Topics in Science and Technology

Tanja Traxler
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2022W, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04480

Description

Electrified: The Science of Energy Production

 

While science has provided diverse paths for producing and distributing energy, these technologies are never neutral: how, why, and when energy is being produced has major ecological, political, and economical consequences. In this seminar, the science behind different means of energy production will be closely reviewed and cross-disciplinarily explored. Risks as blackouts and nuclear fallout will be assessed as well as promising advances for energy transition. As it appears, energy is one of the key physical properties to be addressed in facing a climate crisis.

In the cosmic regime, energy appears as a counter-player to entropy: energy is conserved in closed systems, but entropy increases – unless energy is provided to halt that process. As Albert Einstein made explicit in his famous equation E=mc², energy and matter are closely intertwined. Also, light transports energy, as can be observed dramatically in the so-called “greenhouse effect” through which the global temperature of the earth increases, fueled by the radiant energy from the sun. While the sun is powered by nuclear fusion, on earth nuclear fission has been made feasible for energy production in the middle of the 20th century. As it turned out, large amounts of energy can be released from tiniest particles – with unforeseen consequences.

Decades earlier, electricity has proven as a most convenient way to distribute energy across distances. Through quantum physics it became possible to control the behavior of elementary particles, such as electrons, and consequently construct useful electrical devices such as transistors. But quantum physics holds yet another, much more fundamental lesson for energy: as revealed by Werner Heisenberg, energy and time share a curious relation – their precise determination is mutually exclusive. The profound scientific and philosophical consequences of this phenomenon fascinate scholars until today – and will also flash up in this seminar.

 

Examination Modalities

Regular attendance and active participation in group discussions. (30%)


Presentation (individual/groups of 2) on one of the texts discussed in the
seminar. (30%)


Seminar paper  (40%)

Dates

06 October 2022, 12:00–13:45 CDS Lecture Room (preliminary discussion)
13 October 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
20 October 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
27 October 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
03 November 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
10 November 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
17 November 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
24 November 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
01 December 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
15 December 2022, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
12 January 2023, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
19 January 2023, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
26 January 2023, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room
02 February 2023, 11:00–12:45 CDS Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

From 01 September 2022, 00:00 to 31 October 2022, 23:55
Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Study Areas: Study Area 2: Science and Technology

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Elective Field: only students without a bachelor's degree in CDS: from Study Areas 1-6

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Science and Technology: Deepening / Application

Individual courses: possible