START Conference Manager    

PHYS 005: Physics and the Future

Azriel Genack and Alexander Lisyansky

(Submission #149)

Course Description

The focus of the course will be on issues of great current interest relating to the sustainability of advanced technological societies. The course will acquaint students with the fundamental ideas and ways of thinking that will enable them to understand and make informed judgments regarding key technical issues upon which the wellbeing of our society increasingly depends. Examples of scientific thinking will be from analyses of a wide range of physical problems. Fundamental physical principles that underlie the search for solutions and place limits on them will be presented. The impetus and insights that led to scientific breakthroughs that have led to the ability of physics to understand the environment and to develop new devices will be described. The students will develop qualitative and quantitative reasoning skills but will not be called upon to carry out calculations. Students will also gain experience in the use of the web to examine the various challenges, the promise of new technologies, and to assess and track efforts to address these issues. Among the issues that will be discussed are: • Alternative energy sources such as solar, coal and nuclear power, and wind. The potential of these sources and their impact on the environment. • Nanotechnology, which has the potential of reducing the human footprint on the environment while providing higher quality goods and faster information transmission and processing. • Global warming and climate change. • Nuclear power, its potential and dangers. Present examples of governmental and corporate action to address these issues.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Natural Science (NS)
Context of Experience: World Cultures (WC)
Extended Requirement: Abstract or Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

Additional Course information

Credits: 4
Prerequisites: None
Existing Course: New
Existing Course Number: 
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: Will vary with enrollment
Number of Seats: 20


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (RTF)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

START Conference Manager (V2.56.8 - Rev. 1061)