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Journal Entry 2 due 10/2

1. Your responses should be at least 300 words total (more is OK and it’s graded on thoughtfulness),

2. Send your journals to Mr. Hedlund ( by email.

In this course, you'll been doing scientific research of a kind. It's not the same type of research that professional scientists do in the sense that the “answers” to the investigations you'll been doing in class are known and there are people to guide you in the right direction, but it won’t always be easy and you will have to struggle a bit to get there.

Read the one-page article titled "The importance of stupidity in scientific research" that's posted on the website. Write me a reaction. What did you think of the article? Do you agree or disagree with what the author is saying? Has reading the article changed your view about what science? You may also write about anything else that came to mind when reading the article.

As a note, the preliminary and thesis exams that the author talks about in the second to last paragraph are different from exams in classes like this one. On those, it’s not whether the student gets answers right or not, it’s how the student approaches the questions that determines a pass or fail. In my exam in grad school, I learned that you can say “I don’t know” a lot of times, and still pass.

Journal Entry # 1 (due on 9/4/15)

1.   How would you describe your attitude toward physics? Is it favorable, unfavorable, or neutral? Is it different than your attitude towards other fields of science such as chemistry or biology? If so, why?

2.   Why are you taking this course? Had you heard anything about this course (tell us what, either good or bad)? Did your advisor suggest you take it? Do you expect to get something from the course that you can use in the future?

3.   Every student at the University of Minnesota must fulfill a "Physical Science with Lab" requirement. Why do you think this requirement exists? Is there something to be gained from taking a lab science course beyond just factual science knowledge? If yes, what is it? If no, why not?

4.   Think about the way you study in a science course compared to the way you study for a course in the humanities (such as art, literature, or a language). How is it the same? How is it different?

5.   What does it mean to "learn" science? How is the way in which you learn science the same or different from the way scientists develop science knowledge?

1. Your responses should be at least 300 words total (more is OK and it’s graded on thoughtfulness),

2. Hand in your journals in class or email them to me at

3. Do NOT send it as an attachment. Just paste it into the body of the email if you write it in a word processing program (always a good ideal for spell checking).

Assignment #2 - 300 word reflection
–EfFP: pp. 87-111 (The natural-gas windfall; Liquid energy security; Shale oil)
Write a 300 word reflection / proof you read it.
Assignment #1

Assignment #1 Due 9/11 - Click on the orange text above to get an electric copy of the reading

  • Read: Energy for Future Presidents: pp. 281-290 (What is energy?)
  • EfFP: pp. 77-85 (The Energy Landscape)
  • Optional : Electricity generation statistics:
    Click on a country (or choose its name from the pull-down menu on the right side of the screen, then click on the “Electricity and heat” tab to see from what sources a country generates its electricity.
  • Do: Environment assignment 1 – 300 words prove you read it