CH353 - Physical Chemistry I
Spring 2015, Unique 51170

Extra Credit Assignment 2

Background:  This course is about developing quantitative relationships between all forms of energy and the physical manifestations of those relationships.  The science of thermodynamics thus dominates a significant number of aspects of our daily lives, and a good understanding of thermodynamics can help us understand and change the world around us in a profound way.  The purpose of this extra credit assignment is to analyze a thermodynamic problem in your own life in a quantitative and detailed way. 

I would like you to explore and discuss some interesting observation in the world around you that you now understand differently than you did at the beginning of the semester.  This can be anything that interests you: perhaps an item of news, a historical event, last month's electricity bill, a vexing question from another course, a research problem you encountered in a laboratory course or your own independent research, or how many jelly donuts it would take to get to Houston. 

Explain, in clear writing and using whatever equations and figures you need, how you are using thermodynamics to quantitatively understand some interesting problem or observation in a more complete way.  "Quantitative understanding" doesn't necessarily mean a numeric answer; it could describe correlation, ranking, or comparison.  The point is that it is understanding which rests on a hypothesis that can be tested.  And have fun!  What's the point of learning anything if you can't use it?

Your answer will be due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, 10 March, to receive credit.