BURN: Science

Major Sources of Energy: Their Advantages and Disadvantages

There is no easy answer to what is the best source of energy or electricity. Is the priority reliability, affordability, the economy, international human rights, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, preserving environmental resources, or human health?






It’s undeniable that today — whether we like it or not — humans…

April 22, 2012 more »

The meaning of combustion

Combustion reactions, or burning, create many different chemical compounds, but the most prevalent one is carbon dioxide. Other compounds produced depend on where the fuel came from and how it was burned.

April 22, 2012 more »

What Is A Nuclear Reaction?

A little bit about nuclear fission and fusion, radioactivity, isotopes, and half-lives.

April 12, 2012 more »

Photovoltaic Cells, Solar Power, and LEDs

Most of the world’s energy can go back to our sun. Every day we are heated by its electromagnetic rays, and plants use the sun’s energy to make sugars and ultimately proteins and other good things to eat. Fossil fuels were also once made from these plant and other organisms that relied on the sun’s…

April 12, 2012 more »

Thermodynamics and Thermal Energy

Thermodynamics is the study of how energy moves and changes form, usually by way of heat, as suggested by the components of its name: thermo-dynamics. Its laws and equations help to predict what could happen in various situations, based on the temperature, pressure, materials, and shape of a system.

Thermodynamics tells…

April 11, 2012 more »

Energy Science, Policy & Economics

This is where you’ll find some basic information about the science of Energy. And let’s be absolutely clear about it: science is at the core of understanding our relationship with Energy. But don’t worry, science does not have to be scary. We’ll start with the basics and go from there.

April 11, 2012 more »

Forms of Energy: Motion, Heat, Light, Sound


Energy comes in two basic forms: potential and kinetic. Potential Energy is any type of stored energy; it isn’t shown through movement. Potential energy can be chemical, nuclear, gravitational, or mechanical. Kinetic Energy is the energy of movements: the motion of objects (from people to planets), the vibrations of atoms by sound waves or in thermal energy (heat), the electromagnetic energy of the movements of light waves, and the motion of electrons in electricity.

April 11, 2012 more »

Don’t Forget The Fukushima Fifty

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“We’ll form a suicide squad to do it.”  ~ Masao Yoshida, Fukushima Daiichi Plant Chief responding to Prime Minister Nato…

March 23, 2012 more »

The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Energy Science

Forms of Energy (Motion, Heat, Light, Sound), and Energy Transformations How Nuclear Fission and Fusion Work The Hydrogen Economy, Hydrogen Sources, and the Science Behind These Exploration, Production, Refining, Transportation, & Marketing of Coal,…

Salt Domes

Entrance to a German salt dome mine

Salt domes are massive underground salt deposits. Mushroom-shaped and thousands of feet thick, they form where shallows seas once stood. They built up over tens of thousands of years as saltwater flooded these former marine basins, then evaporated.

March 6, 2012 more »