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Christian College Science Physics Degree

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“I build molecules for a living… I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”  ~James M. Tour; nanoscientist

You may be an individual who is fascinated with understanding the laws that God has created to govern our universe. Perhaps you are intrigued by questions such as “What is the energy band of solid matter?” and “What are atoms made of?” and “How do we calculate the distance to the stars?” Physics is the study of matter, energy and their interactions. A major in this broad STEM-based field delves into the inner workings of time, space and the natural laws of energy and motion.

Succeeding in this rigorous major requires dedication and perseverance. On average, most physics students put in 50-60 hours of academic study per week. Physics majors focus on research, but also spend large amounts of time conducting lab exercises and experiments, working on collaborative projects, giving presentations, writing papers and working through complex and challenging questions. In addition to strong mathematical proficiency, some of the other necessary traits for this major include:

  • A natural curiosity; interest in how things work and the ability to formulate and test various scientific hypotheses
  • Problem-solving skills; the ability to think through questions systematically and critically and to produce logical, workable solutions
  • Communication skills; being able to read carefully, write clearly, debate effectively, teach understandably, as well as to listen and work well with others

Depending upon your chosen program, it is possible you may specialize in a particular area of physics or you may be required to undergo an internship in a particular area of specialization. Once your core classes are completed, including higher level math classes such as Multivariable Calculus, you will take a plethora of physics classes including nuclear, modern, particle and computational physics. Some of the other courses you might expect to take include:

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods for Scientists
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Vibrations, Waves and Optics
  • Quantum Mechanics

Approximately 50% of physics majors go on to pursue a master’s degree in math, engineering, astronomy or physics, while the other half of graduates seek out a career in a wide-range of fields connected to their degree. Physics majors can be found working in education, research, the private sector, government agencies and NGOs. With our ever-expanding need for technologically-minded employees, the demand for those knowledgeable in programming and coding continues to grow. Careers in computer science/computer engineering are a popular fit for physics majors and include professions like IT consultant, web or software developer, tech specialist and systems analyst. There are also plenty of non-tech careers to consider:

  • Laser engineer
  • Optical engineer
  • High school physics teacher
  • Research physicist assistant
  • Lab technician
  • Data analyst

At the end of our lives we will give an account to God for what we did with what He gave us. If Einstein’s theory of relativity holds great intrigue for you and you thrill at the idea of complex scientific discovery and detailed mathematical equation, then perhaps God has wired you for a career in physics. 

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs

A future in Physics

By Amber Gragert

Physics is the branch of science concerned with matter, energy, motion and force. The bulk of course work includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism and the structure of atoms. Physics majors aim to understand the laws that govern the way the universe works and exists. What are atoms made of? How do the planets not collide? Those are but two questions on completely different ends of the size spectrum and both are within the realm of physics.

As Neil deGrasse Tyson famously said, "There is no science in the world like physics. Nothing comes close to the precision with which enables you to understand the world around you. It's the laws of physics that allow us to say exactly what time the sun is going to hide..." Physics is life all around us. What a privilege to study all of the intricacies God merely spoke into existence.

It helps if you are a person who enjoys figuring out and learning how things work - more specifically, in the natural world. If you enjoy solving puzzles, if you seek out logical solutions to problems, then this major is well suited for you. Physicists have always been world changers in breaking new ground and finding new discoveries in the natural world. If that excites you, then you are in the right place.

"All of physics is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it, and then it becomes trivial." - Ernest Rutherford

It might be more appropriate to define physics as a thought process instead of a profession. This field of study molds students into logical problem-solvers. Students become so trained in this method of thinking, they can use this approach in any given situation. They study and explore concepts and methods of science that can be applied and practically used in many different professional arenas. Because the laws of physics are applied to fields such as biology, communications, engineering, and electronics, a student's logic and problem solving skills are not only necessary, but indispensable. Other tools and skills physics majors tend to have and develop more fully through coursework are deduction, imagination and prediction. They tend to be "tinkerers", creators and model builders.

"We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic." - David Russel

Without the curiosity and testing of past pioneers of physics, we would not have so many of the basic necessities like electricity to cook our food or fuel for our vehicles. You would not be able to read this article if it weren't for physics. Virtually every form of communication we use today is tethered to electromagnetism and quantum optics; without those we would be relying on carrier pigeons or mail by horseback. Blessed are we by physics!

There is still so much more to learn, discover, and create! New ground is being broken in the science world every day. New technologies developed, new techniques invented, new environments to explore. You can take part in all of those areas and get firsthand glimpses of the marvelous creation that God has given us - all through the study of physics.