The word physics comes from the Greek word for nature, and we think of it today as the study of matter and energy. Physicists are concerned with understanding the way nature operates: the basic constituents of the universe and how they interact. The pursuit of that understanding leads to many practical applications. Physics is a rewarding area to study because it provides the basis for much of today’s technology, and it helps us satisfy our intellectual curiosity. The fundamental character of physics makes it a discipline that is central to the liberal arts.
The Physics curriculum at Western provides opportunities for students to take course work that supports other scientific and technical disciplines, to complete an academic minor, or to prepare for physics or engineering programs at other institutions.
An overview of the historical development of astronomy and the basic physical principles that are relevant to it. The overall structure of the Universe is studied and its various components examined. Includes limited observational activities. Prerequisite: completion of the general education essential skills mathematics requirement. GT-SC2
A practical introduction to the physics of sound, with emphasis on music. Students investigate the properties of sounds produced by musical instruments. Topics include periodic functions, waves, resonance, overtones, frequency spectra, digital sound production and basic acoustic principles. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; MATH 099 or university-level math requirement with a minimum grade of “C-”; or Accuplacer Advanced Algebra and Functions test score of 245 or above.
A summary of the structure of the Earth's atmosphere, worldwide weather disturbances, weather forecasting, and snow avalanches. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor.
A practical study of energy generation and its environmental impact, including thephysics of energy fundamentals, fossil fuel use, alternative energy uses, and energy conservation. Primarily for non-science majors, this course will qualitatively detail basic physical principles behind the use of energy, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics. This course is designed to provide the student with a physicist's perspective on energy use and environmental issues. Prerequisite: completion of the general education essential skills mathematics requirement.
A semi-quantitative introduction to the fundamental concepts of physical science, particularly the laws of physics as they relate to the structure of matter. Laboratory experiences play an important role in the investigations. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; MATH 099; Accuplacer Advanced Algebra and Functions test score of 245 or above. GT-SC1
A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, and many-particle systems. A mathematical proficiency at the level of university algebra is recommended. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: MATH 141. GT-SC1
A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics, using the concepts of calculus as a tool. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, many-particle systems, and thermodynamics. A student may not receive credit for both PHYS 170 and PHYS 200. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or Corequisite: MATH 151. GT-SC1
An investigation of the kinematics and kinetics of particles and rigid bodies as well as modes of vibration and time response. Topics covered include coordinate systems, work-energy relations, momentum, relative motion and vibrations. Prerequisite: PHYS 250.
A summary of the historical development of astronomy and the pertinent underlying physical principles, including descriptions of the objects comprising the solar system and their motions. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; MATH 140; or Accuplacer Advanced Algebra and Functions test score of 280 or above.
A discussion of the techniques used to study and classify stars. A qualitative study of energy production in stars, stellar structures, stellar evolution, galaxies, cosmological theories, and current developments in astronomy. Prerequisite: PHYS 310.
Examines fundamentals of fluid flow with application to engineering problems. Topics covered include fluid statics and kinematics, Bernoulli equations, laminar and turbulent viscous boundary layers, laminar and turbulent pipe flow, and conservation equations for mass, momentum and energy. Prerequisites: MATH 251, PHYS 200, and PHYS 250
A study of selected topics in astrophysics as they relate to the core areas of physics: mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum physics, and thermodynamics. Topics covered may include stellar formation and life cycles, galactic dynamics and dark matter, planetary systems, multiple star systems, interstellar medium, cosmology, and the nature of light. Prerequisites: PHYS 171 or PHYS 201; MATH 252.
A presentation of some of the fundamental concepts of astronomy through a series of observational activities and laboratory exercises supported by appropriate lecture presentations. Motions and intrinsic properties of various astronomical objects are investigated, and some of the tools and methods of modern astronomy are studied. Subjects include constellations, time reckoning, nature and analysis of light, optics, telescopes, photography, and properties of planets, satellites, stars, and galaxies. A student may not receive credit for both PHYS 310-311 and 480. This course may not be taken for credit towards the Physics Minor. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; MATH 140; Accuplacer Advanced Algebra and Functions test score of 280 or above.
An investigation which is tailored to the interests and background of the individualstudent. It may be of an experimental nature.