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Topic: Fermi Problems in Math Education?
Replies: 5   Last Post: Feb 11, 2012 1:28 PM

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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,231
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
Fermi Problems in Math Education?
Posted: Feb 6, 2012 4:13 PM
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att1.html (3.9 K)

Some subscribers to MathEdCC might be interested in a "Fermi Problem"
posed in a recent discussion-list post "Concentration of Energy by
PhotoVoltaic Solar Panels" [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

************************************************
ABSTRACT: Physoc's Bud Nye wrote (paraphrasing): "Systems ecologist
Howard T. Odum's energy-focused books <http://amzn.to/xkp9cP> suggest
to me that the probable 'purpose of life' involves CONCENTRATING
ENERGY by moving it from the lowest quality, most disbursed carriers,
such as sunlight, into the most dense, highest quality, highest
transferity carriers possible, such as electricity and information,
thus minimizing the entropy of systems over time. . . . . . . . but
those of us in the West and the U.S. have worked extremely hard to
DISPERSE energy and increase entropy. This does not bode well for our
long-term future. . . . . ."

An apparent way to concentrate energy is by installing PhotoVoltaic
Solar Panels (PVSP) on rooftops. Consider the following "Fermi
Problem: WHAT FRACTION OF THE YEARLY TOTAL U.S. FOSSIL-FUELED
ELECTRICAL ENERGY (AND THUS FRACTION OF YEARLY TONS OF CO2 EMISSION
FROM U.S. FOSSIL-FUELED ELECTRICAL ENERGY PRODUCTION) COULD BE
ELIMINATED IF ALL ROOFTOPS IN THE U.S. WERE COVERED BY PHOTOVOLTAIC
SOLAR PANELS?
************************************************

To access the complete 12 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/wdkAoL>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the
Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
<rrhake@earthlink.net>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~sdi>
<http://HakesEdStuff.blogspot.com>
<http://iub.academia.edu/RichardHake>

"Saving the planet, one solar system at a time."
Moto of "Solar Forward" <http://solarforward.com/>

REFERENCES [URL shortened by <http://bit.ly/> and accessed on 06 Feb 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. "Concentration of Energy by PhotoVoltaic Solar
Panels" online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<http://bit.ly/wdkAoL>. Post of 6 Feb 2012 09:59:03-0800 to AERA-L
and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being
transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/Aimt1K> with a provision for
comments.

.




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