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1 Proposal: number 149

149. PHYS 005: Physics and the Future

This is a new course

Contact:Azriel Genack
Authors:Alexander Lisyansky
Azriel Genack
Abstract: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:
Ґ Alternative energy sources such as solar, coal and nuclear
wind. The potential of these sources and their impact on the environment.
Ґ Nanotechnology, which has the potential of reducing the human
on the environment while providing higher quality goods and faster information
transmission and processing.
Ґ Global warming and climate change.
Ґ Nuclear power, its potential and dangers.
Present examples of governmental and corporate action to address these issues.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
PHYS 005 2009-12-25 NS Submitted Dept
PHYS 005 2009-12-25 WC Submitted Dept
PHYS 005 2009-12-25 QR Submitted Dept
PHYS 005 2010-03-03 NS Approved GEAC
PHYS 005 2010-03-03 WC Approved GEAC
PHYS 005 2010-03-11 NS Approved UCC
PHYS 005 2010-03-11 WC Approved UCC
PHYS 005 2010-04-08 NS Approved Senate
PHYS 005 2010-04-08 WC Approved Senate