Physics encompasses the study of the universe from
the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles. Moreover,
it’s the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry,
oceanography, seismology, and astronomy. The importance of
physics isn’t limited to the “hard sciences.” Increasingly, physicists
are turning their talents to molecular biology, biochemistry, and
biology itself. Even medicine has a niche for physicists, and since
medical physicists are hard to come by, they are much in demand.
Physics also undergirds many new technologies. Cell phones, the Internet, and MRIs are only a few examples of the physics-based technological developments that have revolutionized our world. Many theoretical and experimental physicists work as engineers, and many electrical and mechanical engineers have physics degrees.
A physics education equips a person to work in
many different and interesting places—in industrial and government
labs, on college campuses, and in the astronaut corps. In addition,
many physics grads leave the lab behind and work at newspapers and
magazines, in government, and even on Wall Street—places where their
problem-solving abilities and analytical skills are great assets.
The study of physics develops important skills, including sophisticated
mathematical reasoning to analyze physical systems.
Most of us are curious, we study it because we WANT to understand why things are the way they are. Some people just like solving puzzles. The study of physics is great fun for puzzle-solvers.
So—physics is interesting, relevant, and it can
prepare you for great jobs in a wide variety of places.
Our textbook Conceptual Physics is structured in a conversational
way that greatly reduces the difficulty of the subject matter. It
is very strong on stories, cartoons and applications.
The units we will study
are mechanics, heat, sound and light, electricity and
magnetism. I try to engage your minds, leading to
deep understanding of the material and how it impacts your life, not
memorizing facts. As part of our hands-on approach, we will
frequent demonstrations and laboratory studies. For most labs,
you will write a detailed report about
procedures and results. These lab reports are a major part of
grade. We have frequent homework assignments, many of them
printed in the book. Other times, you will discuss science news
The “problem of the day” is in-class work, that can not be made up if
were not present. Expect a quiz about once a week, and a major
about once a month. The final exam will emphasize the more
recent material, but your results will depend on mastery of material we
have studied through the whole year.
Back to main physics page