PHYS-010 The Way Things Work
Spring for 2011-2012
This is a conceptual science course, meaning that the emphasis will be on understanding, rather than calculating. Many natural phenomena and the technologies of our modern world can be understood through verbal descriptions, rather than calculations. Equations will be presented in the course, but they will be minimal and relatively straight forward. Given the qualitative, rather than quantitative, nature of this course, the focus will be on seeing and understanding the “science” in everyday life. Most science courses start by presenting abstract theory and then treating applications of it. This course takes the opposite approach. We start with a well known phenomenon, e.g., the blue sky or the fact that microwave ovens make things hot, and then address the question: “Why is this so?” or “How does this happen?” A broad range of topics will be covered, including bicycles, roller coasters, clocks, rockets, ovens, refrigerators and air conditioners, copy machines, lasers, CD, DVD and Blu-ray players, nuclear weapons and reactors, cell phones, medical imaging, and trains that float. Classroom discussions will be augmented with a number of in-class demonstrations and video clips. This course serves as a core course for completion of the University’s mathematics/science curriculum requirement.
Other academic years
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