J. David Turner teaches introductory physics courses and nuclear physics. His research interests are in philosophy and the history of science.

Name Title Description


Physics & the Natural Universe

A survey of the physical universe from the human perspective as seen through the lens of the scientific method. Particular attention is devoted to the role that science has played in society. Topics include the nature of science and theory, the fundamental interactions, the industrial revolution, nuclear weapons, quantum theory, cosmology, and the anthropic principle.


From X-rays to Quarks

Review of the classical physics of Newton and Maxwell. The challenges to these theories are studied in detail through the contributions of individuals. Careful attention is paid to the areas of relativity, quantum theory, elementary particles, and nuclear physics.


Physics for Non-Science Majors

A philosophic and conceptual examination of selected fundamental principles of physics. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed. Some historical and biographical material is included.


General Physics I

The basic concepts and laws of classical mechanics. Measurement and units, vectors, kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, work and energy, systems of particles, collisions, rotational kinematics, torque and angular momentum, rigid body statics and dynamics, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, and mechanics of solids and fluids.


Physics of Music

Fundamentals of simple harmonic motion and waves. Physics of strings and vibrating air columns will be studied in detail. Lab activities will include the study of wave motion and the Fourier analysis of sounds.



Laws of heat and thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, introduction to statistical mechanics.


Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Atomic physics topics include solutions to the Schroedinger equation for the hydrogen atom, one dimensional square well, spin orbit coupling and the periodic table. Nuclear physics topics include stable nuclei, nuclear decay, the radial square well and a model for the deuteron, as well as the simple harmonic oscillator and the nuclear shell model. An introduction to elementary particles and accelerators is also included.

Duke University
Wake Forest University

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