Academic Programs



Physics Courses

PHYS 1014 Conceptual Physics
A qualitative introduction to the basic principles and ideas of mechanics, heat, thermodynamics, waves, electricity, magnetism, and optics. Demonstrations, exercises, and experiments will be used to construct the fundamental concepts. Emphasis will be placed on verbal interpretation, arithmetical reasoning, functional reasoning, and graphical interpretation. There will be some quantitative and algebraic interpretation. The course is designed for all students. Lecture and laboratory. II Natural Science

PHYS 1024 Measuring the Universe
An investigation of the methods used by cosmologists to determine the sizes and ages of our solar system, galaxy, and universe. Students will study gravity, light, optics (including telescopes), the formation of stars and black holes, Doppler shifts, and the expansion of the universe. Lecture and laboratory. II Natural Science

PHYS 2115 University Physics I
A calculus-based introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics. Fundamental principles such as energy and momentum conservation are stressed. The development of problem-solving skills is also emphasized. This is a required course for physics, chemistry, biology, and preengineering majors. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 1304. II Natural Science or IV

PHYS 2125 University Physics II
A continuation of PHYS 2115. The fundamental concepts of electricity, magnetism, and optics will be developed in a calculus environment. Continued stress on problem-solving skills. Required for physics, chemistry, biology, and pre-engineering majors. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2115. IV

PHYS 2154 Special Relativity
An introduction to Einsteins special theory of relativity with emphasis on Lorentz transformations of fundamental physical quantities and descriptions of particle motions using space-time diagrams. Interesting effects such as time dilation, length contraction, the Doppler shift and the twin paradox will be studied. Conservation of mass-energy will be applied to problems in nuclear and particle physics, and the relationship between electricity and magnetism will be investigated. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125. IV

PHYS 2164 Modern Physics
An elementary presentation of quantum physics, followed by applications to atoms and molecules, as well as an introduction to statistical mechanics. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125. IV

PHYS 2404 Optics
A study of geometrical, physical, and modern optics. Emphasis on the electromagnetic wave nature of light and the particle nature of light, photons. Topics include reflection and refraction, lenses, optical instruments, interference, diffraction, polarization, spectroscopy, lasers, and laser light. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125. IV

PHYS 2444 Special Topics in Physics
Exploration of a theme or physical theory that may be of special interest, but is not fully treated in other courses in the program. Usually offered in May term, with topics announced in advance. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125 or permission of instructor. IV

PHYS 3014 Classical Mechanics
A study of the statics and dynamics of mechanical systems of interest to engineering and physics majors. Includes study of kinematics and dynamics presented in various reference frames, coordinate transformations between frames, rotation of rigid bodies, moments of inertia, spinning tops, conservation laws, central forces, and introductory Lagrangian mechanics. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125. IV

PHYS 3054 Electricity and Magnetism
Intermediate mathematical treatment of electric and magnetic fields and potentials. Electric and magnetic properties of matter, circuits, introduction to Maxwells equations, radiation, and physical optics. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: PHYS 2154 and MATH 2144. IV

PHYS 3101 Research in Physics
A laboratory course designed to acquaint the student with the techniques and equipment used for experimental research. Topics include using the oscilloscope, single particle counting techniques, high-precision optical measurement, basic electronics, methods of data analysis and error analysis. (1/4 course unit.)CR/NC grading. May be repeated once. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2125.

PHYS 4064 Quantum Mechanics
Introduces the postulates of quantum mechanics and develops the Schroedinger equation along with angular momentum theory and perturbation techniques. Cases of special interest are studied including the hydrogen atom, the harmonic oscillator, and the Born approximation for two body collisions. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 2164. IV

PHYS 4102 Senior Research in Physics
A capstone laboratory course involving independent research in atomic and molecular collisions. Students will typically modify existing apparatus and perform new measurements. Results will be presented in a formal paper. (1/2 course unit.) Prerequisite: PHYS 3101.

PHYS 4214 Independent Study in Physics
Study of a topic chosen by the student in consultation with a professor. The topic should be appropriate for an undergraduate major in content and level of difficulty, but should also be one that is not covered in other courses. Major pattern elective in physics. Standard or CR/NC grading. Prerequisites: Determined by topic.

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