Energy and Environment

Description: Lecture, four hours; discussion, two hours; outside study, six hours. Enforced requisite: course 105A. Global energy use and supply, electrical power generation, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, renewable energy such as hydropower, biomass, geothermal, solar, wind, and ocean, fuel cells, transportation, energy conservation, air and water pollution, global warming. Letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 5.0
Easiness 4.0/ 5
Clarity 4.0/ 5
Workload 4.0/ 5
Helpfulness 4.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2022 - Professor Pilon is a cool guy and his lectures are extremely engaging. He definitely has a lot of knowledge about energy production methods, and is great at explaining different concepts as well as answering student's questions in class. His class is also fairly entertaining in the way he will create dialogue with students or crack jokes every now and then. Now for the complaints. Until week 7ish the material in the course was very interesting as we studied different methods of energy production including coal, petroleum, nuclear, wind, solar, etc. However, past this point, Pilon started using lectures to discuss newer technologies being researched which felt like a bit of a waste of time. Specifically, Pilon is obsessed with his "friend" Aldo Steinfeld who does research on concentrating solar power. The previous lectures were very dense with material so I felt like these could've been condensed into fewer lectures. I generally enjoyed Pilon commenting on contemporary energy related events (specifically Russia and Ukraine), but found it irritating when he strayed too far away into politics. My main issue with Pilon was the disorganization of the class. The midterm date was up in the air until about a week before it, and it was EXTREMELY unclear as to what would actually be on the midterm. The grading rubric on the midterm must have been designed by a two year old, because despite having almost the right answer, I recieved a 74% on the free response portion. Additionally, the homeworks for the class were a weird mixture between questions relevant to the course and thermodynamics questions (which we do not cover what so ever). Make up your mind, goodness. Finally, despite portraying himself as someone that can be easily accessed by students, Pilon will frequently and randomly ignore student's requests to meet for office hours. He ignored me on two separate emails. Overall, I enjoyed the class (especially if I get an A because I worked hard). I found the class content very interesting and certainly not too tough but wish that Pilon could improve the class organization and respond to emails.
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