PHYSICS 162
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES

Winter Quarter 1996

Prof. Greg Bothun
Office: 417 Willamette
Office Hours: 10:30-12:00 MWF or whenever
email: nuts@moo2

TA: Charles Beauvais
email: ta@rawhide

Course Content and Philosophy:

This course will deal with the issues of alternative energy sources. The bulk of the course will focus on Solar Energy as it is the most popular energy alternative. The intent is to perform an objective cost-benefit analysis on each form of alternative energy in order to determine what is practical on a large scale, as well as on the scale of the individual homeowner. We will pay particular attention to the efficiency of each alternative energy source as well as what limitations exist in terms of extracting useable energy.

All lectures in this course will be delivered electronically using Netscape as the presentation software. Access to the lecture material can be done from any networked platform on campus. All students are encouraged to obtain accounts on gladstone and to use the Xterminal Lab in 112 to review the course notes. To do this with a gladstone account, simply type Netscape after you have gotten into your account. There is also a newsgroup for this class,

uo.classes.phys.162

which serves as the electronic discussion forum for this class. Use it. All assignments will be posted there as well. We are using the computer network in this class for several reasons:

Course Organization:

See the attached outline for a list of lecture topics.

This course will not make heavy use of any textbook. If you already have the text then you should be reading chapters 6,7 and 8 since they are quite relevant. The course will start out covering solar energy but will then move to other alternative energy sources such as, Wind, Tides, Hydroelectric, Ocean Currents, and Geothermal. We will not be discussing nuclear energy as that was covered in detail last term. When discussing these energy sources it will again be done in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, or, put more bluntly, the cost of energy and the number of jobs associated with that energy source vs. long term stability of the planet and the care and feeding of the future generation.

Math Required:

This course will not be very technical, although some mathematical descriptions will be absolutely necessary. Grading techniques, however, will be designed so that people with weak math backgrounds or aptitudes will not be penalized.

Course Grading:

Grading of this course will consist of the following:

2 Midterms which will total 40% of your grade
A comprehensive final which will total 40% of your grade
a few homework assignments which will total 20% of your grade
The homework assignments will involve searching the Internet for information.