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Beyond the Egg Drop sample chapter (8)
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Engineering Infusion with Waves
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system’s total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.
Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.
At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.
Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can be converted to less useful forms—for example, to thermal energy in the surrounding environment.
Solar cells are human-made devices that likewise capture the sun’s energy and produce electrical energy.
These relationships are better understood at the microscopic scale, at which all of the different manifestations of energy can be modeled as a combination of energy associated with the motion of particles and energy associated with the configuration (relative position of the particles). In some cases the relative position energy can be thought of as stored in fields (which mediate interactions between particles). This last concept includes radiation, a phenomenon in which energy stored in fields moves across space.
The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.
Nuclear Fusion processes in the center of the sun release the energy that ultimately reaches Earth as radiation.
Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities.