Physical Science

Classes

ASTR 120 : Earth’s Cosmic Context

This course will explore how astronomers have been able to discover Earth’s place in the universe, and the structure of the local galaxy and universe. Within this exploration, astronomers have also discovered thousands of other planets, and have begun to map the deepest extents of time and space. From the discovery of distant galaxies and signatures of the origins of the universe, we also have begun to unravel the mysteries of the Big Bang, the formation of the first stars and galaxies, and how the earth arose from billions of years of cosmic evolution. The course will explore the search for exoplanets and the early universe with a mix of in-class exercises, analysis of space-based datasets and observations with telescopes and instruments.

Units

3

CHEM 112 : Chemistry for Life

Chemistry asks what is matter made of and how does it interact? A basic understanding of chemistry is a prerequisite for good citizenship in our changing and technological society. This course introduces modern chemical concepts and processes in the context of their impact on health, the environment, and technology. Through inquiry-based learning, you will develop critical thinking skills and data-driven decision making toward the understanding of matter. This course has a moderate laboratory component and is appropriate for students not intending to continue in fields requiring foundational chemistry knowledge. Not open to students who are enrolled in or who have taken and passed CHEM 150 with at least a grade of C- or P.

Units

3

CHEM 115 : The Chemical Elements of Nutrition

Just twenty chemical elements are essential for human nutrition. We will focus on the atomic composition and structure of these elements; consider how some of these elements combine to make larger compounds and macronutrients (molecular structure and bonding); explore how their structures affect their solubility and acidity/basicity and examine the reactions (oxidation and hydrolysis) that micro- and macro-nutrients undergo to producing energy for the human body. Team-based learning and laboratory exercises will emphasize critical thinking and real-world applications of chemistry to nutrition. This course is appropriate for students not intending to continue in fields requiring foundational chemistry. Not open to students who are enrolled in or who have taken and passed CHEM 150 with at least a grade of C- or P.

Units

3

IBC 200 : Integrated Biology and Chemistry with Lab

This interdisciplinary course will focus on the molecular biology of cancer and the underlying chemistry of cell biology. Students will learn how proteins are encoded and the impact of genomic instability on protein structure and function; alterations of normal metabolism in cancer cells; and basic pathways of cell division and death. Complementary chemistry topics include chemical structure and bonding, biological polymerization, thermodynamics, enzyme kinetics, and redox reactions. Laboratory research will use model systems to understand cancer biology. Intended for Life Sciences concentrators and those planning to pursue post-graduate science or health programs.

Units

4

Prerequisites

CHEM 150 or instructor consent.

PHYS 150 : Heaven and Earth: A First Synthesis

The physics of motion on earth and in the heavens is traced from ancient Greek times through the Dark and Middle Ages, to the Renaissance and Galileo, and to Newton and the Enlightenment. Humanistic, cultural, and historical perspectives are emphasized as is the scientific method/process. Science is shown to be inextricably linked to other human endeavors such as religion, art, politics, music, literature, philosophy, and commerce. High school knowledge of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and scientific notation would be helpful. Concurrently, we will explore physics after Newton and up to the contemporary frontier of string/brane theory, covering topics such as relativity and quantum mechanics and utilizing modern physics labs.

Units

3

PHYS 370 : Space, Time, & the Texture of Reality

This heavily mathematical course with no lab requirement examines the changing conceptions of space and time from classical to modern to contemporary physics. Moving from Newtonian reality to Einstein’s relativity to quantum mechanics to current unification theories, we will explore mathematics as a tool to transcend our faulty perceptions and to reveal new phenomenal, though perhaps not narrative, truth.

Units

3

Prerequisites

Previous and solid experience in physics and calculus plus instructor consent.