Thursday, October 24, 2013

More thoughts on math and sustainability

The blog "Getting to Green" is written by a university administrator who "pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium." Today's posting has some extended reflections on the importance of the quantitative aspect of understanding sustainability, which closely mirror my own. You can read it here.

I'm excited to report that my Math for Sustainability course was approved by Penn State's Faculty Senate, and will run for the first time next fall (Fall 2014): later than I had hoped, but the stately pace of university bureaucracy is hard to hurry.  The university put out a nice press release which has already brought me a couple of outside requests for interviews or information.  Here's the hook:

Quick, how many trips to the landfill does Penn State’s recycling program save each year? If I double the thickness of my loft insulation, how much energy will I save? How much might the melting of the polar ice caps amplify the effect of global warming?

After a semester in Professor John Roe’s Mathematics of Sustainability course, his students will know how to figure out the answers to these questions. Roe, and undergraduate research assistant Kaley Weinstein, are preparing a series of sustainability-related problems for a new general education course in mathematics. Their target audience: the student who is not going into science, mathematics or engineering.
You can read the rest here.

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