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Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
The panel listed three questions that might be asked about the content of an introductory physics course: What background is needed? How can that background material be structured into a course? What other material needs to be added in order to make the course understandable? An appropriate yearlong course of more or less conventional format but revised content is described in the main text of the report. Given the increased emphasis of that course on physical measurement techniques, dynamical systems, modeling, and quantitative analysis, the panel felt that it was appropriate to address the question of balance between chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, and computer science in the new curriculum. In view of the importance for biology of materials that cannot be addressed within a oneyear physics course, offering an optional additional physics course is strongly recommended by the panel. Ideas for this course are outlined below. The panel felt that the biologists of 2010—on the average—would be better served by these additions to the physics curriculum than an obliga-tory third quarter (or second semester) of organic chemistry.
Potential Additions to the Physics Concepts Described in the Body of the Report
The physics concepts listed in the body of the report could potentially fit into a yearlong introductory course. However, the panel felt that additional concepts of physics would also be useful to biology students. The following list indicates those topics they recommend adding to the curriculum in schools where biology students are able to take a four-quarter or three-semester sequence of physics. Some of these topics might also be substituted for concepts in the list found in the body of the report, depending on the interests of the students or the instructor.
Particle in a box; energy levels; spectroscopy from a quantum viewpoint
Representation of optical spectra as a distribution of oscillators absorbing and emitting energy