James Baldwin leads GE150 Sustainable Energy Students on Scavenger Hunt
For one night a year the Museum of Science opens its doors free of charge to area college students, and, for the second year in a row, Department of Earth and Environment Visiting Assistant Professor James Baldwin took advantage of the museum’s night of free admission to lead his students on a sustainable energy scavenger hunt.
For the scavenger hunt, Prof. Baldwin challenged the students in his GE150 Sustainable Energy class to search out specific exhibits at the Museum related to sustainable energy: “we looked at and discussed exhibits that demonstrated key scientific principles related to energy, the evolution of society’s use of energy, and also the extensive exhibit on renewable energy,” stated Baldwin.
Baldwin provided clues to the students to lead them to specific exhibits; the students then took pictures of themselves with the exhibits for extra credit. Some of the exhibits that the students had to find this year included a cloud chamber which enables visualizations of subatomic particulars and fission events and a display on solar “power towers.”
While students searched for the different exhibits, Baldwin roamed the museum with his students, explaining the science behind sustainable energy: “in total I was talking with students one on one and in small groups for nearly 4 hours,” said Baldwin, “although exhausting for me, all the students who went had an awesome time and so did I. I look forward to doing it again next fall.”
GE150, Sustainable Energy, focuses on the sustainability challenges that exist in our current energy systems. Students in the course learn about the physical principles and environmental aspects of energy systems, both renewable and nonrenewable, and then discuss ways society can become more sustainable from an energy perspective. Topics range from technological questions such as “what is a heat engine” and “how a nuclear reactor works” to global perspectives on things like climate change, energy policy, and conflict over energy.