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Description of Courses

Back to 2009-2011 undergraduate catalog home

PHY PHYSICS (School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences)

101. Investigations in Physics- 3-2-4
Investigation of important physics concepts through hands-on activities and experiments, as well as some discussion of philosophical and social implications.  Topics include motion, energy, entropy, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, atomic theory, and nuclear physics.  Intended to satisfy general-education requirement in science for non-science majors.  Credit not allowed toward Concentration I physics major.

111. General Physics I with Algebra - 3-2-4
Introductory physics using algebra and trigonometry. Topics include motion in one and two dimensions, Newton's Laws, conservation principles and rotational motion. Thermodynamics, waves, sound and fluids will be covered as time allows. PR: MAT 120 or MAT 201 or CI.

112. General Physics II with Algebra - 3-2-4
Continuation of PHY 111. Topics include electricity, magnetism, geometric optics, wave optics, special relativity, and elementary quantum physics. PR: PHY 111 or CI.

211. General Physics I with Calculus - 3-2-4
General college physics using calculus. Topics covered include mathematical description of motion, Newton's Laws, conservation principles, elementary thermodynamics and special relativity, as time permits. CR: MAT 201

212. General Physics II with Calculus - 3-2-4
Continuation of PHY 211, but may be taken first by very capable students with consent of instructor. Topics covered include electricity, magnetism, light and basic quantum mechanics. CR: MAT 203.

302. Classical Mechanics I - 3-0-3
Vectors and vector calculus, dynamics of a single particle, oscillations and chaos, gravitation, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics and motion under central forces. PR: MAT 203 and grade of C- or better in PHY 211, or CI.

303. Electricity and Magnetism - 3-0-3
Vector calculus, electrostatic fields, magnetic fields, Maxwell's equations, waves. PR: MAT 203 and grade of C- or better in PHY 212, or CI; MAT 303 helpful.

307WI. Modern Physics - 3-0-3
Special relativity, particle properties of waves, wave properties of particles, Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Bohr theory, elementary quantum theory and its application to the hydrogen atom. PR: grade of C- or better in PHY 211 and 212, or CI.

310. Measuring the Fundamental Constants - 1-2-2
Laboratory projects to measure the fundamental constraints of nature, including the speed of light, Planck's constant, Newton's gravitational constant, and the mass of the electron. PR: PHY 212.

311. Experimental Methods in Physics - 1-2-2
Laboratory projects chosen to introduce the student to methods of modern experimental research and analysis. Includes study of error propagation. PR: PHY 212.

402WI. Classical Mechanics II - 3-0-3
Systems of particles, noninertial reference frames, motion of rigid bodies, phase space dynamics and introduction to chaos in Hamiltonian systems. CR: MAT 304; PR: PHY 302; MAT 303 helpful.

403. Electrodynamics, Radiation and Optics - 3-0-3
Advanced applications of Maxwell's equations, including radiation, wave optics and modern modifications. May also include study of electrodynamics in matter. PR: PHY 303.

410. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics - 3-0-3
The laws of thermodynamics, the kinetic theory of gases and an introduction to statistical mechanics. PR: PHY 307WI.

411. Advanced Topics - 2-0-2 to 3-0-3
Topics of mutual interest to students and professors, which cannot be scheduled regularly. Normally for juniors and seniors.

430WI. Quantum Mechanics - 3-0-3
An introduction to the techniques of quantum mechanics including the Schrödinger equation, eigenvalues and eigenstates, operators, matrix mechanics, and elementary perturbation theory. Simple systems such as barrier potentials, the harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom will be examined. Philosophical aspects of quantum mechanics will be discussed whenever possible. PR: PHY 307WI; MAT 303 helpful.

433. Solid State Physics- 3-0-3
Application of quantum mechanics to understand the properties of solids, including crystal structures, electrical conductivity, lattice vibrations, and magnetic ordering.  Other potential topics include semiconductors, an introduction to superconductivity, and liquid crystals.  PR:  PHY410 or PHY430 or CI

435WI. Subatomic Physics - 3-0-3
Topics chosen to fit the students' preparation and interest. Potential topics include the atomic nucleus, quantum electrodynamics, conservation laws and symmetries, and the standard model of particle physics. PR: PHY 307WI; MAT 303 helpful.

490. Physics and Astronomy Seminar - 1-0-1
Current literature and research reports by faculty, students and visiting speakers. Each student is required to investigate a current research topic in physics or astronomy and perform an oral presentation. For junior and senior physics majors only. May be repeated, but student may not count more than two hours toward physics major or minor. PR: PHY 212.

496. Academic Internship - 3 to 12 hours
Problem-oriented experiences on specific academic projects relating to the individual student's program of study, planned in consultation with the student's advisor. PR: See general provisions for academic internships in this catalog.

498. Directed Study - 1 to 3 hours
Directed study, readings and problem solving in an area of special interest. May be repeated. PR: JS or SS; major or minor; and approval of school dean.

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