Physics involves the study of the small and very small (atoms, molecules, nuclei and elementary particles), the large and very large (the Earth, moon, solar system, stars, galaxies and the universe), the strange (black holes, anti-matter and superconductivity), the common (swings on playgrounds, springs and wheels), the relevant (space systems sensors and the motions of aircraft and satellites) and just about anything else! In other words, the scope of physics is limited only by the imagination of the physicist. Because the scope of physics is so broad, a physicist must be a generalist who can see the underlying connections between diverse topics. As a result, the physics major concentrates on the basic physical and mathematical principles that help us understand the world. This is also why the physics major is so flexible; a student’s vision can help them design a physics sequence that fits their role as an Air Force officer. The physics curriculum blends traditional academic instruction, practical laboratory work and independent research projects to develop the ability to think creatively and analytically.
The physics major has a reputation for being challenging, but its rewards are great. It prepares students for a successful career in the increasingly technical Air Force and rewards them with satisfaction in mastering a rigorous, demanding discipline. Physics is never obsolete; it forms the foundation upon which new technologies rest. Whether operational or scientific in nature, the technical innovations in today’s Air Force have physics as their fundamental element.
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