The fundamental science behind the global issues of energy use and climate change.

Faculty: Science
Subject: Physics
Year / Level: 3
Theme(s): Climate Science; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation



In PHYS 333 we will build upon what you have already learned in high school and first-year science to explore the fundamental science behind the global issues of energy use and climate change. You will learn how to look at the world around you and evaluate human activities in terms of energy and waste. As we examine the use of energy in our daily lives, we will focus on numbers, not adjectives, and inform the choices we make, as individuals and as society, with concrete data.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Evaluate, numerically, the energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions of a wide variety of activities of individuals and of human society as a whole.
  2. Engage in the global energy and climate debate using numbers rather than adjectives.
  3. Make measurements on everyday activities and relate the results to energy use and climate impact.
  4. Develop a heightened sense of your responsibility, as science students, to educate those around you and to improve the public debate on these issues.


Check SSC to see if the course is currently offered and if you meet pre-requisites etc.



Read a copy of the course syllabus to see reading lists, assignments, grading, and more.



James Charbonneau

"Students will learn how to use simple physics and good approximations to put numbers on some of the most complex questions that affect their day to day lives."