Engage in the discussion question(s) provided by your instructor. This activity counts as your Online Discussion grade.
Online Discussion assignments for this course will consist of multiple questions/topics presented via a forum created for each module. You must create a post of at least 200-words in answer to ONE of the week’s Discussion questions/topics by 11:59 PM ET on the third day of the module, and then post a reply to one initial post of your classmates in any of the questions by 11:59 PM ET on the last day of the module.
Be sure to identify the title of the question when posting.
- Your Microwave Oven:
A microwave oven emits microwaves that have just the right wavelength needed to cause energy level changes in water molecules. Use this fact to explain how a microwave oven cooks your food. Why doesn’t a microwave oven make a plastic dish get hot? Why do some clay dishes get hot in the microwave? Why do dishes that aren’t themselves heated by the microwave oven sometimes still get hot when you heat food on them?
- The Changing Limitation of Science:
In 1835, French philosopher Auguste Compte stated that science would never allow us to learn the composition of stars. Although spectral lines had been seen in the Sun’s spectrum at that time, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that scientists recognized that spectral lines give clear information about chemical composition (primarily through the work of Foucault and Kirchhoff). Why might our present knowledge have seemed unattainable in 1835? Discuss how new discoveries can change the apparent limitations of science. Today, other questions seem beyond the reach of science, such as the question of how life began on Earth. Do you think such questions will ever be answerable through science? Defend your opinion.
- Perpetual Motion Machines:
Every so often, someone claims to have built a machine that can generate energy perpetually from nothing. Why isn’t this possible according to the known laws of nature? Why do you think claims of perpetual motion machines sometimes receive substantial media attention?
- Knowledge of Mass-Energy:
Einstein’s discovery that energy and mass are equivalent has led to technological developments that are both beneficial and dangerous. Discuss some of these developments. Overall, do you think the human race would be better or worse off if we had never discovered that mass is a form of energy? Defend your opinion.