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Tom Murphy

Do The math

Contributor since: 12 Jan 2012

Tom Murphy

Tom is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog Do the Math.

Latest articles from Tom

  • Plans to Put PV to Pasture?

    Published 03 June 2014 | viewed 4,783 times

    A colleague pointed me toward an article in the LA Times last week, which lays out a plan to remove financial incentives legally bestowed on…

  • Making the Human Body more Energy Efficient

    Published 02 June 2012 | viewed 14,321 times

    If you’re one of those humans who actually eats food, like I am, then a non-negligible part of your energy allocation goes into food production.…

  • A Few Easy Pointers to Increase our Energy Efficiency

    Published 07 May 2012 | viewed 5,358 times

    I have described in a series of posts the efforts my wife and I have made to reduce our energy footprint on a number of…

  • Space Based Solar Power: Nothing but a Dream

    Published 20 March 2012 | viewed 13,076 times

    A solar panel reaps only a small portion of its potential due to night, weather, and seasons, simultaneously introducing intermittency so that large-scale storage is…

  • How to Slash Domestic Gas Consumption by a Factor of Five

    Published 15 March 2012 | viewed 40,867 times

    If you are on-board with the sentiment that we should strive to reduce the amount of energy we consume as a means to relieve pressure…

  • Pilot Lights, What a Waste of Energy!

    Published 07 March 2012 | viewed 14,089 times

    My personal journey into home energy reduction began with taking stock of past energy use as reported on my utility bills. I quickly migrated toward…

  • How to Survive in a Future without Fossil Fuels

    Published 28 February 2012 | viewed 30,777 times

    So far on Do the Math, I’ve put out a lot of negative energy—whatever that means. Topics have often focused on what we can’t do,…

  • Which Alternative Energies will Lead us into the Future?

    Published 27 February 2012 | viewed 8,045 times

    When I first approached the topic of societal energy in 2004, I became aware for the first time that our energy future was not in…

  • The Age of Fossil Fuels is Far From Over

    Published 15 February 2012 | viewed 8,931 times

    Having looked at the major alternatives to fossil fuel energy production (summarized here), we come away with the general sentiment that the easy days of…

  • The Energy Mix that will help us Survive without Fossil Fuels

    Published 07 February 2012 | viewed 8,764 times

    Breathe, Neo. I’ve been running a marathon lately to cover all the major players that may provide viable alternatives to fossil fuels this century. Even…

  • Nuclear Fusion: The Power Source of the Future...the Far Off Future

    Published 01 February 2012 | viewed 21,799 times

    Ah, fusion. Long promised, both on Do the Math and in real life, fusion is regarded as the ultimate power source—the holy grail—the “arrival” of…

  • Our Energy Future: Can the Ocean Provide for all our Energy Needs?

    Published 25 January 2012 | viewed 11,180 times

    With the exception of tidal energy, our focus thus far has been on land-based energy sources. Meanwhile, the ocean absorbs a prodigious fraction of the…

  • The Different Ways in Which Solar Energy can Power the World

    Published 17 January 2012 | viewed 27,639 times

    Who hasn’t enjoyed heat from the sun? Doing so represents a direct energetic transfer—via radiation—from the sun’s hot surface to your skin. One square meter…

  • Geothermal's Potential as a Serious Energy Source

    Published 16 January 2012 | viewed 13,539 times

    The Earth started its existence as a red-hot rock, and has been cooling ever since. It’s still quite toasty in the core, and will remain…

  • What the Future Holds for Nuclear Power

    Published 05 January 2012 | viewed 11,670 times

    A recent thrust on Do the Math has been to sort our renewable energy options into “abundant,” “potent,” and “niche” boxes. This is a reflection…

  • A Detailed Look at Hydroelectricity's Potential

    Published 03 January 2012 | viewed 14,017 times

    Having now sorted solar, wind, and tidal power into three “boxes,” let’s keep going and investigate another source of non-fossil energy and put it in…

  • How Viable is Tidal Power for the Future?

    Published 14 December 2011 | viewed 52,323 times

    Now is the time on Do the Math when we scan the energy landscape for viable alternatives to fossil fuels. In this post, we’ll look…

  • Solar vs. Wind - Who Wins?

    Published 07 December 2011 | viewed 16,919 times

    For me, the most delightful turn of events in the ultimate nerd-song “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants, is that after introducing (in order…

  • Human Fuel: How Many MPG Can We Get Out of Our Bodies

    Published 30 November 2011 | viewed 6,494 times

    Three previous posts have focused on transportation efficiency of gasoline cars, electric cars, and on the practicalities of solar-powered cars. What about personal-powered transport—namely, walking…

  • Will we Ever See Solar Powered Cars on the Road?

    Published 24 November 2011 | viewed 11,250 times

    If you like the sun, and you like cars, then I’m guessing you’d love to have a solar-powered car, right? This trick works well for…

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