Lectures on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm, E7B 100. Attendance requirements: students are expected to participate in at least 80% of the lectures.
Tutorials are on Tuesdays at 4pm (C5A 404); and Wednesdays at 2pm (W6B 320) and 3pm (E7B 263). There will not be a tutorial each week.
The Arthur Pryor Prize is awarded for excellence in this unit - worth extra effort!
Arthur Pryor was a brilliant student of Physics and Electrical Engineering. His career took him to the UK, New Zealand and back to Australia. He made major research contributions in under-water acoustics, neutron and thermal physics. He co-authored “Thermal Vibrations in Crystallography” and shared the 1964 Syme Prize, with AINSE co-workers, awarded for the best science contribution in any discipline in Australia. He taught PHYS242 in its beginnings in 1985 through to 1995.
Required and Recommended Texts and/or Materials
Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Black Swan (Random House).
Note a list of known errata for the text can be found on the unit iLearn page.
Further required reading for specific lecture topics will be available for download from ilearn.
Physics for Future Presidents, or Physics and Technology for Future Presidents, both books by R A Muller, Norton.
Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, Peter Atkins, Oxford University Press, 2004.
Technology Used and Required
This unit has an iLearn page at: https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/
Since 2015 we are introducing interactive elements into the lectures - bring your tablet, laptop or smartphone to lectures and tutorials to participate in live activities.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
This unit is taught through a mix of lecture/workshop activities and tutorials (tutorial classes are not scheduled each week, see unit schedule below).
We will have activities to encourage class discussion during lectures and tutorials - please come to these prepared to engage with your lecturers and class mates.
The textbook provides an interesting narrative account of science with emphasis on the people involved in scientific discovery as well as the evolution of the ideas themselves. The lectures will build on this background reading with an emphasis on gaining an understanding of important scientific concepts. In-class discussions will explore the foundations of our scientific understanding including confronting challenges to accepted scientific wisdom. Students will have assigned readings (mostly from the Bryson textbook) which should be completed prior to each class.
Specific tutorials will be provided for selected topics covered in the lectures as well as tutorials to aid in preparation for assessment as required. Online Discussion Forums will run continuously through the semester. This will give all students an open ended opportunity to discuss that week's topic with their peers and lecturers and show evidence that they have completed the required readings and engaged more deeply with that week's topic.
Students will also be able to explore selected topics in greater depth through their essays and source evaluation comprising the major part of the assessment for this unit, as well as through presenting a short talk on one of the Big Ideas topics to their peers. Unlike most other units with a PHYS prefix, this unit does not require a mathematical background, and is more conceptual than mathematical in nature.