Physics course descriptions

PHY 101 Introduction to Astronomy.

What is our place in the universe? This course provides a chronological introduction to the sciences of astronomy and cosmology. Topics include: ancient and medieval astronomy, celestial coordinate systems, astronomical instrumentation, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, gravitation, stellar parallax, galactic redshifts, Hubble’s law, and aspects of modern cosmology. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 102 Introduction to Astronomy (January term).

What is our place in the universe? This course provides a chronological introduction to the sciences of astronomy and cosmology. Topics include: ancient and medieval astronomy, celestial coordinate systems, astronomical instrumentation, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, gravitation, stellar parallax, galactic redshifts, Hubble’s law, and aspects of modern cosmology. This is a shortened version of PHY 101, designed to be offered during the January-term. PHY 102 and PHY 101 cannot both be taken for credit. 2 cr. lec..

PHY 105 Astronomy laboratory.

This laboratory course complements PHY 101, the Introduction to Astronomy. Stargazing observations will be supplemented by laboratory exercises involving geometric optics, spectroscopy, and astronomical instrumentation. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 101 or PHY 102 is required. 1 cr. lab.

PHY 151 General physics 1.

What is the cause of motion, and what does it mean for an object to be rest? In this course, we will study the sciences of statics and dynamics, focusing on the work of Galileo, Pascal, Newton and Einstein. Topics include falling bodies and projectile motion, the strength of materials, acoustics, hydrostatic pressure, Newton’s laws of motion, conservation of momentum, universal gravitation, and special relativity. PHY 151 and PHY 201 cannot both be taken for credit. 3 cr. lec. + 1 cr. lab.

PHY 152 General physics 2.

What is the nature of light? In this course, we will study how early experimental work by scientists such as Franklin, Ampere, Young and Faraday led to the classical electromagnetic theory of light. Topics include magnetism, electric charge and electric circuits, geometric and wave optics, heat and energy, electric and magnetic fields, and radiation. PHY 152 and PHY 202 cannot both be taken for credit. 3 cr. lec. + 1 cr. lab.

PHY 201 Physics 1: Space, Time and Motion.

What is the cause of motion, and what does it mean for an object to be rest? In this course, we will study the sciences of statics and dynamics, focusing on the work of Galileo, Pascal, Newton and Einstein. Topics include falling bodies and projectile motion, the strength of materials, acoustics, hydrostatic pressure, Newton’s laws of motion, conservation of momentum, universal gravitation, and special relativity. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 221 is required. 4 cr. lec. + 1 cr. lab.

PHY 202 Physics 2: Electricity, Magnetism and Light.

What is the nature of light? In this course, we will study how early experimental work by scientists such as Franklin, Ampere, Young and Faraday led to the classical electromagnetic theory of light. Topics include magnetism, electric charge and electric circuits, geometric and wave optics, heat and energy, electric and magnetic fields, Maxwell’s equations, and radiation. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 222 is required. 4 cr. lec. + 1 cr. lab.

PHY 203 Modern physics: heat, atoms and quanta.

What are the laws that govern the smallest constituents of matter? In this course we will explore the development of the modern quantum theory of the atom. Topics include: heat diffusion and radiation, the kinetic theory of gases, Bohr’s model of the atom, the periodic table of the elements, radioactivity, elementary nuclear physics, wave mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This course is cross-listed with CHE 203; PHY 203 and CHE 203 cannot both be taken for credit. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 221 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 215 Computerized Instrumentation.

This is a laboratory course which combines analog and digital electronics, computer science, and experimental physics. The goal is to design, build and perform a computer-controlled scientific experiment. Topics include register-level programming, i/o ports, circuit design, sensors and actuators, thermometry, heat diffusion, and scientific writing. 1 cr. lec. + 2 cr. lab.

PHY 301 Classical mechanics.

This is an advanced course in the mechanics of particles and systems of particles. Topics include Newton’s laws of motion, conservation of energy and momentum, oscillations, rotational motion, non-inertial coordinate systems, chaos theory, variational calculus, Hamilton’s principle, gravitation, and many-particle systems. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 224 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 302 Classical electrodynamics.

This is an advanced course in the electromagnetic theory of light. Topics include electrostatics, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves and radiation, antennae, waveguides, lasers, and the electrical and magnetic properties of materials. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 224 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 315 Electronics laboratory.

This is a laboratory course in analog and digital electronics. Topics include: circuit analysis, operational amplifiers, filters, feedback circuits, diodes, transistors, logic gates, flip-flops, timing circuits, and microcomputers. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 202 is required. 1 cr. lec. + 2 cr. lab.

PHY 341 Thermodynamics.

This is an advanced course in the science of heat. Topics include thermometry, heat capacity, conservation of energy, entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, gas laws, thermodynamic potentials, Maxwell relations, phase transitions and critical phenomena. This course is cross-listed with CHE 341; PHY 341 and CHE 341 cannot both be taken for credit. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 223 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 342 Quantum mechanics.

Is light a particle or are a wave? What about electrons? In this course we will study the puzzling, yet highly successful, quantum theory of light and matter. We will focus on SchroŐądinger’s equation and its solutions for atoms, molecules, and solids. This course is cross-listed with CHE 342; PHY 342 and CHE 342 cannot both be taken for credit. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in MAT 223 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY 348 Thermodynamics laboratory.

This laboratory course complements PHY 341, thermodynamics. It is cross listed with CHE 348. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 341 is required. 1 cr. lab.

PHY 349 Quantum mechanics laboratory.

This laboratory course complements PHY 342, quantum mechanics. It is cross listed with CHE 349. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 342 is required. 1 cr. lab.

PHY 440 Statistical mechanics.

This is an advanced course in the mechanics of large numbers of weakly interacting particles. Emphasis will be placed on Maxwell and Boltzmann’s work on the kinetic theory of gasses. This course is cross-listed with CHE 440. Concurrent (or previous) enrollment in PHY 341 and 342 is required. 3 cr. lec.

PHY491 Special Topics. 1-3 cr.

Special topics not covered by existing course offerings. 1-3 cr. lec.

PHY498 Undergraduate research.

An independent research project coordinated by the department and arranged with a sponsoring faculty member. 1-3 cr. lab.