Course code:



M - Intermediate

Living things are exposed to air more than any other material, and yet many people seldom give a second thought to what’s in air, why its there, how it behaves or what it may do them and to other living things.

This class will examine such questions. We’ll start by looking at how the molecular structures of materials determine how much they vaporize and what consumes them when vaporized—and how their atmospheric levels reflect those competing processes.

We’ll then apply such knowledge to understanding phenomena such as the pressure and temperature structures of the atmosphere, global weather patterns, the earth’s ozone layer, urban smog, acid deposition, the earth’s greenhouse effect and indoor air pollution. For each topic, we will discuss: Why is it important? Why is there as much of it as there is? What can increase it or decrease its amount? How have people tried to control it? What do we still not understand about it? Readings will be from both a text and from papers from the scientific literature.

Evaluations will be based on problem sets for each topic and on the design (but not actual construction) of a museum exhibit addressing some air quality issue. Some background in basic chemistry is desirable but not essential.




Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.