2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||First semester sophomore physics: The advantages of waves & oscillations with semi-coordinated lab
||The coverage and format of physics courses taught in the sophomore year varies more widely between institutions than any of the other three undergraduate years. This talk presents the case for a sophomore sequence that begins with a course on waves and oscillations, with an associated lab that is loosely coordinated with the lecture. Details of how this program has been implemented at Haverford College are provided, and the results are contrasted with other approaches that have been tried here. The lab part of this approach provides all majors with a foundational set of lab and analysis skills that can be applied to the junior- or senior-level advanced laboratory course and/or to research. Waves and oscillations occur in virtually all physical systems, and mastering the needed mathematical concepts and techniques provides the perfect preparation for rigorous a sophomore-level quantum mechanics course in the second semester. This program can provide students a true insight into what it will be like to be a physics major, before they have to make their major declaration.
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Walter F. Smith