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The Science of Energy - Resources and Power Explained
Energy is, without a doubt, the very foundation of the universe. It's the engine that powers life and fuels the evolution of human civilization. Yet for all its importance, what energy really is and how it works remains a mystery to most non-scientists. For example:
  • Where does most of…
Solar Power and Electricity
Episode 14 of The Science of Energy
The biggest area of growth for solar energy: transforming sunlight into electricity with the aid of solar panels. Go inside the world of photovoltaic solar panels to find out how they convert sunlight into functional power. Also, take a closer look at other solar-related technologies, like solar troughs, solar towers,…
The Nuclear Fission Fuel Cycle
Episode 12 of The Science of Energy
Professor Wysession explains how uranium is used to make electricity through the process of nuclear fission, from acquiring uranium-bearing rocks to disposing of leftover nuclear waste. Afterwards, learn some of the upsides of nuclear energy (including its nearly unlimited power) and its downsides (such as its inability to become decentralized…
Sunlight - Inexhaustible Energy Source
Episode 13 of The Science of Energy
Sunlight is a literally inexhaustible source of energy. Discover why (and how) the sun gives off light, how much sunlight energy the earth's surface gets in an average day, how much land we'd need to supply all our energy needs through sunlight, and some of the geographical problems with solar…
Wind Power and Electricity
Episode 15 of The Science of Energy
Wind power is another growing source of renewable energy. First, discover how giant wind turbines provide us with energy. Then, get a brief history of how humans have tapped into wind's potential and the meteorology of how wind works. Finally, learn the best regions for wind power and the advantages…
Probable and Possible Future Energy Sources
Episode 23 of The Science of Energy
Look ahead to the possible (and probable) advancements in the areas of energy resources. You'll cover the growth of tidal and wave energy, the difficulty of nuclear fusion, the energy potential of earthquakes and supervolcanoes, and giant space arrays of solar panels designed to capture even more solar energy.
Coal: Convenient, Energy-Dense Fuel
Episode 6 of The Science of Energy
Understand one of energy's most polarizing topics: coal. Where does coal come from, and how does it develop? What makes coal "clean" or "dirty"? Why do certain nations have the largest coal reserves? What are some advantages to coal energy? And how does strip mining impact the environment?
Resistance Is Futile: Superconductors
Episode 21 of The Nature of Matter
Under special conditions, some materials lose all resistance to electron flow, becoming superconductors that transmit electricity with 100 percent efficiency. Probe this phenomenon at the atomic level, and learn how scientists are discovering new, more practical superconducting materials.
Chemical Energy, Biomass, and Photosynthesis
Episode 5 of The Science of Energy
Turn now to chemical energy, the potential energy resulting from the position of atoms within molecules. After an overview of photosynthesis (perhaps the universe's most amazing form of energy conversion), learn how combustion transforms biofuels into light and heat, and how energy density affects the transportation of biofuels like petroleum.
Energy Storage Technologies
Episode 19 of The Science of Energy
The sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't always blow. So how do we store renewable energy from these and other sources for later? Focus on several basic (as well as high-performance and high-volume) technologies for storing the surplus of energy we can get from sources such as wind…
Solar Power – An Alternative Energy Source
Part of the Series: Show Me Science Series - Advanced
Alternative energy sources are being researched and developed to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Fluctuating costs of oil, coal and natural gas, along with their possible negative effects on the environment, has made energy sources such as wind and solar more cost-competitive with fossil fuels. More energy strikes the Earth…
Energy Sources - Economics and Politics
Episode 22 of The Science of Energy
Professor Wysession outlines some of the major economic and political forces shaping the development of the world's energy resources. You'll learn how hidden costs can affect the economics of supply and demand, how governments can incentivize and dis-incentivize energy industries, and the complexities of international agreements (and trade wars).