Lecture 03: Energetics: Possible exam questions

1. One of your classmates has another of her newest and greatest ideas. She tells you, "I've got a solution for renewable power generation from the ocean." She hands you a sheet of paper with a schematic on it. Her idea involves a very tall apparatus that will sit inside the ocean astride layers of water at different temperatures. "That's ridiculous," a friend of hers comments. "The 2nd law of thermodynamics says you can't run a boat off of the heat in the ocean, so you wouldn't be able to generate power either." Is this idea unworkable on those grounds or not? Why?

2. We think that early Earth had a reducing environment, in contrast to the oxidizing environment that we have now. How could this have affected the ways in which living organisms stored their chemical energy?

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