UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status: Closed for 2018


Thermodynamics in the Land of Fire and Ice

Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrive Date: June 20, 2018    End Date: July 18, 2018

Program Overview

Because Iceland’s electrical grid is entirely powered by geothermal and hydroelectric resources, Iceland is a unique setting to learn about renewable power and thermodynamic science. Iceland also has abundant natural wonders as it sits upon an area where the tectonic plates are dividing and the land is being shaped by volcanic and glacial activity. We will stay in the outskirts of Reykjavik and will take field trips to nearby powerplants and manufacturing facilities. We will also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Þingvellir where deep fissures between the North American and European Plates are visible at the surface. At various destinations we will see puffins and other exotic birds, waterfalls, and geothermal fields. We will cross the Arctic Circle where we will have a chance to experience the midnight sun (weather permitting). We also plan to visit the glaciers at Vatnajökull National Park, the ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón, and the lava flows at the Westmann Islands. Come experience an unforgettable summer on top of the world.

Instructor:  Paul Erickson

Taught in:  English

Max Enrollment:  30

Program CoordinatorGreg Gundersen

Program Alumni Vlog: Patrick Cunningham



Engineering (ENG) 105. Thermodynamics (4 units)

Engineering (ENG) 198. Directed Group Study (4 units, P/NP)

Prerequisite Note: Summer Abroad will be enforcing prerequisites for this program. For more information, see Academics.

Program Highlights
  • Learn and experience the fundamentals of thermodynamics and renewable power in a country where the electrical grid is entirely powered by geothermal and hydroelectric resources.
  • Explore the natural wonders of Iceland’s unique geography and geology where the North American and European tectonic plates divide.
  • Cross the Arctic Circle, view the midnight sun, and experience Iceland’s culture of summer at the top of the world.
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