussed and projections will be made of the times at which these will become exhausted as a result of increased population and improved standards of living. The thermodynamic limits to improved energy efficiency will be discussed and techniques for making use of waste heat. Alternate energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal, tides, and hydroelectric) will be discussed and projections will be made of their possible future impact. The politics of nuclear waste disposal. These topics are the first eight chapters of the text.

You'll have: 1) The ability to answer questions such as the energy savings of more efficient appliances or automobiles, or the installation of storm windows or attic insulation. There are many professions (city planning, for example) where questions of this type must be answered. 2) The knowledge to practice good citizenship through the ability to understand and make informed decisions about legislation relating to the regulation of energy sources, pollution from energy sources, energy efficiency standards, "zero" pollution vehicles and public investment in mass transit.

Lectures: 11:30-1:00 Tuesday and Thursday in 138 NSCI (note new room). The lectures supplement but do not substitute for the reading. Lectures will cover the major topics, emphasizing and discussing the important points. They are not sessions to regurgitate material already written in the text. Your personal participation is important, and it is critical that you read the assigned material before lecture. Time permitting, several lectures will cover special topics beyond the scope of the text. These will be announced before hand.

Homework: There will be approximately one homework assignment per week. The assignment will be given out (and posted on the web and in the hall in front of my office) on Thursdays and will be due in on the following Thursday by 5:00. Place your homework in the appropriate box in the Physics Department Office. You are encouraged to work with others on the homework, but make sure the paper you turn in is not simply copied from someone else. These assignments help me assess your understanding of the material, and will count toward your final grade.
Late problem sets will not be accepted.
Only a selection of problems will be graded each week, totaling about 25 points each. Solution sets will be posted in the glass cabinet in the Physics Dept. hall. You are strongly encouraged to look at these solutions to help you understand how to approach these problems; it will likely help on tests.

Quizzes: A few (6) short quizzes will be given in class during the semester. They will be closed book and no calculators allowed (or needed). All formulas needed will be given and the quiz will be similar to some of the recent homework. The quizzes will be announced in class and on the schedule page at least one week in advance.

Project: There will be a project due worth a maximum of approximately 10% of the course grade. The project will be in the form of a web page on a topic in physics or energy that you find interesting and we agree on together. These topics could include biographies of important scientists, scientific projects and scientific ideas. The topic must be agreed to by Feb 21st and must be competed by April. 17th. They will be graded both for presentation and content. More details will be discussed in class.

Labs: There is a lab associated with this course. Labs will be held in 252 NSF building. At least 11 labs and reports must be completed to get a passing grade for the lab.
Questions about the lab should be directed to the teaching assistent in charge of your lab or Agatha Light (Rm114) or as a last resort me.

Hour Exams: Exams will be given during the Thurday lecture as follows:

	Feb. 21st, approx. Chapters 1-3
	April 10th, approx. Chapters 4-7,9

The exams will be closed-book, but you will be given one side of an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet with most of the needed equations. Calculators are allowed. The exams will be graded and handed back the following week (hopefully). Solutions will be discussed and posted.

Final Exam: The final exam will be at 5:45 - 7:45 p.m., Wednesday, May 9. It will cover the entire course, with some emphasis on the more recent material. You will be given one 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of formulas.

Grading:The course will be graded on a plus/minus grade scale and the grade will consist of the following components (though I reserve the right to make grade adjustments based on performance trends and participation):

	2 hour exams	30 %
	Final exam	25 %
	Homework	10 %
	Quizzes		10 %
	Project		10 %
	Lab		15 %

I grade on a curve however to satisfy university requirments, above 95% will be at least an A, 
above 85% will be at least a B above 75% will be at least a C, above 65% will be at least a D 
(in most cases the actual curve is significently lower!).

Contacting Me: I have office hours 2:00 - 4:00 Monday and Wednesday. You can drop by at other times if I'm not busy, or make an appointment. I am never available right before class.

Special Needs: The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. We will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (203 WHIT, 474-7043) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

Plagiarism etc: Plagiarism and cheating are matters of serious concern for students and academic institutions. This is true in this class as well. The UAF Honor Code (or Student Code of Conduct) defines academic standards expected at the University of Alaska Fairbanks which will be followed in this class. (Taken from the UAF plagiarism web site, which has many links with good information about this topic)

Complaints and Concerns: You are always welcome to talk to me about anything, however, if you have a non-subject matter question or concern that cannot be resolved by me contact the department chair, Dr. Chowdury, Physics Department Office, room 102 NSCI.

Alternate References: To see the same topics explained differently, try the following:

	Energy and Problems of a Technical Society, J. Kraushaar and R. Ristinen

General Advice: Physics is not something you read and memorize, rather it is something you learn how to do. Try the following study procedure:

  1. Read the chapter prior to lecture, so that you will know what it's about.
  2. Listen carefully to the lecture and take notes.
  3. This is crucial: Do not go back and read and re-read the chapter until you "understand it." Rather, start working problems, going back through the chapter to clarify points as they come up. Ask questions!!
  4. Think! Don't simply try to fit the problems into the form of another problem, think through the problem first.


Links to interesting sites:

DOE energy information

Yahoo energy listings

My Home Page

Relativity animation this is a fly through of a city at regular and relativistic speeds.


Last updated 26 January, 2012