The mission of the Department, as stated in the University Bulletin, cites that "the objectives of the Department of Physics center around developing in its students a critical understanding of physical phenomena, an intuition into how nature acts, and a facility to analyze various physical aspects of the world through experimentation and computation."
These objectives are concurrent with the mission of the University and with the Statement of Purpose of the Core. The department strives to educate students in its core classes in matters important for contemporary society, such as, how theories become accepted in science and the limitations of those theories. We also teach basic principles of physics - motion, energy, conservation laws, etc., so that students can develop an understanding and appreciation of nature. Our goals with each core class match those of the Statement very well.
Several physics courses satisfy the physical sciences Core Curriculum requirement. These are Physics and Technology (PHY2303/PHY2103), Introductory Astronomy (2302/2102), General Physics I (PHY2311 & PHY2111 or PHY2305 & PHY2105), and General Physics II (PHY2312 & PHY2112 or PHY2306 & PHY2106). Students who take these courses should
1. be able to discuss intelligently the defining characteristics of the scientific
mode of inquiry;
2. understand what constitutes knowledge in science;
3. have acquired a small but significant body of knowledge which provides a basis for understanding the fundamental physical aspects of our world;
4. be able to use fundamental scientific principles in order to provide conceptual explanations of observable phenomena;
5. understand the development of at least one major scientific principle illustrating the role of discovery, logical reasoning, and creativity on the part of scientists;
6. have gained hands-on knowledge of empirical components of science as it emerges from the student's performing and designing of laboratory experiments which include making observations, forming and testing hypotheses, using quantitative techniques (such as graphics), and developing logical conclusions;
7. be able to discuss intelligently the pros and cons of how science and scientific discoveries are used in our society.