The "Physical Science Department","39.650542","-121.642964" offers courses in astronomy, chemistry, geology, physics, physical science and meteorology.


A lecture and lab are offered as an introduction to Astronomy. However, due to poor student interest, the class was canceled during the 2008 Spring semester.


Nitrocellulose Cotton in a literal puff of flames. The chemistry labs (rooms 133, 127, and 115) are well stocked with autoclaves, analytical balances (but they're not vibration isolated!). Every student is assigned their own drawer filled with equipment required to conduct experiments. The lab in room 115 has the fanciest equipment with an IR spectroscope, a Bausch & Lomb Abbe-type refractometer, and a mass spectrometer. At times an on-going experiment, such as the Organic Unknown, will require the aid of a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscope. Chico State allows Butte College's physical science department to use its NMR.

Introduction to Chemistry, Chem I, and Chem II, are taught in room 131, which is a large lecture hall (but not nearly as large as those at a CSU or UC). Introduction to Chemistry is a prerequisite for Life Science's Microbiology (a common path for prospective nurses), though Chem I and others are certainly acceptable. Intro. to Chem is recommended for those students that did not take chemistry while in High School or have been away from academics for a long period of time. It prepares students for later transferable Chemistry courses, helping to increase the degree of student success.

Other Chemistry classes offered are Quantitative Analysis (Chem 5), Life With Chemistry (Chem 10), Organic Chemistry I & II (Chem 21/22), Elementary Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 51), and Elementary Organic and Biochemistry (Chem 52).


The College offers Physical Geology (Geol 10) with a lab (Geol 11) which may be taken separately, such as a semester after the lecture. But, it is recommended to take the lab and class concurrently, and is certainly not recommended to have more than 1 semester's gap between the lecture and lab. There are other geology courses that are not taught every semester, so it is important to compare the most recent class schedule to the course catalog.


Several physics courses are offered, which fulfill many engineering, science, and mathematics transfer requirements. The college has three sections worth of physics with calculus, which is ideal for engineers and science majors. Those three sections are Physics 41 (mechanics),42 (electromagnetism), and 43 (optics). The physics lab is in room 105. Its walls are lined with iMacs installed with software for analyzing data collected during experiments (such as Vernier's Graphical Analysis). They are also connected to the Internet.

The lab has standard lab tables with Hamden power supplies. The physics department has a lot of old equipment to run classroom experiments but in 2008 they were process of acquiring updated equipment. If this also means updating the years-old lab books, that's another question altogether.

Physical Science

This section covers topics in chemistry, physics, geology, and meteorology. It is popular with those pursuing a liberal arts degree or a non-science degree.