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New class to focus on 'physics of energy'

This fall, MIT's physics department will offer a new course designed to help students understand the physical processes that govern all aspects of energy production, transmission, conversion, storage, and consumption.

Professors Robert Jaffe and Washington Taylor developed the course with the support of the MIT Energy Initiative. The course, called "Physics of Energy," will emphasize fundamental physical principles and quantitative analysis, giving students the ability to intelligently evaluate the science behind difficult political, economic and social issues surrounding energy.

"MIT graduates go on to become leaders of companies and advisors to government leaders," said Jaffe. "We have the opportunity to give people a foundation in fundamental science that would help them make decisions based on sound scientific principles."

The class, which is aimed at non-physics majors, is open to all who have completed MIT's core science requirements. It will introduce students to quantum and statistical physics and cover topics such as how photovoltaic cells and nuclear reactors work, and the physics behind global warming and engine efficiency.

For more information, visit the course web site,

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