History & Geography
  Physical Sciences

    10 - 12 Grades
This volume is part of the monograph series of the New Liberal Arts Program (1980-1992), a project of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The NLA Program had the goal of assisting in the introduction of quantitative reasoning and concepts of modern technology within liberal education. The Program was based on the conviction that college graduates should have been introduced to both areas if they are to live in the social mainstream and participate in the resolution of policy issues. The Center for Mathematics and Quantitative Education is delighted to make these monographs available.


Engineering, Science, and History
Newton H. Copp and Andrew W. Zanella
Claremont Colleges

Technologies introduced in Los Angeles between the 1880's and the middle of the twentieth century not only provided electricity for a rapidly growing population but mirrored or anticipated major developments in the electric power industry in the United States. Some of these developments, those pertaining to the use of fossil fuels and hydropower, are the subject of this module. An historical approach is used in examining the methods by which electricity was produced at specific fossil fuel-powered plants and hydropower plants selected for their historical and technical significance.

This module identifies selected scientific principles associated with major technological advances in electrical power production. The authors have used this material to introduce scientific principles underlying the conversion of various forms of energy into electricity. In particular, they discuss different forms of energy, the relation between work and energy, the concept of power, the laws of thermodynamics, and effciency.

The mathematics is an application of basic algebra to calculate physical quantities. Five multi-part problems are provided.