Physics Course Offerings
PHYS 100 Physics in the Arts – GS 4
This course will examine the underlying physics involved in photography and music. Main topics will include waves, reflection and refraction, lenses, the eye, oscillations and resonance, the ear, and musical instruments. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Basic algebra and geometry knowledge will be assumed.
PHYS 101 Concepts of Physics
(See Infrequently Offered Courses section of the catalog.)
PHYS 111 Fundamentals of Physics 1 – GS 4
An introductory course that presents students with the fundamental concepts of physics. This algebra-based course assumes no previous physics experience and will include the study of kinematics (including vectors), Newton’s laws, mechanical energy, rotational motion and waves. Consists of lectures and one laboratory period per week. Working knowledge of basic trigonometry and advanced high school algebra will be assumed. Fall semester.
PHYS 112 Fundamentals of Physics 2
Continuation of PHYS 111, completing a full-year introductory sequence on the fundamental concepts of physics. Topics include thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and introduction to modern physics, including quantum concepts and radioactivity. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 111. Spring semester.
PHYS 121 General Physics 1 – GS 4
Intended mainly for physical science majors, this introductory course presents a unified view of the fundamental principles of physics. Conceptual-development and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Topics include vectors, kinematics, Newtonian dynamics, the conservation laws, oscillatory motion and waves. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. A working knowledge of trigonometry and completion of advanced high school algebra will be assumed. Corequisite: MATH 131 or equivalent. Fall semester.
PHYS 122 General Physics 2
Continuation of PHYS 121, completing a full-year introductory sequence. Topics include thermodynamics, electric and magnetic fields and their interaction with matter, electromagnetic waves, physical and geometrical optics, and introduction to modern physics including quantum concepts and radioactivity. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 121 and MATH 131. Spring semester.
PHYS 141 Astronomy – GS 4
This course is designed to provide a survey of astronomy with emphasis on the underlying physical principles. Students will learn about the scientific method and developments that have enabled our current understanding of the dynamic universe. Main topics include the cycles of the sky, the history of astronomy, the stars, the Milky Way galaxy and the solar system. Group projects will cover additional topics such as galaxies, cosmology and details of the solar system planets. Laboratories with hands-on activities will be an important component of the course. Some lab periods will meet in the evening for astronomical observations. No mathematical background beyond basic high school algebra will be assumed.
PHYS 211 Classical Mechanics
An intermediate treatment of Newtonian mechanics. Topics include equations of motion and their solutions, conservation laws, systems of particles, central force motion, and an introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 122 and MATH 132. Fall, alternate years.
PHYS 225 Electronics
An introductory course in circuit analysis, including DC and AC circuits, semiconductor devices, and digital logic circuits. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 122 and MATH 132. Fall, alternate years.
PHYS 241 Modern Physics
A survey of the essential experimental and theoretical development of 20th-century physics. Topics include special relativity, wave-particle duality, Bohr atom, basic quantum mechanics, radioactivity, nuclear reactions and particle physics. Lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 122 and MATH 132. Fall, alternate years.
PHYS 250 Advanced Laboratory
An advanced course in experimental design and analysis intended to replicate the activities of a professional research project through the precision measurement of several of the fundamental physical contacts of the universe. Additional topics will include the calculation of statistical and systematic uncertainties, computer-based modeling and analysis, written and oral presentation of results, and research ethics. Prerequisites: PHYS 121 and PHYS 122. Spring, alternate years.
PHYS 311 Thermal Physics
An intermediate treatment of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics from a modern point of view. Topics include temperature, heat, entropy, irreversible processes, the general laws of thermodynamics, canonical distribution, equipartition theorem, the ideal gas law and an introduction to quantum statistics. Corequisite: PHYS 241. Fall, alternate years.
PHYS 321 Electricity and Magnetism
A study of the classical electromagnetic theory. Topics include electrostatics, magnetostatics and an introduction to electrodynamics. Vector calculus will be introduced and extensively used. Prerequisites: PHYS 122 and MATH 233. Spring, alternate years.
PHYS 341 Nuclear Physics
(See Infrequently Offered Courses section of the catalog.)
PHYS 352 Optical and Atomic Physics
An introduction to the current fields of optical and atomic physics. The foundations of modern optics will be laid, including the electromagnetic and quantum mechanical theory of light, geometric and wave optics, instrumentation, polarization, lasers, and modern optical components. The interaction of light with atoms will be introduced, including the fundamentals of atomic structure and numerous applications. Corequisite: PHYS 411. Spring, alternate years.
PHYS 411 Quantum Mechanics
An advanced treatment of the principles and methods of quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schroedinger equation, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom, quantum statistics, and applications to atomic and nuclear physics. The operator method will be introduced and used. Prerequisites: PHYS 241. Corequisite: MATH 310. Spring, alternate years.
PHYS 489 Special Topics
Designed for the study of subject material of special interest. The organization, methodology and objectives will be determined by the instructor. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and instructor’s consent.
PHYS 490 Independent Study
This course is designed to allow students to pursue, on an individual basis, an area of study such as solid-state physics or astrophysics. The methodology and objectives will be mutually agreed upon by a faculty member and the student. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, prior consultation with and consent of the instructor and approval of the associate dean of natural sciences.
PHYS 499 Senior Examination (0 credits)
This non-credit course consists of a comprehensive examination covering the various areas of physics in the undergraduate curriculum. The results of this examination will help the physics discipline assess achievement and improve the program. Prerequisite: Senior standing. Spring semester.