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Physics of Energy: A Sustainability-Themed University Travel Course

Physics of Energy: A Sustainability-Themed University Travel Course
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Author(s): Katrina Hay (Pacific Lutheran University, USA)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 12
Source title: Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ken D. Thomas (Auburn University, USA) and Helen E. Muga (University of Mount Union, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5856-1.ch022


View Physics of Energy: A Sustainability-Themed University Travel Course on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


A new physics course was offered at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, which provides students with an understanding of the underlying physical principles of traditional and alternative energy production. The course was a travel course in the western United States, an ideal area to study practical use and research of hydroelectric, wind, nuclear, solar, ocean wave and geothermal energy sources. This sustainability-themed course was taught for the first time in January 2011 and traveled via the Amtrak Coast Starlight train, making stops in Washington, Oregon and California. Students studied the connection between resources, energy and surrounding communities. This chapter lists learning objectives, lecture and lab topics, energy sources and locations visited. Additionally, this chapter describes motivation for a sustainability-themed course in physics and contains a discussion of the unique experience of traveling with students.

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