The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

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Spring 2019




PHYS 2210 Diagnostic Exam

PHYSICS 2210: Explanation of Diagnostic Exam

As part of our efforts in the Department of Physics & Astronomy to improve these introductory courses, and to help assess your readiness for Physics 2210, we will be administering a diagnostic test to all students early during the first week of class. This test is not for credit; it consists of a few survey questions and then some diagnostic questions designed to assess your proficiency in algebra, trigonometry, and basic problem-solving skills. This test has been shown to be an accurate predictor for overall performance in this course. You can see from the graphs shown below, which include data from the course taught in Spring 2012, there is a strong correlation between performance on the diagnostic test and both midterm average scores (top) and final grade scores (bottom). In particular, students who scored below 7 out of 13 on the diagnostic test generally perform much more poorly in the course than those who scored 7 or above.

The results of your diagnostic test will be made available to you quickly, along with a recommendation as to whether you are prepared to take Physics 2210. The recommendation is non-binding: you are free to choose whether you continue with the course. It is very important to understand that due to the large number of students in this course (~550 in all sections) and the need to maintain rigorous standards to ensure you are adequately prepared for more advanced coursework, course instructors will not be able to modify the course curriculum to accommodate a lack of preparation.

However, the Department of Physics & Astronomy will offer a 1-semeseter, 3-credit preparatory course, Physics 1500, which meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12:55pm - 1:45pm. The purpose of this preparatory course is to help you obtain the skills needed to succeed in Physics 2210 and in more advanced coursework.

In the event that the diagnostic exam indicates a lack of adequate preparation for Physics 2210, we strongly recommend that you consider taking Physics 1500 instead of Physics 2210 this semester. We will provide the results of the diagnostic test quickly enough so that you will be able to drop/add the courses without penalty. We realize that that many of you may not be able to accommodate Physics 1500 in your class schedules, even if it is recommended. This was unavoidable this year; we will try to move Physics 1500 to the same time as Physics 2210 in subsequent years to make this transition more feasible for everyone concerned.

PHYS 3150

Energy & Sustainability
PHYS 3150

Lectures T,H 10:45am – 12:05pm JFB 103

INSTRUCTOR:  Orest G. Symko
316 J. Fletcher Building (JFB), Telephone: 581-6132, Fax: 581-4801, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office Hours: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Thursday, or by appointment.

This course deals with the conversion of various energies for practical use around the world, with focus on the U.S.  It introduces concepts in energy and the physical principles used in transforming it and storing it.  In particular it examines energy technologies in each fuel cycle stage for fossil (oil, gas, synthetic), nuclear (fission and fusion), and renewable (solar, biomass, wind, hydro, and geothermal) along with storage, transmission, disposal, and conservation issues.  Energy technology systems will be analyzed and evaluated in the context of global environmental goals.  The course is an introduction to the global issues of environment and sustainability.

TEXT:  Energy Systems and Sustainability, by Boyle, Everett, and Ramage, Oxford University Press.

Important Documents
HW 1
HW 2
HW 3
HW 4

1. October 22, 2009
4.  FINAL: Thursday December 16, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

I.          Introduction and Overview
Energy, sources, energy services, energy in a sustainable future, renewable energy.

II.        Primary Energy
World primary energy consumption, definitions and units, energy arithmetic, first and second laws of thermodynamics, entropy.

III.       Uses of Energy
Food, domestic energy consumption, industry, transport, services.

IV.       Forms of Energy
Kinetic and potential energy, heat, electrical energy, electromagnetic radiation, chemical energy, nuclear energy.

V.        Heat to Motive Power, Engines
Principles of heat engines (Carnot, Stirling, Watt), steam power, steam turbines, power stations.  Car engines, diesel engine, gas turbines, Stirling engine.

VI.       Coal, Oil, and Gas
Fossil fuels, coal combustion, petroleum, oil shale, tar sands, biomass.

VII.     Electricity
Batteries, magnetism, AC and DC, uses, large scale generation, power makers, hydroelectricity, transmission and distribution (national grid), electricity around the world, wind power, ocean power, storage, body power, solar energy.

VIII.    Nuclear Power
Radioactivity, nuclear fission, reactors and bombs, fusion, future of nuclear power.

IX.       Cost of Energy
Current prices, inflation, world complications.

X.        Energy and the Environment
Impact of energy use, carbon emission, global-scale impacts, remedies for making fuel use more sustainable.

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