This semester, SMU Honors Physics students will explore what it would take to engineer an autonomous artificial life form capable of making decisions, completing missions, and winning the struggle for survival in extreme environments. Search and rescue in a raging inferno. Breach thick ice to hunt for life during a deep dive into the oceans of Europa. Retrieve vital oxygen from across a storm-swept Martian plain bathed in radiation from a solar flare. What would be needed to endure in such places, and how would your life form think without being guided? Join us for the Spring 2018 Honors Physics Sections (PHYS 1010) to engage directly in these cross-cutting questions. I am very excited about our theme, and I look forward to working with all of you.

-- Stephen Sekula, Associate Professor of Physics

Teaser Trailer

General Information

Fondren Science 127 or Fondren Science 60 - Tuesdays, 6:15PM - 7:30PM

Instructor Information

Prof. Steve Sekula
Lead Instructor
Christopher Milke
Teaching Assistant

Christina McConville
Teaching Assistant

Open Office Hours

  • Fondren Science 39: TBD.

General Information

The Honors Physics Section is intended to provide honors students with additional activities, information, and challenges to allow them to broaden and deepen their physics knowledge while concurrently taking the introductory physics course sequence. The framework of this syllabus is intended to allow honors students to go above and beyond the normal classroom environment without creating a huge additional burden on the students. Honors students should be looking to go a little further than non-honors students, and the syllabus reflects that.

Participants in the Honors Physics Section will engage in the following activities each semester:

  • They will use class time to engage in learning exercises that synthesize information from the 130X introductory physics courses, allowing them to find more breadth and depth in the subject of physics.
  • They will have access to expertise from outside the classroom environment, including faculty, staff, and students from SMU and other institutions, as well as individuals with a physics background working in private industry. The goal here is to enrich their learning environment by giving them direct access to experts at various levels of the field.
  • They will engage in a coherent, semester-long project. Preparing for, and delivering, this project will be the focus of various activities throughout the semester. Honors students will be expected to learn to present their work to an audience, including (but not limited to) their peers in the Honors Physics Section.
  • Students will pass or fail the section based on an assessment of their work and participation, to be determined by the instructor.
  • Students earn the HONORS designation on their transcript by passing this section, having a GPA of 3.0 or better and earning a grade of a B or higher in the course corresponding to this honors section.

Course Materials

Recommended Reading and Viewing

The resources below are picked for you to help inspire your thinking for this semester's project. These will help inspire you, but also temper your thinking.