Foundations of Environmental Physics: Understanding Energy Use and Human Impacts

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.75
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 95%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $3.75   
  • New (4) from $56.73   
  • Used (7) from $3.75   


Foundations of Environmental Physics is designed to focus students on the current energy and environmental problems facing society, and to give them the critical thinking and computational skills needed to sort out potential solutions. From its pedagogical approach, students learn that a simple calculation based on first principles can often reveal the plausibility (or implausibility) of a proposed solution or new technology.


Throughout its chapters, the text asks students to apply key concepts to current data (which they are required to locate using the Internet and other sources) to get a clearer picture of the most pressing issues in environmental science. The text begins by exploring how changes in world population impact all aspects of the environment, particularly with respect to energy use. It then discusses what the first and second laws of thermodynamics tell us about renewable and nonrenewable energy; how current energy use is changing the global climate; and how alternative technologies can be evaluated through scientific risk assessment. In approaching real-world problems, students come to understand the physical principles that underlie scientific findings.


This informative and engaging textbook offers what prospective scientists, managers, and policymakers need most: the knowledge to understand environmental threats and the skills to find solutions.


Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Professor of Environmental Planning, Virginia Tech - John Randolph
"As we continue our quest for sustainability, it is essential to understand the numbers and the scientific principles behind them. Foundations of Environmental Physics is a great place to start for students of physics to learn about the environment, especially energy, and for students of the environment to learn physics."
Professor of Ecosystem Science, U.C. Berkeley - John Harte
"I highly recommend this book for all students of environmental science. If you have not taken college-level physics, you will still find the presentation understandable, and if you have, you will find many new insights and applications. Especially noteworthy are the chapters on topics not usually covered in environmental science books, such as energy storage and risk assessment."
Choice Magazine - M. C. Ogilvie
"As society continues to struggle with fundamental environmental problems, universities are responding with courses focused on these issues. This book for academic curricula is intended for science and engineering majors at the junior level. Because this is a rapidly changing field, Forinash (Indiana Univ. Southeast) wisely concentrates on fundamental principles. Major topics include population growth, the relevance of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, renewable and nonrenewable energy, and climate change. Notable attention is paid to important but interdisciplinary topics such as energy storage and the analysis of risk. Each chapter includes many open-ended problems at the end. The book also contains several interesting sample calculations, such as an estimate of the maximum energy available from US fuel crops. The text is dense and rewards close attention to every page. An instructor could easily supply derivations for key equations, which are not generally given in the text. Foundations of Environmental Physics can be used as a textbook for an upper-level one-semester course or for supplementary material in other courses. It can also serve as a reference for students and professionals in all areas dealing with environmental issues. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections."
Contemporary Physics
"This book introduces the fundamental concept of energy usage and fate, seen from the point of view of environmental engineers and scientists. . . . I believe that this is one of the best books written on the subject matter. Kyle Forniash did an excellent job in presenting the ideas and topics covered in his book. The book contains an ample number of examples that an engineer and environmental scientist should carry to get quick estimates of real life problems. Several problems, questions and exercises are given at the end of each chapter. I highly recommend this book to environmental engineers and scientists seeking knowledge on energy use, its current and future challenges and its impact on the environment."
Professor Emeritus of Physics, Indiana University, Bloomington - Robert Bent
"This is the best textbook for science students at this level that I've seen. The selection of topics and their coverage is comprehensive, and the author has excellent expository skills."
"Because this is a rapidly changing field, Forinash (Indiana Univ. Southeast) wisely concentrates on fundamental principles...Notable attention is paid to important but interdisciplinary topics such as energy storage and the analysis of risk...The text is dense and rewards close attention to every page."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597267090
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kyle Forinash is Professor of Physics at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany, Indiana. He has published papers in non-linear dynamics and theoretical biophysics in addition to pedagogical papers about the use of computers and the Internet in introductory physics courses and for distance learning. He is co-author of Mathematical Methods in Physics: Partial Differential Equations, Fourier Series, and Special Functions.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Population Growth and Environmental Impacts
Chapter 2. Efficiency and the First Law of Thermodynamics
Chapter 3. Efficiency and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Chapter 4. Nonrenewable Energy
Chapter 5. Renewable Energy
Chapter 6. Energy Storage
Chapter 7. Climate and Climate Change
Chapter 8. Risk and Economics
Appendix A: Useful Constants and Conversions
Appendix B: Error Analysis Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)