1. Catalog Entry
Credit hours (4)
Prerequisites: PHYS 111
Vectors, mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, sound, light and selected topics in modem physics.
2. Detailed Description of Course
1) Electricity and Magnetism – Electric charge and Coulomb’s Law; electric fields; electrical potential energy and potential difference;
basic circuits; magnetic fields and moving electric charges; Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction; generators; motors and
2) Geometric optics – Laws of reflection; Snell’s Law; mirrors and thin lenses; ray diagrams; images and their properties; optical
devices; the human eye and vision; light as an electromagnetic wave
3) Atomic physics – The structure of the atom; energy levels and electron transitions; lasers
4) Nuclear physics – Nuclear structure and the strong force; radioactive decay; mass-energy equivalence and nuclear energy; fission
and fusion reactions; nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants; breeder reactors
5) World energy/fuel supplies – Fossil fuels; nuclear fuel; other energy sources; exponential growth and its impact on fuel consumption
and pollution production
3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
Lectures are designed to introduce the student to concepts in physics and application of those concepts to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems. The instructor models problem solving behavior in working examples. Questions from the students are encouraged, both during the lecture presentation and the problem solving sessions. Problems assigned to the students and problems worked by the instructor are chosen, as often as possible, to illustrate technological applications of the principles involved. Issues raised by the interaction of science, technology and society are discussed extensively throughout the course.
Laboratory periods are devoted to the conduct of laboratory exercises designed to illustrate concepts and encourage active involvement of the students in the exercises. A laboratory manual is not used; exercises are described in handouts given out each week. Early exercises contain specific and detailed instructions on how to proceed with the activity. As the year progresses, instructions become less specific and students are expected to become more and more dependent on their own problem solving ability and their own creativity.
4. Goals and Objectives of the Course
1) Students will acquire a knowledge base in physics as part of their professional preparation (chemistry
and geology majors, students planning careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, sports
2) All students will develop the ability to think critically and to solve problems.
3) All students will develop some level of understanding of the process of science - the ways in which
scientific knowledge is produced and evaluated.
4) All students will acquire a deeper understanding of the world around them.
5) All students will become aware of the interactions between science, technology and society, and consider
those interactions in a critical and thoughtful way.
Core Curriculum Objectives (Goal 6: Physical and Natural Sciences)
Radford University students will understand the methodologies of scientific inquiry, think critically about scientific problems, and apply principles of a scientific discipline to solve problems in the natural/physical world.
Radford University students will be able to:
1) Distinguish between findings that are based upon empirical data and those that are not.
2) Apply scientific principles within the context of a specific scientific discipline to solve real world problems.
5. Assessment Measures
Student progress is measured by periodic tests, weekly laboratory reports in which the students analyze experimental data and provide a written report of their work, and in informal observation of student's work during laboratory sessions and individual conferences. A homework problem is also assigned with each laboratory activity and is graded by the instructor or a laboratory assistant.
6. Other Course Information
Review and Approval
June 20, 2015