Energy Systems
updated 30.Dec.2004
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How is energy created and harvested, stored and transformed, used and abused?  Energy Systems is a 2-3 quarter, intensive study of ways energy is produced and changed.    This is a good program for students interested in physics or environmental studies, integrated with mathematics.  It starts with skill building and background study, and finishes with major research projects related to energy.  Classes meet full time fall and winter.  Students may continue their research projects as a group contract in spring. For more information, see the Program Description and these webpages.

WINTER QUARTER: The first class meeting is Monday 3.Jan.2005 at 1:00 in Lab II Rm 2242.

Assignment for the first day: Get all of your textbooks ordered and delivered by the first day of class.
Review your calculus and physics learning from last quarter, especially sines, differentiation, and thermal physics.

Questions? You can contact Dr. Zita by email <>, and/or come to the Academic Fair. Please include "Energy Systems" in your email subject header, so the spam filter doesn't delete your email.

TEXTS: always get the most recent edition available. Be sure to order texts in advance from the publisher or another online source such as Powell's so you have them the first day of class. The college bookstore will probably not have these texts. Click on titles below for links to primary sources. You can compare prices at or BestBuyBooks, but for primary texts the linked publisher site is your best bet. Get the seminar texts too!

Energy and Earth texts to be used all year:

Introduction to Energy: Resources, Technology, and Society, 2d Ed, by Edward S. Cassedy & Peter Z. Grossman, pub. Cambridge University Press; (1998) ISBN: 0521 637678 (pdk)

Alternative Energy: A Beginner's Guide to the Future of Energy Technology, by Marek Walisiewicz, ed. John Gribbin, 2002, pub: Dorling Kindersley Publishing (DK) Essential Science, ISBN: 0789489198

Conte et al., Earth Science: An Integrated Perspective pub.Wm C. Brown, ISBN 0-697-279413 Earth Science Online


Physics and Calculus texts to be used all year:

You can order Physics and Calculus texts from the publisher (both from Wiley) by clicking on the links below and adding them to your shopping cart. If you want the optional supplements recommended below, order them at the same time to save on shipping. Always get the latest edition!

Fundamentals of Physics, Extended (Vol.I and II), Seventh Edition, by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker. Get two separate volumes so you don't have to carry one big text around: ISBN 0-471-42959-7 and ISBN 0-471-42960-0

Single Variable Calculus, 3rd ed., Hughes-Hallett, Gleason, McCallum, et al., pub. John Wiley & Sons (2002), ISBN 0-471-44876-1 (get the Course Advantage Edition, which includes supplemental learning tools).

Strongly recommended, not required:

Physics supplements: Student Solutions Manual, and Student Companion

Calculus supplements: Student Solutions Manual for Ch.1-20, and Student Study Guide

Active Learning Edition Sampler for Hughes-Hallett Calculus 3E, by Deborah Hughes-Hallett (2002) ISBN: 0-471-25042-2 (If you have trouble ordering this, don't worry about it.)

Optional, not required:

Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuels and Electricity, by Henry Kelly, Amulya K. N. Reddy, Thomsa B. Johansson, Pub. Island Pr (1992), ISBN 1559631384 (out of print?)

Prospects for Sustainable Energy: A critical assessment, by Edward S. Cassedy, Publisher: Cambridge University Press; (April 6, 2000) ISBN: 0521631203

The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth, by Jeremy Rifkin, pub: Jeremy P. Tarcher; 1st Trade edition (August 1, 2003)

SCIENCE SEMINAR in Energy Systems

Seminar is a required component, closely integrated into the Energy Systems program. Science Seminar is also open to other interested students, who may take Monday and/or Thursday sections, for 4 credits each. Be sure to order texts in advance (Powell's, Amazon, or your favorite online source) so you have them the first day of class. The college bookstore will probably not have them; Orca Books downtown may have some copies. Always get the most recent edition available. While there may be copies of some texts on closed reserve in the Library, you must bring your own copy to class each day.  Take notes in the margins as you read, and the text becomes a record of your developing thoughts. "An unmarked text is an unread text." See Seminar Syllabus for meeting details. Seminar meets 5:00-6:30 pm.

WINTER SEMINAR on Electromagnetism and the Sun's effects on Earth.
Monday Seminar: Electromagnetism

Thursday Seminar: The Sun's effects on Earth


Tesla: Master of Lightning, by Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth, 2001, Publisher: MetroBooks (NY), ISBN: 158663187X, or 21st Century Books, ISBN: 0-7607-1005-8, PBS site

Storms from the Sun, by Michael J. Carlowicz and Ramon E. Lopez, pub 2002 Joseph Henry Press, ISBN 0-309-07642-0

Your required second "text" is actually kit of electromagnetism equipment to experiment with in class. Order your kit at the link below, or get one downtown at Wind Up Here toystore, to save shipping costs. Call 1-800-531-2616 or email to reserve your kit.

Required: Electromagnetic Science Set ($25)
Also required: 4 D-cell flashlight batteries
flashlight bulb, paper clips, masking tape
Phillips screwdriver, 2 feet of string or thread
scissors, spoon, three drinking straws
heavy duty foil or metal tube with 2 cm inner diam.
paper, magazines,dollar bill, nickel, five pennies

Optional: Electromagnetix Lab ($10), available at Hobbytron or ToyMagnets. We can supplement these kits with Lab Stores equipment.

The Role of the Sun in Climate Change, by Douglas V. Hoyt and Kenneth H. Shatten, 1997, Publisher: Oxford University Press; ISBN: 019509414X

Interesting texts we also considered for Monday Seminar - not required:
Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World, by Jill Jonnes, 2003, Publisher: Random House; ISBN: 0375507396
Hidden Attraction: the History and Mystery of Magnetism, by Gerrit Verschuur
The Northern Lights, by Lucy Jago, 2002, Publisher: Vintage, ISBN: 0375708820
Energy and Power (Young Discoverers: Environmental Facts and Experiments), by Rosie Harlow, Sally Morgan, 2002, Publisher: Kingfisher; ISBN: 0753455021

FALL QUARTER Energy Systems: The first class meeting is Monday 27 Sept. at 1:00 in Lab II Rm 2242.

Assignment for the first day: Get all of your textbooks ordered and delivered by the first day of class.
Refresh your pre-calculus understanding by reviewing your favorite text.

FALL SEMINAR on oil, hydrogen, and the possible impacts of alternatives. See Seminar Syllabus for meeting details. Seminar meets 5:00-6:30 pm.

Monday Seminar - Oil and alternatives
Thursday Seminar - Hydrogen
The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World, by Paul Roberts, pub. Houghton Mifflin Co; (2004) ISBN: 0618239774  
Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet, by Peter Hoffmann, pub. MIT Press (2002) ISBN: 026258221X
Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet, by Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, pub. Farrar Straus & Giroux (2003) ISBN: 0374236755
The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate by Joseph J. Romm, pub. Island Press (2004) ISBN: 155963703X

SPRING SEMINAR - YOUR IDEAS? email, with Seminar Suggestion in subject header

Seminar text ideas for sometime in the future:
The Fusion Quest, by T Kenneth Fowler
The Solar Economy, by Hermann Scheer
The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World, by Howard C. Hayden

Links: Energies 1997-98; Beug's 2002 Energy program (lots of good links), CAL = Computer Applications Lab

NASA's poop-powered fuel cells; Union of Concerned Scientists on Clean Energy

End of Oil: Mother Jones review and interview; NPR interview;

Sun:: Early solar minimum? Solar pathfinder measures sunlight at your location

Climate change: M&M links



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