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Consider a Spherical Cow: A Course in Environmental Problem Solving

John Harte University of California, Berkeley

This innovative compendium offers a variety of techniques for approaching contemporary environmental problems.

Print Book, ISBN 978-0-935702-58-3, US $55
eBook, eISBN 978-1-938787-64-5, US $41
Publish date: 1988
238 pages, Softbound


This innovative compendium offers a variety of techniques for approaching contemporary environmental problems. Challenging, real-world situations and worked-out solutions provide the means both for gaining insights into the process of problem solving and for thinking quantitatively and creatively about such environmental concerns as energy and water resources, food production, indoor air pollution, acid rain, and human influences on climate.

Translated into Japanese.


List of Adoptions

Table of Contents

1. Warm-Up Exercises
2. Tools of the Trade
A. Steady-State Box Models and Residence Times
B. Thermodynamics and Energy Transfer
C. Chemical Reactions and Equilibria
D. Non-Steady-State Box Models
3. A. Biogeochemistry
B. Climatology
C. Survival of Populations
Appendix: Useful Numbers
Answers to Exercises; Index


“Spherical Cow is an excellent guide to the very important art of quickly finding approximate answers to problems such as “what was the pH of rainfall before the Industrial Revolution?” This book illustrates step-by-step how to solve dozens of problems of this type.”
-Journal of Chemical Information & Computational Science

“This book should be read and used by all students of environmental studies, and should be an important acquisition for any research, teaching, or general academic library.”

John Harte

John Harte University of California, Berkeley

For more than two decades, John Harte has taught courses on the quantitative aspects of environmental science at University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the Distinguished Class of 1935 Professorship in the Energy and Resources Group. His previous book, Consider a Spherical Cow, became a landmark text in the field. He is also the author of The Green Fuse and co-author of Patient Earth and Toxics A to Z. He has published numerous articles on ecology and biodiversity, water and other resources, climate change and its effects, acid precipitation, and environmental policy. John Harte received his B.A. from Harvard University and his PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin. Harte is also the recipient of the 2001 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award.

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