Physics at Carroll College

What to Expect

cline_students.jpgAt Carroll, our Physics courses are designed to acquaint students with topics like relativity, quantum physics, and optics—topics you don't generally see in the introductory courses for engineering and natural science majors. The focus is on introducing you to the basic ideas of modern physics: along the way, you'll hone your mathematical problem-solving skills, create computer simulations, and do labs with lenses, lasers, and holography.

Mission and Goals

Physics courses are intended to help students develop into successful and creative thinkers, who are able to analyze a wide variety of problems, apply appropriate models to them, and derive quantitative predictions from those models. These problem-solving skills are developed in the context of a curriculum that provides a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts of mathematics and physics, while still allowing students the freedom to explore diverse interests in other areas of the liberal arts. Innovative and engaging entry-level courses for freshmen, together with a close linkage to Carroll's strong program in applied mathematics, are offered for those interested in physics. Students should be well-prepared for either employment or graduate study in physics or related technical areas. In particular, they should be able to:

  • evaluate and interpret data and analyze information from a variety of sources
  • know or quickly learn how to operate various types of laboratory equipment, including computer-controlled data acquisition
  • develop and analyze mathematical models for physical phenomena
  • apply appropriate approximations that render mathematical problems amenable to analytical solutions or accurate computer simulations
  • communicate effectively, whether orally or in writing, with both technical and non-technical audiences

Life After Graduation

Those students with a focus on physics can go on to careers in fields such as computer science, engineering, and research and development. Others have referred to physics as the "Swiss Army Knife" because of all the skills that students acquire from courses in physics. Physics-focused students have a reputation for solid mathematical skills, strong problem-solving ability, and a good work ethic. It is these fundamental skills that allow them to work successfully in so many different areas.