NIST Colloquium: Physics for Decision Makers by Jordan Goodman, University of Maryland
NIST's final colloquium of the 2016-2017 season brings Professor Jordan Goodman, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. He and his colleagues developed a course with a primary goal to teach students with non-scientific backgrounds what is science, how science is done, and how to tell what is valid scientific reasoning. The course puts these themes in the context of a current problem of great interest to the many students: global warming and our planet’s future sources and uses of energy. The students learn basic concepts of physics such as energy, thermodynamics and radiation, and learn how these constrain our choices for generating the necessary power to fuel the global economy. Using this teaching methodology, students can see science in a human context, and learn to evaluate the effects – both physical and social – of science on such topics as population growth, fuel vs. food, and relative risks vs. benefits. This colloquium shows how, by framing scientific issues in a broader context, scientists can help those without technical backgrounds appreciate the difficulty and complexity of global issues and recognize the need for solutions based in rational arguments built on scientific principles and results. This talk was presented at NIST June 9, 2017.
June 21, 2017