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Physical Sciences

On writing in Physical Sciences (for use in syllabi)

Good writing plays an essential role in the physical sciences, particularly in keeping a record of one's investigations for oneself and others, in communicating one's results to peers, in interpreting one's science to a broader public, and in clarifying one's own thinking. Effective science writing is precise, concise, well-organized, and directed appropriately to the audience at hand.

Sample syllabi in Physical Sciences

Chemistry 1910W | Alchemy, Magic and Chemistry
Weekly reports

Chemistry 2311 | Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Formal lab report

Chemistry 4511 | Advanced Physical Chemistry Lab
Group lab work and writing guidelines

Physics 3071W | Laboratory-Based Physics for Teachers
Idea journals; daily reflective journals; lesson designs and presentations

Sample assignments in Physical Sciences

Astronomy 1001 | Reflective Essays
2-page assignments on the interaction of humans with Earth

Chemistry 4311W | Written Tutorial Assignment
600 – 800 word, five predetermined topic, one draft

Geology 3006 | Class Projects / Case Histories
Group research report targeted to Science magazine

Sample responding handout in Physical Sciences

Astronomy 1001 | Six Things to Improve Your Writing
Guidelines for essay writing

Sample grading rubric in Physical Sciences

Geology 1901 | Philosophy Behind the Grading of Term Papers
Weighted criteria, including summary, text, figures, and citation and references

Additional writing resources for instructors in Physical Sciences

Starting Point: Teaching Entry-Level Geophysics  (Carleton College)

Library Support for Instructors

Additional writing resources for students in Physical Sciences

Formatting Scientific Reports (University of Wisconsin - Madison)