Physics Department

Physics Department Learning Goals

The department has defined a set of learning goals for our curriculum.

  1. To provide science and non-science students with an introduction to both the methodology of the physical sciences and the major models of reality developed in the physical sciences.
    1. To provide all students with opportunities to understand and practice the methodology of the physical sciences.
    2. To provide students with a grasp of the historical development of models of the physical world, the experimental basis of these models, and how these models have impacted how humanity views reality.
  2. To provide Biology, Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Mathematics students with the background in theoretical and applied physics necessary for their chosen field of academic specialization.
    1. Biologists and Chemists need to understand the physical laws of mechanics, electrodynamics, thermodynamics, and atomic physics that are crucial to their disciplines.
    2. Mathematicians need to see how mathematics is applied to the description of natural phenomena.
  3. To provide physics majors with an in-depth study in the field of physics.
    1. A clear understanding of the experimental basis of all fundamental physical theories. They should understand the major theories and be able to explain how they follow from experimental results.
    2. A panoramic view of the field of physics with enough detail to enable them to easily make connections with new information in physics, and thereby more readily assimilate new information.
    3. Undergraduate research. We feel that students don’t really understand the nature of the field of physics until they have practiced it, reported their results at a meeting involving students from other institutions, and compared the quality of their work with that of students at other institutions. Since we consider ourselves a national liberal arts college, this comparison should be at the national level.