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Physics 175: Introduction to Physics

This general education course is offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Basics concepts of physics are introduced for the mechanics of motion and forces, the physics of matter, waves and sound, optics and the nature of light, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and modern physics, including quantum theory.

The overall goal of the course is to present the scientific method as a viable means of inquiry into the nature of the universe.   Connections are developed between the underlying principles of physics and the phenomena we experience in our everyday lives.

Course Objectives

  • Use the Scientific Method to analyze different scenarios.
  • Discuss the qualitative and quantitative nature of motion and perform simple calculations involving displacement, velocity, and acceleration.
  • Apply Newton's Three Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation to the solution of practical problems.
  • Examine the nature and importance of the major conservation laws of nature and solve a variety of problems using these laws.
  • Perform simple calculations using the properties of solids, liquids, and gases.
  • Use the Laws of Thermodynamics to answer questions and solve problems about heat, temperature, and energy.
  • Analyze problems involving the properties of waves.
  • Solve problems in electricity, magnetism, and electromagnetic phenomena.
  • Apply the laws governing the behavior of light to a range of natural phenomena and optical devices.
  • Elucidate the Bohr Model of the Atom and its application to problems in atomic physics.
  • State the experimental evidence for wave-particle duality and the fundamental tenets of quantum mechanics.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of radioactivity and the basic properties of the nucleus.