Stephen J. Ratcliff

Jacob Abbott Professor of Natural Sciences

ratcliff at middlebury dot edu

 work(802) 443-5695
 fax (802) 443-2072
 Spring 2018: Wed 2pm-4pm; Fri 10am-11am; or by appointment.
 McCardell Bicentennial Hall 514



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1425 - Physics of Musical Sounds      

The Physics of Musical Sounds
In this seminar we will study the physical phenomena associated with the creation and transmission of sounds, especially those related to conventional musical instruments (both acoustic and electric, including the human voice). The categorization of sounds according to their harmonic content will be discussed, and we will also consider electronic means of production, transmission, and processing of sound. (This course assumes familiarity with high-school trigonometry) 3 hrs sem./lab CW DED SCI

Fall 2014

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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 concurrent or prior) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. DED SCI

Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2016

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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

Fall 2017, Fall 2018

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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, MATH 0122) 3 hrs. lect. DED SCI

Fall 2014

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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

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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

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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, PHYS 0212) 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2016

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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 0201 and PHYS 0202 and PHYS 0212; MATH 0200 recommended) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. (Approval required) CW

Spring 2017

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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

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PHYS 0500 - Ind. Study & Special Topic      

Independent Study and Special Topics
(Approval required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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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)

Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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Department of Physics

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753