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Chair: Steven Hart
Phone: (435) 283-7047

Department's Webpage: 

Physics is the study and application of the fundamental laws of nature, including the laws of motion gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and microscopic interaction. The laws govern the behavior of objects at all scales, from the smallest subatomic particles to the entire observable universe. In between, physicists study nuclear reactions, the interactions of atoms with light, properties of solids, chaotic dynamics of fluids, and the evolution of stars and galaxies, among many other topics. Classical physics is based on Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation and Maxwell’s equations of electricity and magnetism; while modern physics is based on Einstein’s relativity and the theory of quantum mechanics.

“Science is the systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organization and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories” (from a statement by the American Association of Physics Teachers) and physics is a fundamental science that underlies the other natural sciences.

Physics is one of the liberal arts and was called Natural Philosophy until a century or two ago. Physics is about asking questions and pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. Engineering, in contrast, is more about applications and making things work and could be called Applied Physics. Mathematics is the language of physics and physicists generally really like it. Curiosity is the hallmark of physicists.  


Students who complete the recommended physics curriculum at Snow College will be expected to demonstrate that they

  • know how to approach a problem and solve it;
  • know how to apply physics to everyday situations;
  • know about the basic laws that govern the universe and the world around us;
  • understand that physics is useful in many areas of life;
  • understand that physics is a fundamental science that underlies the other natural sciences;
  • understand the methods scientists use to do science;
  • can do elementary problems in mechanics, electricity & magnetism, gravitation, optics, waves, etc;
  • can set up an experiment to test an idea;
  • can work with various kinds of physical and electrical equipment including computers comfortably;
  • appreciate the pervasiveness of physics in the world;
  • appreciate the role of physics in history as well as its role in modern life;
  • appreciate technological innovations that result from applied physics;
  • feel confident in their abilities to deal with the world.