[H79.2466.1] This class examines technology from the perspective of energy sources and power flows. The course begins with a broad overview of the topic, a definition of terms, and an opportunity to discuss political and social ramifications. At the same time, students are introduced to a handful of technical concepts that draw on skills learned in physical computing (a prerequisite for the course) to gain a concrete understanding of energy. These skills allow the student to evaluate, monitor, harvest, and store small and/or intermittent sources of (typically electrical) energy, such as those from solar cells, turbines, and other sources. Students execute several small hands-on projects and one larger-scale project using the concepts learned in the class.
jfeddersen [at] gmail [dot] com
1. Develop a broad perspective and nuanced understanding of energy sources and flows.
2. Become well-versed in the current state of the art in energy conversion and storage, as well as relevant near- and far-term technologies.
3. Gain the skills necessary to create projects utilizing ambient energy supplies, and to measure and monitor the energy usage in those projects.
4. Develop two small projects (kinetic, solar) and
one large project using renewable
Documenting the work of this class in an online
format is required. At a minimum, presentation materials for your
weekly discussion and projects (kinetic, solar, and
final) should be online by the time they are presented. You may provide
additional documentation (e.g. of process, etc.) as you see fit.
How/where you put the documentation is up to you, but please provide a
single link from which I can access any of your work for this class,
and only the work for this class. That means if you're using a blog,
for example, set up a category or tag scheme so there is a single-page
archive of all class-related entries. It s too easy to miss
documentation when it is mixed in with all your other work.
Consistent Participation [35%]
Your active and engaged participation in the course
is vital, as is your on-time attendance. Readings and additional
materials will be discussed in each
class, and you should be prepared and familiar with the topics at hand.
Small weekly assignments will be posted each week on the syllabus which
will inform in-class discussions.
Additionally, students will sign up for a specific
week to lead a 10-15
minute discussion of an energy-related topic of their choosing. This
could include just about anything, but students should:
Pre-final projects [30%]
Pre-final project work will consist of a kinetic project to be presented in week 5 (details for this will be covered in the second week) and a small solar project in week 9. The primary purpose of both these projects is to facilitate your understanding of the technical concepts presented in the class.
Final Project [25%]
Working throughout the semester you will conceive, execute, and present a larger project. This project will be done individually or in groups of two to three. You are strongly encouraged to use the department's portable solar kits. Details will be provided in the syllabus.
Energy: A Beginner's Guide
2006, Oneworld Publications
We'll be using this excellent text as a the main reading for the course. It provides a wealth of technical detail in a cross-disciplinary context. Smil has published a number of other works on the topic. It should be available through the NYU bookstore for about $15. Barnes & Noble and Amazon have it for a less.
There will be additional reading materials assigned throughout the course. Details will be provided in the syllabus.
By appointment Mondays between 11 and 12:30. I will
also arrange to be available by phone or chat as needed.