Energy Concepts - Energy Education for Teachers and Students from FT Exploring.
 



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Energy Concepts for Educators and Students
Energy in Nature and Technology
 
   
 
  ENERGY INDEX
 ·  ENERGY START PAGE
 ·  ENERGY CHANGES
 ·  HOW MANY FORMS OF ENERGY?
 ·  THE FLOW OF ENERGY AS HEAT
 ·  FIRST LAW OF THERMO
 ·  ENERGY IN FLEAS & CATAPULTS
 ·  WHAT IS ENERGY?
 ·  ENERGY FLOW THROUGH LIFE
 ·  SUNSHINE INTO LIFE
 ·  PYRAMIDS OF ENERGY
 ·  THE SECOND LAW OF THERMO
 ·  PHOTOSYNTHESIS INTRO
 ·  PHOTOSYNTHESIS LINKS
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 ·  WHAT ENGINEERING IS, REALLY?
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 ·  DR G. ON WHALES
  The Mysterious Everything
What is this stuff?
Whatever happens is caused by it. Whatever is, is made up of it.
You need it. You are made of it.

Everything needs it. Everything is it.
It is everything!

You need it to run, to walk, to sit,
to think,
to sleep, "perchance to dream",
to eat, "perchance to belch",
or to make any other rude noises you shouldn't make.

You use it constantly, every moment, awake or asleep.

You can't get mad without it.
You can't get glad without it.
You can't get anything without it.

It makes the wind blow, rain fall, and lightning zap and thunder. It "feeds" volcanoes and earthquakes.  It drives tidal waves, typhoons, and tornadoes.
It powers the universe.
It powers bacteria.


It is the Mysterious Everything .
Let's call it
ME for short.
plant catching sunlight Most of the ME that we use pours down onto the Earth from the sun. It is so eager to get here and start heating things up that it zips through the 93 million miles of space vacuum between us and the sun in eight and one half minutes. It heats the oceans and land masses and the air. It makes wind and ocean currents. It evaporates water, forms clouds, and drops rain and snow all over the place.


Plants, on the land and in the water, absorb the
ME from the sun, then use it along with water (sent to them by the sun) and carbon dioxide to make more of themselves. They store the ME in molecules they make with the help of ME.


The
Mysterious Everything keeps moving and changing.

Animals eat the plants. They use the Mysterious Everything that was stored in the plant molecules to breathe, move, stay warm, and to make more of themselves by combining the plant material with water.
Then other animals eat the animals that ate the plants. Again the
ME is used and changed.

The
Mysterious Everything keeps moving and changing. It exists in many forms.
Over and over again it is transformed from one form to another. As far as anyone knows it never goes away, gets less, or gets more. The total amount always stays the same.
  bear eating deer eating plant
Though in the great scheme of things the total amount available to keep making things happen is always getting less. If we didn't get a new blast of it everyday from the sun we would all run down and die in an unpleasantly short cold time.
 
      Glucose is a type of sugar, a simple carbohydrate that is the fuel that powers the cells of plants and animals.  
Go here to learn more about glucose and where it comes from.
Go here to learn how they get their glucose from a food chain.
 

Huh? How can it stay the same but become less? Be patient, all will eventually be revealed. another dancing stick guy on lightning Have you guessed it by now? What this stuff is?
That's right, what I am calling the
Mysterious Everything , ME for short, is what scientists and engineers rather boringly call ENERGY.
I didn't want to use that common old everyday word. It might cause someone, not you of course, but someone, to think, "Oh, a boring science subject. I don't do science. I'll just turn off my brain now."

Well don't. And I make no apologies.
Energy is too wondrous and mind boggling a subject to have just one name.

Mysterious Everything
is a good name for the stuff.
The Everything part is good because everything that happens requires it. There are no "happenings" without it. And now, thanks to Albert Einstein and other scientists, we know that matter and
energy are interchangeable. Yeah, it's the old E=mc² equation. Matter can be converted to energy and the other way too. Two different sides of the same coin, you might say. So energy really does appear to be everything.

The Mysterious part fits too. Yeah we know some things about
energy, a heck of a lot more than we used to know. We can measure it. Describe how it behaves and predict what it will do. We can use it in countless ways. But we don't know any more about what it ultimately really is, or where it came from, than we did 5,000 years ago. All we really have learned to do is use mathematical formulas to describe its behavior.

The ultimate nature and origin of energy , at least so far, is for theologians and philosophers to explore and debate. Scientists and engineers just learn how it behaves and use that knowledge. Scientists use the knowledge to study and explain our world and the universe. Engineers use the knowledge of how energy behaves to make the machines and devices that make up our modern technological world. If you like mysteries, you'll love energy.            Listen to what Richard Feynman, one of the best known physicists of the twentieth century, said about energy, "It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount".  

So we'll call it the Mysterious Everything.  And sometimes, just so you can communicate with the less imaginative, or those who haven't visited this web site (sadder are they), we'll call it Energy - and Matter.

We're going to have to cope with some mind expanding wonders in this MYSTERIOUS EVERYTHING section (and lots of other places in the famous Flying Turtle Web Pages), exploring the mystery of energy and following its changing path through living organisms and human made machines.

If you don't like change, this stuff might make you uneasy. Energy is always changing. Wait five minutes, blink your eyes, and Mr. Energy is wearing a different hat. Turn around and the "Great Motivator" has changed its disguise. Look away for a moment and...well...you get the idea.


Energy Changes

The Flow of Energy Through Life.

 
 
Written by David Watson   
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