17 July 2020
Climate and Energy
What is the evidence for anthropogenic climate change? How can we generate low-carbon electricity from nuclear and renewable sources, and how can we make our transport infrastructure greener? If we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently rapidly, will we need to intervene directly in the climate system through so-called “geoengineering”? This module will cover all of these topics, with a strong emphasis on the underlying physical principles and deriving simple estimates of the potential contribution of various low-carbon energy sources. In addition to attending lectures, students research one particular aspect of climate & energy in depth and present their findings in an essay and associated short presentation.
David Waters is Professor of Physics at University College London, where he has been based since 2001. He is a particle physicist who has worked on hadron collisions, cosmic rays and most recently in the field of neutrino physics.
An understanding of Law mathematics or physics to first year undergraduate level would be preferred: mathematics knowledge at the level of basic calculus, and physics knowledge at the level of basic classical mechanics & electricity. An understanding of classical thermodynamics would be useful but is not essential.
Upon successful completion of this module, students will:
Understand the basic science underlying power generation from thermal sources, hydro, tidal and wave power, wind power, solar energy, nuclear fission and fusion, and the operation of a power grid
Appreciate for each source of energy the technical challenges, environmental impact and overall prospects
Understand the leading proposals for intervening in the Earth’s climate through carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management
Have the requisite knowledge and understanding to make their own critical scientific assessments of current issues in climate and energy science
Understand the basic energy balance of the Earth’s atmosphere, identify the most important means by which the Earth’s climate history has been reconstructed, and develop an ability to weigh the evidence for anthropogenic climate change
7.5 ECTS / 4 US / 0.5 UCL
GBP 2100: Students joining us for six weeks (two modules) will receive a tuition fee discount.
GBP 1100: UCL offers accommodation in a vibrant area in the heart of London which costs approx. £1100 per 3-week Session.