The courses listed immediately below are intended for all students.

  • In this course, we will address some of the questions as old as humankind, “What is the universe?”, “What is our place in it?”, “How old is it?”, “What is it made out of?,” and so on. We will make a journey from our Solar System all the way to the farthest reaches of space and time and take a deeper look into the physics underlying astronomical phenomena. We will discuss how the science of astronomy has tremendously helped the development of physics, and how physics enables the understanding of the entire universe.

  • One of the oldest and most intriguing questions posed by humankind is “are we alone?” In the Twenty-First century, this question has gained new meaning and impetus as we find scores and scores of planets orbiting other stars, and begin in earnest to search for life not just in our solar system, but in our galaxy and in the vastness of the Universe. As a first step, we will explore how the Universe came to exist, how our solar system formed, and our place in the Universe. We will go beyond this, however, as we define life (as we know it), explore the necessary ingredients for the existence and persistence of life, and the evolution of life on Earth. Finally, we’ll examine the solar system and nearby stars for the possibility of the existence of life.

  • This course will introduce you to some of the main concepts of physics, a science endeavoring to understand the basic patterns of Nature. These concepts, some firmly established and some still evolving, provide us with a picture which is remarkably beautiful and elegant, as well as amazingly successful at describing our universe, at understanding natural phenomena and predicting new ones, and at guiding the development of all kinds of gizmos. Another goal of this course is to illustrate the scientific way of thinking about things which arouse our curiosity. By recognizing the action of basic physical principles and employing a few techniques of analysis you will gain new insights into the phenomena which surround you.  The course uses no mathematics beyond elementary algebra.

  • The worldwide increasing need for energy causes ever-increasing impacts on our environment. These impacts are roughly categorized as PollutionResource depletion, and Climate Change. This course aims at understanding how we use energy, where it comes from, and how to avoid the worst negative consequences of energy use. Fortunately, we are coming to an era where a true shift to “greening” of our energy use looks feasible. California has committed to an aggressive shift to greener energy use and we want to take a close look at that progress.

The courses listed immediately below are intended for restricted students. While these courses satisfy the GE-E requirement, generally they are not appropriate for a general audience.

  • Fundamental laws and principles of physics with emphasis on the application of physical principles to the problems of architecture.
    Prerequisite: MATH 108.

  • Fundamental laws and principles of physics emphasizing areas related to life sciences; prerequisite for biological sciences, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.
    Prerequisite: Passing of Math Placement Exam or MATH 108 or MATH 125 or MATH 126 or MATH 226.

  • Gateway to the majors and minors in Physics and Astronomy. Statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, conservation principles, gravitation, simple harmonic oscillators, thermodynamics, heat engines, entropy.
    Prerequisite: MATH 125g or MATH 126g or MATH 226 or MATH 129 or MATH 229

  • Gateway to the majors and minors in Physics and Astronomy. Introductory treatment intended for well-qualified students. Dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, conservation laws, wave motion, thermodynamics, heat engines, entropy.
    Prerequisite: MATH 126g or MATH 129
    Corequisite: MATH 226g or MATH 229

  • Mechanics, mechanical vibrations and waves, special relativity. Emphasizes applications in the areas of applied physics and engineering.
    Prerequisite: MATH 125g or MATH 126g or MATH 129 or MATH 226g or MATH 229