Author of the Month: Reza ToossiPublished: February 17, 2014
Energy and the Environment (Choices and Challenges in a Changing World)
Reza Toossi, professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Published in 2010 by Verve Publications, this 410-page text seeks to answer such questions as how do we conserve energy, what do we do about global warming and what about ozone depletion and acid rain? “These are issues that will stay with us for a very long time,” said Toossi, a member of the university since 1981. “There are also nonconventional energy options being proposed such as tar sand, shale oil, shale gas, to delight of some industrialists and dismay of many environmentalists. There are new technologies with new resources such as wind and wave energy. Transportation systems, can take a wide variety of forms, from bicycle to gasoline and diesel engines, to electric, hybrid or fuel cell vehicles. I’m happy to say that many major universities in the U.S., including Stanford, Texas A&M, Penn State, UC Riverside and about 40 other universities have adopted it as textbooks in physics, engineering and science departments.” The main theme is sustainability. “One of the most important elements of sustainability is education,” he said. “We have to teach people to value their natural resources. If it is true that we borrow the Earth from our children, not inherit it from our ancestors, then it is important for us all to understand our energy options. This book explains the science behind sustainability.” Toossi believes one reason for his book’s success is its informal approach. “It deals with areas of scientific inquiry including physics and engineering in plain language without compromising scientific principles,” he said. Toossi was pleased not only by his subject, energy, but the energy in his subject. “This subject is so rich, there is an abundance of topics to discuss from nuclear energy to solar energy to wind to hydrogen and biomass,” he explained. “There is a tremendous amount of information to relate. The topic is so dynamic that the numbers keep changing every year.” Toossi hopes his readers will set down the book with the same reaction he receives from his students at CSULB.
“Many of my students are in general education courses and they represent all the disciplines across the campus. Actually, engineering majors are in the minority,” he said. “The comment I most often hear is ‘I learned in this one course more than in many other courses.’ I teach real engineering. And yet students keep telling me they had no idea engineering could be fun.” Toossi’s next book, due this year and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will be an electronic text titled Live Energy. Toossi is the recipient of the 2001 CSULB Distinguished Faculty Teaching, the 1995 CSULB Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement and the 1994/1995 TRW Excellence in Teaching awards. He received his B.S. degree from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and his M.S. and Ph.D.s from UC Berkeley.