Session S24a (Monday, 9:30am, Thomas 201)

P170: Climate change: Chemistry and controversy

Charity Flener Lovitt (Seattle University, USA)

Climate change is a complex global phenomenon caused by the collective behavior of individual people in different societies around the world. Climate change is also a complex worldwide phenomenon caused by interactions of infrared light with molecular substances from sources around the world. If we as a society want to solve the problem of climate change, we must provide our students with the necessary background in politics and science. This talk will discuss the development of a course at a primarily undergraduate institution that teaches basic chemistry to non-scientists through the controversy of climate change. In the course, students develop a working knowledge of key chemical concepts by learning how they affect global warming. For example, students learn about moles when they calculate their own carbon footprint. The course is designed to engage upper division undergraduate students, but the techniques were developed from interactions with non-scientists at local science museums. Insights will be shared from past experiences teaching sustainability to non-scientists of all ages and backgrounds at local science museums.

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