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Physics
Course Descriptions

PHYS 101: Astronomy: The Dynamic Universe
The universe is constantly changing. Scientific cosmology looks across vast expanses of time and space to understand that aspect of the universe: its beginnings, its development and its possible fate(s). This course covers concepts such as the Big Bang, inflation, gravity waves, 4dimensional spacetime, dark matter, dark energy, and multiverses. This course is intended for nonscience majors. No prerequisites (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 102: Astronomy: Stars and Galaxies
Stars and their aggregate galaxies play pivotal roles in the universe and in astronomers' understanding of the universe. Shining stars are the energy source that drives much of the change in the universe. This course focuses on the origin and life cycle of stars and galaxies. Observing sessions are planned, weather permitting, during some of the evening class meetings. This course is intended for nonscience majors. No prerequisites. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 103: Astronomy: Planetary Systems
By studying the planets in our solar system, astrophysicists gain knowledge about the formation of Earth and its neighbors and also distant exoplanets in other star systems. This course covers topics such as the discovery and the nature of the solar system's planets and dwarf planets, the habitability of planets and their moons, and exoplanets, as well as the use of telescopes in planetary observation. Observing sessions are planned, weather permitting, during some of the evening class meetings. This course is intended for nonscience majors. No prerequisites. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 106: Light, Sound, and Waves
The behavior of waves, including water, sound, radio, and light. Optics of lenses and mirrors. Lasers and holography. Musical instruments. Three hours of lecture per week; no laboratory. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 107: Chance, Fate and Law
The development of ideas about causality, space, and time and the three revolutions that have changed these concepts: Newton's classical mechanics, Einstein's theory of relativity, and Heisenberg's uncertainty relation. The first two support, whereas the third undermines, the belief that every event is determined to be the way it is by a rigid network of cause and effect. Three hours of lecture per week; no laboratory. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 109: Astronomy
The solar system and planetary motion, the nature and evolution of stars, star clusters, and galaxies, and the structure and origin of the universe. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 110: Introductory Physics I
The first half of elementary physics without calculus. Kinematics and Newton's laws of motion for translations and rotations. Conservation principles of energy, momentum, and angular momentum. Oscillations and waves. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Uses algebra and trigonometry. (Credit may not be earned in both Physics 110 and 120.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 111: Introductory Physics II
The second half of elementary physics without calculus. Charge and electric fields; current and magnetic fields. Flux and potential. Circuit elements. Electromagnetic waves. Geometric and wave optics. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Physics 110. (Credit may not be earned in both Physics 111 and 121.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 120: General Physics I
The first half of elementary physics using calculus. This is the most appropriate first course for students majoring in the physical sciences. Kinematics and Newton's laws of motion for translations and rotations. Conservation principles for energy, momentum, and angular momentum. Oscillations and waves. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite or corequisite: Mathematics 110. (Credit may not be earned in both Physics 120 and 110.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 121: General Physics II
The second half of elementary physics using calculus. This is the most appropriate second course for students majoring in the physical sciences. Charge and electric fields; current and magnetic fields. Flux and potential. Circuit elements. Electromagnetic waves. Geometric and wave optics. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Physics 120. Prerequisite or corequisite: Mathematics 111. (Credit may not be earned in both Physics 121 and 111.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.)  jump to top

PHYS 210: Modern Physics
Introduction to the special theory of relativity and the elements of quantum theory. Theoretical and experimental investigations of atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. Atomic spectra, Xray spectra, Compton scattering, nuclear counting techniques, halflife measurements, and neutron activation. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Physics 121 (or 111) and Mathematics 111 or permission of the instructor. (This course meets the Natural Sciences and Technology GEC requirements.) 
PHYS 240: Electronics
Methods of circuit analysis. Transistors, diodes, integrated circuits, and their application in electronic circuits. Amplifiers, oscillators, logic circuits, and computing circuits. Electronic instruments and measurements. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Physics 121 ( or 111) and Mathematics 111 or permission of the instructor. (Offered in alternate years.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences and Technology GEC requirements.) 
PHYS 250: Analytical Mechanics
The study of classical mechanics using mathematics at an intermediate level. Mechanics of single particles, systems of particles, gravity and planetary motion, rigid bodies, vibrations, and noninertial reference frames. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisite: Physics 120 (or 110) and Mathematics 210. (This course meets the Natural Sciences GEC requirement.) 
PHYS 260: Optics
Geometric and wave optics at an intermediate level. Topics include interference, diffraction, scattering, polarization, and absorption. Matrix methods. Applications of lasers. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Physics 121 (or 111) and Mathematics 111. (Offered in alternate years.) (This course meets the Natural Sciences and Technology GEC requirements.) 
PHYS 310: Electricity & Magnetism I
Electrostatics and magnetostatics. Specific problems involve the electric fields and potentials from constant arrangements of charge, the behavior of dielectric materials, the magnetic fields from steady currents, and the nature of magnetic materials. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 121 (or 111), 250, and Mathematics 210. (Offered in alternate years.) 
PHYS 311: Electricity & Magnetism II
Electrodynamics: the transport of energy and momentum by electromagnetic fields. The complete forms of Maxwell's equations are used to describe electromagnetic waves in vacuum and in linear or conducting materials, and to calculate the energy radiated from accelerating charges. An advanced treatment of the Special Theory of Relativity may be a concluding topic. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Physics 310 and Mathematics 210. (Offered in alternate years.) (This course meets the Technology and Experiential Learning GEC requirements.) 
PHYS 320: Mathematical Methods
Applied mathematics for scientists. Topics typically include series approximations to functions, matrices and eigenvectors, vector analysis, special functions, ordinary and partial differential equations, orthogonal polynomials, asymptotic techniques, boundary value problems, and numerical methods. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 121 (or 111) and Mathematics 210. May be taken as a tutorial. 
PHYS 330: Thermodynamics
The fundamental ideas of temperature, heat, entropy, and equilibrium; the laws of thermodynamics. Macroscopic, phenomenological approach to thermodynamics, followed by the microscopic, statistical description. Kinetic theory. Applications to gases, solids, and chemical systems. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 210 and Mathematics 210 or permission of the instructor. (Offered in alternate years.) 
PHYS 410: Advanced Analytical Mechanics
Emphasis on using generalized coordinates and the Principle of Least Action. Newtonian, Lagrangian, Hamiltonian, and HamiltonJacobi formulations of mechanics. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 250 and Mathematics 210. May be taken as a tutorial. 
PHYS 420: Quantum Mechanics I
Formal development of the quantum theory. The theory is applied to simple systems for which exact solutions are known. These include singleelectron atoms, harmonic oscillators, and systems with intrinsic spin. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 210 and 250 and Mathematics 210. (Offered in alternate years.)  jump to top

PHYS 421: Quantum Mechanics II
Applications of the quantum theory. Approximation methods, such as perturbation theory, variational techniques, and numerical methods allow the quantum theory to be used for complex systems. Examples are multielectron atoms, atoms in external electromagnetic fields, molecules, and solids. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: Physics 420 and Mathematics 210. (Offered in alternate years.) 
PHYS 480: Experimental Methods
Seminar on techniques that illustrate principles and methods of contemporary physics. Typical experiments are subatomic resonance (This course meets the Speaking and Experiential Learning GEC requirements.)