Dr. Hans Pfister- Physics

Physics, Entropy, Energy and the Environment

The “Valley & Ridge goes to China” immersion program in the Yunnan Province provided numerous examples of how we as humans interact with our environment in both favorable and unfavorable ways. Both types of interactions provide paragon examples for illustrating the interrelation between sustainable systems, systems in steady state, entropy, and the environment. I will therefore incorporate many of the examples I observed in China into the Entropy Unit of both the introductory course Phys-114 as well as the junior-level course Phys-314. The expanded Entropy Unit will convey to my students that understanding the entropy concept can affect our personal decisions. Furthermore, they will see that policy decision regarding energy and the environment must be guided by entropy principles. Finally, the students will come to an understanding of the connection between entropy and sustainability.