The Energy of Nature

The Energy of Nature

E. C. Pielou

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226668062

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Energy is crucial for events of every kind, in this world or any other. Without energy, nothing would ever happen. Nothing would move and there would be no life. The sun wouldn't shine, winds wouldn't blow, rivers wouldn't flow, trees wouldn't grow, birds wouldn't fly, and fish wouldn't swim; indeed no material object, living or dead, could even exist. In spite of all this, energy is seldom considered a part of what we call “nature.” This book explores energy's role in nature — how and where it originates, what it does, and what becomes of it. Drawing on a wide range of scientific disciplines, from physics, chemistry, and biology to all the earth sciences, as well as on her own lifelong experience as a naturalist, the author opens our eyes to the myriad ways energy and its transfer affect the earth and its inhabitants. Along the way, we learn how energy is delivered to the earth from the sun; how it causes weather, winds, and tides; how it shapes the earth through mountain building and erosion; how it is captured and used by living things; how it is stored in chemical bonds; how nuclear energy is released; how it heats the unseen depths of the planet and is explosively revealed in the turmoil of earthquakes and volcanoes; how energy manifests itself in magnetism and electromagnetic waves; how we harness it to fuel human societies; and much more.