Physics and Astronomy

All Majors & Minors

Courses

  • PHYS-101Q. 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. (LS.)

    PHYS-111Q. General Physics I

    A study of mechanics and thermodynamics, utilizing the principles of calculus in the presentation and in exercises. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH-111, or permission of instructor . Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (LS.)

    PHYS-112. General Physics II

    A continuation of PHYS 111Q. A study of waves, electricity, magnetism, and light, utilizing the principles of calculus in the presentation and in exercises. Prerequisites: PHYS-111Q, MATH-111 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (LS.)

    PHYS-121Q. 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: MATH-111, or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered fall semester. Four semester hours. (LS.)

    PHYS-122Q. Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves

    A study of electricity and magnetism (electric forces, capacitance, currents, magnetic forces, induction). Introduction to vector calculus. Prerequisite or corequisite: PHYS-121, MATH-112, or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered spring semester. Four semester hours. (LS.)

    PHYS-201. Introductory Classical Mechanics

    Vectors, vector calculus, classical mechanics, statics, kinematics, dynamics of a particle, energy, harmonic motion, moving reference systems, central forces, chaos. Prerequisites: PHYS-122, MATH-112. Three hours of lecture. Offered fall semester. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-207W. 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: PHYS-122Q. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-299. 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: PHYS-122, MATH-112. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-301. Introduction to Astrophysics

    Astrometry, astronomical photometry, CCD imaging and image processing, spectroscopy. The astronomical two-body problem, tidal forces, the Sun and planets, observable properties of stars, stellar structure and evolution, binary stars, galaxies and cosmology. Prerequisites: PHYS-201, 207. Three hours lecture and three hours lab per week. Four semester hours. (LS.)

    PHYS-304. 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: PHYS-122, PHYS-299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-305. 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: PHYS-201, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-316. Mathematical Physics II

    Complex analysis, partial differential equations, numerical integration and differentiation, numerical solution of ordinary differential equations, Fourier and Laplace transforms. Prerequisite: PHYS-299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-328W. 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: PHYS-122. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.

    PHYS-329W. Digital Electronics

    Foundations of digital electronics, including data acquisition systems, with emphasis on laboratory techniques and the written communication of scientific results  Prerequisite: PHYS-122. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.

    PHYS-338W. 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: PHYS-207W. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.

    PHYS-339W. 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: PHYS-207W. One hour of lecture; an average of three hours of laboratory per week. Two semester hours.

    PHYS-350. 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.

    PHYS-381. 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 on-site 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. (I.)

    PHYS-382. 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 on-site 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. (I.)

    PHYS-401. Applications of Quantum Mechanics

    The hydrogen atom, angular momentum, systems of identical particles, perturbation theory, and other applications selected from atomic, molecular, solid-state, and nuclear physics. Offered fall semester in odd numbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS-207W, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-405. Computational Physics

    Sophisticated numerical and nonlinear techniques will be developed and applied to modern and traditional problems in physics. Problems whose solutions are not accessible analytically will be explored through the use of symbolic and compiled languages with visualization. Prerequisites: PHYS-299, CS-371, or permission of a member of the physics faculty. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-409. Electrodynamics

    Electric and magnetic fields and potentials, Laplace’s equation, dielectrics and magnetic materials, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves. Offered spring semester in even-numbered years. Prerequisites: PHYS-122, 201, 299. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-410. 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. Prerequisites: PHYS-201, 299 Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    PHYS-411. 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.

    PHYS-412. Research

    Continuation of PHYS-411. This course can be taken more than once. An average of three hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    PHYS-421. Research

    Same as PHYS-411, 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.

    PHYS-422. Research 

    Continuation of PHYS-421. This course can be taken more than once. An average of six hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

    PHYS-431. Research 

    Same as PHYS-421, 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. (I.)

    PHYS-432. Research 

    Continuation of PHYS-431. An average of nine hours of research work per week. Graded S/U. Three semester hours. (I.)

    PHYS-450W. Senior 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 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. Four semester hours. 

    PHYS-491. Research/Independent Work 

    This course is open to candidates for departmental honors and to other students with the permission of the departmental chairman. Four semester hours. (I.)

    PHYS-492W. Research/Independent Work 

    A continuation of PHYS-491. Writing a major paper and giving an oral presentation are required. Prerequisite: PHYS-491. Four semester hours. (I.)

    PHYS-499. Physics Assessment 

    A course required of all Physics majors designed to assess their learning in the physics program. Taken in the student’s last semester. Graded S/U. Zero semester hours.