Matter, and Energy
Chapter Overview Questions
What is science, and what do scientists do?
What are major components and behaviors of
What are the basic forms of matter, and what
makes matter useful as a resource?
What types of changes can matter undergo
and what scientific law governs matter?
Chapter Overview Questions (cont’d)
What are the major forms of energy, and
what makes energy useful as a resource?
What are two scientific laws governing
changes of energy from one form to another?
How are the scientific laws governing
changes of matter and energy from one form
to another related to resource use,
environmental degradation and
The latest references for topics covered in this section can be found at
the book companion website. Log in to the book’s e-resources page at
www.thomsonedu.com to access InfoTrac articles.
InfoTrac: Underwater Microscope Finds Biological Treasures in
Subtropical Ocean. Ascribe Higher Education News Service, June 26,
InfoTrac: In Bacterial Diversity, Amazon Is a 'Desert'; Desert Is an
'Amazon'. Ascribe Higher Education News Service, Jan 9, 2006.
InfoTrac: Making MGP wastes beneficial. Bob Paulson. Pollution
Engineering, June 2006 v38 i6 p20(5).
NASA: Nitrogen Cycle
Environmental Literacy Council: Phosphorous Cycle
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Nutrient Cycles
Video: The Throw Away Society
Thisvideo clip is available in CNN Today
Videos for Environmental Science, 2004,
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Core Case Study:
Environmental Lesson from Easter
15,000 people by 1400.
Used resources faster
than could be renewed
By 1600 only a few
By 1722 only several
hundred people left.
THE NATURE OF SCIENCE
What do scientists do?
models and laws about
how nature works.
Scientific Theories and Laws: The
Most Important Results of Science
Widely tested and
What we find
happening over and
over again in
test hypotheses using controlled
experiments and constructing mathematical
Variables or factors influence natural processes
Single-variable experiments involve a control and
an experimental group.
Most environmental phenomena are
multivariable and are hard to control in an
• Models are used to analyze interactions of variables.
Scientific Reasoning and Creativity
Involves using specific observations and
measurements to arrive at a general conclusion
Bottom-up reasoning going from specific to
Uses logic to arrive at a specific conclusion.
Top-down approach that goes from general to
Frontier Science, Sound Science, and
Frontier science has not been widely tested
(starting point of peer-review).
Sound science consists of data, theories and
laws that are widely accepted by experts.
Junk science is presented as sound science
without going through the rigors of peer-
Limitations of Environmental Science
Inadequate data and scientific understanding
can limit and make some results
Scientific testing is based on disproving rather
than proving a hypothesis.
• Based on statistical probabilities.
MODELS AND BEHAVIOR OF
Usefulness of models
Complex systems are predicted by developing a
model of its inputs, throughputs (flows), and
outputs of matter, energy and information.
Models are simplifications of “real-life”.
Models can be used to predict if-then scenarios.
How Systems Respond to Change
Outputs of matter, energy, or information fed
back into a system can cause the system to
do more or less of what it was doing.
Positive feedback loop causes a system to
change further in the same direction (e.g.
Negative (corrective) feedback loop causes a
system to change in the opposite direction (e.g.
seeking shade from sun to reduce stress).
Negativefeedback can take so long that a
system reaches a threshold and changes.
Prolonged delays may prevent a negative
feedback loop from occurring.
Processes and feedbacks in a system can
(synergistically) interact to amplify the results.
E.g. smoking exacerbates the effect of asbestos
exposure on lung cancer.
TYPES AND STRUCTURE OF
Elements and Compounds
Matter exists in chemical forms as elements and
• Elements (represented on the periodic table) are the
distinctive building blocks of matter.
• Compounds: two or more different elements held
together in fixed proportions by chemical bonds.
An ion is an atom or group of atoms with one
or more net positive or negative electrical
The number of positive or negative charges
on an ion is shown as a superscript after the
symbol for an atom or group of atoms
Hydrogen ions (H+), Hydroxide ions (OH-)
Sodium ions (Na+), Chloride ions (Cl-)
The pH (potential of Hydrogen) is the
concentration of hydrogen ions in one liter of
Compounds and Chemical Formulas
Chemicalformulas are shorthand ways to
show the atoms and ions in a chemical
Combining Hydrogen ions (H+) and Hydroxide
ions (OH-) makes the compound H2O
(dihydrogen oxide, a.k.a. water).
Combining Sodium ions (Na+) and Chloride ions
(Cl-) makes the compound NaCl (sodium chloride
Organic Compounds: Carbon Rules
Organic compounds contain carbon atoms
combined with one another and with various
other atoms such as H+, N+, or Cl-.
Contain at least two carbon atoms combined
with each other and with atoms.
Methane (CH4) is the only exception.
All other compounds are inorganic.
Organic Compounds: Carbon Rules
Hydrocarbons: compounds of carbon and
hydrogen atoms (e.g. methane (CH4)).
Chlorinated hydrocarbons: compounds of
carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine atoms (e.g.
Simple carbohydrates: certain types of
compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
(e.g. glucose (C6H12O6)).
Cells: The Fundamental Units of Life
Cellsare the basic
functional units of all
forms of life.
(bacteria) lack a distinct
Eukaryotic cells (plants
and animals) have a
Macromolecules, DNA, Genes and
Large, complex organic
make up the basic molecular
units found in living
States of Matter
Theatoms, ions, and molecules that make up
matter are found in three physical states:
solid, liquid, gaseous.
A fourth state, plasma, is a high energy
mixture of positively charged ions and
negatively charged electrons.
The sun and stars consist mostly of plasma.
Scientists have made artificial plasma (used in
TV screens, gas discharge lasers, florescent
Matter can be classified
as having high or low
quality depending on
how useful it is to us as
High quality matter is
concentrated and easily
low quality matter is more
widely dispersed and
more difficult to extract.
CHANGES IN MATTER
can change from one physical form to
another or change its chemical composition.
When a physical or chemical change occurs, no
atoms are created or destroyed.
• Law of conservation of matter.
Physical change maintains original chemical
Chemical change involves a chemical reaction
which changes the arrangement of the elements
or compounds involved.
• Chemical equations are used to represent the
Energy is given off during the reaction as a product.
Types of Pollutants
Factors that determine the severity of a
pollutant’s effects: chemical nature,
concentration, and persistence.
Pollutants are classified based on their
Slowly degradable pollutants
Nuclear Changes: Radioactive Decay
Naturalradioactive decay: unstable isotopes
spontaneously emit fast moving chunks of
matter (alpha or beta particles), high-energy
radiation (gamma rays), or both at a fixed
Radiation is commonly used in energy production
and medical applications.
The rate of decay is expressed as a half-life (the
time needed for one-half of the nuclei to decay to
form a different isotope).
Nuclear Changes: Fission
nuclei of certain
isotopes with large
mass numbers are
split apart into
lighter nuclei when
struck by neutrons.
Nuclear Changes: Fusion
Nuclear fusion: two isotopes of light elements
are forced together at extremely high
temperatures until they fuse to form a heavier
Energy is the ability to do work and transfer
Kinetic energy – energy in motion
• heat, electromagnetic radiation
Potential energy – stored for possible use
• batteries, glucose molecules
Many different forms of electromagnetic
radiation exist, each having a different
wavelength and energy content.
in their ability to
parts of the
Source of Energy Relative Energy Tasks
Very high temperature heat Very high-temperature heat
(greater than 2,500°C) (greater than 2,500°C) for
Nuclear fission (uranium) industrial processes and
Nuclear fusion (deuterium) producing electricity to run
Concentrated sunlight electrical devices (lights,
High-velocity wind motors)
High-temperature heat Mechanical motion to move
(1,000–2,500°C) vehicles and other things)
Hydrogen gas High-temperature heat
Gasoline industrial processes and
Coal producing electricity
Moderate-velocity wind Moderate-temperature heat
High-velocity water flow (100–1,000°C) for
industrial processes, cooking,
Concentrated geothermal energy producing
Moderate-temperature heat steam, electricity, and
(100–1,000°C) hot water
Wood and crop wastes
Dispersed geothermal energy Low-temperature heat
(100°C or less) for
(100°C or lower)
Fig. 2-13, p. 44
ENERGY LAWS: TWO RULES WE
Thefirst law of thermodynamics: we cannot
create or destroy energy.
We can change energy from one form to another.
Thesecond law of thermodynamics: energy
quality always decreases.
When energy changes from one form to another,
it is always degraded to a more dispersed form.
Energy efficiency is a measure of how much
useful work is accomplished before it changes to
its next form.
Solar energy energy
energy (photosynthesis) (food)
Waste Waste Waste Waste
Heat Heat Heat Heat
Fig. 2-14, p. 45
SUSTAINABILITY AND MATTER
AND ENERGY LAWS
Unsustainable High-Throughput Economies:
Working in Straight Lines
Converts resources to goods in a manner that
promotes waste and pollution.
Economies: Learning from Nature
Working in Circles
Mimics nature by recycling and reusing, thus
reducing pollutants and waste.
It is not sustainable for growing populations.
Inputs System Outputs
(from environment) Throughputs (into environment)
Energy conservation Low-quality
Fig. 2-16, p. 47