firstyear
firstyear

First-Year Physics & Astronomy

The Introductory Physics courses build an understanding of the fundamental principles underlying physical phenomena and develop the ability to describe these phenomena both in words, and through mathematics. We use this knowledge to quantify the effects of a variety of physical phenomena, such as wind power or solar radiation, and also to explain many curious aspects of everyday life. These Physics courses provide a great background for science students in all disciplines, and also a foundation for further study in physics.

The Introductory Astronomy courses are science-credit courses suitable for both science and non-science majors with no required scientific background, and discuss both well-established and recent developments in our understanding of the Universe in which we live.

The First-Year Courses

PHYS 1001H – Introductory Physics I
PHYS 1002H – Introductory Physics II
PHYS – FRSC 1020H – Forensic Physics
PHYS – BIOL 1060H – Physics for the Life Sciences
PHYS 1510H – Introductory Astronomy I
PHYS 1520H – Introductory Astronomy II

PHYS 1001H – Introductory Physics I

Topics include kinematics, dynamics, translational and rotational motion, fluids, elasticity, and thermal physics.

Prerequisite: 4U Advanced Functions or equivalent (or permission of the department). Strongly recommended: 4U credits in Physics, and Calculus and Vectors. Concurrent enrolment in first-year calculus. MATH 1100Y or 1101Y is required for upper-level Physics courses.
Excludes: Forensic Physics

Introductory Physics I & II are required for the General and Honours B.Sc. programs in Physics & Astronomy, the General and Honours B.Sc. programs in Chemical Physics offered jointly with the department of Chemistry, the Honours B.Sc. program in Mathematical Physics offered jointly with the department of Mathematics, and the Honours B.Sc. program in Computing Systems & Physics offered jointly with the department of Computing & Information Systems.

PREREQUISITES

Students without 4U Advanced Functions or equivalent should contact the departmental office for advice before Early Registration. We highly recommend U-level (or the equivalent from other provinces/countries). If you do not have this, or if it’s been several years since you took the high school course, contact the Physics department for admission on a case-by-case basis.

COURSE FORMAT

Lectures: Three class meetings including tutorial fortnightly
Laboratory: Three-hour laboratory weekly
Tutorials consist of conceptual and numerical problems that are solved with the help of your classmates and the lab Tutors. In labs, students will work in pairs (occasionally threes) to carry out an experiment. Individual written lab reports will then be prepared. The goal is to give students hands-on experience with physical concepts, an opportunity to work with laboratory instruments, and practice developing written communication skills.

COURSE TEXT

Coursepack PHYS 1001H Introductory Physics I

PHYS 1002H – Introductory Physics II

Topics include electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetism, optics, and quantum physics.

Prerequisite: Introductory Physics I or Forensic Physics (or permission of the department)

Introductory Physics I & II are required for the General and Honours B.Sc. programs in Physics & Astronomy, the General and Honours B.Sc. programs in Chemical Physics offered jointly with the department of Chemistry, the Honours B.Sc. program in Mathematical Physics offered jointly with the department of Mathematics, and the Honours B.Sc. program in Computing Systems & Physics offered jointly with the department of Computing & Information Systems.

COURSE FORMAT

Lectures: Three class meetings including tutorial fortnightly
Laboratory: Three-hour laboratory weekly

Tutorials consist of conceptual and numerical problems that are solved with the help of your classmates and the lab Tutors. In labs, students will work in pairs (occasionally threes) to carry out an experiment. Individual written lab reports will then be prepared. The goal is to give students hands-on experience with physical concepts, an opportunity to work with laboratory instruments, and practice developing written communication skills.

COURSE TEXT

Physics for Scientists and Engineers, R.D. Knight, 3rd edition

PHYS – FRSC 1020H – Forensic Physics

Kinematics, dynamics, translational and rotational motion, fluids, elasticity, thermal physics.

Prerequisite: 4U Calculus or Algebra, or equivalent (or permission of the department). Recommended: 4U credits in Physics, Calculus and Algebra.
Excludes: Introductory Physics I

Forensic Physics builds an understanding of the fundamental principles underlying physical phenomena relevant to forensic science, develops the ability to describe these phenomena verbally and mathematically, develops analytical skills applicable to a wide range of situations both within and outside forensic science, and provides a foundation for further study in physics an forensic science.

Forensic Physics is a required course in the B.Sc. in Forensic Science program and an optional credit in the joint-major Honours program, but it is not restricted to students who are enrolled in the program. Students may not take both Introductory Physics I and Forensic Physics.

COURSE FORMAT

Lectures: Three class meetings including tutorial fortnightly
Laboratory: Three-hour laboratory weekly

COURSE TEXT

Coursepack PHYS 1020H Forensic Physics

PHYS – BIOL 1060H – Physics for the Life Sciences

The application of basic physical concepts to biological systems. Topics include forces and motion, energy and metabolism, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics.
Recommended Prerequisite: 4U Math
Excludes: Introductory Physics I & II, Forensic Physics

Physics for the Life Sciences is designed to provide students in Biology and Biochemistry with knowledge of the role physics plays in biological processes, and the development of quantitative skills. The skills delivered by this course are particularly important for students considering careers in research fields where quantitative modeling is common.

The General and Honours B.Sc. programs in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology require one of either Physics for the Life Sciences or Introductory Physics I.

COURSE TEXT

Williams et. al., Physics for The Biological Sciences, 5th Edition, Nelson, 2011

PHYS 1510H – Introductory Astronomy I

A general science course accessible to all students. Topics include sky phenomena, the history of astronomy, telescopes and detectors, and an exploration of the Solar System.
Prerequisite: none
Not to be counted towards a major in Physics

COURSE FORMAT

Weekly lectures; periodic evening workshops after class. The purpose of these optional observing sessions is to provide hands-on experience in identifying constellations and in using telescopes to view celestial objects such as planets and star clusters.

COURSE TEXT

Discovering the Universe (10th Edition) by Comins & Kaufmann

PHYS 1520H – Introductory Astronomy II

A general science course accessible to all students. Topics include stars, their properties, structure, and evolution, white dwarfs, novae and supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, and cosmology.
Prerequisite: Introductory Astronomy I
Not to be counted towards a major in Physics

COURSE FORMAT

Weekly lectures; periodic evening workshops after class. The purpose of these optional observing sessions is to provide hands-on experience in identifying constellations and in using telescopes to view celestial objects such as planets and star clusters.

COURSE TEXT

Discovering the Universe (10th Edition) by Comins & Kaufmann

For More Information

Course notes, assignments, and other details are available to enrolled students via myTrent >> learning system. For more information regarding these course offerings or if you have any other questions, please contact the Physics & Astronomy department.