Physics 221 introduces students to the basic principles of mechanics
(kinematics, Newton's Law, energy and momentum, rotation and oscillation) and
wave motion. After successfully completing this course students will have
acquired the fundamental knowledge to understand various physical phenomena and
their basis for practical applications. They will be able to apply
mathematics (vectors, algebra, trigonometry) to describe and analyze
physical properties and they will have practiced discussing physics with
classmates through active participation in the course.
Physics often serves as a support course for students studying in another program. Physics 221 teaches students to look for the physical principles that underlie complex technical and biological phenomena and to spot misleading claims that defy the laws of physics.
The laboratory component is especially important. In 12 laboratories or studio sessions students perform open-ended real or realistically simulated experiments. These experiments, which combine many different skills and concepts, expose the students to the experimental basis of physics. Students acquire skills in planning and performing experimental work, in analyzing experimental data and in estimating experimental uncertainties.