Academic Bulletin Physics - Course Descriptions - 2009-10

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PHY 101 Astronomy: Fundamentals and Frontiers

An introductory course intended for the non-science liberal arts student. Historical and philosophical ideas will be stressed as well as the experimental concepts and methods used in astronomy. A good working knowledge of algebra, plane geometry, and trigonometry is required. Satisfies half of the laboratory science requirement. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Credits: 1

PHY 111 General Physics I

An introduction to classical mechanics for physics and other science majors. Topics include Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, and rotational dynamics. The lab will introduce data acquisition and analysis techniques. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Prerequisite: Mathematics 111 or 110 (or concurrent registration) or permission of instructor.


Credits: 1

PHY 112 General Physics II for Science Majors

Selected topics in wave physics, optics, and electromagnetism for students not planning to take additional courses in the department. Students intending to major or minor in physics must take Physics 113 instead of Physics 112. The lab will focus on general techniques used by physicists that are useful in all sciences. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the spring semester. (Note: A student who takes Physics 112 and decides to major or minor in physics may seek permission from the department chair to replace Physics 114 with Physics 112.)


Prerequisite: Physics 111.


Credits: 1

PHY 113 General Physics II for Physics Majors & Minors

An introduction to thermal physics and special relativity. Topics include the laws of thermodynamics, statistical nature of entropy, Lorentz transformations, equivalence of mass and energy. (While this course is required for a physic’s major or minor, it may be taken by an interested student who meets the prerequisites.) The lab will introduce the methodology of experimental design, numerical techniques for solving differential equations, and the writing of scientific papers using LaTeX software. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 111 and Mathematics 112 (or concurrent registration).


Credits: 1

PHY 114 General Physics III

This class introduces the fundamental concepts in electromagnetism, waves, and optics. The lab will build on the techniques learned in Physics 113 and will include intermediate experiment design, significant data analysis, and further techniques in preparing scientific papers for publication. An introduction to electro dynamics, optics, and wave physics. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 113 and Mathematics 112.


Credits: 1

PHY 210 Modern Physics

Historical introduction to quantum theory with applications to atomic, solid state, nuclear, and particle physics. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 114 (or Physics 112 with permission of the instructor) and Mathematics 223 (or concurrent registration or permission of the instructor).


Credits: 1

PHY 220 Electronics

Introduction to analog and digital electronics. Fundamentals of DC and AC circuits, transistors, and amplifiers will be covered. Includes 1 lab per week. This course is offered in the spring semester, 2010-2011 and alternate years.


Prerequisite: Physics 112 or 114 or permission of the instructor.


Credits: 1

PHY 230 Thermal Physics

Introduction to thermal and statistical physics. The laws of thermodynamics are studied from microscopic and macroscopic perspectives. Quantum statistical mechanics will be developed and applied to blackbody radiation, fermionic and bosonic systems. This course is offered in the spring semester, 2009-2010 and alternate years.


Prerequisite: Physics 210.


Credits: 1

PHY 277 Special Topics

Special interest course. One or one-half course credit each semester.


Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

PHY 278 Special Topics

Special interest course. One or one-half course credit each semester.


Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


Credits: 1/2

PHY 287 Independent Study

Independent Study.


Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

PHY 288 Independent Study

Independent Study.


Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


Credits: 1 or 1/2

PHY 310 Classical Mechanics

Advanced topics in classical mechanics, including harmonic motion and Lagrangian mechanics. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 114 (or permission of instructor) and Mathematics 224.


Credits: 1

PHY 314 Electrodynamics

Advanced explorations in understanding and applying Maxwell’s equations. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 114 and Mathematics 224 and 225.


Credits: 1

PHY 315 Quantum Mechanics

Introduction to quantum mechanics. Topics include Dirac notation, postulates of quantum mechanics, and applications to important physical systems. This course is offered in the fall semester.


Prerequisites: Physics 210 and Mathematics 223 and 224 or permission of the instructor.


Credits: 1

PHY 316 Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics

Applications of quantum mechanics, including the general theory of angular momentum, identical particle systems, perturbation theory, atom-photon interactions, and Bell’s theorem. This course is offered in the spring semester.


Prerequisite: Physics 315.


Credits: 1

PHY 381 Advanced Laboratory

Students will participate in a broad range of experiments that cover major research areas in contemporary physics, including atomic, molecular, and optical physics, condensed matter physics, and nuclear and particle physics. At least one lab will be designed and built by the students. Advanced measurement and data analysis techniques will be used. All experiments will be planned, executed, and presented according to current professional standards. Should be taken in consecutive fall and spring semesters and may be taken multiple times.


Prerequisite: Physics 210.


Credits: 1/2

PHY 105 Adventures in Physics

A one-semester course for the non-science liberal-arts student what investigates the world from the viewpoint of a physicist. Topics will vary and will be announced prior to registration. Partially fulfills the college laboratory science requirement, but does not count toward a physics major or minor. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester 2009-2010.


Credits: 1