Show More


Courses

Courses in Physics and Astronomy

PHYS 103

Moons and Planets

Includes laboratory. An introductory course concentrating on the solar system. Topics to be covered include: observational astronomy; the history and development of astronomy; Kepler's laws of planetary motion; Newton's laws of motion and gravity; the Earth-moon system; the structure and composition of the planets with an emphasis on comparative planetology; asteroids, comets, the formation of the solar system, the sun and the exploration of space. Emphasis is placed on investigating the methods by which astronomers gain knowledge about the solar system. Evening laboratory periods will emphasize observation and will help students develop quantitative skills in interpreting data. PHYS 103 and PHYS 104 may be taken in either order. Prerequisite: high school algebra and trigonometry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics High school algebra and trigonometry 1 course

PHYS 104

Stars and Galaxies

Includes laboratory. An introductory course concentrating on the astronomy of stars and stellar systems. Topics to be covered include: properties of stars; stellar evolution; white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes; the interstellar medium; the Milky Way; galaxies; Hubble's Law; and cosmology. Emphasis is placed on investigating the methods by which astronomers gain knowledge about the universe. Evening laboratory periods will emphasize observation and will help students develop quantitative skills in interpreting data. PHYS 103 and PHYS 104 may be taken in either order. Not open to students with credit in PHYS 300 or 200. Prerequisite: high school algebra and trigonometry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics High school algebra and trigonometry 1 course

PHYS 110

Physics and Society

Includes laboratory. The fundamental concepts of classical and modern physics presented with particular attention to their application to questions of importance to members of technological society (such as energy and energy policy). Topics may include Newtonian mechanics, special and general relativity, quantum and nuclear physics and modern cosmology. This course does not fulfill the prerequisites for advanced courses in physics, nor the requirements for medicine, engineering or secondary teaching. Prerequisite: high school algebra and trigonometry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics High school algebra and trigonometry 1 course

PHYS 120

Principles of Physics I

Includes laboratory. An introductory calculus-based course covering fundamental concepts of physics including: momentum, energy, conservation laws, particle interactions, Newton's laws, oscillations, orbits and planetary motion. Laboratory sessions will provide a hands-on opportunity to explore the concepts of physics. This course is designed for students majoring in the sciences and mathematics and those in pre-professional programs in health sciences, medicine, engineering and teaching. Prerequisite or co-requisite: MATH 136 or MATH 151 .

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics MATH 136 or MATH 151. May be taken in the same semester as PHYS 120. 1 course

PHYS 130

Principles of Physics II

Includes laboratory. This course builds on PHYS 120 and covers fundamental concepts of physics including: electric and magnetic fields, circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves, waves, interference and diffraction. Laboratory sessions will provide a hands on opportunity to explore the concepts of physics. This course is designed for students majoring in the sciences and mathematics and those in pre-professional programs in health sciences, medicine, engineering and teaching. Prerequisite: PHYS 120.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics PHYS 120 1 course

PHYS 156

Advanced Placement in Physics

Advanced placement credit for physics. A. Mechanics B. Electricity and Magnetism.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PHYS 203

Cosmology [See also PHIL 203]

An examination of fundamental questions about the origin, order and meaning of the universe from the perspectives of physics, philosophy and other disciplines. Topics include: creation myths; development of Western cosmology; physics and metaphysics of space and time; cosmological and design arguments for the existence of God; the Anthropic Principle; life and consciousness.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PHYS 220

Principles of Physics III

This course provides an introduction to relativity, thermodynamics, statistical and quantum mechanics, and completes the survey of fundamental physics begun in PHYS 120 and 130. Topics to be covered include special relativity, wave packets, the Schrodinger equation, solutions to the Schrodinger equation for one dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom, multi electron atoms, quantum statistics, and an introduction to the physics of molecules, solids, nuclei, and particles. Prerequisite: PHYS 130.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 130 1 course

PHYS 231

Statics

This is a core course in mechanical and civil engineering and related fields. The course will develop mathematical methods for analysis of force systems for rigid bodies, including equilibrium requirements, stresses in frames and trusses, forces in beams and cables, friction, centroids and moments of inertia. Students will present case studies of engineering disasters and the impact of these disasters on subsequent projects of a similar nature.Prerequisite: PHYS 120 and MATH 151.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 120 and MATH 151 1/2 course

PHYS 240

Electronics

Includes laboratory. Experimental and theoretical treatment of direct current and alternating current circuits. Topics include: diode applications, transistors, operational amplifiers, feedback, analog-digital conversion, digital logic and microprocessors. Prerequisite: One semester of a laboratory science course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics One semester of a laboratory science course. 1 course

PHYS 250

Optics

Includes laboratory. Experimental investigation of geometrical and physical optics. Specific topics investigated include: image formation by lenses and mirrors, optical instruments, image processing, interference, diffraction, polarization, optical communication, lasers and holography. Prerequisite: One semester of a laboratory science course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics One semester of a laboratory science course. 1 course

PHYS 270

Mathematical Methods

Methods in applied mathematics for students in physical sciences and engineering. Topics include: partial differentiation, vector analysis, complex numbers, linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, multiple integrals, and Fourier series. Prerequisite: PHYS 120 and MATH 152.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 120 and MATH 152 1 course

PHYS 280

Experimental Methods

Includes laboratory. An introduction to the techniques, methods and necessary skills used in experimental physics. Data will be collected by using a variety of instruments, including oscilloscopes, nuclear instrumentation, and other data sensors. The course will introduce a variety of statistical and data analysis techniques. Machine shop skills will be developed during the course. Prerequisite: PHYS 120.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 120 1/2 course

PHYS 310

Observational Astronomy

Includes Laboratory. The overall goal of this course is to develop the skills needed to become knowledgeable life-long observers of the night sky. It includes the study and understanding of celestial coordinate systems, motions of the Sun and stars, seasons, phases of the moon, motion of the planets, systems of time keeping, and similar phenomena. The course teaches the skills necessary to observe objects our Solar system (the Moon, the planets, the Sun, comets, and asteroids), and well as objects outside of our solar system (stars, galactic nebulae and external galaxies) through observing with the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. It includes the use of astronomical reference tools such as star charts and planetarium software. Digital recording of astronomical observations through astrophotography and CCD imaging will be covered.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PHYS 320

Astrophysics I

In astrophysics the concepts of classical and modern physics are applied to the study of astronomy, providing a physical basis for understanding the components and structure of our universe. The focus of Astrophysics I is stars. Topics to be covered include: spectroscopy, stellar classification, stellar properties, binary stars, stellar structure, stellar evolution, and the end states of stars (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes). Prerequisite: PHYS 130

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 130 1 course

PHYS 330

Astrophysics II

In astrophysics the concepts of classical and modern physics are applied to the study of astronomy, providing a physical basis for understanding the components and structure of our universe. Topics covered in Astrophysics II include: the Milky Way, galaxies and galactic structure, active galactic nuclei, high energy phenomena, dark matter, and an introduction to cosmology.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PHYS 350

Engineering Mechanics

A theoretical treatment of forces acting on rigid bodies including: analysis of force systems on rigid bodies, equilibrium requirements, stresses in frames and trusses, forces in beams and cables, friction, centroids, moments of inertia, the motion of particles and rigid bodies, studies of energy and momentum, kinematics, curvilinear motion and central forces. Prerequisite: PHYS 120.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 120 1 course

PHYS 360

Gravitation and Cosmology

This is a course about gravity: its description as spacetime curvature, its effect on the motion of bodies, and its role in shaping the evolution of the universe. The first part of the course is devoted to a discussion of the main features of General Relativity, with an emphasis on the behavior of light and matter in the vicinity of black holes. Part two of the course constitutes an introduction to Big Bang cosmology. Topics covered include the physics of the early universe, the cosmic microwave background, the evidence for dark matter and dark energy, and inflation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

PHYS 370

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Includes laboratory. A theoretical and experimental investigation in atomic, molecular and condensed matter physics. Topics to be covered may include: atomic models, magnetic dipole moments, multielectron atoms, x-ray excitations, optical excitations, atomic spectroscopy, quantum statistic, molecules, molecular bonding, molecular spectra, band theory of solids, conductors, semiconductors, superconductors, and collective phenomena. Prerequisite: PHYS 220.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 380

Nuclear and Particle Physics

Includes laboratory. A theoretical and experimental investigation in nuclear and particle physics. Topics to be covered may include: nuclear phenomenology, nuclear models, radiation, nuclear reactions, experimental methods in nuclear physics, particle interactions and detection, properties of elementary particle, symmetries, the standard model, and theories beyond the standard model. Prerequisite: PHYS 220.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 390

Topics

A. Astronomy. P. Physics. Selected topics in astronomy or physics. May be an independent study project. Prerequisite: depends on the topic.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Depends on the topic. 1/4-1/2-1 course

PHYS 410

Thermal Physics

Treatment of the laws of thermodynamics and the concepts of temperature, pressure, entropy, chemical potential and free energy as related to the quantum statistical behavior of microscopic systems. Included are applications to kinetic theory of gases, heat engines, photons and phonons, systems in magnetic and electric fields, transport phenomena, and biological and engineering problems. Prerequisite: PHYS 130 and PHYS 270.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 130 and PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 420

Classical Mechanics

Basic definitions and principles of classical mechanics, conservation laws, systems of particles and motion of rigid bodies, oscillating phenomena and an introduction to generalized coordinates and the methods of Lagrange and Hamilton. Prerequisite: PHYS 120 and PHYS 270.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 120 and PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 430

Electricity and Magnetism

Theoretical investigation of electrostatics and magnetostatics, both in vacuum and in the presence of matter. Further topics include the Maxwell equations and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite: PHYS 130 and PHYS 270.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 130 and PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 440

Quantum Mechanics

Non-relativistic wave mechanical treatment of physical systems. Definition and interpretation of state functions; construction of wave packets; solutions of the Schrodinger equation for simple one-dimensional systems; the hydrogen atom; various approximation methods, including perturbation theory. Prerequisite: PHYS 220 and PHYS 270.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
PHYS 220 and PHYS 270 1 course

PHYS 480

Senior Seminar

Individual presentations and group discussions cover a wide range of topics. Prerequisite: A senior physics major or permission of instructor. Required of all physics majors.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Senior major or permission of instructor 1/2 course