• Capacitors, R and RC circuits

  • Magnetic forces and magnetic fields

  • Magnetic induction and induced currents

Conservation Laws and Gobal Constraints

  • Conservation of energy and momentum

  • Conservation of charge

  • First and Second Laws of thermodynamics

Thermal Processes at the Molecular Level

  • Thermal motions: Brownian motion, thermal force (collisions), temperature, equilibrium

  • Boltzmann’s law, kT, examples

  • Ideal gas statistical concepts using Boltzmann’s law, pressure

  • Diffusion limited dynamics, population dynamics

Waves, Light, Optics, and Imaging

  • Oscillators and waves

  • Geometrical optics: rays, lenses, mirrors

  • Optical instruments: microscopes and microscopy

  • Physical optics: interference and diffraction

  • X-ray scattering and structure determination

  • Particle in a box; energy levels; spectroscopy from a quantum viewpoint

  • Other microscopies: electron, scanning tunneling, atomic force

Collective Behaviors and Systems far from Equilibrium

  • Liquids, laminar flow, viscosity, turbulence

  • Phase transitions, pattern formation, and symmetry breaking

  • Dynamical networks: electrical, neural, chemical, genetic



The committee recommends that life science majors be exposed to engineering principles and analysis. This does not necessarily require that they take a course in a school of engineering; courses in physics, biology, and other departments can provide exposure to these concepts. Students should have the opportunity to participate in laboratories that give them hands-on experience, so that

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