Matter and Motion

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, and Spring 2017 quarters

Taught by

physical chemistry
James Neitzel
biology, biochemistry
  • UG


Pre-calculus I and II (algebra and trigonometry) is a prerequisite, and a good knowledge of the subject is assumed.  Background in high school science is desirable.  Students must complete a mathematics assessment test, available on the program website, to evaluate their level of preparation for the program.

This year-long program is a rigorous introduction to knowledge and skills students need to continue their studies in physics, chemistry, mathematics, and the natural sciences. We will cover key concepts in university-level physics, general chemistry, and calculus.

Modern science has been remarkably successful in providing understanding of how natural systems behave. Such disparate phenomena as the workings of cell phones, the ways in which we detect super-massive black holes in the galactic core, use of magnetic resonance imaging in diagnosis of disease, the effects of global carbon dioxide levels on shellfish growth, and design of batteries for electric cars are all linked at a deeply fundamental level. This program will introduce you to the theory and practice of the science behind these and other phenomena while providing the solid academic background in mathematics, chemistry, and physics necessary for advanced study in those fields, as well as for engineering, medicine, and biology.

There will be a strong laboratory focus during which we will explore the nature of chemical and physical systems in a highly collaborative environment. The key to success in the program will depend on commitment to work, learning, and collaboration. The work will be intensive and challenging, but the material exciting. Students should expect to spend at least 50 hours a week engaged with assignments and material during and outside of class. During fall, we will focus on skill-building in the laboratory and acquiring the basic tools in chemistry, physics, and calculus. By winter quarter students will increase their ability to integrate disciplines, moving between established models and experimental data to ask and seek answers to their own questions. A spring quarter component will be a library or laboratory research project and presentation of findings to the public, allowing students to share their knowledge with a broad audience.

Program Details

Fields of Study

chemistry mathematics physics

Preparatory For

chemistry, physics, mathematics, medicine and health-care fields, engineering, environmental science, and science teaching.



Fall Open Winter Signature Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First spring class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 9:30am (Lecture Hall 2)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

Special Expenses

Students are encouraged to have a computer, ideally a laptop, with a USB2 port and a common operating system, such as MAC OSX or Windows.