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Fall 2006 - The University of Michigan
The Residential College

Residential College Natural Science 263, and Program in the Environment 263, and Urban Planning 263.
Credit towards Science, Technology and Society (STS) Minor Program

Visit number:  (Aug05 ~2540, Aug06 ~3550)

Credit:  4.0, LS&A Natural Science
Meets:  Fall 2006, Tues/Thurs, 1:00 - 2:30 in 126 Tyler Hall, RC, East Quad
Instructor:  Tom O'Donnell
Contact::,   homepage:
Office Hours:  Residential College, 6 Tyler, T.B.A.

Class tours, field trips, etc.

UM Medical School HVAC tour (MSRB3, 06oct05)
Guide: Mr. Wm. Brushaber, Med. School engineer

Useful formulas, Answers to selected assignments, Lecture notes, etc.

Powerpoint slides, homework from talks, etc.

Non-Textbook Reading Assignments - for Thursdays
  • BEGIN [Goodstein04]
  • Week 1:
    [Goodstein04] Introduction; Chapter 1 - "The Future," pp. 13-40.
  • Week 2:
    [Goodstein04] Chapters 2 & 3 - "Energy Myths & a Brief History of Energy," "Electricity & Radiant Energy," pp. 41-76.
  • Week 3:
    [Goodstein04] Chapters 4 & 5 - "Heat engines & entropy" and "Technological Fixes," pp. 77-101.
  • Week 4:
    [Goodstein04] Chapters 5 (cont'd) & Envoy: "Technological Fixes," "The future revisited" and "Annotated Bibliography," pp. 102-126.
  • BEGIN [Deffeyes01] (pronounced "d-phase")
  • Week 5:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapters 1 & 2: "Overview" and "The Origin of Oil," pp. 1-13 & 14-39.
  • Week 6:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapter 3: "Oil Reservoirs and Oil Traps," pp. 40-69.
  • Week 7:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapter 4: "Finding It" pp. 70-87.
  • Week 8:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapter 5:"Drilling Methods" pp. 88-112.
  • Week 9:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapter 6: "Size and Discoverability of Oil Fields," pp. 113-132.
  • Note: Skip Chapters 7 & 8.
  • Week 10:
    [Deffeyes01] Chapter 9, 10 & 11: "The Future of Fossil Fuels," pp. 159-175. "Alternative Energy Sources" pp. 176-185, and "A New Outlook," pp. 186-190.
  • BEGIN [Klare01]
  • Week 11:
    [Klare02] Introduction; Chapter 1 - "Wealth, Resources, and Power: The Changing Parameters of Global Security," pp. ix-26.
  • Week 12:
    [Klare02] Chapter 2 - "Oil, Geography, and War: The Competitive Pursuit of Petroleum Plenty," pp. 27-50.
  • Week 13:
    [Klare02] Chapter 3 - "Oil Conflict in the Persian Gulf," pp. 51-80.
  • Week 14:
    [Klare02] Chapter 4 - "Energy Conflict in the Caspian Sea Basin," pp. 81-108. (Note: Skip [Klare02] Chapter 5 - "Oil Wars in the South China Sea," pp. 109-138, and skip Chapters 6-8 on water)
    [Klare02] Chapter 9 - "The New Geography of Conflict;" Appendix: "Territorial Disputes in Areas Containing Oil and/or Natural Gas," pp. 213-232.
INDEX Last update
Class description 05 sep 06
SYLLABUS (separate document comes up) 08 dec 06
Text and books 25 sep 06
Grading 01 sep 06
E-mail archive 05 nov 06
HW and Quiz solutions 05 nov 06
NEW --> Misc. lectures 16 nov 06


This interdisciplinary course traces problems of  Energy and the Environment across four realms. These include:

    ~75% of material:
  1. Natural-scientific principles needed to understand energy and environmental processes.  These include kinetic and potential energy; the First and Second Laws of thermodynamics; forms of work; of heat transfer including radiation, conduction and convection; heat engines and refrigeration; combustion; fuel cells; batteries; solar cells; phase transitions; the forces of nature; a conceptual understanding of atomic systems and of nuclear fission, fusion and of the sun; and the use and storage of energy by plants.  The geological origins of fossil fueles and their uneven global distribution and depletion rates; the scientific principles governing wind, biomass, water-tidal, geothermal and solar energy.
  2. Technological-engineering systems for the extraction, processing and the end-use of energy.  Systems include coal, natural-gas and uranium for the generation of electricity and electrical distribution grids; and the use of oil in transportation; alternative energy systems and their engineering limitations. We also study heating, ventillation, air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration systems, as well as lighting for public and residential buildings; and basics of control systems.

    ~25% of material:
  3. Social and environmental consequences of fossil fuels, including the greenhouse effect and global warming, acid rain; the hazards and disposal of radioactive wastes; traffic congestion, urban sprawl; and social-economic inequalities in the access to energy and transport services are stressed throughout.
  4. Political-economy and public policy issues as concerns energy resources and their exploitation.  We compare automobile- and oil-centric societies with alternative models using mass-transit, fast-trains and pedestrian mobility. Special attention is paid to the realities of the global oil industry.  U.S., Chinese, European-Union and Japanese policies, global contention over energy sources and their distribution, especially oil. US involvement in the Caspian Basin, the Persian Gulf and Iraq, Latin America and the South China Seas is discussed, etc.
WARNING: Quantitative measures are stressed, but without calculus, at the level of high school algebra and perhaps trigonometry, i.e., 'university physics' level. Some students find particulary challenging multiple-step and 'story' problems, which involve quantitative and/or logical reasoning skills. There are weekly problem sets from the textbook and elsewhere which students are required to submit. Many, though not all, of these will be graded and returned by the grader and/or instructor.

While this is at a level for which all U.M. students are presumed to be prepared; nevertheless, all students are required at the start of the course to acknowledge that they have been alerted to the aforementioned quantitative character of the work which will be expected of them.

NOTE: Books are all available at Shamann Drum Books, located just north of North University on State Street, second floor.

Required text and books Author Cited herein as Comments
Energy: Its Use and the Environment, Fourth edition, Thompson Learning, 2005. Hinrichs & Kleinbach [Hinrichs&K06] Authors are physicists who've taught this course for ~20 years at SUNY Oswego. Unfortunately this book if $95 new. Some used are available.
Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, Norton, NY, 2004. David Goodstein [Goodstein04] Author is professor of physics, and Vice Provost of Cal Tech.
Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage, Princeton, Princeton NJ, 2001. Kenneth S. Deffeyes OPTIONAL for the present [Deffeyes01] Author is emeritus professor of oil geology at Princeton U., was an associate of M. King Hubbert at Shell Oil in Huston in 1950-60s.


Activity Points
Homework problems 30
Class participation and preparation 30
Quizzes 30
Midterms 30
Total: 120
Link to UM Academic Calendar:

Quizzes and Midterms:

Test Class # Date
Quiz 1 Class 6 Thurs., 22sep05
Quiz 2 Class 11 Tues., 11oct05
Midterm 1 Class 15 Tues., 25oct05
Quiz 3 Class 21 Tues., 15nov05
Quiz 4 Class 25 Tues., 29nov05
Midterm 2 Class 29 Tues., 13dec05 (Last day)

List of invited speakers, class tours, demonstrations, films and videos:

Speaker Topic Date
Prof. Emeritus Marc Ross, Physics "Automobile fuel efficienty and safety studies" Thurs. 13Oct05
Michael Murray, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes Field Office "Coal-fired power plants: Current pollutant emissions and possible future trends in the U.S". Thurs. 17nov05
Prof. Emeritus Gerald Smith, Natural History Museum, Geology and Biology Departments "Global climate change: Unavoidable, but on what time scale?" Thurs. 27oct05
Deena Patel, post-doc., Physics Dept. & Abigail Mechtenberg, Physics Grad student; Physics "Hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid engines" Thurs. 03nov05
Prof. James Duderstadt, Nuclear Engineering; UM VP Academic Affairs and former President. "Nuclear power and its prospects" Tues. 29nov05
Greg DeMaggio Ph.D.; United Solar Ovonic Corporation, Auburn Hills, MI "Large-scale solar panel research, development and production" Thurs. 20oct05
Prof. Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE); Former chief environmental science advisor to President Clinton "The scientific consensus on global warming and its consequences" Thurs. 01dec05

Class trip or tour Features Date
UM Power Plant. Mr. P. M. Pepper, M.E., Plant Superintendent Gas-fired electrical cogeneration, H.P steam boilers, turbines, etc. and presentation by Superintendent. Thurs. 10nov05
UM Medical Science Research Building 3 (MSRB III), HVAC equipment. Mr. Wm. Brushaber III, F.E., Assist. Director, Med. School Facilities Management and Planning LiBr absorption chillers, cooling towers, air handlers, heat exchangers and digital controls. (SCHEMATICS of typical fan room, boiler room, chiller room and roof-top cooling towers. CLICK HERE.) Thurs. 06Oct05

Video Topic, reference Date
Hudson Institute, Conference: "Saudi Arabia in Crisis" 08jul05 "The Implications of Saudi Arabian Oil Declining," talk by by Matthew R. Simmons, oil industry financial analyst, Simmons & Company International. C_SPAN video link T.B.A.

Classroom demonstrations Link to Physics Dept. demos page Date
Nuclear models: Thompson plum pudding or Rutherford central potential? Nucleus models 15nov05
Electron gun (CRT) and Thompson e/m determination electron charge & mass 15nov05
Atomic emission & absorption of light; electron level transitions Atomic spectra 15nov05
Atomic emission & absorption of light: black body vs. spectral See: Light Bulb and Variac, and others 21nov05