Physical Science 1000

For a sample lecture from this course, click the links below:

Course Description: Physical Science 1000 is a class designed to give students a brief and non-rigorous overview of the topics of Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Geology.  In their scope, these sciences are sufficiently broad to cover the entire universe and everything in it. Understandably, this course will cover a small – but critical – subset of possible topics in those disciplines.

While the course is designed to be primarily non-mathematical in nature, mathematics may be frequently used to illustrate properties of systems being studied in class and to help the student to develop a deeper understanding of physical systems. As such, the student will be expected to obtain a sufficient understanding of basic mathematics to succeed in this class. As mathematics is not a prerequisite for this class, mathematical tools will be presented where necessary.

Prerequisites: None

Textbook: Physical Science Foundations 3rd ed., BYU Academic Publishing, Provo, Utah, 2011.

Ethics: Cheating gives no benefit to society except to reward dishonest and lazy individuals. It is counterproductive to learning and contradicts the established moral traditions of most societies.  Cheating will not be tolerated.  Severe measures will be taken against students caught cheating; including the student(s) involved receiving no credit for the quiz/exam where cheating was present, student(s) receiving a failing grade for the course, and student(s) being referred to the university for possible disciplinary action. Punishments for cheating and unethical conduct will be administered at the sole discretion of the instructor.

Time management: Students will be expected to develop and maintain a work ethic suitable for performance at a university level. This includes attending lectures, participating in class discussions, completing all reading and homework assignments on time, being present for and taking all quizzes and exams, and generally following the practices of a good student.  The student is expected to make all accommodations necessary, including scheduling work and other activities, so that sufficient time can be devoted to attending the class and completing all homework assignments.

Because the number of quizzes and exams taken in class will exceed the number of quizzes and exams factored into the final grade, make-up exams and quizzes will generally not be administered. Some flexibility may be given in the case of documented medical emergencies, at the sole discretion of the instructor.

Canvas: The class uses an electronic system named “Canvas” with which all class members should be familiar. Course materials will be regularly posted to this site, and students are expected to log into this site regularly to check for posted material. Students are responsible for any material posted to the Canvas site.

Caveat: This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor via an announcement in class. Students are expected to attend all lectures and are responsible for knowing all class announcements. Special consideration will not be extended for a student who failed to attend a lecture or to note a class announcement.

Disabilities: Academic accommodations will be granted for students with qualified, documented disabilities. All disability accommodations are coordinated by the Accessibility Services Department located in LC-312, which can be contacted via telephone at (801) 863-8747 or via email at

Additional: All topics and issues not covered in this syllabus are left to the full and exclusive discretion of the instructor.

Homework:  Homework will be assigned regularly. Students should complete all homework problems by the due date and should contact the instructor or discuss problems with other students if assistance is needed. In general, homework will not be graded; although, completing homework may occasionally count towards extra credit on quizzes, at the sole discretion of the instructor.

Homework will be selected to compliment topics being studied in class. To motivate students to complete homework in a timely manner, problems on quizzes and exams will often be taken from the homework, either verbatim or in a closely related form.  Thus, completing homework problems will be highly advantageous for any student seeking to obtain a top grade from the course.

Quizzes: Quizzes will generally be administered during the last 10-20 minutes of class every Thursday during which class is held.  The only exception will be on weeks during which exams are administered, in which case the exam will be administered instead of the quiz. To avoid disruption of the class, students who do not attend Thursday lecture will not be allowed to take the quiz.

Quizzes will generally contain any or all of the following types of questions: true/false, multiple choice, and short answer. Quizzes will typically be 5-10 questions in length and will target the most recent topics being studied in class. However, students should be prepared for questions on topics previously studied in class, including questions from earlier sections.

Exams: Exams will be held on Thursday during the times noted in the syllabus. With the exception of the final exam, each exam will target material covered in class before the exam is administered that has not previously been covered by other exams. The final exam will be comprehensive.  Even though each exam will only target material not covered on previous exams, some questions may specifically reference material covered on previous exams, either directly to review or as part of solving another problem.  In preparation for each exam, students should know all material presented to date in the course in order to be adequately prepared for the exam questions.

Exams will be 20-40 questions in length and will typically be administered on Thursday on the dates noted on the syllabus. 45-75 minutes will be allotted for each exam, at the sole discretion of the instructor. Extra time will not be allotted to complete the exam except in cases where academic accommodation is necessary because of a disability.  Exams will generally contain any or all of the following types of questions: true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and long answer (requiring multiple steps to complete).

Class Schedule:

The following is a tentative outline of the class schedule.

Month Day Topics Text Reading Assignment
January 10 Class Introduction; Math Review; Science and the Universe 1
  12  Laws of Motion; Quiz 1 2
  17 Gravitation 3
  19 Electromagnetism ; Quiz 2 4
  24 Application of Laws of Motion 5
  26 Forces in Fluids; Quiz 3 6
  31 Review for Exam 1 1-6
February 2 Exam 1 1-6
  7 Special Relativity; Conservation Laws 7-8
  9 Energy; Quiz 4 9
  14 Waves 10
  16 Properties of Light; Physical Properties 11-12
  21 Molecular Model of Matter; The nuclear atom; Quiz 5 13-14
  23 Review for Exam 2 7-14
  28 Exam 2 7-14
March 1 Duality of Matter; Quantum Model of the Atom; Quiz 6 15-16
  6 Periodic Table, The Law of Increasing Disorder 17-18
  8 Atoms, Molecules, Bonding;  Chemical Reactivity; Quiz 7 19-20
  13 Spring Break!!!!!! N/A
  15 Spring Break!!!!!! N/A
  20 Metals, Alloys, and Semiconductors; Ionic Compounds 21-22
  22 Covalent Bonds; Animal Veg. & Mineral Chemistry; Quiz 8 23-24
  27 Radioactivity; Geologic Time 25-26
  29 Planet Earth; Earth’s Interior ; Quiz 9 27-28
April 3 Review for Exam 3 15-28
  5 Exam 3 15-28
  10 Evidence of Plate Tectonics; Tectonics Model 29-30
  12 Changing Face of Earth; Beyond Earth ; Quiz 10 31-32
  17 History of a Star; Cosmology 33-34
  19 Review for Final Exam, Quiz 11 1-34
  26 Final Exam 1-34


Quizzes:               100 points possible (10 highest quizzes) = 20% of total

Exams:                  200 points possible (2 highest exams) = 40% of total

Final Exam:         200 points possible = 40% of total

Students should keep a personal record of all grades in the class, along with original assignments, to check for accuracy.

Grades will be curved to obtain a distribution that has approximately a B or B- as its average and/or median. Adjustments will be made to this distribution as needed, at the discretion of the instructor.

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