London, United Kingdom

Climate and Energy (Level 2)

online course
when 5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee GBP 2165

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.

Course leader

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.

Target group

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.

Course aim

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

Credits info

7.5 EC
7.5 ECTS / 4 US / 15 UCL

Fee info

GBP 2165: Students joining us for six weeks (two modules) will receive a tuition fee discount.