HNRT 228 Section 003 [Spring 2016]

Energy and the Environment
with Professor Dr. Harold Geller
Updates in progress throughout semester

Follow me on Twitter @AstroBioProf :: Spring 2016 Mason Observatory Observing Sessions
NAS Energy Site :: Earth Picture of the Day


This course will study the scientific concepts associated with energy and the environment. We begin with an overview of the physical concept of energy and the scientific thoughts and processes associated with energy. We then continue to examine the primary sources of energy in use today, including such examples as fossil fuels, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, nuclear energy, and other alternative energy sources. We conclude with a study of the conservation of energy, and how the use of energy on this planet has a synergism with the issue of pollution and it global effects. The labs for the course include computer simulations and a semester long project (with paper) to demonstrate essential features of (i) the physical concept of energy; (ii) the alternative sources of energy; (iii) the nature of nuclear energy; and (iv) global effects including air pollution and energy conservation.
NO LAB this week but HOMEWORK for lab meeting next week
For next week's lab, obtain information from homeowner on their electricity usage
Chapter 1 - Introduction to Energy Fundamentals and Energy Use in an Industrial Society
20 January 2016 - Introduction to Class, Discuss Chapter 1
Introduction to Class
HOMEWORK Lab #1 - Grid to Home Write-Up :: Excel Data :: Fuel Mix Map to be turned in at first lab meeting.

25 January 2016 -- BLIZZARD of 2016 -- GMU CLOSED -- ALL CLASSES CANCELED
Chapter 1 - Introduction
27 January 2016 - Chapter 1 discussion
Lecture #2 Presentation
Slide Rule Simulation

Don't forget lab work due for the first lab this Monday 1 February 2016
1 February 2016 - Chapter 1 discussion
Lecture #3 Presentation
2008/9 Energy Flow from Source to Use in USA :: Energy Units and Fuel Energy Content
Chapter 2 - Fossil Fuels
3 February 2016 - Chapter 2 discussion
Lecture #4 Presentation

Lab #2 - Virtual Oil Well :: Lab #2 Write-up for Virtual Oil Well
8 February 2016 - Complete Chapter 2 discussion
Chapter 2 Notes
Penn State Gas Conference Presentations
Chapter 1 - Heat Engines, Thermodynamics and Carnot
10 February 2016 - Start discussion
Heat Lecture Notes
Lab #2 - Energy Transformation and Carnot Cycle :: Lab #2 Write-up for Thermodynamics and Carnot Engine :: PHET Simulation for Energy Forms and Changes

15 February 2016 - LAB and LECTURE CANCELLED -- GMU CLOSED

17 February 2016 - Complete discussion of Heat Energy And discuss in-class discussion questions and answers (sample answer)
Heat Lecture Notes

Lab #3 -- Wind Turbine Design Lab
Chapter 9 - Solar Energy
22 February 2016 - Chapter 9 discussion
Chapter 9 Notes
Lab #4 - Flow of Energy out of the Sun :: Lab #4 Write Up for Flow of Energy Out of the Sun
24 February 2016 - Complete Chapter 9 discussion (Solar Energy) AND collect homework
Notes for Chapter 9 (lecture 9)

Chapter 7 and 8 - Hydro and Wind
29 February 2016 - Start Chapter 7 and 8
Notes for Chapter 7 and 8
Lab #4 - Solar Energy :: Solar Car Kit Lab Write-Up and Assembly Instructions
2 March 2016 - Chapter 5 and 6: Biofuels, Geothermal and Tidal
Notes for Chapter 5 and 6

7 - 13 March 2016 - SPRING BREAK
7 - 13 March 2016 - SPRING BREAK


Mid-Term Examination 14 March 2016

16 March 2016 - Nuclear Energy
Chapter 3 and 4: Nuclear Energy
Notes for Chapter 3 and 4

21 March 2016 - Nuclear Energy Continued
Lab - Nuclear Power Plants :: Nuclear Power Plant Simulator Write-Up :: Demo version of Nuclear Power Plant Simulator
Notes for Chapter 3 and 4
23 March 2016 - Chapter 12: Energy Conservation
Begin Chapter 12 - Energy Conservation
Chapter 12 Lecture Notes
Radiation doses in perspective

Chapter 12 - Energy Conservation Continued
28 March 2016
Lab - Home Energy Efficient Design :: High Energy Efficient Design Lab Write-Up
Review High Energy Efficient Design software
High Energy Efficient Design Notes
30 March 2016 - Complete discussion of Chapter 7 and Collect Homework
More Chapter 12 Notes
HOMEWORK DUE 20 April 2016: For each "Transportation Mode", write a paragraph explaining the positive and negative aspects for each type of transportation mode. You should still INCLUDE in-text references and bibliography (list of references at end).

4 April 2016 - Chapter 12 discussion of Transportation
Lab - Cost Effectiveness of Increased Fuel Efficiency :: Lab Write-up
More Chapter 12 Notes
6 April 2016 - More Discussion of Chapter 12 Transportation
More Chapter 12 Notes

More Chapter 12 - Transportation
11 April 2016 - More Chapter 12 discussion
More Chapter 12 Notes
Lab - The Kaho'olawe Surveyor :: Lab Write-up for Kaho'olawe exercise
13 April 2016 - Chapter 14 discussion
Chapter 14 Notes
Download 'Pollution Jeopardy' Here

Chapter 14 - Pollution and Other Global Effects
18 April 2016 - Discuss Chapter 10
Some Chapter 14 Notes
Lab - The Arctic Observatory :: Lab Write-up for Arctic Observatory
20 April 2016 - More Chapter 14 discussion and collect HW #3
Chapter 14 Notes on Ozone and Greenhouse Gases
NOTE: Final homework assignment due Monday 2 May 2016:

Continuing Chapter 10 - Global Effects
25 April 2016 - More on Chapter 14
Chapter 14 Notes - CO2 Forcing and GCMs
And Continuing Chapter 14 - Global Effects
Chapter 14 Notes - Remote Sensing

27 April 2016 - Course Recap and Review for Final
Summary of Energy and the Environment

Last Exam (and collect homeworks) MONDAY 2 May 2016 3:00PM-4:15PM

Other Spring 2016 Semester Information
Classes begin							19 January 2016
Last day to drop with no tuition liability			26 January 2016
Last day to add classes						26 January 2016
Last day to drop						19 February 2016
Spring Break						7 March to 13 March 2016
Last day of classes						2 May 2016
Second EXAMINATION for HNRT 228					2 May 2016

Instructor: Grading Policy
The laboratory exercises will be worth 25% of your final grade. There will be homework assignments worth 25% of your final grade. Class participation will be worth 20% of your final grade. The mid-term examination will be worth 15% of your final grade. The final examination will be worth 15% of your final grade, and will be comprehensive in nature.
			Homework assignments					20 %
			Comprehensive Final					15 %
			Laboratory Exercises					30 %
			Class Participation					20 %
			Mid-Term Examination					15 %
Honor Code Adherence
Students are expected to follow the George Mason University rules of student honor. As noted in the catalog:

"George Mason University shares in the tradition of an honor system that has existed in Virginia since 1842. The Honor Code is an integral part of university life. On the application for admission, students sign a statement agreeing to conform to and uphold the Honor Code. Therefore, students are responsible for understanding the provisions of the code. In the spirit of the code, a student's word is a declaration of good faith acceptable as truth in all academic matters. Therefore, cheating and attempted cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing of academic work and related materials constitute Honor Code violations. To maintain an academic community according to these standards, students and faculty must report all alleged violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Committee. Any student who has knowledge of, but does not report, an Honor Code violation may be accused of lying under the Honor Code."

[Source: ]

Course Format - Lectures
Lectures will consist of various forms of presentation material including videos, computer displays, demonstrations and transparencies. Questions are acceptable at any time during the lecture. Students should be alert during the lecture and prepared to answer queries posed as they arise.

Course Format - Laboratory Sessions
Labs are collaborative effort of three to four students. Each student will hand in her/his own laboratory write-up for each experiment. Laboratory sessions will consist of both computer-based laboratory exercises and hands-on exercises. Laboratory reports will be turned in at the conclusion of each laboratory session.

Entry level Competencies
The course is a conceptual-based course using a minimal amount of algebra and geometry. Prerequisite is HNRS 227 or equivalent. Students should have English composition skills at least comparable to the English 111 level or equivalent.

Course Objectives
  1. Explain the scientific method and the philosophy of science, as related to the study of energy and the environment.
  2. Describe the physical laws that govern the interaction of matter, energy, time, and space.
  3. Describe how environmentalists utilize physical sciences to gain the knowledge of the mechanics and synergism of energy and the environment.
  4. Appreciate the magnitude of the scientific problem of the envirnoment and the human use of energy on the planet Earth.
  5. Exploration of physical properties of the environment essential to all life on Earth.
  6. The physical, chemical and biological constraints underlying the exploration and exploitation of energy sources on the planet Earth.
Major Topics to be Included
  1. Fundamental concepts of energy.
  2. Measurement and units of energy.
  3. History and use of petroleum products.
  4. History and use of coal.
  5. History and use of natural gas.
  6. Mechanical energy transformation using engines.
  7. Solar energy.
  8. Hydroelectric power.
  9. Wind power.
  10. Ocean thermal energy conversion.
  11. Geothermal power.
  12. Tidal energy.
  13. Wave energy.
  14. Nuclear energy generation and safety.
  15. Nuclear weapons.
  16. Nuclear fission versus nuclear fusion.
  17. Energy conservation.
  18. Modes of transportation.
  19. The atmosphere and air pollution.
  20. Ozone layer and its depletion.
  21. Greenhouse Effect.

Additional Topics Regarding Classwork
As deemed appropriate, the course may be supplemented with homework, guest speakers and discussions of new discoveries.