# Courses

Click here for the online version of our Modern Physics Laboratory Manual for our advanced lab course PHYS 0321.

Courses offered in the past four years.

▲ *indicates offered in the current term*

▹ *indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]*

##### PHYS 0104 - Chaos Complexity and Self-Org.

**Chaos, Complexity, and Self-Organization**

A paradigm shift has occurred throughout the natural sciences in recent years. Our understanding of the strict determinism of the Newtonian world-view has been revised in surprising and fruitful new ways, providing an outlook that emphasizes the fundamental significance of open, evolving systems. This course explores recent work on chaos, fractals, complexity, and self-organization. Ideas from these fields suggest new ways of thinking about life and mind, and how they arise as emergent phenomena from a physical world of dead and mindless fundamental particles interacting through aimless fundamental forces. We will also explore the influence of these basic ideas on the humanities and the social sciences. Although the course is largely nonmathematical, students should be willing to use elementary high school algebra. 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2019, Spring 2020

##### PHYS 0106 - Physics for Educated Citizens ▹

**Physics for Educated Citizens**

In this course for nonscience majors we will explore topics of current interest—climate change, energy resources, nuclear processes, radiation, satellite communication—and show how each is understood within the context of physics. Our resources will be a textbook, Physics and Technology for Future Presidents, and non-technical articles of your choosing. Our goals will be to develop a working knowledge of physics as it applies to important topics, to effectively communicate that knowledge through discussions and oral presentations, and to develop an understanding of how science is grounded in data and thoroughly intertwined with society. 3 hrs. lect./disc. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0109 - Newtonian Physics ▹

**Newtonian Physics**

This calculus-based course examines motion as it occurs throughout the universe. Topics covered include inertia, force, Newton's laws of motion, work and energy, linear momentum, collisions, gravitation, rotational motion, torque, angular momentum, and oscillatory motion. Emphasis is on practical applications in physics, engineering, the life sciences, and everyday life. Laboratory work and lecture demonstrations illustrate basic physical principles. (MATH 0121 or MATH 0122 concurrent or prior; students who have taken high school calculus or other college calculus courses should consult with the instructor prior to registration) 3 hrs. lect/3 hrs. lab. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0110 - Electricity & Magnetism ▹

**Electricity and Magnetism**

The physical principles of electricity and magnetism are developed with calculus and applied to the electrical structure of matter and the electromagnetic nature of light. Practical topics from electricity and magnetism include voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, inductance, and AC and DC circuits. Laboratory work includes an introduction to electronics and to important instruments such as the oscilloscope. (PHYS 0109, MATH 0122) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0111 - Thermo, Fluids, Waves & Optics ▹

**Thermodynamics, Fluids, Wave Motion, and Optics**

This calculus-based lecture and laboratory course covers concepts from classical physics that are not included in PHYS 0109 and PHYS 0110, and that serve as a bridge between those two courses. Topics include thermal properties of matter, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, wave motion, sound, and geometrical and physical optics. This course is strongly recommended for all students otherwise required to take PHYS 0109 and PHYS 0110 as part of a major or a premedical program, and is required for physics majors. (PHYS 0109, MATH 0121, or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0155 - Introduction to the Universe

**An Introduction to the Universe**

Our universe comprises billions of galaxies in a rapidly expanding fabric. How did it begin? Will it expand forever, or how may it end? How do the stars that compose the galaxies evolve from their births in clouds of gas, through the tranquility of middle age, to their often violent deaths? How can scientists even hope to answer such cosmic questions from our vantage point on a small planet, orbiting a very ordinary star? Are there other planets, orbiting other stars, where intelligent beings may be pondering similar issues? This introductory astronomy course, designed for nonscience majors, will explore these and other questions. Students will also become familiar with the night sky, both as part of our natural environment and as a scientific resource, through independent observations and sessions at the College Observatory. The approach requires no college-level mathematics, but students should expect to do quantitative calculations using scientific notation and occasionally to use elementary high-school algebra. (Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0155 and PHYS 0165.) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab./disc. **DED SCI**

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

##### PHYS 0201 - Relativity And Quantum Physics

**Relativity and Quantum Physics**

This course probes a number of areas for which classical physics has provided no adequate explanations. Topics covered include Einstein's special relativity, quantization of atomic energy levels and photons, the atomic models of Rutherford and Bohr, and wave-particle duality. (PHYS 0109; PHYS 0110 concurrent or prior; MATH 0122) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

##### PHYS 0202 - Quantum Physics Applications ▹

**Quantum Physics and Applications**

This course introduces quantum theory and statistical mechanics, and explores the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the Schrödinger wave equation, and wave mechanics. These techniques are then applied to atomic, molecular, nuclear, and elementary particle systems. (PHYS 0201; PHYS 0212 concurrent or prior) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0212 - Applied Math For Phys. Science ▹

**Applied Mathematics for the Physical Sciences**

This course concentrates on the methods of applied mathematics used for treating the partial differential equations that commonly arise in physics, chemistry, and engineering. Topics include differential vector calculus, Fourier series, and other orthogonal function sets. Emphasis will be given to physical applications of the mathematics. This course is a prerequisite for all 0300- and 0400-level physics courses. (MATH 0122; PHYS 0110 concurrent or prior) 4.5 hrs. lect. **DED**

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0220 - Introduction to Mathematica

**Introduction to Mathematica**

Mathematica is a scientific software application that consists of a flexible high-level programming language with thousands of powerful built-in functions for symbolic, numeric, and graphical computation typical of physics and other quantitative fields. Undergraduates can use Mathematica for coursework, senior projects, and throughout their professional careers. In this course we will focus on the principles at the core of Mathematica and how these principles unify such a great range of computational capabilities. (PHYS 0109 and 0110; Recommended: MATH 0200 and a traditional “computer programming course” in high school or college) **DED SCI**

Winter 2017, Winter 2019, Winter 2020

##### PHYS 0221 - Electronics For Scientists

**Electronics for Scientists**

An introduction to modern electronic circuits and devices, emphasizing both physical operation and practical use. Transistors and integrated circuits are considered in both analog and digital applications. Examples and laboratory experiments stress measurement and control applications in the physical and biological sciences. Students will gain hands-on familiarity with the design, use, and troubleshooting of electronic instrumentation. (PHYS 0110) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. **DED SCI**

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

##### PHYS 0230 - Computational Physics ▲

**Computational Physics**

The laws of physics provide a beautiful mathematical framework for describing the universe. Yet it’s rare that exact solutions to the resulting equations can be found with pen and paper. In this course we will explore a range of powerful computational methods that allow us to solve physical problems, primarily using the Python programming language. Applications of these methods will include problems in Newtonian mechanics, electricity and magnetism, statistical and thermal physics, quantum mechanics, and relativity. No prior experience with programming is required. (PHYS 0109; MATH 0122) **DED SCI WTR**

Winter 2021

##### PHYS 0241 - Biomedical Imaging

**Biomedical Imaging**

Why do we use microscopes for thin tissue slices but x-rays for imaging through the entire body? In this course we will explore the physics of light and life through various biomedical imaging techniques. We will apply the fundamental imaging concepts of resolution, aberration, diffraction, scattering, the Fourier transform, and deconvolution. Most of the course will focus on biomedical optics, including standard optical microscopes, fluorescence imaging, spectroscopy, fiber-optic endoscopes, and laser-scanning microscopes. The latter part of the course will cover non-optical imaging, such as ultrasound, x-ray, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Students will gain hands-on experience through field trips to a local hospital and the use of the Cell Imaging Facility in McCardell Bicentennial Hall. (PHYS 0111; PHYS 0212 or MATH 0223) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Fall 2019

##### PHYS 0255 - Intro to Astrophysics ▹

**An Introduction to Astrophysics**

In this course students will learn the fundamental concepts and techniques used by astronomers to understand the universe and its contents. These include the physics of light (which conveys the properties of astrophysical phenomena) and gravity (the fundamental force that drives orbits) as well as stellar and galactic evolution. Beginning with the Sun, we will use these tools to study the nature of stars, nuclear processes, and stellar evolution, including the deaths of stars and supernova explosions. Continuing with the Milky Way galaxy, we will also study the nature and structure of galaxies including their stellar populations, gas content, and star formation. Finally, we will investigate the large-scale environment of galaxies, galaxy mergers and interactions, active galaxies, and their evolution. (PHYS 0111, PHYS 0212 or MATH 0223) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0301 - Intermediate Electromagnetism

**Intermediate Electromagnetism**

The unified description of electricity and magnetism is one of the greatest triumphs of physics. This course provides a thorough grounding in the nature of electric and magnetic fields and their interaction with matter. Mathematical techniques appropriate to the solution of problems in electromagnetism are also introduced. The primary emphasis is on static fields, with the full time-dependent Maxwell equations and electromagnetic waves introduced in the final part of the course. (PHYS 0110; PHYS 0201 or by permission; PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

##### PHYS 0302 - Electromagnetic Theory

**Electromagnetic Waves**

Maxwell's theory of the electromagnetic field provides the basis of our understanding of the nature of light, radio waves, infrared radiation, X-rays, and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. This course examines the behavior of electromagnetic waves starting from Maxwell's equations, the fundamental laws of electromagnetism. Topics include wave propagation in different materials; reflection and refraction at interfaces; applications in space communications, optics, and other fields; and relativistic electrodynamics. (PHYS 0301) 3 hr. lect. **DED SCI**

Winter 2018

##### PHYS 0321 - Experimental Physics ▹

**Experimental Techniques in Physics**

This course will cover the design and execution of experiments, and the analysis and presentation of data, at an advanced level. Laboratory experiments will be chosen to illustrate the use of electronic, mechanical, and optical instruments to investigate fundamental physical phenomena, such as the properties of atoms and nuclei and the nature of radiation. Skills in computer-based data analysis and presentation will be developed and emphasized. This course satisfies the College writing requirement. (PHYS 0111 concurrent or prior; PHYS 0201 and PHYS 0202 and PHYS 0212; MATH 0200 recommended) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/1 hr disc. (Approval required) **CW**

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0330 - Analytical Mechanics

**Analytical Mechanics**

An intermediate-level course in the kinematics and dynamics of particles and rigid body motion. The topics will include: analysis and application of Newton's law of mechanics; the concepts of work, energy, and power; energy conservation; momentum and momentum conservation; torque, angular momentum, and angular momentum conservation; oscillatory motion; and central-force motion. Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulations of classical mechanics will be introduced with emphasis placed on developing problem-solving strategies and techniques. (PHYS 0109 and PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect.

Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

##### PHYS 0340 - Solid State Physics

**Introduction to Solid State Physics**

In this course, the properties of solids are shown to arise naturally from their atomic composition and their structure. Elementary quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and statistical mechanics are invoked to explore fundamental properties of crystalline solids, including their classification as metals, insulators, semiconductors, and semimetals. Topics covered include crystal structure and diffraction; crystal vibrations; electrical and thermal conduction; and the response of solids to external electric and magnetic fields. (PHYS 0202 and PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

##### PHYS 0350 - Statistical Mechanics ▹

**Statistical Mechanics**

This course is a study of statistical mechanics and its applications to a variety of classical and quantum systems. It includes a discussion of microstates, macrostates, and entropy, and systematically introduces the microcanonical, canonical, grand canonical, and isobaric ensembles. This underlying theory is applied to topics including classical thermodynamics, the equipartition theorem, electromagnetic blackbody radiation, heat capacities of solids, and ideal classical and quantum gases, with a focus on Bose-Einstein condensation and degenerate Fermi systems. (PHYS 0202 and PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0370 - Cosmological Physics

**Cosmology**

Cosmology is the study of the Universe as a whole entity, including the origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the entire Universe. In this course we will study the Big Bang, inflation, primordial nucleosynthesis, the cosmic microwave background, the formation of galaxies, and large-scale structure. The course will link observations to theory in order to address some of the current open questions in cosmology such as: what are the forms of matter and energy distributed in the Universe? What is the expansion rate of the Universe and how has it changed with time? What is the age of the Universe? What is the shape of the Universe? (PHYS 0201 and PHYS 0212 and either PHYS 0202 or PHYS 0111) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

##### PHYS 0380 - General Relativity

**General Relativity**

Among the forces of nature, gravity is both the most familiar and the least well-understood. A hundred years after it was formulated by Einstein, General Relativity remains our best fundamental theory of gravity. In this course we will see how gravity emerges from the geometry of curved spacetime and how this picture leads to phenomena such as black holes, gravitational waves, and the expansion of the universe. (MATH 0200, PHYS 0201, and PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect. **DED SCI**

Spring 2018, Fall 2019

##### PHYS 0401 - Quantum Mechanics ▹

**Quantum Mechanics**

A fundamental course in quantum mechanics aimed at understanding the mathematical structure of the theory and its application to physical phenomena at the atomic and nuclear levels. Topics include the basic postulates of quantum mechanics, operator formalism, Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and central potentials, angular momentum and spin, perturbation theory, and systems of identical particles. (PHYS 0202 and PHYS 0212; MATH 0200 recommended) 3 hrs. lect.

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0500 - Ind. Study & Special Topic ▲ ▹

**Independent Study and Special Topics**

(Approval required)

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0704 - Senior Project ▲ ▹

**Senior Project**

Independent research project incorporating both written and oral presentations.

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 0705 - Senior Research & Thesis ▲ ▹

**Senior Research and Thesis**

Independent research in the fall, winter, and spring terms culminating in a written thesis (two units total). (Approval required)

Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

##### PHYS 1015 - Intro to Rocket Propulsion ▲

**Introduction to Rocket Propulsion**

In this course we will investigate the following questions: What is rocket propulsion? How do we send humans and robots to space? How do chemical and electrical rockets work and what applications are they suitable for? How do spacecraft travel to other planets? How can we use computers to design rockets and their trajectories? We will dive into topics including chemical combustion, energy conversion, ionized gases, launch vehicle design and trajectories, Kepler’s Laws, orbit transfers, and much more. We will also read *Hidden Figures* and have weekly discussions about the text. Assignments will consist of readings, handwritten problem sets, programming assignments, and a short reflection paper on *Hidden Figures*. (CSCI 101 or CSCI 0145 or CSCI 150, or equivalent and PHYS 109 or equivalent and MATH 0121 or equivalent) **SCI WTR**

Winter 2021

##### PHYS 1103 - Picture a Physicist ▲

**Picture a Physicist**

Picture a physicist. Whom do you see? In this course we will learn about the pioneering physics research done by women, African Americans, and members of other groups that are underrepresented in physics. Through in-class demonstrations and simulations, students will understand the many physics questions that would never have been answered without a diverse group of physicists working to solve them. Students will read about the lives and struggles of these physicists and will examine the hidden and overt obstacles that can hinder their persistence in the field. No prior knowledge of physics is necessary nor expected. (FYSE 1548 students require permission of the instructor.) **SCI WTR**

Winter 2021

##### PHYS 1105 - Ancient Astronomy

**Ancient Astronomy**

In this course we will learn about astronomy through the lens of ancient civilizations. By studying the civilizations of the Babylonians and Greeks, as well as selected civilizations around the world, we will learn how ancient astronomers determined the sizes of the Earth and Moon as well as distances to bodies in the solar system and how celestial phenomena motivated religious and cultural practice. We will employ hands-on, lab-like activities, and naked-eye observations of the sky along with moderate use of mathematics to learn how our ancestors understood our place in the cosmos. **CMP SCI WTR**

Winter 2017

##### PHYS 1108 - Quantum Mech./Linear Algebra ▲

**Quantum Mechanics from Linear Algebra**

The mysterious and surprising predictions of quantum mechanics, such as uncertainty in measurement and the failure of determinism, can be best understood through the language of linear algebra. In this course we will use eigenvectors and eigenvalues, dot products, and the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality to develop the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics and their predictions for the behavior of quantum systems. We will focus particularly on spin systems, which have applications to areas ranging from quantum computing to magnetic resonance imaging to quaternion methods for 3-D graphics and motion tracking. No prior physics experience is assumed apart from basic familiarity with concepts such as momentum, energy, and electric charge. (MATH 0122, MATH 0200, and introductory physics at the high school or college level.) **DED SCI WTR**

Winter 2021