Academics

Introduction to Physics

The physics discipline at Wisconsin Lutheran College emphasizes the study of natural science on both a fundamental and a practical level. The coursework is designed to provide the student with a framework by which to understand the nature of creation, and with which to solve a broad range of practical and theoretical problems.

A uniquely challenging course of study ...

As a student, there are many colleges you can attend to study physics. The physics program at Wisconsin Lutheran College, however, is uniquely challenging. In the 100-and 200-level (general physics) courses at WLC, the student engages in a careful study of the foundational texts written by the very scientists who advanced the discipline.

For example, when learning about planetary motion in PHY 201, the student reads selections written by Isaac Newton himself. In so doing, he or she is forced to confront the nature of the scientific endeavor as a participant in the journey of discovery. Along with Newton, he or she must consider alternative explanations of the observed phenomena; must understand the strengths and weaknesses of competing theories; and must ultimately accept, or reject, Newton's ideas on the basis of evidence and reason. In this process, the student gains a deeper understanding of Newton's ideas, their significance, and their limitations.

This critical and circumspect approach is extremely valuable in learning how to think clearly and correctly about science. Through the careful reading, analysis and discussion of foundational scientific texts, one can learn how to distinguish between observation and speculation, and ultimately, between truth and falsehood. These skills constitute intellectual virtues which are essential, especially when considering the philosophical, and even theological, implications of a particular scientific theory.

...to prepare for a wide variety of careers.

Although physics is one of the traditional liberal arts, whose aim is to direct the student's thoughts toward the divine, it also provides him or her with skills necessary for industrial or academic work. Students who study physics at Wisconsin Lutheran College learn how to solve problems and how to communicate their solution with grace and precision. They can take things apart and put them back together, whether these things are ideas, objects, or arguments. These are skills which are essential in a variety of careers: science or medicine, politics or law, writing or journalism, business or management, engineering or academia.