The Physics Major: Where Demand Meets Derivations

By Razia Sultana

With the start of the fall semester, Tech saw the implementation of a new major, the Physics major.

Students now have the opportunity to pursue and master this “very challenging subject,” as physics teacher Thomas Duncan puts it. The major’s inaugural class includes thirty-four juniors.

“This school is a technical school, and physics fits nicely with the rest of the majors offered here,” says Christian Corrao, a teacher of both Regents and Advanced Placement Physics. According to the Physics Department, there has been a push for a new major over the past few years. In early 2013, the School Leadership Team approved the addition of a Physics major.

This new major’s curriculum is challenging. Along with the rigorous AP Physics B and C courses, Physics Majors are required to take Astronomy and Astrophysics, as well as Modern Physics.

Despite the major’s small size, the Physics Department argues that there is a demand for an in-depth study of the subject among students.

Maria Yampolskaya ’15 said, “The social sciences are just applied biology, biology is just applied chemistry, and chemistry is just applied physics. Physics is applied math. Seeing how math works in the real world gives you a better understanding and appreciation of it.”

Rahul Chowdhury ’15 commented, “My favorite thing about physics is the history behind everything: the concepts, the experiments, and, more importantly, the people that changed our view of the world.”

“Physics will one day lead to the conceptualization of everything on earth,” said Marcellus Windley’15.

The teachers for Physics Major agree that this year’s class is made up of a strong group of students who share an enthusiasm for learning. Corrao added that by pursuing physics, these students will gain incredible “problem-solving skills.”

Joshua Horvitz, who teaches Astronomy in the major, said that he enjoys the process of critical thinking when arriving at a final answer.

“I have a wild imagination, and physics allows me to analyze the universe in a systematic way,” he said.

Many of the students, in return, have expressed gratitude for having passionate teachers within the major.

Duncan says, “Physics completely changed my view of the world; it allowed me to actually think about why things were happening. It adds richness to life, and you don’t realize it until you’re given the chance.”

Ultimately, the Physics Department hopes to instill an appreciation for the subject in Physics Major students by giving them time to investigate the workings of the universe.

“The fun starts when the answers stop and the questions begin,” says Physics Coordinator, Suzanne Vogel.

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