School of Humanities and Sciences

Physics Courses

PHYS 10100 - Introduction to Physics I 2A LA NS

Principles and concepts of classical physics (algebra-based). Mechanics, including rotational motion and energy and momentum conservation, properties of matter, heat and thermodynamics. Three lectures and one recitation/laboratory per week or three two-hour lecture/recitation/laboratory sessions per week. Prerequisite: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 4 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 10200 - Introduction to Physics II 2A LA NS

A continuation from PHYS 10100 of the principles and concepts of classical physics (algebra-based). Standing waves and sound, physical and geometrical optics, electrostatics, magnetism, DC and AC circuits, and an introduction to atomic physics. Three lectures and one recitation/laboratory per week or three two-hour lecture/recitation/laboratory sessions per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 10100. 4 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 11400 - Introduction to Experimental Physics LA NS

This course is an introduction to modern experimental physics for all beginning physics majors or those considering the major. Students will become acquainted with modern experimental tools and techniques through a series of short, hands-on projects, with an emphasis on data-taking as well as data analysis via computers. Students will gain experience with astronomical observations, liquid cryogens, electronic circuitry, remote sensing devices, as well as the machine shop. Pass/D/Fail only. 1 credit. (F,Y)

PHYS 11700 - Principles of Physics I: Mechanics 2A LA NS

Intended as the first semester of calculus-based college physics for students majoring in science or mathematics. Topics include vectors, kinematics in one and two dimensions, dynamics, work, energy, momentum, rotational motion, oscillation, and the properties of fluids. Emphasis is placed on the mathematical analysis of concepts. Three two-hour lecture/recitation/laboratory sessions per week. Prerequisites: MATH 11100 (may be taken concurrently). 4 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 11800 - Principles of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 2A LA NS

Intended as the second semester of calculus-based college physics for students majoring in science or mathematics. Topics include static electric fields and Coulomb's law, Gauss's law, electric potential, capacitors, Ohm's law, the magnetic field and Ampere's law, induction and Faraday's law, and elementary circuit theory. Emphasis is placed on mathematical analysis. Three two-hour lecture/recitation/laboratory sessions per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 11700; MATH 11200 (may be taken concurrently). 4 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 12000 - Introductory Applied Physics Laboratory LA NS

A laboratory course designed to develop experimental skills. Focus is on the use of modern electronics and computers to measure and analyze data. Students construct analog and digital circuits and then use them to carry out experiments illustrating physical principles from mechanics and electricity and magnetism. Prerequisite: PHYS 11800 (may be taken concurrently). 3 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 14300 - Power: Energy Options for a Global Society 2A LA NS

Survey of energy. Topics include energy technologies and energy resources (fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass). Students are introduced to electricity, heat production and transfer, heat engines, energy efficiency, and sustainable energy systems. Energy use sectors such as residential, commercial, and transportation are examined. The course begins with a look at energy use in the home and gradually expands to complex subjects such as the electrical grid, national energy policy, deregulation, and international fusion research. The emphasis is on energy literacy and the goal is to provide students with the basic technical principles necessary to design energy projects of their own and to evaluate their costs and benefits. 3 credits. (S,E)

PHYS 16000 - Physics of Sound 2A LA NS

Physical basis of sound, with an emphasis placed on musical instruments, the human voice, and sound recording and reproduction. Physics concepts are introduced and developed as needed to understand these areas. Open to all students. Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 3 credits. (Y)

PHYS 17100 - Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World 2A LA NS

Formation and evolution of planet Earth from the astronomer's perspective: creation of elements, the first rocks, development of oceans, the first atmosphere, formation of the moon, records of climate history, and how life on Earth fits into the context of life in the universe. Examination of Venus and Mars as possible analogs for Earth's evolution (past and future). Other topics include the influence of the sun on Earth's climate, the greenhouse effect, the geologic record of the development of continents, and the asteroid and comet impact hazard. Emphasis is placed on our sources of knowledge, the errors of our measurements, and the attendant model uncertainties in predicting Earth's future. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17100 and PHYS 17200. Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 3 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 17200 - Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World with Lab 2A LA NS

Formation and evolution of planet Earth from the astronomer's perspective: creation of elements, the first rocks, development of oceans, the first atmosphere, formation of the moon, records of climate history, and how life on Earth fits into the context of life in the universe. Examination of Venus and Mars as possible analogs for Earth's evolution (past and future). Other topics include the influence of the sun on Earth's climate, the greenhouse effect, the geologic record of the development of continents, and the asteroid and comet impact hazard. Emphasis is placed on our sources of knowledge, the errors of our measurements, and the attendant model uncertainties in predicting Earth's future. Students enrolled in this course attend the lecture of PHYS 17100, but also meet for an additional weekly lab. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17100 and PHYS 17200. Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 4 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 17400 - Solar System Astronomy 2A LA NS

Survey of the solar system from the earliest conceptions of motions in the sky to modern findings
of space exploration in the solar system. Emphasis is placed on physical processes and dynamics
of the moon, earth, planets, comets, meteoric matter, and asteroids. Astronomical instruments
and measurements. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17400 and PHYS 17600.
Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 3 credits. (Y)

PHYS 17500 - Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe 2A LA NS

"Survey of the universe lying beyond the solar system; introduction to characteristics and motions
of stars; stellar structure and evolution; interstellar matter; star clusters, the sun, galaxies;
introduction to cosmology; the question of life in the universe; astronomical instruments and
measurements. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17500 and PHYS 17700.
Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 3 credits. (Y)

PHYS 17600 - Solar System Astronomy with Lab 2A LA NS

Introduction to observational procedures in stellar and galactic astronomy. Activities include
both outdoor observing sessions and indoor lab exercises. Outdoor sessions emphasize learning
the night sky and hands-on use of telescopes. Indoor laboratories emphasize data analysis
through the use of celestial globes, spectroscopes, computer simulation, and image processing.
Students enrolled in this course attend the lecture of PHYS 17400 Solar System Astronomy, but also meet for an additional weekly evening lab. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17400 and PHYS 17600. Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100. 4 credits. (Y)

PHYS 17700 - Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe with Lab 2A LA NS

"Introduction to observational procedures in stellar and galactic astronomy. Activities include
both outdoor observing sessions and indoor lab exercises. Outdoor sessions emphasize learning
the night sky and hands-on use of telescopes. Indoor laboratories emphasize data analysis
through the use of celestial globes, spectroscopes, computer simulation, and image processing.
Students enrolled in this course attend the lecture of PHYS 17500 Stars, Galaxies, and the
Universe but also meet for an additional weekly evening lab. Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 17500 and PHYS 17700. Prerequisites: Math placement in group 2 or 1 or MATH 13100.
4 credits. (Y)

PHYS 21700 - Principles of Physics III: Waves, Optics and Thermodynamics LA NS

"The third semester of the introductory sequence for science majors. Topics include the first and second laws of thermodynamics, Maxwell distribution, entropy, geometrical optics, interference, diffraction (single and double slits and gratings), optical spectra, and polarization. Prerequisites: PHYS 11800; MATH 11200. 4 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 21800 - Principles of Physics IV: Modern Physics LA NS

A course aimed at giving students a working knowledge of the concepts of modern physics. Topics include the theory of relativity, interaction of photons with matter, quantum theory, the hydrogen atom, statistical and solid state physics, nuclear physics, and elementary particles. Prerequisites: PHYS 21700. 4 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 22500 - DC and AC Circuits LA NS

Experiments on DC and AC circuits, with emphasis placed both on test instruments and accurate measurements, and on mathematical analysis and theory (including the use of complex numbers for AC theory). Circuits include steady state and transient RC and RL, and series and parallel RLC. Prerequisites: PHYS 11800; PHYS 12000. 3 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 29600 - Independent Study: Physics LA

One-semester course in which a student may pursue a topic of interest in physics. Offered on demand only. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above; permission of instructor. 0.5-3 credits; 6 credit limit.

PHYS 29900 - Independent Research - Introduction LA
PHYS 29901 - Independent Research - Introduction LA

Original research participation with faculty member in a specialized field. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above; permission of instructor. 0.5-3 credits; 6 credit limit. (F-S,Y)

PHYS 30100 - Mathematical Methods of Physics LA NS

Algebra of complex numbers and complex functions, vector calculus, ordinary differential
equations, Fourier and Legendre series, and partial differential equations with applications to
selected physics topics. There will be several exercises using computer analysis. Prerequisites:
COMP 17100; MATH 21100; PHYS 21800. 3 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 30500 - Electromagnetism LA NS

An intermediate course in electricity and magnetism that builds on the foundation received in PHYS 11800. Topics include electric and magnetic fields, Gauss's law, electric potential, circuits, Ampere's law, Faraday's law, and Maxwell's equations. There will be several exercises using computer analysis. It is highly recommended that MATH 21200 Calculus IV be taken prior to this course. Prerequisites: COMP 17100; MATH 21100; PHYS 21700. 3 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 31100 - Analytical Mechanics LA NS

Intermediate mechanics, including statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, central forces, planetary motion, Lagrange's equation, and Hamilton's equation. Extensive computer analysis. Prerequisites: PHYS 11800; PHYS 30100. 3 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 32000 - Thermodynamics LA NS

Topics include laws of thermodynamics with applications, thermodynamic functions and potentials, kinetic theory, real and idealized systems, and intermolecular processes. Prerequisites: PHYS 21700. 3 credits. (S,O)

PHYS 32600 - Analog Electronics LA NS

A laboratory course on electronics covering the origination, amplification, processing, and digital conversion of analog signals. Experiments involve bipolar transistors, operational amplifiers, active and passive filters, oscillators, and analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters. Emphasis is placed on the basic theory underlying the circuits and devices and on general lab techniques. Prerequisites: PHYS 22500. 3 credits. (S,E)

PHYS 35100 - Digital Electronics LA NS

A laboratory course on digital electronics covering combinatorial and sequential logic, microprocessors, and interfacing. Experiments involve basic logic gates, flip-flops, counters, memories, multiplexers, demultiplexers, microprocessors, and interfacing counter/timers. Prerequisites: PHYS 22500. 3 credits. (IRR)

PHYS 36000 - Intermediate Physics Laboratory LA NS

An intermediate laboratory course in which students are expected to conduct four or five investigations in areas such as mechanics, optics, thermodynamics, and electricity and magnetism. Emphasis is placed on the development of good laboratory techniques and data-taking procedures. Students work independently and are expected to become familiar with modern developments in instrumentation, formal report writing, and the statistical basis for data analysis. Prerequisites: PHYS 21800; PHYS 22500. 3 credits. (S,Y)

PHYS 39900 - Independent Research - Intermediate LA

Prerequisites: One credit of PHYS 29900; permission of instructor. 0.5-3 credits. (F-S,Y)

PHYS 39901 - Independent Research - Intermediate LA

Prerequisites: Two credits of PHYS 29900; permission of instructor. 0.5-3 credits. (F-S,Y)

PHYS 42100 - Quantum Mechanics LA NS

Emphasis is placed on understanding the nature of quantum theory and how it differs from classical ideas. Topics include the uncertainty principle, the Schrödinger equation and solutions to various potentials, perturbation theory, and the one-electron atom. Prerequisites: PHYS 31100. 3 credits. (F,Y)

PHYS 45100 - Advanced Physics Laboratory LA NS

Students are expected to gain a thorough understanding of several experiments carried out during the term, rather than to complete a large number of small projects. Emphasis is placed on independent work. Available experiments include nuclear techniques, gamma ray spectroscopy, and the Mossbauer effect. Prerequisites: PHYS 36000. 3 credits. (S,E)

PHYS 45500 - Electrodynamics LA NS

Builds on the foundation gained in PHYS 30500. Topics include electric and magnetic fields, Gauss's law, electric potential, circuits, Ampere's law, Faraday's law, and Maxwell's equations. Prerequisites: PHYS 30500. 3 credits. (IRR)

PHYS 47000 - Selected Topics in Advanced Physics LA NS

A capstone course in which students apply their physics skills to advanced topics. Current topics will be chosen based on faculty and student interests and may include advanced astronomy, environmental science, geophysics, and physics topics such as atomic, condensed matter, nuclear, and optical physics. This course may be repeated for credit for selected topics on different subjects. Prerequisites: Senior standing; permission of instructor. 3 credits. (Y)

PHYS 49800 - Senior Thesis LA NS

The senior thesis is a capstone experience in which seniors prepare, summarize, and present their own basic or applied research in physics in a formal written thesis. Completion of the senior thesis is required for the bachelor of science in physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 39900, concurrent registration in PHYS 49900. 3 credits. (S)

PHYS 49900 - Independent Research - Advanced LA

Prerequisites: One credit of PHYS 39900; permission of instructor. 0.5-3 credits. (F-S,Y)