Topical Courses

These are courses about a specific topic which generally require little in the way of prerequisites (typically high school math). All of these courses are intended for non-science majors. Some courses (Astronomy and Cosmology) are listed in the bulletin under Astronomy (ASTR) and the rest are listed as Physics (PHYS).

Stars, Planets and Life

Professors: William Briscoe, Kalvir Dhuga, Leonard Maximon, William Parke
Textbook: The Cosmic Perspective by Bennet

This course is an introductory general survey course in astronomy for non-science majors. This course introduces the Earth and its environs from the astronomical perspective, including known principles and logic behind what we see. This course inlcudes a laboratory component. There are no prerequisites, but the student is expected to have a command of mathematics at the college algebra level. The student does NOT have to take Astro 2 to take this course.

Introduction to the Cosmos

Professors: William Briscoe, Kalvir Dhuga, Leonard Maximon, William Parke

This course is an introductory general survey course in astronomy for non-science majors. This course introduces how the Universe behaves at large scales, including known principles and logic behind what we see. It inlcudes a laboratory component. There are no prerequisites, but the student is expected to have a command of mathematics at the college algebra level. The student does NOT have to take Astro 1 to take this course.

How Things Work

Professor: Gerald Feldman
Text: How Things Work by Louis Bloomfield

This course is an introductory general survey course in physics for non-science majors. The basic idea of the course is to examine common objects with which you are familiar from everyday life and to see what makes them work. This will involve a vast array of physics principles, which will be presented in the context of the objects that we will be studying.
This course is intended to be a fun course to help students learn how things actually work. Hopefully, by the end of the course, students will understand and appreciate many things about the world around them that they did not fully understand or appreciate before. But even more, hopefully students will have new questions they never even thought of when the course started, and that this gentle touch into physics will spark their curiosity about the intriguing puzzles that surround us every day.
The student will need some basic mathematical skills, such as high school algebra and trigonometry (but not calculus).