Introductory Physics Courses

Are you thinking of becoming a physics major and wondering what you'll be learning?  You'll start out with these four inspiring core courses, which you'll take in sequence.  To learn about our Science and Society courses, click here.

110fs Force, Motion, and Energy

We are all familiar with the basic forms of motion like rolling, sliding, flying, spinning and bouncing, but did you know that understanding motion in terms of energy is one of the most fundamental and fascinating abstractions of all of science, and is even relevant in chemistry, biology, astronomy and geology?  In this course, you'll learn enough to understand how a roller coaster stays on the tracks, the forces and torques of muscles in the body, and why bridges don't collapse.

201fs Electromagnetism

Since you began life on this planet, you've taken advantage of the amazing and ubiquitous benefits of electricity, from lighting to televisions to computers to your cell phone.  Few of us, however, actually stop and think about how this electricity was created or even how it is possible to communicate information over empty space.  In this course, you'll learn fascinating and sometimes bizarre facts about electricity, magnetism and circuits that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

210f Waves and Optics

You've been enchanted by scenes of waves rolling in at the beach and you've seen the elegance of ripples on a quiet pond. Now, you'll get a chance to be amazed by the mysterious waves of light and sound that are invisible to the human eye.  In this course, you'll learn how waves travel and interact with each other, giving rise to the intricate sound of a guitar or the colorful patterns of a soapy bubble.

250s Quantum Mechanical Phenomena

Did you know an electron can be described as a wave? Quantum mechanics opens up a whole new world of understanding about how the universe behaves at the size scale of an electron. Energy now comes in packets (or quanta), and this changes how we think of the location and movement of particles.  In this course, you'll learn about how quantum mechanical phenomena are at the heart of almost all modern technology, from your laptop's processor, to your smartphone's screen, to nuclear power and even solar cells.