PHYS 109: Physics and the Arts

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Fall 2021
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 54
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 0
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
District General Education: B2. Natural Sciences - Physical Sciences
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: No
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

A one semester course for non-science majors covering fundamental physics principles and their application to the fine and performing arts as well as theater technology situations. 54 lecture hours.

Course Objectives

  • Waves
  • Understand what is meant by a crest, trough and a wave front.
  • Understand how a mechanical wave travels through a medium and how the wave speed is related to the properties of the medium.
  • Understand the basic properties of waves such as wave speed, wavelength and frequency for sinusoidal waves.
  • Distinguish between the concepts of power and intensity; understand the decibel scale for sound intensity.
  • Understand that a standing wave is the result of the superposition of two traveling waves.
  • Understand the generation of sound by musical instruments.
  • Understand beats as the superposition of two waves of nearly unequal frequency and calculate the beat frequency between two nearly equal frequencies.
  • Light
  • Distinguish between additive and subtractive color mixing.
  • Understand objects as either reflectors, absorbers and/or sources of light and that filters only allow transmission of only a few chosen wavelengths; understand the formation of shadows.
  • Use ray tracing, the thin lens equation, the lensmaker's equation and/or the the thin mirror equation to predict and/or explain the formation of images.
  • Understand and apply the law of reflection and Snell's Law in image formation.
  • Understand the basic properties of mirrors and lenses such as radius of curvature, index of refraction, near and far focal points and focal length.
  • Use ray tracing and the thin lens equation to understand and quantitatively analyze image formation in multi-lens systems, such as cameras and the human eye.
  • Understand and calculate properties of optical systems such as f-number, numerical aperture, and power of a lens.
  • Describe various types of aberrations that affect optical images.
  • Understand how light interacts with pigments (transmission and/or reflection)
  • Kinematics & Dynamics
  • Differentiate between the concepts of position, velocity, and acceleration and recognize the relationship between velocity and acceleration when an object is speeding up, slowing down, curving, or at a turning point.
  • Use kinematics to describe and/or predict an object's motion verbally, pictorially, graphically and mathematically.
  • Solve quantitative kinematics problems for linear motion, projectile motion and circular motion and interpret the results.
  • Identify forces acting on an object and calculate the net force on the object.
  • Analyze the connection between force and motion by applying Newton's laws of motion to predict and/or explain the behavior of physical systems.
  • Identify the center of gravity and qualitatively and quantitatively describe balance; understand the conditions for equilibrium.
  • Energy & Momentum
  • Identify forms of energy as mechanical potential energy (elastic and gravitational), chemical potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy and radiation.
  • Distinguish between the concepts of momentum and impulse.
  • Use the Impulse-Momentum Theorem/conservation of momentum to describe and/or predict the behavior of physical systems
  • Predict and/or explain the behavior of physical systems using the law of conservation of energy.
  • Electromagnetism
  • Use the charge model and Coulomb's Law to explain basic electric phenomena.
  • Describe how a battery creates a current in a circuit and the energy transfers as charge moves through simple circuits.
  • Understand and analyze basic DC circuits containing resistors in series and parallel.
  • Understand how electrical power gets to and is used in regular wall outlets.
  • Understand and reason about basic magnetic phenomena using a dipole model of magnetism, analogous to the charge model of electricity.
  • Understand the magnetic fields due to currents in wires, loops, and solenoids; understand various applications of magnetic fields.
  • Thermodynamics
  • Distinguish between the concepts of heat (thermal energy transfer) and temperature.
  • Contrast the three heat transfer mechanisms (conduction, convection, and radiation).
  • Describe physical changes of matter resulting from heat transfer (e.g. temperature change or phase change).
  • Use the laws of thermodynamics to explain various physical phenomena
  • Modern Physics
  • Understand how we know about the structure of atoms and describe atomic structure using both the Bohr model of the atom and the quantum mechanical/shell model of the atom.
  • Understand the structure and composition of the nucleus.
  • Understand the forces that hold the nucleus together and under what circumstances it might break apart.
  • Develop a basic understanding of some applications of nuclear & particle physics in areas such as the arts.
  • Use the concept of half life to determine the age of a radioactive sample.

Major Course Content

  1. Mechanical Waves
    1. Longitudinal & Transverse Waves
    2. Sinusoidal Waves
      1. Wavelength, wavespeed & frequency
    3. Wave Superposition & Standing Waves
      1. Harmonics/Resonance Modes for Strings
      2. Harmonics/Resonance Modes for Pipes
    4. Applications to Musical Instruments
      1. String Instruments
      2. Wind Instruments
      3. Percussion Instruments
      4. Singing
  2. Light
    1. Light & Color
      1. Light Sources & the Electromagnetic Spectrum
      2. Subtractive & Additive Mixing
      3. Shadows
    2. Law of Reflection
    3. Refraction & Dispersion
    4. Interference & the Optics of Paint films
      1. Colorants/Pigments/Paints
      2. Varnishes/Glazes
      3. Pigment Response to Infra-red & x-rays
      4. Hiding Thickness & Underdrawings 
    5. Diffraction & Optical Recording
    6. Image Formation with Mirrors & Lenses
      1. Thin lens Equation; Lensmaker's equation; Magnification
      2. Aberrations
      3. Photography
      4. Camera Obscura & 17th Century Paintings
    7. Stage Lighting
  3. Modern Physics
    1. Structure of Matter
    2. Nuclear Decay Mechanisms/Radioactivity
    3. Nuclear Techniques in Art History & Authentication
      1. Pigment Response to Neutrons
      2. X-ray-, Electron-, and Proton-induced X-ray emission
      3. Radiocarbon Dating
    4. Quantum Mechanics & Relativity
      1. Intro to Probability & Quantum Mechanics
      2. Modern Physics & Modern Art
  4. Motion
    1. Describing Motion
    2. Newton's Laws of Motion
    3. Center of Mass
    4. Rotational Motion & Dynamics
    5. Energy & Momentum
    6. Applications to Dance
      1. Balance
      2. Spinning
      3. Jumping/Leaping/Landing
      4. Partnering
    7. Technical Theater Applications
      1. Simple Machines
      2. Wagons & Skids
      3. Static Rigging
      4. Dynamic Rigging
      5. Turntables & Jacknives
  5. Electricity & Magnetism
    1. Electrical Potential Energy & Voltage
    2. Simple DC Circuits & Ohm's Law
    3. Magnetism & Induction
    4. Introduction to AC Circuits
    5. Generators & Transformers
    6. Microphones
  6. Thermodynamics
    1. Heat and Temperature
    2. Phases & Phase Transitions
    3. Energy Transfer Mechanisms
    4. Laws of Thermodynamics
    5. Sintering of Ceramics

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

The Physics of Theatre: Mechanics by Verda Beth Martell & Eric C. Martell ISBN-13: 978-1515333883
Physics and the Art of Dance: Understanding Movement 2nd Edition by Kenneth Laws ISBN-13: 978-0195341010
Physics in the Arts: Revised Edition (Complementary Science) by P.U.P.A. Gilbert and Willy Haeberli ISBN-13: 978-0123918789

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Short answer questions on in-class assignments, homework, and exams such as: Describe a situation where the color of an object appears to change as the light used to illuminate the object is changed.

Examples of Outside Assignments

Students will watch web-based presentations and complete short online quizzes. Students will answer short answer questions such as: A flute, modeled as an open-open pipe, has a hole drilled in the middle of it. Draw the fundamental for this flute and explain your drawing. Students will answer calculation problems such as: In many 'Peter Pan" systems, to make Peter Pan "take off", a stagehand jumps off a ladder to send Peter flying. If Peter weighs 90lbs and accelerates into the air at a rate of 8ft/s^2, how much does the stagehand weigh? Assume that there is no counterweight, friction, or mechanical advantage/disadvantage."

Instruction Type(s)

Lecture, Online Education Lecture