Physics, Astronomy & Meteorology

Dennis Dawson, Chair
        dawsond@wcsu.edu
        Science Building 278, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8671
        (203) 837-8320 (fax)

Robert Eisenson, Associate Chair
       
eisensonr@wcsu.edu 
        Science Building 277, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8989
        (203) 837-8320 (fax) 

TBA, Department Secretary
         Science Building 324, Midtown campus
        (203) 837-8669
        (203) 837-8320 (fax)

Faculty

A. Chance J. Boyle D. Dawson, Chair
R. Eisenson, Associate Chair A. Owino  

Overview

The goal of the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology is to provide students the opportunity to understand the physical laws governing the universe. The fundamental relationships between energy and matter are studied, from the age of the ancient scientists through the eras of Newton and Einstein and up to the present day. Applications are made to the fields of astronomy, earth and planetary sciences, electronics, engineering, meteorology and to the many branches of physics, from classical mechanics to quantum nuclear physics. In addition to experiencing practical applications of the laws of nature, students develop an understanding of the role of science and technology in contemporary society.

Mission

Consistent with the university’s mission to serve as an accessible, responsive, and creative intellectual resource for the people and institutions of Connecticut, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology endeavors to provide a complete and current education in the principles and applications of physics, astronomy, earth and planetary sciences and meteorology, in ways that accommodate the students’ backgrounds and career objectives.

Objectives

To accomplish this mission, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology:

  • Stresses an understanding of the fundamental relationships between matter and energy and the various transformations between them.
  • Provides an understanding of the relationship between classical and modern physics and their application to the more applied disciplines of astronomy, earth and planetary sciences, and meteorology.
  • Provides students with the experimental and theoretical background necessary to pursue careers as teachers in earth and planetary sciences.
  • Provides undergraduates with the theoretical and operational background necessary to pursue careers in broadcast meteorology and weather forecasting.
  • Maintains an active and publicly responsive program of outreach and extension through the WCSU Observatory and the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.
  • Provides students with the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience while developing professional skills in forecasting, nowcasting, and consulting meteorology through academic internships offered through the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.
  • Develops the professional skills required by broadcast meteorologists by supervising students who produce and present weathercasts as part of on-campus radio and TV programming.
  • Provides students with a breadth of working knowledge about aspects of the earth and planetary sciences (such as climate change and remote sensing) as well as the opportunity to develop marketable skills (such as familiarity with instrumentation, data analysis methods and software) through coursework, research projects with faculty and departmental internships.
  • Provides students with pre-engineering training and the necessary skills to enter various technical fields.
  • Provides laboratory and research experiences using modern instrumentation and data reduction techniques.
  • Fosters critical thinking, creativity, computational and analytical skills through laboratory exercises, course assignments and personalized research experiences.
  • Provides a personalized learning environment for our students through faculty-supervised research opportunities, student-faculty research collaborations, student internships, and individualized instruction.
  • Supports science education efforts in regional schools and for the public, through open houses, lecture series, activities sponsored by student clubs and other special events, and by collaborations between department faculty and other science educators.
  • Fosters the growth and development of its faculty through research, attendance at professional meetings, publication and presentation of scholarly work, and support of research initiatives.
  • Expresses a strong commitment to public service by collaborating with regional elementary, junior and senior high school educators to promote science education.

Degree Programs In Physics, Astronomy & Meteorology

Bachelor of Arts

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Bachelor of Science

Meteorology
Secondary Education: Earth Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences Option
Secondary Education: Earth Science, Meteorology Option

Minor Programs

Astronomy
Earth Science
Meteorology
Physics

Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Planetary Sciences (B.A.)

The earth and planetary sciences degree gives the student both a broad and detailed working knowledge in the major areas (astronomy, geology, meteorology, oceanography) of the earth and planetary sciences.  This is accomplished through experiential and inquiry-driven learning, exposure to current research topics, the use of modern equipment and guidance in experimental techniques by experienced faculty. Emphasis is on well defined and frequently assessed performance goals such as critical thinking and mastery of concepts, and on the development of marketable skills including: project design and reporting, and the use of modern programming languages and software, instrumentation and methods of data analysis.  Research experiences are available through student-faculty collaborations and internships in astonomy, meteorology, oceanography and planetary sciences.

Requirements:

Students must complete all general education requirements, the courses and credits listed below and additional free electives to total a minimum of 122 semester hours, including exercise science and foreign language.  To fulfill the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science requirments for the B.A. Earth and Planetary Sciences degree, students must take General Chemistry 110/111 (8SH) and MAT 171 or 181 (Calculus I) in addition to the major requirments listed below.

Major Core Courses (46-47 SH))

ES 110 Physical Geology
AST 150 General Astronomy
MTR 150 Meteorology
PHY 110, 111 General Physics I & II
MAT 182 Calculus II
CS 140 Introduction to Programming or CS 143 Visual Basic
ES 210 Introduction to Physical Oceanography
AST 231 Introduction to Planetary Sciences
EPS 331 Practicum in Earth and Planetary Sciences Research
AST 405 Planetary Physics
EPS 450 Senior Research in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Major Elective Courses (12 SH minimum)

PHY/ENV 136 Energy
CS 170 Computer Science: Language I
CS 205 or higher course (CS 166 or CS 200 with approval)
EPS 220/221 Seminar in Earth and Planetary Sciences (may be taken twice in different semesters)
MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing
EPS 490 Advanced Topics in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Sample Four-Year Sequence Earth and Planetary Sciences Major

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
CHE 110 General Chemistry I CHE 111 General Chemistry II
MAT 181 Calculus I MAT 182 Calculus II
AST 150 General Astronomy MTR 150 Meteorology
CS 140 Intro to Programming EPS 220 Seminar in EPS I
  General education course

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
PHY 110 General Physics I PHY 111 General Physics II
ES 110 Physical Geology AST 231 Intro to Planetary Sciences
General education course General education course
Free elective course General education course
  HPX 177 Fitness for Life

Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography EPS 221 Seminar in EPS II
CS 200 Applied Topics EPS 331 Practicum in EPS Research
General education course General education course
General education course General education course

Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
AST 405 Planetary Physics EPS 450 Senior Research in EPS
EPS 490 Advanced Topics in EPS MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics & Remote Sensing
General education course General education course
General education course General education course

Course Restrictions

For a complete list of prerequisites, corequisites and other restrictions for all courses, please consult the Course Description section of this catalog.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of their studies in Earth and Planetary Sciences:

  1. Students will be able to understand scientific concepts including the use of scientific method, and develop problem-solving skills.
  2. Students will demonstrate competence in the use of computers for graphical analysis of data, manipulation of databases, numerical modeling and internet researches.
  3. Graduating seniors will demonstrate competence in research project development, execution, completion and reporting.

Bachelor of Science in Meteorology (B.S.)

The meteorology degree provides its students with a broad background of fundamental skills in meteorology, mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry and allows them to enter professional employment in both public and private sectors. A student completing the B. S. Meteorology degree will have the necessary expertise and have met requirements to seek employment with the National Weather Service or other government agencies, apply for graduate school in the physical and environmental sciences, and get jobs with a wide range of private sector employers who value students with a solid, quantitative science degree. The B.S. Meteorology degree can also be an excellent background for students choosing to further their education in business or other professional graduate schools.  Students who choose the Broadcast Meteorology option will also get media experience with weekly live radio forecasting and doing on-camera television weathercasts in our department TV studio as a member of The Western Weather Team, our student team of broadcast meteorologists.  We have an impressive record of placing graduating students in on-camera meteorologist positions.  Paid undergraduate research assistantships are available for qualified students with our faculty.  Practical experience is available to students through paid employment in the Meteorological Studies and Weather Center.

Requirements:

Students must complete core courses in mathematics and computer science, physics, astronomy, earth science and meteorology. Also, students must choose an additional broadcast option in meteorology.

  1. Core Courses in Mathematics and Computer Science (17 SH)
    CS 140 Introduction to Programming or CS 143 Visual Basic
    MAT 120 Elementary Statistics
    MAT 182 Calculus II
    MAT 281 Calculus III
    MAT 282 Ordinary Differential Equations
  2. Core Courses in Physics (8 SH)
    PHY 110, 111 General Physics (Calculus-based) I & II (8 SH)
  3. Core Courses in Earth and Planetary Sciences (8 SH)
    AST 150 General Astronomy or ES 110 Physical Geology
    ES 210 Intro to Physical Oceanography
  4. Core Courses in Meteorology (36 SH)
    MTR 150 Meteorology
    MTR 230 Weather Analysis and Forecasting I
    MTR 231 Weather Analysis and Forecasting II
    MTR 240 Climatology
    MTR 310 Atmospheric Thermodynamics
    MTR 311 Atmospheric Dynamics
    MTR 340 Mesoscale Meteorology and Numerical Forecasting
    MTR 370 Internship in Meteorology or MTR 450 Senior Research in Meteorology
    MTR 430 Meteorological Instrumentation
    MTR 440 Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing
  5. Additional elective option in Broadcast Meteorology (9 SH)
    MTR 330, 331 Operational Forecasting and Weathercasting I & II
    Choose one of the following:
    THR 260 Voice and Diction
    COM 268 Public Communication
    COM 310 Business and Professional Speaking

Course Restrictions

For a complete list of prerequisites, corequisites and other restrictions for all courses, please consult the Course Description section of this catalog.

Sample Four-Year Sequence Meteorology Major

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
WRT 101Composition I Writing Intensive Course (WI)
COM 160, 161, 162 or 163 COM skills CS 140 Intro to Programming or CS 143 Visual Basic
MTR 150 Meteorology MTR 240 Climatology
MAT 181 Calculus I MAT 182 Calculus II
  HPX 177 Fitness for Life

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
PHY 110 Gen. Physics I PHY 111 Gen. Physics II
MTR 230 Weather Anal. & Forecast. I MTR 231 Weather Anal. & Forecast. II
AST 150 Astronomy or ES 110 Geology MAT 120 Elem. Statistics
MAT 281 Calculus III MAT 282 Ord. Diff. Equations

Junior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
CHE 110 Gen. Chemistry I CHE 111 Gen. Chemistry II
MTR 310 Atmosph. Thermodynamics MTR 311 Atmosph. Dynamics
ES 210 Intro. Physical Oceanography General Education course
General Education course General Education course
General Education course Free Elective course

Senior Year

Fall Semester Spring Semester
MTR 430 Meteor. Instrumentation MTR 440 Atmos. Phys. & Rem. Sensing
MTR 340 Meso. Meteo. & Num. Forecasting MTR 370 Internship or MTR 450 Senior Research
General Education course General Education course
General Education course General Education course
Free Elective course Free Elective course

 

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of their studies in Meteorology:

  1. Student interns will be able to use meteorological skills to make an operational weather forecast
  2. Students will demonstrate competence in graphical display and internet researches of weather information to the general public via the electronic media.
  3. Graduating seniors will demonstrate competence in professional communication of complex scientific information to the public and also be presentable

Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-Earth Science (B.S.).

See the Department of Education and Educational Psychology within the School of Professional Studies.

Minor in Astronomy

Nineteen semester hours of astronomy or physics courses.  Advisement must be through the department Chairperson.

Minor in Earth Science

Eighteen semester hours of courses noted as earth science or earth and planetary sciences. Advisement must be through department chairperson.

Minor in Meteorology

Twenty-one or 22 semester hours of meteorology courses.  Advisement must be through department chairperson.

Minor in Physics

Twenty semester hours of physics including PHY 110, 111, General Physics (Calculus) I & II and 12 semester hours by departmental advisement.

Program in Engineering Technology at Central Connecticut State University
Students are advised of an accredited engineering and engineering technology program leading to a bachelor’s degree at Central Connecticut State University. For further information, speak with Dr. Alice Chance, WCSU Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Meteorology, or review the CCSU catalog.

WCSU Weather Information

Current Conditions in Danbury


Fair
Current Conditions

55.1° F
Feels like N/A°

Wind: 7MPH from the S
Humidity: N/A%
Pressure: 30 in.
Dew Point: N/A° F


Emergency / Weather Alert Information

The Emergency / Weather Alert will be posted on the WCSU home page any time an emergency or bad weather causes a delay, cancellation or early closing of the university.

Weather Alert Example

 Visit the Emergency / Weather Alert page

Greater Danbury 5-Day Forecast

Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Slight chance for a morning shower, partly sunny and pleasant.
Partly sunny and pleasant.
Mostly cloudy, chance for some showers.
Chance for morning rain then some afternoon sunshine.
Mostly sunny and mild.
36° / 59° 34° / 56° 36° / 43° 39° / 54° 33° / 54°