Department of Chemistry Kenyon College 108: SOLAR ENERGY

the problems with fossil fuels, the science of a solar economy, and the hope and hype of hydrogen

Id put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we dont have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. -- Thomas Edison

Course Web Site

Students enrolled in CHEM 108 have access to a Moodle course web site by logging into the Moodle server, and selecting CHEM 108 from their course listings.

Topics of study

This course explores the chemistry behind fossil fuels and potential solar-energy alternatives, ranging from biofuels to solar panels to hydrogen fuel cells. Chemical principles such as reaction stoichiometry, molecular structure, thermochemistry, catalysis, energy quantization, and electrochemistry will be learned in the context of investigating solar radiation, greenhouse gases, photovoltaics, artificial photosynthesis, fuel cells, and the production and storage of hydrogen.

Course Information


Prof. Scott D. Cummings, Tomsich 314; PBX 5355; e-mail:


My schedule (and where you can find me throughout the week) is available online and is posted on my office door. I fully expect students to meet with me outside of class. You are welcome and encouraged to come.


Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:10-12:00 (Period 4) in Higley Auditorium.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: (available at the Kenyon College bookstore)

         Out of Gas by David Goodstein (ISBN 978-0393326475)

         Chemistry in Context 5th edition (ISBN 978-0073101590) OR 6th edition (ISBN 978-0077221348)

         Solar Revolution by Travis Bradford (ISBN 978-0262524940)

         Casio FX-260 Solar Scientific calculator (bring to EVERY class and exams)


Fossil Fuels and Peak Oil:
Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming:
Solar Energy Solutions: