A Day Without Chemistry
Imagine a day without cars, electric lights, TV, telephones, safe food, and water, medicine, clothing, your house, and thousands of other familiar objects that make up modern society. Do it, and you are
imagining a day in a world without chemistry.  This clever video gives students a glimpse of what their everyday lives would be like without chemistry.  (01:55)

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Magnus Nilsson: "Fäviken", Talks at Google
Magnus Nilsson stops by the Googleplex for a talk with Executive Chef Jeff Freburg. Nilsson is the head chef of Fäviken Magasinet restaurant in Jamtland, in a remote part of Northern Sweden. He worked at three Michelin star L'Astrance in Paris before joining Fäviken in 2008. It is now ranked one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World, and has become a legendary culinary destination. You can find Magnus' book, Faviken (Phaidon) on Google Books: ‪http://goo.gl/4hdD2
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5.1 Arithmetic with real numbers

At the end of Section 1, we discussed the decimals and asked whether it is possible to add and multiply these numbers to obtain another real number. We now explain how this can be done using the Least Upper Bound Property of Author(s): The Open University

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1 Modelling with Fourier series

The main teaching text of this unit is provided in the workbook below. The answers to the exercises that you'll find throughout the workbook are given in the answer book. You can access it by clicking on the link under the workbook.

Click 'View document' to open the workbook (PDF, 0.6 MB).

4.5 Global climate change

I would like to turn now to the possible consequences of our use of energy for global climate change. Our pattern of energy use relies heavily on burning carbon-based fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide which spreads evenly around the globe and builds up slowly in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it has the potential both to warm the atmosphere and to change our global climate. It is not the only greenhouse gas but is the most important of those e
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4.2 Shifting ground

In Section 3 and in Section 4 so far, we have begun with the questions of how and why humans found their way to oceanic islands, and how other living
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8.3.3 Reactive ion etching: chlorine/argon plasma etching of aluminium

In a reactive ion etch (RIE), a chemical reaction is used to weaken the bonding of the surface of the material and assist the sputtering process. This combines the high rate and selectivity of a gas-phase etch with the directionality of a sputter etch.

For example, consider aluminium etched anisotropically by a Cl2/Ar mixed-gas plasma, which etches at up to 1 μm min−1:

  • Power pumped into the plasma breaks the gases up, rel
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1.3 The capacity of an MOS structure to store charge

Figure 1 shows a schematic section through an MOS structure and sets up a colour scheme that distinguishes the different layers. In this case the M-layer is provided by heavily doped polysilicon and the semiconductor base material is p-type silicon.


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1.1 Conductor–insulator–semiconductor structures

A forensic examination of the inside of any silicon chip would reveal a miniature network of metal tracks criss-crossing on several levels, separated by insulating layers of silicon dioxide and periodically stitched down to the underlying tracks and the underlying silicon. Down in the silicon proper there is an intricate pattern of islands of p-type material in pockets of n-type material and vice versa. The precision and regularity of the patterns of different materials tells of a highly soph
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8 Summary

We have seen how a solution falls into one of three categories (innovation by context, innovation by development, and routine solution) according to the need that drives it. Furthermore, the need is shown to be the point of reference that should be kept in sight throughout the process of finding solutions. Unless the need is accurately stated, the ideal solution cannot be obtained – a case of ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

We have examined the process of finding a solution step by ste
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7.4 The impact of technology on society

Engineering is apparently driven by the needs of society. The technology that results, in turn, drives other changes in our everyday lives. One of the basic needs identified in Section 2 was for shelter. There are many fine examples of long-surviving structures such as pyramids, aqueducts, bridges, walls, functional buildings, and so on. Remarkably these constructions were completed without the depth of analysis and understanding that is available today (though we don't necessarily know much
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7.3 Ethics and safety

A practising engineer makes ethical decisions, with moral and physical implications of varying magnitudes, on a daily basis. Examples of ethical dilemmas are limitless, ranging from the engineer who takes home the odd pen, file or discarded paper ‘for the children’, to the engineer who signs off a project without checking the details and identifying a simple arithmetic error of magnitude. The implications of either may be negligible – such as where the cost is more than compensated in u
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4.1 Advancing knowledge

Over the centuries, engineers have faced and solved a huge number of problems of one sort or another. Each time a problem is solved, knowledge is advanced, something usually gets written down, and so today we have a wealth of experience to draw on. Equally, problem-solving techniques have also been developed and evolved through use and refinement, which is rather handy. Not only do we have some idea of existing solutions to similar problems, but we also have an indication of how to go
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3 Needs and problems

The last section has established that engineering is about satisfying needs. In fact, with so many needs, it's a wonder that not everyone is an engineer! So, now that we have talked about both needs and problems, the logical progression is to examine the relationship between them.

Take the water example as being a fundamental need. We can state it thus:

This village needs a supply of clean water. <
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2 Where does the need arise?

There is a rather obvious question that has to be raised at some point, so we may as well get it over with now: Why do we present ourselves with all these problems? After all, life would be easier without them and we could all go off and do jobs that don't involve them. Do we really need to know everything about the universe? Or to send people into space, at significant cost and human risk? Do we really need to send sound and pictures through space? Do we really need to communicate with peopl
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1.2 Innovation by context

The word ‘innovate’ simply means ‘make new’. We have chosen in this unit to narrow the meaning of this term to be more or less synonymous with ‘invention’. I would argue that innovation by context is as much a process as a result. By that, I'm using the term to mean something more like ‘creativity’; and it's creativity that lies at the heart of all engineering. More than anything else in our professional lives, we engineers are excited by the prospect of being responsible for
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • View solutions as belonging to particular categories, broadly classified as:

  • innovation by context

  • innovation by practice

  • routine.

  • See how external factors affect engineering projects, and appreciate the range of engineering involved in meeting the basic needs of our society.

  • Recognise and apply a range of problem-solving techniques fr
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