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Physics


Department of Physics

PHYS 110. The Physics of Musical Sounds. 3 credits.

An introductory course covering the physical principles involved in the production, propagation, perception, and reproduction of musical sounds. Topics include simple harmonic motion, spectrum analysis, decibel scales, electronic recording and playback.

*PHYS 115. Physics as Inquiry (2, 2 and 2, 1 on alternate weeks). 3 credits.

Examines selected areas of classical and modern physics using lectures, laboratory work and discussion meetings. A primary objective is to aid the student in developing an understanding of the physical world and an appreciation of aspects of our cultural and philosophical heritage.

*PHYS 120. The Astronomical Perspective (2, 2 and 2, 1 on alternate weeks). 3 credits.

An introductory course in astronomy including its historical development, its relationship to other sciences, and its interaction with the arts and humanities.

PHYS 122. Observational Astronomy for Beginners (0, 2). 1 credit.

An introduction to naked-eye and telescopic astronomical observations. Wells Planetarium will be used when weather conditions prohibit outdoor observations.

PHYS 125. Fundamentals of Electricity. 2 credits.

Introduction to electricity: electric current, fields and their sources, EMF and Faraday's law, Ohm's law, series and parallel circuits, electric power, direct and alternating current, electrical devices, electromagnetic waves, power distribution, and safety. Laboratory experiments and demonstrations integrated with lecture. Not open to students who have passed PHYS 135 or PHYS 250. Prerequisite: MATH 135 or consent of instructor.

PHYS 130. General Physics I (3, 2). 4 credits.

The first semester of a non-calculus sequence in general physics. Topics include principles of mechanics, thermal properties of matter, wave motion and sound. Prerequisite: MATH 135 or equivalent.

PHYS 135. General Physics II (3, 2). 4 credits.

The second semester of a non-calculus sequence in general physics. Topics include electric charges, circuits, magnetism, optics, atomic and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 130.

*PHYS 201. Discovering Physics (2, 2). 3 credits.

Mathematical models are developed for the behavior of portions of the physical world. These models are studied to see what they imply about the physical world. The goal is to teach about both physics and the utility of mathematics in modeling real events. Prerequisite: MATH 205 or corequisite: MATH 235. A student may not earn credit for both PHYS 115 and PHYS 201.

PHYS 202. Discovering Physics II. 3 credits.

A continuation of PHYS 201. The emphasis will be on solving problems involving motion in two and three dimensions with particular attention paid to conservation laws, rotational motion, oscillatory motion and gravitation. PHYS 201 and 202 together may be substituted for PHYS 240 in the physics major program. Prerequisite: PHYS 201 and MATH 235. A student may not earn credit for both PHYS 202 and PHYS 240.

PHYS 215. Energy and the Environment. 2 credits.

Energy uses and their impact upon the environment are studied. The scientific, technological and economic aspects are considered. Potential future sources and uses are examined.

PHYS 240. Principles of Mechanics (3, 3). 4 credits.

An introductory course in classical mechanics which includes kinematics, dynamics, rotational and oscillatory motion, energy and momentum conservation, and gravitation. Prerequisite: MATH 235. A student may not earn credit for both PHYS 202 and PHYS 240.

PHYS 250. Principles of Electricity and Magnetism (3, 3). 4 credits.

An introductory course in electricity and magnetism which includes electrostatic forces, fields and potentials, magnetic forces and fields, electrical circuits, and Maxwell's equations. Prerequisite: MATH 236 and PHYS 202 or PHYS 240.

PHYS 260. Principles of Waves, Continuous Media and Thermodynamics. 3 credits.

An introductory course in fluid mechanics, waves and thermodynamics which includes statics and dynamics of fluids; waves in elastic media, sound; temperature, heat, and entropy and kinetic theory; and geometrical and physical optics. Corequisite: PHYS 250 and MATH 237.

PHYS 295. Laboratory Apparatus Design and Construction. 1 credit.

An introduction to the design and fabrication of laboratory apparatus using machine tools. Prerequisite: PHYS 250 and permission of the instructor.

PHYS 330. Modern Physics I. 4 credits.

A course in modern physics, including an introduction to the special theory of relativity and a discussion of the experimental basis for and the fundamental principles of quantum physics, with applications to atomic structure. Prerequisite: PHYS 250, with a grade of "C" or better, and MATH 237; corequisite: PHYS 260.

PHYS 335. Modern Physics II. 4 credits.

A continuation of PHYS 330, with applications to molecules, the physics of condensed matter and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 330.

PHYS 341. Mechanics. 3 credits.

Application of the fundamental laws of mechanics to particles and rigid bodies. Topics include statics, dynamics, central forces, oscillatory motion and generalized coordinates. Prerequisite: PHYS 250; corequisite: MATH 336.

PHYS 342. Mechanics II. 3 credits.

A continuation of PHYS 341 including Lagrangian dynamics, rigid body motion and the theory of small oscillations. Prerequisite: PHYS 341.

PHYS 347. Advanced Physics Laboratory I (0, 4). 2 credits.

An advanced laboratory in which students perform experiments from several areas of physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 330.

PHYS 360. Analog Electronics (2, 4). 4 credits.

DC and AC circuits, spectral and pulse circuit response, semiconductor physics, and simple amplifier and oscillator circuits. Prerequisite: PHYS 250 or permission of the instructor.

PHYS/CS 371. Introductory Digital Electronics (2, 4). 2 credits.

Transistors, integrated circuits, logic families, gates, latches, decoders, multiplexers, multivibrators, counters and displays. Prerequisite: PHYS 125, 135 or 250 with a grade of "C" or better, or permission of instructor.

PHYS/CS 372. Microcontrollers and Their Applications (2, 4). 2 credits.

Microcontrollers, their instructions, architecture and applications. Prerequisite: CS/PHYS 371 or consent of instructor.

PHYS/CS 373. Interfacing Microcomputers (2, 4). 2 credits.

A personal computer and its input/output bus, input/output functions, commercially available devices, proto-typing circuit boards, programs for device control. Prerequisite: CS/PHYS 371.

PHYS 380. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. 3 credits.

A treatment of the thermal properties of matter from both macroscopic and microscopic viewpoints. Topics include the laws of thermodynamics, heat, work, internal energy, entropy, elementary statistical concepts, ensembles, classical and quantum statistics and kinetic theory. Approximately equal attention will be given to thermodynamics and to statistical mechanics. Prerequisite: PHYS 330 and PHYS 341.

PHYS 390. Computer Applications in Physics. 3 credits.

Applications of automatic computation in the study of various physical systems. Problems are taken from mechanics of particles and continua, electromagnetism, optics, quantum physics, thermodynamics and transport physics. Prerequisite: MATH/CS 248, PHYS 240 and 250, and six additional credit hours in majors courses in physics excluding PHYS 360, 371 and 372.

PHYS 391-392. Seminar. 1 credit per year.

Participation in the department seminar program. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing and permission of the instructor.

PHYS 398 A, B and C. Problems in Physics. 1-3 credits, repeatable to 4 credits.

An individual project related to some aspect of physics. Must be under the guidance of a faculty adviser.

PHYS 420. Physical Optics. 3 credits.

A study of the kinematic properties and physical nature of light including reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction, polarization, coherence and holography. Prerequisite: PHYS 260 and 330, and MATH 237.

PHYS 430. Statistical Mechanics. 3 credits.

An advanced course in statistical physics, including transport theory, irreversible processes and applications to a variety of systems. Prerequisite: PHYS 380.

PHYS 440. Solid State Physics. 3 credits.

A study of the forces between atoms, crystal structure, lattice vibrations and thermal properties of solids, free electron theory of metals, band theory of solids, semiconductors and dielectrics. Prerequisite: PHYS 330 and one of either PHYS 335 or 430.

PHYS 445. Electricity and Magnetism. 3 credits.

A study of the electrostatic field, the magnetic field, direct and alternating currents, and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite: PHYS 341.

PHYS 446. Electricity and Magnetism II. 3 credits.

A continuation of PHYS 445. Emphasis will be placed on the solutions of Maxwell's equations in the presence of matter, on solving boundary-value problems, and on the theory of electromagnetic radiation. Prerequisite: PHYS 445.

PHYS/CHEM 455. Lasers and Their Applications to Physical Sciences (2, 3). 3 credits.

An introduction to both the theoretical and practical aspects of lasers and their applications in the physical sciences. Prerequisite: PHYS 330 or CHEM 331, or permission of the instructor.

PHYS 460. Quantum Mechanics. 3 credits.

Principles and applications of quantum mechanics. Topics include wave packets and the uncertainty principle, the Schroedinger equation, one-dimensional potentials, operators and eigenvectors, three-dimensional motion and angular momentum, the hydrogen atom. Prerequisite: PHYS 341.

PHYS 470-471. Selected Topics in Theoretical and Experimental Physics. 1-3 credits each semester.

An in-depth study of specific areas of physics selected according to student needs and interests, and staff availability. Prerequisite: PHYS 240 and 250, plus 16 additional hours of physics.

PHYS 480. Astrophysics. 3 credits.

An introduction to the problems of modern astronomy and to the quantitative application of physical principles to these problems. Topics of study include stellar structure and evolution, the interstellar medium and star formation, cosmic rays, pulsars, galactic structure, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Prerequisite: PHYS 341 and one of either PHYS 335 or 430.

PHYS 491-492. Physics Assessment and Seminar. 1 credit per year.

Principal course activities are participation in the departmental assessment program and attendance at departmental seminars. Prerequisite: PHYS 392.

PHYS 498A, B and C. Undergraduate Physics Research. 2-4 credits, repeatable to 6 credits.

Research in a selected area of physics as arranged with a faculty research adviser. Prerequisite: Proposal for study must be approved prior to registration.

PHYS 499. Honors. 6 credits. (Year course: 3 credits each semester.)

Participation in this course must be approved during the second semester of the junior year. For details, see catalog section entitled "Graduation with Distinction."


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Last reviewed: Sept. 10, 1994
Information Publisher: Academic Services