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MAY 10

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Students Learn about the Principles of Physics

The Physics Department Mission

The mission of the physics program is to give in-depth training in physics to our majors and minors through a student-centered program based on rigorous coursework and research opportunities. The physics curriculum challenges our students to solve problems, think critically, develop experimental and computational skills, and hone their written and verbal communication skills. The physics faculty are committed to professional activities that make noteworthy contributions to the greater scientific community, including at the national and international levels. With expertise in their respective disciplines, the faculty engage students in high-impact research experiences and mentor them as future scientists. The program also vigorously supports students in obtaining external internship and research opportunities and preparing them for careers in industry, government, teaching, or post-graduate work in various subfields of physics and engineering. Physics faculty further contribute to the educational goals of the College by providing direct support of other major programs such as biochemistry & molecular biology, biology, chemistry, exercise science, interaction design, and physical therapy. In addition, physics faculty teach Formative and Connective courses in the Constellation program that cultivate math and science literacy, quantitative reasoning, problem solving, and critical analysis of information and data. Through its students, faculty, and extracurricular activities, the physics program strives to contribute to the academic and cultural environment of the College, and academic community, by providing opportunities and expertise in physics within a liberal arts environment. 


The Physics Department Goals and Objectives

  1. Graduates from our program will have a working understanding and knowledge of fundamental areas in physics.
    • Students will use principles, laws, and basic concepts to solve and present problems and explain phenomena in the following areas of physics at the introductory level: fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, special relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics.
    • Students will use principles, laws, and basic concepts to solve and present problems and explain phenomena in the following areas of physics at the advanced level: classical mechanics and electromagnetic theory.

  2. Graduates from our program will have a working understanding and knowledge of mathematics along with computational skills necessary for advanced work in physics.
    • Students will be able to solve problems and explain physical phenomena using the basic concepts of advanced mathematics as they apply to physics.
    • Students will solve physics problems across the curriculum utilizing computers and be proficient in one or more programming languages.

  3. Graduates from our program will be skilled in the methods of scientific research and investigation.
    • Students will formulate testable hypotheses/models; design appropriate experimental measurements or phenomenological methods to test these hypotheses/models; and collect, analyze, and evaluate experiment data or computational output.
    • Students will conduct classic experiments illustrating key discoveries and fundamental techniques, acquire the ability to operate a variety of laboratory equipment, including the use of a computer in the collection and statistical analysis of experimental data, and design new experiments to test theoretical results and models.

  4. Graduates from our program will have effective written and verbal communication skills.
    • Students will present solutions to physics problems and results of experimental/theoretical investigations orally in various formats, including formal presentations, oral exams, one on one discussions with faculty, or by leading class discussions, using appropriate technical vocabulary and mathematical notation as related to physics.
    • Students will present written solutions to physics problems and reports of experimental/theoretical investigations using appropriate technical vocabulary and mathematical notation as related to physics.