Physics and Calculus: Finding Order in the Physical World


Fall 2013 quarter

Taught by

mathematics, history of science


Entrance requires proficiency in high school algebra. 

Physics is concerned with the basic principles of the universe. It is the foundation on which engineering, technology, and other sciences are based. The science of physics has developed out of the efforts of men and women to explain our physical environment. These efforts have been so successful that the laws of physics now encompass a remarkable variety of phenomena. One of the exciting features of physics is its capacity for predicting how nature will behave in one situation on the basis of experimental data obtained in another situation. In this program we will begin the process of understanding the underlying order of the physical world by modeling physical systems using both the analytical tools of calculus and the numerical tools provided by digital computers. We will also have significant laboratory experience to make predictions and explore some of these models. 

In this thematically-integrated program, students will cover calculus and algebra-based physics through small-group discussions, interactive lectures, and laboratory investigations. In physics, we will learn about motion, energy, models, and the process for constructing them. Through our study of calculus, we will learn how to analyze these models mathematically. We will study some of Galileo's significant contributions to classical mechanics, Kepler's astronomical observations, Newton's work on calculus and laws of motion, Euler's applications of calculus to the study of real-life problems in physics (magnetism, optics and acoustics), Maxwell's development of the unified theory of magnetism, Einstein’s relativity, and many others. This program will cover many of the traditional topics of both first-quarter calculus and first-quarter physics. Covering these topics together allows for the many connections between them to be reinforced while helping make clear the value of each.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

mathematics, physics, engineering, energy systems, education

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Mon/Wed


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
July 29th, 2013 Program changed from Fall/Winter/Spring to just Fall Quarter.
July 29th, 2013 Faculty changed from John Schaub to Allen Mauney.
June 13th, 2013 Program added June 12, 2013.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 24


Course Reference Number

So - Sr (8 credits): 10372

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