Physics Program

Physics is the study of how the natural, physical world works at its most fundamental level. The study of physics teaches one to think clearly, to apply scientific and mathematical ideas to solve problems, and to conduct and evaluate hands-on experimental measurements of phenomena. This background prepares students to move on to a wide variety of advanced scientific fields. The Physics Program offers a major in Pre-Engineering/Physical Science and minors in Experimental Physics and Theoretical Physics.

For those interested in engineering, Bethany also offers a 3+2 Cooperative Program in Engineering with Case-Western and Columbia. In this program, students study three years at Bethany, and then two years at the engineering school. This allows students to begin their education in the small personalized Bethany environment before moving on to the larger bachelor's in engineering from the associated school. As an alternative route, several recent physics majors with exceptional records have been accepted directly into graduate school in engineering after leaving Bethany.

The program has several facilities which include a general physics lab, an electronic laboratory for digital and analog electronics, an optics lab, an advanced physics lab and a student lounge.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) gives students an opportunity to do work with physics outside the classroom. Some SPS functions include attending conferences, visiting science centers and amusement parks, and bringing speakers to campus. Bethany also has a chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national Physics honor society.

For those interested in engineering, Bethany offers a dual degree program in conjunction with three distinguished universities: Case-Western, Columbia, and Washington University (St. Louis). In this program, students study three years at Bethany, and then two years at the engineering school. This allows students to begin their education in the small personalized Bethany environment before moving on to the larger bachelor's in engineering from the associated school. As an alternative route, several recent physics majors with exceptional records have been accepted directly into graduate school in engineering after leaving Bethany.

Physics is a gateway to a variety of exciting scientific and technological careers such as: engineering, electronics, computing, oceanography, optics, material science, health physics, biophysics, aerospace, patent law, even medical school.

Most of these fields require further work in graduate school, with fully paid tuition and living expenses. Engineers specialize in one of the many subfields, such as mechanical, civil, electrical, transportation, chemical, computer, aerospace, environmental, automotive, biomechanical, or systems engineering. Their ability to solve technical problems and to design, build, and test devices make engineers highly sought after by industry.

Program Goals
The Physics program at Bethany College is designed to achieve the following goals for its students:
  • Have a well-developed understanding of the fundamental principles in
    • Classical Mechanics
      • Kinematics
      • Newton's Laws of Motion
      • Variational Principles (e.g. Lagrangian Dynamics)
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electrical Forces
      • Fields
      • Maxwell's Equations
    • Statistical Mechanics
    • Thermodynamics
      • Laws of Thermodynamics
  • Be able to apply the fundamental principles to particular situations. This includes:
    • Developing a theoretical framework to fit a specific situation.
    • Designing a computational model for intractable considerations and to check analytical results.
    • Physically interpreting the mathematical statements that are derived.
  • Have a well-developed ability to gain insight from theoretical and experimental results (physical insight).
  • Be able to use standard software to prepare well-written, scientifically sound reports (both theoretical and experimental).
  • Have an understanding of the basic tools and experimental apparatti used in research.
  • Have a strong command of the scientific method.
  • Be able to design an experiment.
  • Write and present scientific works.
  • Be able to model nonlinear systems and be fluent in the language used to describe chaotic systems.
  • Enjoy learning.