Energy
Forms and Conversion for Use

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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…
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.
Biofuels - Biodiesel and Ethanol
Episode 17 of The Science of Energy
Liquid biofuels like biodiesel and corn-based ethanol are the most rapidly growing forms of biomass energy in the 21st century. Here, survey some of the many intriguing chemical reaction routes that transform solid plant biomass into liquids with high-energy densities. Then, ponder some of the economic and political implications of…
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…
Energy Trends - Planning for the Near Future
Episode 24 of The Science of Energy
According to Professor Wysession, there's no easy solution to the world's energy future. Going through many of the sources explored in previous lectures, he estimates how much energy we'll need, what sources are (and will be) available to us, and how to think realistically--and optimistically--about our energy consumption.
Heat - The Transfer and Flow of Energy
Episode 3 of The Science of Energy
One of the first forms of energy that humans learned to use is heat. You'll examine three ways heat flows (radiation, convection, conduction); make sense of the heat flow equation and the concept of entropy; and go inside the inner workings of a "heat engine" machine.
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).
Geothermal Energy
Episode 18 of The Science of Energy
Go deep underground for a look at geothermal energy. Topics include the energy budget of our planet, two main ways of using geothermal energy, five different technologies used for hydrothermal power systems (including dry steam power plants), and the concept of shallow ground source heat pumps (GSHPs).
Chemistry, 2nd Edition Course
Many students struggle in high school chemistry. Even if they succeed in earning a good grade, they often still feel confused and unconfident. Why is this? And what can be done to help every student succeed in this vitally important course? Success in chemistry, according to veteran science teacher Professor…
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…
Sustainable Energy Options
Every day, the sun delivers 14,000 times more energy than the human economy uses. Discover how solar energy in all its forms can be harnessed and used in efficient ways, in addition to the financial benefits that come from using it. Learn how you can use energy wisely in your…
Petroleum - Chemistry, Retrieval, and Use
Episode 7 of The Science of Energy
In the first of two lectures on petroleum, examine the science behind this common fossil fuel: how it's formed, how it's found and processed, how it's transported, and how it's used. You'll also gain insights into related topics, including geologic structures such as anticlines and the growth of the petroleum…