Space, Time, and Matter

In the beginning, nowhere at no time was made of nothing. The perfect symmetry of absence was lost and a singularity became somewhere at some time made of something. Space, time, and matter came into existence.
  • Space is about choice. Forward, backward, left, right, up, or down. You can go any direction. Up to you.
  • Time leaves no choice. Relentlessly marching ever forward into the future. There is no going back. No left time, no right time. No up, no down. Only one direction. No choice.
  • Mass is the mystery. Mass has no direction. Mass has no forward, no backward. No left. No right. No up. No down. Mass simply exists.

  • Space is the questions how close, how far, which way, where am I, how high, how deep, how wide, how long. Space has lots of questions.
  • Time is the questions when, how old, how young. Time has only few questions.
  • Mass is the question how much. Mass has the fewest questions.

  • Space is near, far, over there, here, on, over, under, above, below, big, small, narrow, tall, short, wide, in front, in back, across. Space has many descriptors.
  • Time is now, never, sooner, later, forever, immediately. Time has a only few descriptors.
  • Mass is a lot, a little. Mass has the fewest descriptors. Mass is stuff. Stuff seen and, in the case of dark matter, stuff unseen.

  • Everything else is pure energy. Energy perceived and, in the case of dark energy, not perceived.

SC 130 Physical Science fall term 2011 starts on 15 August in room A101 at 12:00.

Students in the course will need a scientific calculator for this course. The text book is available in the book store.

I also recommend but do not require a ruler. Another recommendation, but certainly not required, is a cell phone. Cell phones often have chronographs. A chronograph is a stopwatch with memory for recording laps and splits. A lot of physical science can be done with a ruler and cell phone chronograph.

A final recommendation is sunglasses. Not for style, sunglasses are useful for viewing clouds and ice bows.

In physical science we study the inanimate world. Physical science includes physics, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, earth sciences, vulcanology, geology, meteorology, climatology, sonics, optics, electromagnetism, astronomy, cosmology, and many more fields. There is too much to cover in a single term, and the amount of potential content exceeds what one could learn in a lifetime. Thus this class focuses on process more than on memorized content. Science is a process, a way of exploring the world, not a set of memorized fun facts to know and tell. Science is a way of thinking.

At the core of every science is mathematics, and mathematics will be a regular core feature of the class. Do not be afraid, mathematics is simply another tool science uses. Science often makes math more understandable.

Science is not science unless it is communicated. The course includes writing up laboratory reports using spreadsheet and word processing software. Laboratory reports are graded on content as well as on grammar, vocabulary, organization, and cohesion. This course will demand a lot of writing from you.

The course includes a focus on the potential use of physical science in the elementary and secondary school classroom. Some in the course are either in an education major, the child of a teacher, or will one day be a teacher - even if you do not now plan to do so.

  • In the end there will be only dark energy, dark matter, and black holes with singularities at their center. 

Dana Lee Ling

"I always loved running - it was something you could do by yourself and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." 
- Jesse Owens
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