Intended learning outcomes *
The course aims at repeating and developing basic knowledge of physics and chemistry. It also aims at highlighting how environmental problems can be addressed using methods and theories from physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The course, furthermore, aims at giving introductory knowledge of natural physical and chemical processes and their interactions, as well as their quantifications. Special focus is on elemental cycles. Furthermore, the course aims at indicating the environmental significance of humans (and especially engineers) as well as giving an introduction to practical methods for different types of sensors and for data monitoring and data handling within physics (“hands-on”).
In the environmental physics part the students will have leant how matter and energy interacts and why this is relevant for different measurements in physics. In particular different measuring techniques (remote sensing, infrasound, etc) of monitoring our environment are discussed. Black body radiation, radioactivity, thermodynamics are other special topics relevant to the understanding of environmental physics and the students will have experienced the inherent features and their impact on environmental problems.
In the chemistry part of the course, you will refresh and deepen your basic knowledge in chemistry for use in environmental applications. The learning outcomes includes
1. To be able to describe the chemical composition (and the main elements’ occurrence forms) of the geosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere and to explain how interactions between these spheres and the technosphere affects the environment;
2. To know how different types of chemical reactions affect the element cycles and transport in nature, including writing correct reaction formulas, classifying reactions and from a chemical formula distinguish the dominant form of binding (e.g. covalent or ionic) and, where relevant, predict the oxidation number of elements in a chemical compound and the shapes of molecules;
3. To be able to solve primarily inorganic environmental chemistry problems using chemical equilibrium, stoichiometry, and relations from the chemical thermodynamics;
4. To be able to describe the dominant features in the hydrological and the biogeochemical cycles and to make calculations for individual elements and draw conclusion with implications for the pollution situation and to account for the coupling to energy flows in nature;
5. To know the basic chemical features of some environmental concerns of today and their societal origin, with specific focus on acidification, eutrophication, ozone, nuclear wastes, heavy metals, organic pollutants, and climate change issues. Detailed aims for learning outcomes for each of these focus areas are formulated by co-operating student groups, but may typically include: to be able to exemplify the primary pollutants that cause the environmental problem of concern, and to point out the antropogenic source, to exemplify which chemical reactions/chemical properties of the substance that brings about the environmental problem and its potential treatment, and to account for the main aspects of the time evolution of the pollutant situation and future predictions;
6. To be able to on a basic, engineering level communicate orally as well as written within the field of environmental chemistry.