College Physics

Welcome to Students

What does this course sequence have to offer?
Studying physics connects you to a long tradition of contemplating the building blocks of the universe and the interactions between these objects. In this course you'll force yourself to unlearn some erroneous Aristotelian assumptions about motion, replacing them with a new framework that applies on the human scale (not too small and not too fast). We then extend these ideas to large systems of particles as a model for liquids or gases, leading naturally (in the second semester) to thermal physics and its stunning conclusions about forms of energy. The next stop in our tour is electricity and magnetism, with applications to simple electrical circuits and medical devices. The phenomenon of electromagnetic waves leads nicely into our study of optics, whose instruments enabled many of the early developments in atomic and nuclear physics. This whirlwind tour of a storied subject gives you a foundation for further study or for applying its techniques to another scientific profession of your choice.
What are some skills that I can take from this class?
  1. Improved problem solving
  2. Awareness of uncertainty propagation as laboratory measurements are substituted into algebraic formulas
  3. Enhanced appreciation for the creative aspects of scientific inquiry
What are some tips to help me succeed in this class?
Just as you would for any class you take in college, be sure to read the assigned text before each lecture. Make sure you read actively, with pen or pencil ready for jotting down the key ideas and vocabulary. Adopt a skeptical attitude toward the expositions provided, coming up with questions that force the words on the page to reveal meanings and connections buried under the surface. After you think you understand a new concept from all possible angles, attempt to solve the end-of-section exercises without referring to the example problems in the text.