Welcome Letter

Dear Matter & Motion students

Welcome to Matter & Motion, an interdisciplinary integration of calculus, chemistry, and physics! For those of you new to the college, welcome to Evergreen! We are pleased to introduce ourselves as your faculty team: Krishna Chowdary will be with you in fall quarter, Riley Rex in fall & winter, and Neil Switz in winter & spring. We hope you are having a good summer and are looking forward to our work together this year.

We are writing with some information about the program to give you a better sense of what to expect. We have been hard at work planning aspects of this program, and are excited about beginning our work together as a class. Our academic backgrounds reflect the disciplines we will study in the program: Krishna and Neil are physicists who also teach math, and Riley is a physical chemistry who studied physics as an undergraduate. We each have several years of experience teaching and learning at Evergreen and elsewhere. In M&M we are particularly interested in ways in which the fields of mathematics, chemistry, and physics support, reinforce, and provide new perspectives on one another.

In this letter we will provide information about M&M program content, activities, textbooks and schedule.

You should review the catalog description for our program http://evergreen.edu/catalog/2015-16/programs/matterandmotion-13977. Our main areas will include math, physics, and chemistry. In mathematics we will be covering a standard first year calculus curriculum, with particular attention to applications to physics and chemistry. We expect incoming students to have a solid grounding in precalculus, including algebra, trigonometry, and families of mathematical functions. In physics we will study mechanics in fall, and other standard topics in calculus-based introductory physics in winter and spring, covering the equivalent of a standard first year university physics with lab sequence. We’ll study chemistry in fall and winter, ending winter having covered the equivalent of the first two quarters of a standard general chemistry with lab sequence. What we are most excited about in the program, however, are the synergistic ways in which our principal subject areas will interact with one another and the collaborative learning community we will build through supporting each other with this challenging material.

Our program website is sites.evergreen.edu/mnm1516. The website will contain scheduling information, announcements, homework problem sets, etc., and will serve as a central clearinghouse of information for our program. Please get in the habit of checking the website frequently.

We know that many students have questions about their preparation when entering a program like M&M with significant science and math content. This is particularly true since many of you are new to Evergreen (again, welcome!) and others of you may well have been away from mathematics for some time. We are glad this program is of interest to students with diverse backgrounds, and we don’t expect any particular preparation in chemistry or physics, though of course previous study of any physical science is a plus.

Math is the area that you should think about seriously when you consider your readiness for the program. Precalculus is assumed as the prerequisite for M&M so if you have any significant trouble with problems in algebra, geometry, or trigonometry, you should fill in this background now or else seriously consider postponing your study of calculus and calculus-based physics until you have taken further preparatory classes. You can use your old textbooks for review material, and there is also a lot of precalculus review available on the web. We offer detailed suggestions at our Math Resources page, available by clicking here.

We ask you to do the following as soon as you can:

  1. Complete the on-line student survey available through our program website as soon as possible and no later than the first day of class. You can access the Student Survey by using the navigation bar above or by clicking here.
  2. Review areas of precalculus that you may have forgotten or need to solidify. You can find detailed suggestions at our Math Resources page by using the navigation bar above or by clicking here.
  3. Obtain our program textbooks, making sure that you have them and access to the associated on-line components by the first day of class. You can find details about Texts & Materials by using the navigation bar above or by clicking here.

 Our fall quarter class schedule is as follows scheduleFall You will see from the above schedule that our principal activities include lectures, labs, workshops & problem sessions, and weekly quizzes. We’ll intersperse several seminars throughout fall quarter. We will also have midterm and final exams in calculus, chemistry, and physics. Your time spent outside of class (including carefully reading our program texts, working on homework problem sets, writing and revising for seminar and labs, and preparing for labs, workshops & problem sessions, quizzes and exams) will be significant. If you are well prepared, both in precalculus and in college-level study skills and engagement, you should expect the total time to be at least 40-50 hours/week (including class time). We encourage you to think concretely now about how this time will dovetail with your other obligations such as work and personal commitments. Please feel free to contact us with questions you might have. We look forward to meeting and working with you this year.


Krishna Chowdary (chowdark@evergreen.edu) [Fall]

Riley Rex (rexr@evergreen.edu) [Fall, Winter]

Neil Switz (switzn@evergreen.edu) [Winter, Spring]