Physics is concerned with topics that underlie most other branches of science and engineering, and it is relevant to current societal needs. The breakthroughs of physics have deepened all sciences and have affected nearly every part of our society, from health care to renewable energy sources and to our understanding of Earth’s environment.
Since physics is strongly connected to other sciences, education in physics is of vital importance, and broad scientific literacy is a primary goal of physics education at all levels. Education in physics provides students with unique skills and ways of thinking that are of profound value to students and to society. It forms the gateway into technological competence and expertise in almost everything in our modern world.
In our physics courses, students explore some of the most fundamental questions such as the origin of the universe, the nature of matter and energy, and the basic laws of physics that explain everyday phenomena. Our physics courses provide the framework and the discipline for probing these questions, whose range of applicability extends far beyond the physical sciences. Physics students learn to develop conceptual and mathematical approaches to models to help them understand complicated systems and solve problems. As a result of learning the inquiry process and ways of thinking used in physics, students with a physics education are prepared for success in other analytical programs such as engineering, business, and finance.
Our physics curriculum is designed to match a range of goals that students may have--taking elective courses to broaden one's scientific literacy or satisfying requirements for a major in the sciences or engineering. Our department offers exciting general science courses on conceptual physics and astronomy for students studying a variety of areas as diverse as business, architecture, humanities and social sciences. We also provide foundational courses for students majoring in fields that require a solid grounding in physics, such as engineering, chemistry, biology, and the environmental sciences.
Our highly-qualified faculty members conduct original research in their fields of expertise and also explore a variety of pedagogical methods to develop innovative teaching approaches. By incorporating research-based practices into teaching efforts, our physics faculty endeavor to reach a broader, more diverse audience and make the learning of physics a more productive and enjoyable experience for all students. Our faculty engage regularly in discussions of learning goals and outcomes, best strategies to teaching, effective assessment of learning, and successful approaches to engagement in the classroom.