Friday, June 12, 2009

New course: Physics and Society

A new online physics course covers everything from atoms to artwork, from Newton’s apple to the Apple iPod.
Physics 380, Physics and Society, explores how physics affects nearly every aspect of society, including energy use, pollution, recycling, computers, war, and art, said Dr. Richard Kouzes, who is teaching the 3-credit course this fall through Distance Degree Programs.
“The intellectual gains made in science in the last hundred years have changed society more than all the changes in the previous thousands of years,” he said. “This course will explore current societal challenges and how physics both aids and limits solutions.” More...
Students in Physics 380 will also learn to assess science reports in the media. “Cold fusion has been pretty soundly disproven,” he said, “yet the national news continues to report on the possibility it is real.” Continuing doubts about global warming are another example of science being ignored, he said. “I think it is my social duty to teach physics and its impacts.”
Kouzes is a laboratory fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. He has a bachelor's degree in physics from Michigan State University, and a master's and doctorate in physics from Princeton University.

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