Physics and Astronomy
Faculty

Professors Carroll, Riley (Chair); Assistant Professors Schwarz, MartinWells

The courses in physics are designed to give the student an understanding of the logic and structure of physics. Methods of analysis and presentation of concepts and ideas are emphasized. Laboratory work demonstrates the dependence of physical theory on experimentation.
Requirements for Majors
Physics Track
Students must take the following courses:
 CS173; MATH112; PHYS121Q, 122Q, 201, 207W, 299, 450W, 499
 any two of PHYS328W, 329W, 338W, 339W
 any three of PHYS304, 401, 409, 410
 and at least four credits of additional work at the 300level or above
Applied Physics Track
Option A
Students must take the following courses:
 CS173; MATH112; PHYS121Q, 122Q, 201, 207W, 299, PHYS328W, 329W, 338W, 339W, 450W, and 499
 any three of PHYS304, 306, 401, 405, 409, 410
 An internship (PHYS381 or PHYS382) or at least two credits of research (from PHYS411, 412, 421, 422, 431, 432, 491)
Option B
Students participating in one of our pre engineering partnerships have the option of completing the Applied Physics Track by taking the following courses:
 CS173; MATH112; PHYS121Q, 122Q, 201, 207W, 299
 any two of PHYS328W, 329W, 338W, 339W
 PHYS304, 306, 405, 409, or 410
and completing one year of course work toward an engineering major at one of our partner schools.
Note: The Applied Physics Track Option B requires courses beyond those required by the preengineering program, and it is entirely optional.
Astrophysics Track
Students must take the following courses:
 CS173; MATH112; PHYS121Q, 122Q, 201, 207W, 299, 450W, 499
 any two of PHYS328W, 329W, 338W, 339W
 any three of PHYS304, 401, 409, 410
 PHYS301, and at least two credits of research (from PHYS411, 412, 421, 422, 431, 432, 491)
Physics majors fulfill the W, oral presentation, and capstone requirements by taking PHYS207W, and at least two of 328W, 329W, 338W, 339W, and 450W
Students anticipating graduate study in physics or astrophysics should select additional courses from PHYS305, 306, 401, 409, 410 and from MATH235, 310, 413.
Requirements for Secondary School Teaching Certification
Students must take the following courses:
 BIO101Q or 102Q or ENV100; MATH112 and CS173; PHYS121Q, 122Q, 201, 207W, 299, 450W, 499
 any two of PHYS328W, 329W, 338W, 339W
 any three of PHYS304, 401, 409, 410
 and at least four credits of additional work at the 300level or above
Requirements for Minors
Minor concentration in physics:
A minor in Physics consists of courses totaling 20 semester hours. Additionally, MATH112 or equivalent is a pre or corequisite for PHYS122Q and higher.
These courses must include PHYS121Q and 122Q; at least one of PHYS201, 207W, or 299; and twelve credits of additional work at the 200 level or higher (excluding PHYS450).Preengineering:
Students interested in pursuing preengineering should contact the departmental preengineering adviser at the earliest opportunity to plan a program of study.
Courses

PHYS101Q. Introduction to Astronomy
A survey of astronomy, including the following topics: the development of astronomy as a modern science, the birth and death of stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes), the origin of the solar system, galaxies and the origin of the universe, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS111Q. General Physics I
An algebra/trigonometrybased introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics. Prerequisite: MATH110 or equivalent algebra and trigonometry preparation. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS112. General Physics II
A continuation of PHYS111Q. An algebra/trigonometrybased introduction to waves, electricity, magnetism, and light. Prerequisite: MATH110 or equivalent algebra and trigonometry preparation. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS121Q. Spacetime and Quantum Physics
A study of special relativity and an introduction to quantum physics, utilizing the principles of calculus in the presentation and in exercises. Topics will include spacetime diagrams, the relativity of simultaneity, time dilation, relativistic kinematics, probability, quantization, and interference. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH111, or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered fall semester. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS122Q. Electromagnetism and Thermodynamics
A study of electricity and magnetism and thermal physics. Introduction to vector calculus. Prerequisite or corequisite: PHYS121, MATH112; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered spring semester. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS201. Introductory Classical Mechanics
Vectors, vector calculus, classical mechanics, statics, kinematics, dynamics of a particle, energy, harmonic motion, moving reference systems, central forces, chaos. Prerequisites: PHYS122, MATH112. Three hours of lecture. Offered fall semester. Four semester hours.
PHYS207W. Modern Physics
Origins of quantum theory, physics of atoms, molecules, solids, nuclei, and elementary particles. Work will include a literature review and presentation on a topic of current interest. Offered spring semester. Prerequisites: PHYS122Q. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS299. Mathematical Physics I
Ordinary differential equations, special functions of mathematical physics, linear algebra, coordinate transformations, vector analysis, Fourier series, numerical solution of algebraic equations. Offered spring semester. Prerequisites: PHYS122, MATH112. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS301. Introduction to Astrophysics
Astrometry, astronomical photometry, CCD imaging and image processing, spectroscopy. The astronomical twobody problem, tidal forces, the Sun and planets, observable properties of stars, stellar structure and evolution, binary stars, galaxies and cosmology. Prerequisites: PHYS201, 207. Three hours lecture and three hours lab per week. Four semester hours. (S.)
PHYS304. Thermal Physics
An introduction to thermodynamics and classical and quantum statistical mechanics with an emphasis on the statistical foundations. Topics include temperature, laws of thermodynamics, work, heat, energy, entropy, thermodynamic potentials, kinetic theory of dilute gases, equations of state. Offered fall semester in even numbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS122, PHYS299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS305. General Relativity
Development of Einstein’s theory of general relativity from basic physical principles. Introduction to the mathematics of curved spacetime. Astrophysical applications, including gravitomagnetism, blackholes, cosmology and the creation and detection of gravitational waves. Prerequisite: PHYS201, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS306. Materials Science
A study of the basic principles necessary to understand structureproperty relations in engineering materials. Topics will include the study of structure–property relationship in materials, tools for characterization, properties ranging from mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic, and chemical in nature and the application of modern materials. Prerequisites: PHYS121, 122; or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS328W. Analog Electronics
Foundations of analog circuits, including DC and AC circuits, transistors, and operational amplifiers with emphasis on laboratory techniques and the written communication of scientific results. Prerequisite: PHYS122. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.
PHYS329W. Digital Electronics
Foundations of digital electronics, including data acquisition systems, with emphasis on laboratory techniques and the written communication of scientific results Prerequisite: PHYS122. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.
PHYS338W. Advanced Physics Laboratory I
Experimental investigations of physical phenomena with emphasis on laboratory techniques and the written and oral communication of scientific results. Offered spring semester. Prerequisites: PHYS207W. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.
PHYS339W. Advanced Physics Laboratory II
Experimental investigations of physical phenomena with emphasis on laboratory techniques and the written and oral communication of scientific results. Offered spring semester. Prerequisites: PHYS207W. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.
PHYS350. Special Topics in Physics
Study and discussion of advanced topics or recent developments in physics. Students must consult the chair of the department before registering for this course. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS381. Internship
A laboratory project in cooperation with industry at an industrial site, a national lab, or other appropriate academic site. Before beginning the internship, the student must submit a proposal to be approved by the Physics faculty and the onsite supervisor. Upon completion of the work, written and/or oral reports must be presented to the department. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Graded S/U. Three semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS382. Internship
A laboratory project in cooperation with industry at an industrial site, a national lab, or other appropriate academic site. Before beginning the internship, the student must submit a proposal to be approved by the Physics faculty and the onsite supervisor. Upon completion of the work, written and/or oral reports must be presented to the department. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Graded S/U. Four semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS401. Applications of Quantum Mechanics
The hydrogen atom, angular momentum, systems of identical particles, perturbation theory, and other applications selected from atomic, molecular, solidstate, and nuclear physics. Offered fall semester in odd numbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS207W, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS409. Electrodynamics
Electric and magnetic fields and potentials, Laplace’s equation, dielectrics and magnetic materials, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves. Offered spring semester in evennumbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS122, 201, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS410. Classical Mechanics
Dynamics of a system of particles, mechanics of rigid bodies, general motion of a rigid body, Lagrange’s equations, Hamilton’s equations, theory of vibrations, with an emphasis on numerical problem solving and visualization. Offered spring semester in oddnumbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS201, 299 Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS411. Research
Investigations, of experimental or theoretical nature, pursued independently by the student. The preparation of a summarizing report is required. To register for this course, a student must have the consent of a member of the physics Faculty to serve as the adviser. This course can be taken more than once. An average of three hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.
PHYS412. Research
Continuation of PHYS411. This course can be taken more than once. An average of three hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.
PHYS421. Research
Same as PHYS411, but more extensive in scope. This course can be taken more than once. An average of six hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.
PHYS422. Research
Continuation of PHYS421. This course can be taken more than once. An average of six hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.
PHYS431. Research
Same as PHYS421, but more extensive in scope. This course can be taken more than once. An average of nine hours of research work per week. Graded S/U.Three semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS432. Research
Continuation of PHYS431. An average of nine hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. Three semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS450W. Seminar
Senior Seminar is the capstone course in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Each student will select a topic of current interest in physics and investigate the primary literature on that topic. Students pursuing the astrophysics or applied physics tracks will select topics within those domains. Students will meet and give a series of informal presentations on their chosen topics. The final products of the course are a formal literature review paper and a presentation. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.
PHYS491. Research/Independent Work
This course is open to candidates for departmental honors and to other students with the permission of the departmental chairman. This course can be taken more than once. Twelve hours per week. Four semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS492W. Research/Independent Work
A continuation of PHYS491. Writing a major paper and giving an oral presentation are required. Prerequisite: PHYS491. Twelve Hours per Week.Four semester hours. (XLP.)
PHYS499. Physics Assessment
A course required of all senior Physics majors, designed to assess their learning in the physics program. Offered in fall semester. Graded S/U. Zero semester hours.