Over the next few months I am hoping to develop a course on the Physics of Sound and Music. Although this course isn’t on the books yet, it has been offered in the past, and it would fit into the new core model at Pacific. We have adopted a program that replaces the old “pick two courses from each column” breadth requirement. The new model is based on focal studies, which are course clusters containing coherent, cross-discipline content. To bring more non-majors through the department, and also to extend our overlap with the music and arts departments, it would work well to have a sound and music course, and a light and vision course.
For the time being, it looks like we will split up our two four-credit non-majors courses into four two-credit courses. This will let us tailor the topic more directly to the students, and in particular, to the focal study they elect to take. The result of this split will likely be: sound and waves; optics and photography; atoms, electrons, and fields; and mechanics. There are some obvious things missing, like thermodynamics, so we are going to have to consider this approach carefully. I’m happy to hear from people who have tought or taken sound/music classes from physics departments. Any things you liked or didn’t like?