Physics

 

What is physics?

Through physics we attempt to understand natural physical phenomena in the world around us, from the very small (atomic nuclei and elementary particles) to the very large scale of the universe.

The core of physics is a knowledge of basic laws laid down in fundamental theories such as those of kinematics, dynamics, relativity, electricity, magnetism, light, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and nuclear and elementary particles. Physics is concerned with how these fundamental laws influence observed phenomena which might include anything from hitting a baseball with a bat to rocket dynamics.

There are two streams in first-year physics at Memorial University; one uses calculus, the other algebra.

The calculus based courses (Physics 1050/1051) are intended for students with more experience in physics. The algebra based courses (1020/1021) can be taken by students with a limited physics background. Physics 1050 and 1051 are recommended for students planning studies in the physical sciences or engineering. Physics 1020 and 1021 are recommended for students planning studies in the life sciences.

Students interested in physical sciences but who do not meet the prerequisite for Physics 1050 can take the course sequence Physics 1020, 1021, 1051. However, any student receiving a grade of 70 per cent or higher in Physics 1020 can proceed directly into Physics 1051.

Tutorial assistance is available to students in all introductory courses.

 

Why study physics?

Many of our undergraduates are actively involved in physics research programs. This experience provides both summer employment and an excellent preparation for a career in industrial or university research.

Job opportunities for students studying physics include educator, geophysicist, health physicist, meteorologist, photonics specialist, and researcher and many others.

Courses available in first year

Physics 1020
Introductory Physics I is a non-calculus based introduction to mechanics.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratories: Normally six laboratory sessions per semester, with each session lasting a maximum of two hours.
Tutorials/Problem Sessions: Scheduled during weeks when there are no laboratories, at the instructor’s discretion.
Prerequisite: Level III Advanced Mathematics; or Mathematics 109 A/B or 1090, either of which may be taken concurrently. It is recommended that students have completed at least one high school physics course.
Note: Students can receive credit for only one of Physics 1020 and 1050.

Physics 1021
Introductory Physics II is a non-calculus based introduction to fluids, wave motion, light, optics, electricity and magnetism.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratories: Normally six laboratory sessions per semester, with each session lasting a maximum of two hours.
Tutorials/Problem Sessions: Scheduled during weeks when there are no laboratories, at the instructor’s discretion.
Prerequisite: Physics 1020 or 1050 and Mathematics 109 A/B or 1090 or Math 1000, either of which may be taken concurrently

Physics 1050
General Physics I: Mechanics is a calculus-based introduction to mechanics. The course emphasizes problem solving, beginning with a review of vectors and one-dinemsional kinematics. The main part of the course covers motion in two dimensions, forces and Newton’s Laws, energy, momentum, rotational motion and torque, and finally oscillations.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratories: Normally six laboratory sessions per semester, with each session lasting a maximum of two hours.
Tutorials/Problem Sessions: Scheduled during weeks when there are no laboratories, at the instructors’ discretion.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 1000, which may be taken concurrently.
Note: Students can receive credit for only one of Physics 1020 and 1050.

Physics 1051
General Physics II: Oscillations, Waves, Electromagnetism is a calculus-based introduction to oscillations, wave motion, and electromagnetism. Topics include: simple harmonic motion; travelling waves, sound waves, and standing waves; electric fields and potentials; magnatic forces and fields; electric current and resistance; and electromagnetic waves.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratories: Normally six laboratory sessions per semester, with each session lasting a maximum of two hours.
Tutorials/Problem Sessions: Scheduled during weeks when there are no laboratories, at the instructor’s discretion.
Prerequisite: Physics 1020 (with a minimum grade of 70 per cent), 1021 or 1050 and Mathematics 1001. Mathematics 1001 may be taken concurrently

Sample program for first year

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in physics will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

Fall SemesterWinter Semester
Mathematics 1000 (1090)*Mathematics 1001 (1000)*
Physics 1050 (1020)**Physics 1051**
Chemistry 1050***Chemistry 1051
English 1090English 1191, 1192, 1193, or 1110
electiveComputer Science 1510

 


* Students completing Mathematics 1090/1000 will be required to complete Mathematics 1001 as well.

** Students registered in Physics 1050 must also be registered in Mathematics 1000 (not 1090). Students registered in Physics 1051 must also be registered in Mathematics 1001. All students will be required to complete Physics 1051. Students who complete Physics 1050 with at least 50 per cent or Physics 1020 with at least 65 per cent should take Physics 1051.

*** Students who are not able to register for Chemistry 1050 in the Fall semester can take Chemistry 1010 in the Fall semester, Chemistry 1050 in the Winter semester, and Chemistry 1051 in the Spring Semester. Students attending Grenfell Campus will normally complete Chemistry 1200/1001 in their first year.

For assistance with course selection, students should contact:
Academic Advising Centre, advice@mun.ca

 

 

Contact information

For additional information please contact:

St. John’s Campus
Dr. Richard Goulding
rgoulding@mun.ca

Grenfell Campus
Dr. Doug Forbes
dforbes@grenfell.mun.ca

Contact

Guide to First Year

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552

becomestudent@mun.ca