Foundations of Environmental Physics: Understanding Energy Use and Human Impacts

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Overview

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.

 

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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."
CHOICE
"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."
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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.

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