search articles: 

   from the issue of April 3, 2008

Fall semester to open with new energy sciences minor


UNL has created an interdisciplinary minor in Energy Sciences.

Available fall 2008, the minor can be declared by students in any undergraduate major. The minor will provide an opportunity to learn about the capture, production, storage and utilization of energy, and the associated energy choices societies must make related to economics and the environment.

"We want students to obtain an understanding of energy, what it has meant to societies historically, and how important energy is to our lives," said Ron Yoder, head of UNL's department of biological systems engineering and leader of the steering committee that developed the minor. "They will have an opportunity to explore where energy comes from and how it is used, and what energy means to world economies and international relationships. In short, we hope students leave the program with a technical understanding of energy and also an understanding of what it means to our society, and our world."

The energy sciences minor includes three introductory core courses with a comprehensive overview of energy in society, fundamental energy principles, the economics of energy, and environmental issues related to producing and using energy. The courses will be interdisciplinary, and engage non-science and science majors equally. In addition to these core classes, three to five upper division elective courses will be developed for four thematic areas: energy and natural resources, plant and animal bioenergy, energy engineering and energy economics, policy and human dimensions.

A total of 18 hours will be required for fulfillment of the minor.

Funding for initial development of the energy sciences minor came from the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research. Faculty in a variety of fields - including engineering, plant sciences, economics, and climatology - received a grant from the Center to develop a series of core courses and an overall proposal for the minor.

"From a bioenergy standpoint, there's a lot going on in Nebraska," Yoder said. "Because of Nebraska's agriculture and our climate, we're in a position to be a major force in renewable energy, whether it's wind, solar energy, or biomass for bioenergy...and we're currently up to our ears in ethanol from corn. All of these issues are, I believe, of interest to students and to Nebraskans in general.

"The U.S. economy has also long been based on inexpensive energy, so from the standpoint of the economy, it's critical to understand energy and how to use it in the most efficient possible manner."



Transgender resource
CAREER award winner aims to make software more reliable
IRP creates online index of UNL data
ORCA honors go to Luthans, Gladyshev
Fall semester to open with new energy sciences minor
Fifth-annual UNL water conference is April 22-23
Opening Day