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Life in the Universe & The Laws of Physics

Program(s): Immersion

This course treats our current understanding of the role that the laws of physics play in the development, existence, persistence, and prevalence of life in the universe. Starting with the big bang theory, we will explore how the laws of physics guided the evolution of the universe through the processes most likely to have produced life on earth as it exists today. We will then consider what the laws of physics have to say about life elsewhere in the universe. Through discussion- and group-based learning as well as laboratory exercises, we will study the fundamental interactions and the early universe; nuclear, atomic, and molecular structure; Newton's laws and the formation of stars, galaxies, and planetary systems; thermonuclear fusion in stars; the physical origin of the chemical elements; the laws of electricity and magnetism and electromagnetic radiation; the laws of thermodynamics, atmospheric physics, and physical processes on the primordial earth; optics and electromagnetic communication; rocket propulsion and advanced propulsion systems; and the theories of special and general relativity,  quantum physics, complexity, and emergence.

See sample syllabus here.

Remote or Residential

✓ Residential Course


Course Considerations

Students must have completed Algebra 2 to be successful in this course. 

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade



Start Date

June 12

End Date

June 29

Class Details

Primary Instructor

David Reid

Academic Interest

Physical Sciences (e.g., astronomy, physics)

Class Specifics

Course Code

PHYS 11000 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Class Duration (CST)


3:00 P.M.


Session I

Course Length

3 weeks

HS Orientation Date

June 10
June 11