Energy and environmental physics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Objectives: The course gives a broad overview of the fundamental principles of physics relevant for understanding and explaining phenomena and effects related to energy sources, energy carriers, distribution of energy, environmental physics, and ionizing radiation.

Content: The course is an introduction to energy and enviromental physics with a special emphasis on the physical processes involved. Topics covered in the course include:

Energy physics: Conservations of energy and the laws of thermodynamics, energy transformation, energy quality and efficiency, energy sources and energy carriers, production of energy including heat engines, hydropower, solar cells, wind power and nuclear power, distribution of electric power.

Climate physics - which factors affect the climate? The earth's energy balance, laws of radiation including absorption, scattering and emission, heat transport in the atmosphere and oceans, the composition of the atmosphere - which gases are effecting the climate and why - feedback mechanisms.

Ionizing radiation: Production of radiation in atoms and nuclei, radioactivity, biological effects of radiation, radiation doses, protection against radiation.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has a broad overview of the basic concepts of energy and environmental physics
  • has basic knowledge on selected natural laws applied in energy physics, environmental physics, and physics of radiation
  • can describe some basic processes in production and transformation energy, the Earth's energy budget, and the advantages and risks related to the utilization of ionizing radiation


The student

  • can apply knowledge in physics and mathematics to solve simple problems in energy and environmental physics and to reason with scientific arguments
  • can explain relevant scientific methods and expressions, and discuss important theories, problems and solutions with fellow students
  • can find, evaluate and point to scientific information, carry out a literature study and write a report of a selected topic

General competence

The student

  • has general knowledge of the scientific connection between basic physics and key elements in energy and environmental physics
  • can explain selected problems for discussion in energy and environmental physics
  • can put into practice norms for academic writing

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
The course is limited to students admitted to the study program Information Technology and Economics, Integrated Master's, 5 years.
Teaching and learning methods

The teaching method is by

Lectures 4 hours per week

Seminars 2 hours per week

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Approved project report and peer review.

Compulsory assignment is valid in three subsequent semesters.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment is:

Written examination (4 hours), 100 % of total grade.

Grading Scale
Graded A - F. 
Assessment Semester

Autumn and spring semester.

In this course there is an exam in each semester

If you qualify for a resit exam (UiB study regulations § 5-6) please register for the next exam in studentweb

Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Examination Support Material
  • Basic calculator allowed in accordance with the regulations specified by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Approved calculator models includes: Casio fx-82ES PLUS og Casio fx-82EX
  • 5 A4-pages with notes
  • Programme Committee
    The Programme Comittee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
    Course Administrator
    The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Department of physics and technology have the administrative responsibility for the course.