This course will NOT be taught during the 2012-13 school year.
It may or may not ever be taught again.
With the exception of this announcement, this syllabus and the rest of the web site
are preserved as they were in March, 2006, at the conclusion of the last time the course was taught, as a four-hour, quarter course, under the name T322 415A. (If taught again, it will be a three-hour, semester course.)
Winter, 2006, Call Number 06449
Instructor Dr. Richard D. Piccard Office Computer Services Center 106A Office Phone 593-1017 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours By Appointment (M-F, 9-5). Walk-in assistance may be available; call ahead, if you can. Class Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8:10 - 9:00 AM Class Location Bentley 015, except as announced in class
Attendance Disability Policy Performance Evaluation
Academic Integrity Tentative Schedule Tier III 415A Home Page
Matter and energy are conserved, but physical processes transform both into forms less readily useful (thereby "increasing entropy"). We apply this concept of entropy to human activity, critically examining works by advocates of solar and nuclear power, from the viewpoints of, and using the patterns of inquiry of, several disciplines (e.g., history, theology, economics, physics, politics, engineering, biology, chemistry, ethics, and sociology).
In order to provide technical background, we discuss several topics in the physical sciences in some detail, including
The course does not presume that you have already encountered these concepts.
Can we expect solar or nuclear power to "save the day?" Should humanity change priorities to minimize increases of entropy? To what extent can physical principles sensibly be generalized so far? These and other questions provide a focus to our inquiry.
In addition to these two required texts, there are a number of other resources that you will use during the course:
(The entire essay will be assigned.)
(Only about 20% of this book will be assigned. It does include a considerable amount of mathematical and more technical material that will not be assigned. See the specific details in the course announcements page.)
A roll call will be taken each class period. Each no-call, no-show absence beyond three will result in a 0.1-letter-grade penalty in your course mark that will be applied after the calculation outlined in the next section. If you are tardy, it is your responsibility to check with the instructor after class to ensure that your presence was noted.
What you get out of this course depends on what you put into it. Experience has demonstrated that an irresponsible approach is a sure path to a miserable outcome.
Components Weight Presentation 10 % Class Participation 10 % Mid Term 1 10 % Mid Term 2 15 % Final Exam 25 % Term Paper 30 %
Each of these grading components is discussed in more detail below. Your grade for each component will be expressed on a GPA-type scale (4=A, 3=B, 2=C, etc.) and the weights indicated above applied to calculate the course mark.
The number of articles somewhat exceeds the number of students, so that there is an element of choice, but all subject areas will be represented among those chosen.
The primary criterion for evaluating your presentation will be the technical content of your presentation (including accuracy, selection of topics to include or not, and appropriate level for your audience). Secondary criteria for evaluating your presentation will be such mechanical issues as enunciation, quality of visual aids, coordination of the talk with those visual aids, eye contact with the audience, and duration of the talk. See the course announcements page for other tips.
Failure to attend the class meetings, or unusually constructive or destructive class participation, will impact your course mark. The evaluation of class participation is necessarily subjective. The evaluation will reflect whether your behavior constituted an effective use of class time for your own learning and for your classmates' learning. For example, asking relevant questions about things you don't already know, and correctly answering other people's questions are both appropriate; monopolizing class time is not.
Roughly once a week (see the tentative schedule, below), there will be discussion of questions (distributed in advance) on the current topics. This discussion will include in-class and electronic opportunities for contributions from each class member. The instructor's tally of participation will be a major consideration in evaluating the class participation component of your course mark. You should consider the questions in advance and come to class prepared to respond to several of them.
Cheating on examinations, submitting the work of others as if it were your own, or plagiarism in any form will result in penalties ranging from an "F" on the assignment to expulsion from the University, depending on the severity of the offense. If your behavior during an examination presents the appearance of cheating, you will be warned, and may be asked to change seats at that time. This is not a presumption of your guilt, but rather a preventive measure to ensure the integrity of the examination process. Because the range of possible sources is so great that plagiarism cannot always be proved, if your term paper appears to have been plagiarized, the instructor may reject the paper but choose to permit you to write another paper, on a different, approved topic, to get credit for the course.
DATE TOPIC/TASK Background Readings
Week 1 1/3 Introduction to World Views Rifkin, Part I Into the Greenhouse World Deluge and Drought World Views The Greeks and the Five Ages of History: Cycles and Decay The Christian World View Toward the Modern World View The Machine Age The Architects of the Mechanical World View 1/4 LISTSERV and Online Resources Time Line of significant events History reading assignments 1/5 *3 PM - 5 PM Office Hours in CSC 106A 1/6 Physics Lecture Introduction System, Environment, Temperature Heat and Work Conservation of Energy Reversible and Irreversible Work Distribute discussion questions for Rifkin, Part One
Week 2 1/9 Send a one-page E-mail to LISTSERV, before class, describing your background and interests Discuss Rifkin, Part One 1/10 Introduction to Rifkin, Part II The Entropy Law Cosmology and the Second Law Time, Metaphysics, Entropy Life and the Second Law Exosomatic Instruments and Energy Physics Lecture Definition of Entropy Heat Engines Isolated, Closed, and Open Systems The Statement of the Second Law 1/11 Book Review: A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls Physics and chemistry reading assignments 1/13 Reports from students who read on history Distribute discussion questions for Rifkin, Part Two
Week 3 1/16 Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Holiday -- no class 1/17 Discuss Rifkin, Part Two 1/18 Introduction to Rifkin, Part III Entropy: A New Historical Frame History and Entropy Watersheds The Last Great Energy Watershed Technology External Costs Diminishing Returns of Technology Institutional Development Specialization World Views and Energy Environments Biology reading assignments 1/20 Reports from students who read on physics or chemistry
Week 4 1/23 Book Review: Steady State Economics, by Herman E. Daly Physics Lecture Examples of the Second Law in action Counter-current heat exchangers in biology and engineering Feedback Systems: stability, responsiveness, and delay Distribute discussion questions for Rifkin, Part Three 1/24 Discuss Rifkin, Part Three 1/25 Introduce Nuclear Energy Cohen, Chapters 1-4 Nuclear Power Do We Need More Power Plants? Environmental Problems with Fossil Fuels Is the Public Ready for More Nuclear Power? Term paper rules and suggested topics Economics reading assignments 1/27 Reports from students who read on biology
Week 5 1/30 Introduction to Nonrenewable Energy Rifkin, Part IV The Energy Crisis Nuclear Fission Nuclear Fusion Minerals Distribute discussion questions for Cohen, Chapters 1-4 1/31 Discuss Cohen, Chapters 1-4 2/1 Book Review: Living Within Limits, by Garrett Hardin Sociology reading assignments Distribute discussion questions for Rifkin, Part Four
2/2 *7:00 - 9:00 PM: Study session Bentley 015
2/3 8:10 - 9:00 AM: Midterm EXAM in class
Week 6 2/6 Discuss Rifkin, Part Four 2/7 Reports from students who read on economics 2/8 Outline of Term Paper, with two pages of text, due at start of class Introduction to Understanding Risks Cohen, Chapter 8 Introduction to Entropy and the Rifkin, Part V Industrial Age Economics Agriculture Transportation Urbanization The Military Education The Environment Health Physics Lecture Using Statistics Microscopic and Macroscopic States What is Fair? Statistical Definition of Entropy Simulation with coins Entropy of Mixing 2/10 Physics Lecture: Radioactivity
Week 7 2/13 Reports from students who read on sociology 2/14 Introduction to Nuclear Power Cohen, Chapters 9 & 10 Plant Costs and Designs Distribute discussion questions for Cohen, Chapter 8 2/15 Discuss Cohen, Chapter 8 2/17 Physics Lecture: Ionizing Radiation Distribute discussion questions for Rifkin, Part Five
Week 8 2/20 Discuss Rifkin, Part Five Introduction to A New World View Rifkin, Part VI-A The Greenhouse Transition A New Infrastructure for the Solar Age Third World Development Domestic Redistribution of Wealth Values and Institutions in an Entropic Society Distribute discussion questions for Cohen, Chapters 9 and 10 2/21 Discuss Cohen, Chapters 9 and 10 Physics Lecture Nature of Light Photon Gas Emission and Absorption How do we See? Entropy of Photons 2/22 Introduction to A New World View Rifkin, Part VI-B Reformulating Science Reformulating Education A Second Christian Reformation Facing the Entropy Crisis From Despair to Hope Physics Lecture Energy Source in the Sun Emission by the Sun Absorption by the Earth Entropy Balance Other Long-Term Energy Sources Distribute discussion questions for first half of Rifkin, Part Six
2/23 *7:00 - 9:00 PM: Study session Bentley 015
2/24 8:10 - 9:00 AM: Midterm EXAM in class
Week 9 2/27 Complete draft of Term Paper, due at start of class Discuss first half of Rifkin, Part Six 2/28 Introduction to Radioactive Waste Cohen, Chapters 11 & 12 Physics Lecture Chemical Reactions Reversibility The Third Law Photons and Chemistry Distribute discussion questions for second half of Rifkin, Part Six 3/1 Discuss second half of Rifkin, Part Six Book Review: Normal Accidents: living with high-risk technologies, by Charles Perrow 3/3 Book Review: Normal Accidents, by Charles Perrow, continued Distribute discussion questions for Cohen, Chapters 11 and 12
Week 10 3/6 Introduction to The Solar Dream Cohen, Chapter 14 Discuss Cohen, Chapters 11 and 12 Physics Lecture The Biosphere Self Organization Ecology Extinction Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Ozone Distribute discussion questions for Cohen, Chapter 14 3/7 Discuss Cohen, Chapter 14 Book Review: Normal Accidents, by Charles Perrow, concluded Distribute synthesis discussion questions 3/8 Discussion of Rifkin and Cohen 3/10 Concluding discussion of Rifkin and Cohen Class evaluation
3/10 4:55 PM: Absolute Deadline for Term Paper 3/12 *7:00 - 9:00 PM: Evening Study Session, Bentley 015 3/13 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM: FINAL EXAM in Bentley 015
Dick Piccard revised this on-line version of the syllabus (http://www.ohio.edu/people/piccard/entropy/rdpsyl.html) on October 24, 2012.
Comments and suggestions are welcome by E-mail to "email@example.com"