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Course Rules Exercises (Homework) In-class Exercises (Learning Catalytics) Learning Catalytics Log-in
In-Class Presentations Exam: Final Exams: Midterms Instructors
Office Hours Prerequisites Teaching Assistants Text
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Course Objectives

Energy is of paramount importance to civilization, and has been for centuries, although never more than the present day. Much of the things we value and rely on -- food, automobiles, air travel, heating and air conditioning all depend on access to inexpensive sources of energy. Wars have been fought over sources of energy. But what is energy? Is it inexhaustible, or will inexpensive sources of energy disappear in our lifetimes? Will our thirst for energy inevitably lead to climate change and global warming?

Physics 1110 is a course intended to address these issues. Structured so that it is accessible to non-science majors (no Calculus!), this course addresses such topics as the physical nature of energy, the ways in which we produce and consume energy in our society, and how the opportunities energy provides, and the threats that may occur will play into our future.

Should I take this course?

This course is most commonly taken by students who wish to fulfill their science requirements. We welcome all students who wish to take the course, regardless of their majors or backgrounds.


None but an interest in what energy is, where it comes from, where it goes, and why it is vital to modern societies. The math will be high-school level algebra: no Calculus.

Class Web Site
Refer to the class web page for up to date information. However, announcements made in class always supersede any information given on the class web page.

Location and Time

TuTh, Nau Hall 211, 9:30-10:45 AM

Course Instructor

E. Craig Dukes
Office: Room 121, High Energy Physics Lab
Telephone: 434-982-5364
E-mail: ecd3m


The grader is to help you understand solving homework problems, help grade the "Energy in the News Submissions", and answer any questions regarding Learning Catalytics and Canvas.

YiLei "Isabella" Li
Office: ?
E-mail: kuj2js

Office hours and Location

Office hours are available as a resource for questions about the text, lectures, and homework exercises. Do not be shy about attending them.

Office hours are in my office in room 121 in the High Energy Physics Laboratory. A map on how to get there can be found here.

If you cannot make it to my office in person, I will have Zoom running as well during my office hours.

Our grader, Isabella Li, also has office hours in Clark/Brown library 156.

Office hour times are given below.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Dukes: 5:00-6:00 5:00-6:00
Li: 4:00-5:00 3:00-4:00


None but an interest in what energy is, where it comes from, where it goes, and why it is vital to modern societies. The math will be high-school level algebra: no Calculus.


Energy, Environment, and Climate
Richard Wolfson
W. W. Norton ISBN 978-0-393-89353-3
This text in electronic format is at the UVA Bookstore.

Energy For Future Presidents
Richard A. Muller
W. W. Norton ISBN 978-0-393-34510-0.
This text should be available at the UVA Bookstore. It can be found elsewhere for a modest price.

Exercises (Homework)

Physics, like any other mental or physical endeavor, cannot be learned without practice, which is the purpose of the exercises that will be assigned bi-weekly. The questions will be posted on Canvas. It is important that your solutions to these assignments are either printed legibly or typed. Answers that are not will be graded off.

Exercises (In-Class) Learning Catalytics

Problems will be given during class, where your response will be recorded using Learning Catalytics. In order to do so you will need to bring to each class either a laptop, tablet, or smart phone in which to record your responses.

You will need to purchase an account with Learning Catalytics. It is relatively inexpensive (~$15). Written instructions on how to do so can be found here. Video instructions on how to do so can be found here.


  • Make sure you use your UVA computer ID, not a gmail or some other email address.

For each problem you will receive 70% for any answer, and another 30% for getting it right. In order to account for illness, forgotten or malfunctioning laptops, tablets, or smart phones, and other unavoidable absences, you are allowed 5 pre-excused absences in which a zero for your in-class scores are forgiven.

In-class Presentations: Energy in the News

Each week of class each student is required to find one article in the news that concerns some aspect of energy. For example "Europe decides to declare nuclear power as green energy" or "coral reefs in Australia are coming back despite global warming". Two students will be selected at random to give five to ten-minute presentations on the topic at the beginning of each lecture.

You are required to write a one or two paragraph description and critique of the article.

The article should be put in electronic format, PowerPoint, pdf, jpg, or png.

Each week's artcle is to be uploaded no later than Sunday midnight using Canvas Assignments.

I will read each of your articles every week.

You will be asked to go to the front of class to make your presentation.

You will be graded on the presentation, your response to questions, and your ability to critique the article.

If I call on you and you are not in class then your in-class presentation grade will be reduced by 25%.

Midterm Exams

Two midterm examinations are scheduled during the semester (see the Calendar).

All exams are multiple-choice, closed-book and problem-oriented.

If you miss an exam without a valid excuse, you will receive a score of zero. Valid excuses include university-sponsored travel, serious illness, personal crises, and other emergencies. Except in the case of emergencies, you must contact your instructor prior to the exam to approve your absence. Supporting documentation from your doctor or dean may be required. If approved, you will be exempted from the exam, with the other exams scores reweighted accordingly.

Formulas and constants will be provided for the midterm and final exams. You may not bring your own.

Final Exam

The final exam will be comprehensive of the course. Formulas will be given. See the calendar for the date.


The relative weights of the components to your final grade are given as follows:
In-Class presentations:
In-Class questions:
Homework Exercises:
Final exam:


Incompletes are not given for the course; if for whatever reason you cannot keep up with the course requirements, then you are expected to withdraw from the course.

Academic Integrity

Submission of solutions by groups or direct copying of solutions from the internet or another student is not acceptable (and a poor strategy). Talk to your friends about how to do a problem, but make sure you actually do it yourself!

For midterm and final exams, you must work by yourself. Collusion with other students or use of non-allowed resources is a clear violation of the honor code. If you cheat, you will be assigned a score of zero on the exam and reported to the Honor Committee.

Course Rules

Please read these course rules. By registering for this course you are agreeing to abide by these rules.

Useful Links

Instructor Resources