M. Shane Hutson


Phys1001 – The Pursuit of Scientific Discovery

Freshman seminar that focuses on making the most of immersion experiences in scientific research – emphasizing the pursuit of discovery that sparks the curiosity and passion of scientists; typical enrollment is 4-8. Syllabus (spring 2019).

Phys1501/1502 – Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences

Introductory physics course with topics and examples chosen to increase relevance for pre-med and life science students; typical enrollment is 60-120. Previously numbered Phys113A/B.

Syllabus and schedule of topics for first semester (fall 2014).
Syllabus and schedule of topics for second semester (spring 2017).
Equation sheets: Key Eqns FallKey Eqns Spring

Why teach a life-science-specific intro physics course?
A year of introductory physics is required of almost all undergraduate life science majors and has been an expected entry on the transcripts of medical school applicants for decades. Unfortunately, many students don’t see any relevance of physics to the biological sciences; they instead simply see the course as a hurdle they must clear. Worse yet, student attitudes regarding the relevance of physics typically decline with instruction (Redish, Saul et al. 1998; Perkins, Adams et al. 2005; Perkins, Gratny et al. 2006). A related and widely recognized problem is the tendency among both professors and students to keep the fundamental concepts and abstractions essential to one field, e.g., physics, tightly confined to its own intellectual box (Meredith and Redish 2013). If we can avert this tendency, as Phys 1501 and 1502 are trying to do, then opportunities abound to apply the reasoning toolkits developed in physics and biology to synthesize knowledge and solve new problems.

Phys3600 – Seminar in Presenting Physics Research

Required course for undergraduate physics majors that focuses on presenting one’s research orally and in writing; typical enrollment is 10-15. Syllabus (fall 2018).

Phys8040 – Statistical Mechanics

Graduate core course for physics PhD students; typical enrollment is 12-25. Previously numbered Phys341. Syllabus (spring 2012)

Phys8124 – Physical Measurements of Biological Systems

Graduate elective; typically 7-15 student from physics, chemistry, engineering and chemical & physical biology. Previously numbered Phys325 and BME325. Syllabus (fall 2011)