Natural Sciences 3 is the third course in the natural sciences sequence of the Shimer College curriculum.

As of 1978Edit

Natural Sciences 3 - Physical Bases for Explanation

Galileo and Newton are studied to solidify the mechanical framework (time, mass, and energy) of Natural Sciences 1. These notions are then applied to a systematic investigation of optical phenomena and phenomena and theory as developed by Newton, Huygens, Young, and Fresnel. When the question of the nature of light is seen to be depedent upon the ultimate structure of matter, the study of electricity, magnetism, and Maxwell’s electrodynamics is undertaken. This leads to the concept of the field (Maxwell and Einstein), the climax of the course. (Prerequisite: Natural Sciences 1 and Mathematics 1).

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As of 2011Edit

Natural Sciences 3 - Light, Motion and Scientific Explanation

Within the context of the physical sciences, this course explores the nature of scientific explanation. We examine the development of the theories of falling bodies, gravitation, light, electromagnetic forces, and relativity. The investigation of physical theories leads the student to attempt to answer such crucial scientific questions as these: What phenomena need to be explained? How are they explained? What constitutes a satisfactory explanation? What is the nature of physical reality? (Prerequisite: Natural Sciences 1 and Integrative Studies 2)

Reading List

Isaac Newton, Opticks, Philosophy of Nature
Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, Evolution of Physics
Albert Einstein, Relativity
Selections from: Galileo, Hans Christian Ørsted, Christiaan Huygens, Thomas Young, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, C.F. du Fay, Benjamin Franklin, James Clerk Maxwell
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