STEM 142: Science and Society: The Nuclear Age



Starting on March 24 this course no longer meets on campus.  All material for this course is available via Moodle.

Course Description

Study of the interrelationships among science, society and Christianity. Analysis of political and social topics in which science plays a critical role in contemporary life. One lecture, three lab hours each week. Fulfills half of General Education Natural Sciences requirement. Liberal Arts. This course has a fee.

Choose one:
1.  Nuclear technology will usher in an age of progress, peace and well-being by providing nearly unlimited inexpensive and clean energy through nuclear fission and fusion, by creating new treatments and ways to diagnose diseases using radioisotopes and tomography, by safeguarding food supplies with irradiation and by keeping us safe by detecting contraband and terrorist’s bombs.

2. Nuclear technology is inherently unsafe and the risk of accidents is unacceptable. If used, these technologies will contaminate the Earth with radioactivity, lead to accidents and release radiation into populated areas causing birth defects, cancer and even death on a large scale. Moreover, all Christians agree nuclear weapons should be immediately destroyed

What is the truth? How do these technologies work? Is it possible to have the benefits without the risks? Are the risks sometimes worth it? Do all Christians agree? This class will provide you with historical background, scientific information, and relevant experiences that will allow you to better address these questions.

Useful Information

Dr. Yuly
Office Hours
MTWRF 4:30-5:30 PM

Class Time    
TR 2:30-4:20 PM

Teaching          ,
Steven Raymond
Tyler Kowalewski

Course Materials

Course Schedule
Test #1 Study Guide
Test #2 Study Guide
Poster Assignment
Poster Template


Problem Set #1
Problem Set #2
Problem Set #3


Lab #1 — Cloud Chamber
Lab #2 — Reactions Worksheet
Lab #3 — Is it Radioactive?
Lab #4 — Radioactive half-life
Lab #5 — Gamma ray atten.
Lab #6 — Detectors
Lab #7 — Dose Estimator
Lab #8 — Irradatiated seeds
Lab #9 — Tour of Nuclear Lab
Lab #10 — Logical fallacies
Lab #11 — Energy worksheet
Lab #12 — Electric generator
Lab #13 — E=mc2 worksheet
Lab #14 — Historical timeline
Lab #15 — Nuclear Morality


#0 — Introduction
#1 — Atomic Nucleus
#2 — Nuclear Reactions
#3 — Radiation
#4 — Radioactive decay
#5 — Radioisotopes
#6 — Radiation Detectors
#7 — Radiation Background
#8 — Biological effects
#9 — Uses of radiation
#10 — Posters and Fallacies
#11 — Future
#12 — Energy and power
#13 — Electricity
#14 — Energy from nucleus
#17 — Nuclear fission
#20 — Nuclear weapons
#21 — Morality
#22 — Japanese Christians
#23 — Nuclear fission reactors
#24 — Nuclear fusion reactors
#26 — Accidents and Waste

Lewis Strauss
Lewis Strauss, image from Wikimedia.

“Transmutation of the elements,–unlimited power, ability to investigate the working of living cells by tracer atoms, the secret of photosynthesis about to be uncovered,–these and a host of other results all in 15 short years….  This is the forecast for an age of peace.

– Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss,  1954.


J. Robert Oppenheimer
J. Robert Oppenheimer, image from Wikimedia.

In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, First Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory.