General Science 115, Science and Society
Spring 2009 Syllabus (3 Credit hrs)
January 5, Monday – April 28, Tuesday
Instructor: Ling Jun Wang, EMCS 235, Phone: 425-5248, //www.utc.edu/~lwang/
Textbook: Energy and the Environment by Reza
Toossi, Second Edition
Prerequisites: Mathematics Placement Level 20 or Math 106
Class meets: Tue. and Thur. 12:15-1:30 in Grote 129.
Objective: Explore the interrelationship of science and society through discussion of scientific issues vitally important to our society and our everyday lives. Topics include: energy crisis and possible solutions; space science
Upon completion of this course, a student are expected to be able to:
1. identify and understand the fundamental scientific laws in the scientific issues which have been presented in class. These laws provide a sound science background on the issues or projects involved.
2. Cultivate an understanding of scientific methods of thought and a broad view of scientific achievements.
the importance of advanced
technologies to industry and the
4. calculate the fundamental relationships involved in the scientific issues studied (such as the fuel consumption of a nuclear reactor, the required orbital speed of a satellite, heat-energy conversion, efficiency of heat engine, U.S. energy consumption, etc.).
6. understand the environmental concerns of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
7. carry out internet and literature research, write a research paper and present the results.
The following guidelines will be integral parts of the lectures:
1. Develop an historical perspective that includes the contributions of scientists to the understanding of scientific principles.
2. Emphasize the demand for evidence as the ultimate test of scientific validity.
3. Analyze the advantages and limitations of empirical approaches to understanding and influencing the world around us.
4. Promote an understanding of the roles of imagination and logical reasoning in the development of scientific thought.
1/6 Chapter 1, Energy: Past, Present, and Future - an Introduction
1/8 – 1/20 Chapter 2, Mechanical Energy
Chapter 3, Wind Energy
Chapter 4, Hydro Energy
1/22 First Exam
1/27 – 2/5 Chapter 5, Thermal Energy
2/10 Chapter 7, Fossil Fuels
Chapter 8, Air
Pollution from Combustion Sources.
Chapter 10, Solar Energy
2/12 Second Test
2/17 - 24 Chapter 11, Nuclear Energy
2/26 - 3/3
12, Nuclear Radiation
Chapter 14, Transportation
Chapter 15, Economics of Energy
3/5 Third Exam
3/9 – 3/15 Spring Break
3/17 – 3/26 Chapter 13 , Electricity
3/31 - 4/2 Supplement, The Solar System
4/7 - 4/9 Supplement, The Universe and Space Science
Chapter 16, Economics of the Environment
Chapter 17, A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future
4/9 Term Paper due
4/14 – 4/16 Term paper presentation
Presentation will add up to 10 extra points to the term paper
4/21 Reading Day
4/23 (Thursday), 2:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Final Exam (Comprehensive)
Three Tests @ 18% = 54%
Final Exam 26%
Research term paper: 20%
Course grade is assigned as follows:
90-100 80-90 70-80 60-70 <60
A B C D F
Attendance: The students are expected to attend the class regularly. There will be a penalty of 1 point on the semester average score for every unexcused absence (out of 100 points total). Habitual absence (25% or more) will be grounds for an F grade for the course.
Missing a test: If a student can not take a test at the scheduled time, he or she should notify the instructor and get approval for a make-up at least 24 hours in advance. In case of emergency, a copy of a police report, a registration record from a hospital emergency room, etc., is required for arranging a make-up test. There shall be no more than one make-up test for a student.
Attention: If you are a student with a disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) and think that you might need special assistance or a special accommodation in this class or any other class, call the Office for Students with Disability/College Access Program at 425-4006 or come by the office - 110 Frist Hall.
Guidelines for term paper
1. Suggested topics for term paper
current energy consumption in
. A comparison of nuclear and fossil fuel
. Watts bar lake: a polluted beauty
. Furniture or firewood ? -- Coal and petroleum as natural resources
. Fusion research and public policy
. Energy conservation and public transportation
. A gallon saved is a gallon earned -- frugality as a solution
. The day the last drop of gasoline is burned out
. From the Manhattan Project to the Super Collider - triumphs and failures
. How much should we spend on space programs, if at all?
. Are we alone in the universe?
. Colonize another star system -- review of an on-going program
. Scientific and social implications of cloning
. Public transportations in the
. Solar energy in 21st century
. Biomass as a solution to crisis
. NASA and space research
The above list is meant to give examples of appropriate topics, but not meant to be an exhaustive list of good topics. If you decide to work on some other topics, please discuss with me first and get my approval. Basically, a good topic should be about a scientific issue with significant social implications.
2. Length and typographical requirements
The main text typed in plain Times New Roman font 12 should be at least 6 pages, not including figures, footnotes and references. More than one type of references are better than a single type of references such as articles from the websites only. All the references should be cited in the main text and a list of references should be appended at end of the paper. Each reference include the title and the author of the paper, name of magazine and year of publication, volume and page numbers, or website address. All the quoted texts need to be put in the quotation marks. You are encouraged to discuss the subject with your own idea and language, and discouraged to construct a paper by simply using copy-and-paste technique.
3. Structure and format of the paper
A scientific term paper need to include but not limited to the following parts:
1. Introduction and historical background of the subject under discussion. This part explains why the issue or subject is important and what was the historical development of the issue. What are the current situation about the issue.
2. Analysis of the issue. In this part the different aspects of the issue are fully explored and analyzed quantitatively, supported with figures, charts and tables. Controversy is analyzed and your opinion and solutions are fully explained. Depending on the nature of topics, this part is the most dynamic and may be organized and presented in vary different way. It is up to your knowledge and skill to present a strong case with a convincing analysis.
3. Conclusion. The last but not the least important part of your paper is the conclusion. You need to offer a concise summary of what conclusions you can draw from your discussion and analysis. What are the problems related to the issue at the present, and what are the possible solutions to the problem.
Suggested Reference Magazines
NASA Space Science and Astronomy News