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    Scripps College
   
 
  Dec 15, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Scripps Catalog

Physics


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Please refer to the Science  section of this catalog.

Physics explores the fundamental principles governing the behavior of our universe, from the subatomic scale to the cosmological scale. These principles underlie most modern technologies, and have direct applications to biology, chemistry, neuroscience, engineering, environmental analysis, etc., making physics a highly versatile undergraduate major.  Physics majors work closely with faculty as they develop a broad range of highly flexible analytical and quantitative model-building and problem-solving skills.  Our program places particular curricular emphasis on computational/numerical modeling techniques, so that our majors are well versed in tackling complex problems which are not readily solved by traditional methods.  Physics alumni go on to a variety of positions, including industrial and academic research, biophysics, engineering, finance, law, medicine, mathematics. Course requirements for the physics major are kept relatively modest, allowing students with multiple interests to pursue double and dual majors and minors.

Learning Outcomes of the Program in Physics

When confronted with an unfamiliar system or situation, physics students should be able to:

  1. Develop a conceptual framework for understanding the system by identifying the key physical principles and relationships underlying the system. 
  2. Translate that conceptual framework into a quantitative/mathematical model suitable for analysis.
  3. Investigate the model via a variety of analytical and/or numerical methods.
  4. Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of the model's predictions.
  5. Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.

In a laboratory setting, physics students should be able to:

  1. Design an appropriate experiment to test out a hypothesis of interest.
  2. Make basic order-of-magnitude estimates; identify and address the sources of error and uncertainty in an experiment.
  3. Demonstrate a working familiarity with standard laboratory equipment (e.g., oscilloscopes, DMMs, signal generators, etc.).
  4. Demonstrate proficiency with standard methods of data analysis (e.g., graphing, curve-fitting, statistical analysis, Fourier analysis, etc.).
  5. Intelligently analyze, interpret, and assess the reasonableness of their experimental results.
  6. Effectively communicate their findings (either verbally and/or via written expression) to diverse audiences.

Programs

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