“Physics is life. You use it every day to drive your car, turn on your computer and talk on your cell phone. I am hoping that students can realize this,” said Sarah Nichols, visiting assistant professor of physics who will teach a new class this fall titled Physics for Future Presidents.
An introductory class catered to non-science majors, Physics for Future Presidents serves as a way to explore the presence of physics in our everyday lives, as well as the responsibility of understanding its bigger implications in the world around us.
“I would like the class to reach out to students who wouldn’t think of themselves as scientists. You don’t need a lot of math or advanced physics to understand things like solar power and feasible alternative energy sources,” said Nichols.
Coming from the University of Michigan, where she conducted post-doctoral research, Nichols is looking forward to her first year of teaching. She would like to get students talking and interested about issues related to science, issues that all members of a society should be able to make informed decisions about.
“The class is not just for students who think they may be a president some day. It’s about making informed and engaged decisions, providing useful information for everyone and anyone to know about the world in which they live,” said Nichols.
Developed by Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California Berkeley, who also wrote the textbook that will be used, the course has been offered at institutions around the U.S.
“This class is a great addition to our curriculum. The faculty was intrigued by the notion of this class and the opportunity to explore this theme in the context of science,” said Kurt Hoffman, chair and professor of physics.
Students are also obviously intrigued – the class is full.