Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y N
Course Code SCNC1112
Date2024/02/24 07:18
Enquiry for Course Details
SCNC1112 Fundamentals of modern science (6 credits) Academic Year 2023
Offering Department Faculty Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator Dr J C S Pun, Physics < jcspun@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Dr C Zheng,Biological Sciences)
(Dr E K M Leung,Faculty of Science)
(Dr H Y Au-Yeung,Chemistry)
(Dr J C S Pun,Physics)
(Dr L A Ashton,Biological Sciences)
(Dr Z H Yao,Earth Sciences)
Course Objectives This course aims to provide students an overview of the giant web of knowledge that makes up science.  This course adopts an integrated approach and encompasses physics, astronomy, earth sciences, chemistry, and biology, and focuses on the general principles and unifying concepts of science used in various disciplines to describe the diverse phenomena and objects in the natural world.  The fundamental laws of each discipline, the historical developments and the modern frontiers, and the interconnectedness of different science disciplines will be introduced and highlighted. This course is also designed as a Communication-intensive Course which includes activities to enhance the oral and written literacy of students in effective communication of contemporary developments of science.
Course Contents & Topics (1) Universal principles and unifying concepts of science
- Motion, force and gravity
- Energy and Heat
- Entropy and Order
(2) Important reactions for the physical and the living world
- Atoms and Molecules
- Electronic configuration
- Chemical bonds
- Chemical reactions: acid-base, and redox
- Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
(3) The living world
- Definition and origin of life
- Molecules of life
- Genomics and DNA; Genetics and inheritance
- Cells and systems
- Evolution
- Ecology and environment
(4) Evolution in the physical world
- Solid Earth, Earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere
- Earth's motion in space
- Planets and the solar system
- Stars and the Sun, and the solar system
- Cosmology
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 acquire an understanding of the historical development of modern science, the essence and spirit of scientific inquiry methods, and the role of science in the advancement of civilization over time
CLO 2 understand and be familiar with the fundamental scientific principles and concepts
CLO 3 appreciate the diversity of different scientific disciplines and develop multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on scientific issues
CLO 4 critically and creatively appraise received ideas and established knowledge through writing
CLO 5 develop curiosity in science and an appreciation of sciences as related to different Science Majors and as a form of life-long learning
CLO 6 describe the contemporary developments of a topic in science through group presentations
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
NIL
(This course is compulsory for all students taking a Science major offered by the Faculty of Science, except those who are eligible for exemption. Students should take this course in their first year.)
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2023 Major in Biochemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Biological Sciences ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Chemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Decision Analytics ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Earth System Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Environmental Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Geology ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Geology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Mathematics ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Physics ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Risk Management ( Core/Compulsory )
2023 Major in Statistics ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Biochemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Biological Sciences ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Chemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Decision Analytics ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Earth System Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Environmental Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Geology ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Geology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Mathematics ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Physics ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Risk Management ( Core/Compulsory )
2022 Major in Statistics ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Biochemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Biological Sciences ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Chemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Decision Analytics ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Earth System Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Environmental Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Geology ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Geology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Mathematics ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Physics ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Risk Management ( Core/Compulsory )
2021 Major in Statistics ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Biochemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Biological Sciences ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Chemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Decision Analytics ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Earth System Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Environmental Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Geology ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Geology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Mathematics ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Physics ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Risk Management ( Core/Compulsory )
2020 Major in Statistics ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Biochemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Biological Sciences ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Chemistry ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Decision Analytics ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Earth System Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Environmental Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Geology ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Geology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Mathematics ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Physics ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Risk Management ( Core/Compulsory )
2019 Major in Statistics ( Core/Compulsory )
Course to PLO Mapping 2023 Major in Biochemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2023 Major in Biological Sciences < PLO 1 >
2023 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) < PLO 1,2 >
2023 Major in Chemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2023 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) < PLO 3,4 >
2023 Major in Decision Analytics < PLO 5 >
2023 Major in Earth System Science < PLO 1,5 >
2023 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity < PLO 1,5 >
2023 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2023 Major in Environmental Science < PLO 1,2 >
2023 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 1,2,3 >
2023 Major in Geology < PLO 1,5 >
2023 Major in Geology (Intensive) < PLO 1,5 >
2023 Major in Mathematics < PLO 4 >
2023 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2023 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology < PLO 1,3,4 >
2023 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2023 Major in Physics < PLO 1,3,4 >
2023 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2023 Major in Risk Management < PLO 5 >
2023 Major in Statistics < PLO 2,5 >
2022 Major in Biochemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2022 Major in Biological Sciences < PLO 1 >
2022 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) < PLO 1,2 >
2022 Major in Chemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2022 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) < PLO 3,4 >
2022 Major in Decision Analytics < PLO 5 >
2022 Major in Earth System Science < PLO 1,5 >
2022 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity < PLO 1,5 >
2022 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2022 Major in Environmental Science < PLO 1,2 >
2022 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 1,2,3 >
2022 Major in Geology < PLO 1,5 >
2022 Major in Geology (Intensive) < PLO 1,5 >
2022 Major in Mathematics < PLO 4 >
2022 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2022 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology < PLO 1,3,4 >
2022 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics < PLO 1,3,4 >
2022 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2022 Major in Risk Management < PLO 5 >
2022 Major in Statistics < PLO 2,5 >
2021 Major in Biochemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2021 Major in Biological Sciences < PLO 1 >
2021 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) < PLO 1,2 >
2021 Major in Chemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2021 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) < PLO 3,4 >
2021 Major in Decision Analytics < PLO 5 >
2021 Major in Earth System Science < PLO 1,5 >
2021 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity < PLO 1,5 >
2021 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2021 Major in Environmental Science < PLO 1,2 >
2021 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 1,2,3 >
2021 Major in Geology < PLO 1,5 >
2021 Major in Geology (Intensive) < PLO 1,5 >
2021 Major in Mathematics < PLO 4 >
2021 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2021 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology < PLO 1,3,4 >
2021 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics < PLO 1,3,4 >
2021 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2021 Major in Risk Management < PLO 5 >
2021 Major in Statistics < PLO 2,5 >
2020 Major in Biochemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2020 Major in Biological Sciences < PLO 1 >
2020 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) < PLO 1,2 >
2020 Major in Chemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2020 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) < PLO 3,4 >
2020 Major in Decision Analytics < PLO 5 >
2020 Major in Earth System Science < PLO 1,5 >
2020 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity < PLO 1,5 >
2020 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2020 Major in Environmental Science < PLO 1,2 >
2020 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 1,2,3 >
2020 Major in Geology < PLO 1,5 >
2020 Major in Geology (Intensive) < PLO 1,5 >
2020 Major in Mathematics < PLO 4 >
2020 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2020 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology < PLO 1,3,4 >
2020 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics < PLO 1,3,4 >
2020 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2020 Major in Risk Management < PLO 5 >
2020 Major in Statistics < PLO 2,5 >
2019 Major in Biochemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2019 Major in Biological Sciences < PLO 1,4 >
2019 Major in Biological Sciences (Intensive) < PLO 1,2 >
2019 Major in Chemistry < PLO 3,4 >
2019 Major in Chemistry (Intensive) < PLO 3,4 >
2019 Major in Decision Analytics < PLO 5 >
2019 Major in Earth System Science < PLO 1,5 >
2019 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity < PLO 1,5 >
2019 Major in Ecology & Biodiversity (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2019 Major in Environmental Science < PLO 1,2 >
2019 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 1,2,3 >
2019 Major in Geology < PLO 1,5 >
2019 Major in Geology (Intensive) < PLO 1,5 >
2019 Major in Mathematics < PLO 4 >
2019 Major in Mathematics (Intensive) < PLO 4 >
2019 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology < PLO 1,3,4 >
2019 Major in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics < PLO 1,3,4 >
2019 Major in Physics (Intensive) < PLO 1,3,4 >
2019 Major in Risk Management < PLO 5 >
2019 Major in Statistics < PLO 2,5 >
Offer in 2023 - 2024 Y        1st sem    2nd sem    Examination Dec    May     
Offer in 2024 - 2025 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough mastery of extensive knowledge and skills required for attaining all the course learning outcomes. Show strong analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, with evidence of original thought, and ability to apply knowledge to a wide range of complex, familiar and unfamiliar situations. Critical use of data and results to draw appropriate and insightful conclusions Apply highly effective organizational and presentational skills.
B Demonstrate substantial command of a broad range of knowledge and skills required for attaining at least most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to familiar and some unfamiliar situations. Correct use of data of results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply effective organizational and presentational skills.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete command of knowledge and skills required for attaining most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, and ability to apply knowledge to most familiar situations. Mostly correct but some erroneous use of data and results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply moderately effective organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited command of knowledge and skills required for attaining some of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some coherent and logical thinking, but with limited analytical and critical abilities. Show limited ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Limited ability to use data and results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply limited or barely effective organizational and presentational skills.
Fail Demonstrate little or no evidence of command of knowledge and skills required for attaining the course learning outcomes. Lack of analytical and critical abilities, logical and coherent thinking. Show very little or no ability to apply knowledge to solve problems. Misuse of data and results and/or unable to draw appropriate conclusions. Organization and presentational skills are minimally effective or ineffective.
Communication-intensive Course Y
Course Type Lecture-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Lectures 33
Tutorials 10
Assessment 3 hour in-class quiz 3
Reading / Self study 102
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments tutorials and homework 20 CLO 1,2,3,4,5,6
Examination 45 CLO 1,2,3,4
Presentation project presentation 20 CLO 1,2,3,4,5,6
Test 3 quizzes 15 CLO 1,2,3,4
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Textbook: Sciences: An Integrated Approach by Trefil & Hazen 7th Edition (2013, Wiley)
References: Integrated Science by Tillery, Enger, & Ross 5th Edition (2011, McGrawHill)
Biology: Concepts and Connections by Campbell, Mitchell, & Reece 2nd Edition (1999, Benjamin/Cummings)
Chemistry: An Atoms First Approach by Zumdahl & Zumdahl (2012 Cengage)
Course Website NIL
Additional Course Information Candidates who have been admitted to Year 1 in 2021-22 (and thereafter) and have achieved any one of the following qualifications are exempted from taking SCNC1112. It is optional for them to take this course. Those who do not take this course should take a 6-credit disciplinary elective course of the science major in lieu.
- Level 4 or above in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
- Level 5 or above in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Higher Level in International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Grade B or above in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCEAL)
- Biology, Chemistry, and Physics qualification in Gao Kao will be considered on a case-by-case basis
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