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Science Requirements at Brock and Introductory Physics Courses

The history of science requirements at Brock is an interesting one. Initially, the university wanted to provide something different from conventional science requirements at other universities. It was not until 1981 that physics students at Brock took a conventional introductory physics course in their first year. Here are some of the details:

In 1964 and 1965, all students were required to take a course called Science 100. John Hart (Director of Science) taught the course in 1964, and Jim Derden (Philosophy) taught the course in 1965.

After some serious discussion among faculty members in the sciences, it was decided that a second, more rigorous, science course was needed for students of the physical sciences. In 1966 Physical Science 110 came into existence and was taught by Frans Koffyberg (Physics) and Eugene Cherniak (Chemistry). It contained both modern physics and chemistry components.

The first half of PHSC 110 consisted of modern physics and an associated lab that included some important experiments such as the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment. The second half of PHSC 110 consisted of modern physical chemistry and molecular structure. The philosophy here was that students could learn conventional mechanics and optics, electricity and magnetism, and chemistry in the second year. First, however, would first have their interest in physics and chemistry stimulated by an exposure to modern physics and modern chemistry in their first year, a contrast to the conventional OAC physics they had to take in year 13 of high school in Ontario. Moreover, the exposure to advanced mathematics in first year would mean that they could approach conventional physics with a better grasp of mathematics and use a calculus base for their studies.

In 1966 and 1967, all students were required to take Modern Science 100 (which replaced Science 100) or the newly offered Physical Science 110. Non- science students took Modern Science 100, which was taught by Eugene Cherniak (Chemistry), John Mayer (Philosophy) and Barry Millman (Biological Sciences), while science students were encouraged to take Physical Science 110.

In 1968, the Core and Context Requirement was introduced; it required that each student should take at least one Science, one Humanities and one Social Science course. Two new introductory science options were added in 1968, Biology 190 and Geology 190.

In 1969, Physical Science 110 had its name changed to Physical Science 191. It was last taught in 1980/81. The lab manual for Physical Science 191 and the text used by E. A. Cherniak for the chemistry component of this course can be found in the university archives. Thereafter, a more traditional physics course, Physics 190: Principles of Physics was offered to students majoring in Physics, Chemistry and other sciences.

In 1969, Physics 120: Relativity in Modern Physics, was introduced and taught by J. E. Black. In 1971, the course was renamed Physics 120: Classical Physics and changed to a conventional introductory physics course for students majoring in sciences, such as Biology.

In 1973, John Black and Frans Koffyberg introduced Astronomy 100. This course was the Physics Department's contribution to Core and Context. It was initially taught in Thistle 247 on Tuesday evenings and had enrollments at that time of close to 300 students. Each fall, the students took a trip by bus to the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto for a special presentation on the movements of stars and planets. They were also taken out on one night to the football field behind the Physical Education Building to look at the stars. The course remains popular to this day and currently is taught in the largest available auditorium on campus, the Robert K. Welch Theatre, to 500 students.

In 1991 Physics 1F25: Introduction to Physics was introduced. This combined the Physics 1F20: Classical Physics with a laboratory component.

In 1994 Physics 2P01: Environmental Physics was introduced by John Black for students of the Environmental Science Program. The course was last offered in the fall of 1999 when the Environmental Science Program was discontinued.

In 1996 Physics 1F20 was renamed Physics for Life Sciences and Physics 1F25 was renamed Physics with Laboratory for Life Sciences.

In 1998 Physics 1P10: Fluid Heat and Light was introduced by Bozidar Mitrovic for students of the Oenology and Viticulture Program.

next up previous
Next: The Brock Physics Department Up: Background Information Previous: Divisional Structure at Brock

Web edition by: Ed Sternin <>
Last revised: 2001-10-23