Wind, Waves and Currents: The Physics of the Ocean World

From tides to tsunamis, from sea life to surf breaks, physics can help us understand our ocean world.  In this course students learn how scientists use physics to explain a wide variety of processes that shape our blue planet and the life it supports. The course is held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a world class ocean-side research center at UC San Diego. Here students benefit from access to the many resources available at Scripps including laboratories, the research pier, and expert guest lecturers.  Additionally students observe ocean processes first hand by conducting their own field experiments, developing basic data analysis skills, and learning to analyze and interpret their own data – critical skills for college bound science and engineering majors. Through daily discussions of current events, students learn the everyday relevance of ocean physics research. The course culminates with a final project on a current issue of their choice. Examples include earthquake and tsunami risks, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and ocean physics and fisheries.  At the end of the course, the students share their findings in a mock scientific conference.