Department Description: Courses in Physics cover the physical laws that govern the natural world in which we live, from the smallest particles that make up matter to the structure of the universe. All physics courses include a laboratory component that is designed to reinforce theoretical concepts with hands-on experiences and physical measurements. All physics courses use computer-based data acquisition and simulations to help students visualize and understand abstract concepts.
Department Learning Outcomes:
- Accurately use mathematical functions that apply to physics.
- Use graphing technologies to help explain physical phenomena and discuss them orally or in writing.
- Correctly use unit analysis to solve problems collaboratively.
Special Department Information: College Physics is designed for students in a pre-professional track such as pre-pharmacy, architecture, pre-medicine, and pre-veterinary and requires a math competency at the level of Precalculus (Math 1472). Engineering Physics is designed for students majoring in physics, engineering, or students wanting a challenge consistent with their mathematical skill level and requires a math competency at the level of Calculus (Math 1477).
Transfer Opportunities: All Minnesota and area universities offer Bachelor’s and advanced degrees in physics. Physics is also required for anyone interested in engineering, medical technology, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary fields. Because of their need for strong math skills, physicists often have dual degrees in Physics and Mathematics.
Career Opportunities: Physics majors are a rare breed. In a world of high technology, a physicist is a generalist in a world of specialists. Many students majoring in physics will teach in high school or go on for advanced degrees, allowing them to teach at the post-secondary and university level where they can also engage in scientific research. Physicists also find jobs in government or industry as researchers and analysts. Physicists tend to have very interesting careers. Physicists with advanced degrees must choose a specialty. A partial list of more common areas of expertise include astrophysics, atomic and nuclear physics, solid state physics, high energy and plasma physics, spectroscopy, biological physics, and computational physics.
Career Titles: Physicist, Professor, Researcher, Scientific Analyst
Dr. Yoshi Hirai is a faculty member in both the Central Lakes College Physics department and the Engineering department. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after receiving multiple B.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics as well as Physics from UW-Madison as an international student. Dr. Hirai’s interests include collaborating with local high school teachers on CIS Physics courses and working with local robotics coaches as a VEX Robotics regional coordinator. Central Lakes College students benefit from many hands on learning experiences in Dr. Hirai’s courses such as the High-Altitude Ballooning project at CLC. He is an experimental condensed-matter physicist who teaches that science answers real questions and engineering solves real problems.