# Courses

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

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PHYS 0104

Chaos Complexity and Self-Org.

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0106

Physics for Educated Citizens

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0108
Current
Upcoming

The Physics of Motion

Course Description

**The Physics of Motion**

This calculus-based course examines fundamental topics in motion and mechanics, including inertia, force, Newton's laws of motion, work, energy, linear momentum, collisions, gravitation, rotational motion, torque, and angular momentum, emphasizing applications in physics, engineering, the life sciences, and everyday life. Laboratory explorations of topics covered in lecture will build students’ physical intuition and problem-solving skills. Students who have taken a high-school course in physics should consider enrolling in PHYS 0109. (MATH 0121 concurrent or prior; students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0108 and PHYS 0109) 3 hrs. lect/3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0109
Upcoming

Introductory Mechanics

Course Description

**Introductory Mechanics**

This calculus-based course examines fundamental topics in motion and mechanics, including inertia, force, Newton's laws of motion, work, energy, linear momentum, collisions, gravitation, rotational motion, torque, angular momentum, and oscillatory motion, emphasizing applications in physics and engineering. Laboratory explorations of topics covered in lecture will build students’ physical intuition and problem solving skills. (MATH 0121; students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0108 and PHYS 0109) 3 hrs. lect/3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0110

Electricity & Magnetism

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0111
Current
Upcoming

Waves, Optics & Thermodynamics

Course Description

**Oscillatory Motion, Waves, Optics, and Thermodynamics**

This calculus-based course covers oscillations, wave motion, sound, geometrical optics, physical optics, and thermodynamics. Other physics topics may be added at the discretion of the instructor. Lab experiments will explore these topics and develop skills in experimentation and data analysis. (PHYS 0108 or 109) And (MATH 0121) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0114
Current
Upcoming

Electricity & Magnetism

Course Description

**Electricity and Magnetism** (formerly PHYS 0110)

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 0108 or 0109, MATH 0122) (Students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0110 and PHYS 0114) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0155
Upcoming

Introduction to the Universe

Course Description

**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. 3 hrs. lect./1 hrs.disc.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0201

Relativity And Quantum Physics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0202

Quantum Physics Applications

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0212

Applied Math For Phys. Science

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**

###
PHYS 0214
Upcoming

Relativity & Electromagnetism

Course Description

**Relativity and Electromagnetism**

This course develops a unified description of electromagnetism and Einstein’s theory of special relativity, based upon the postulate that the laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames. Topics include relativistic phenomena, relativistic energy and momentum, Lorentz transformations, four-vectors in spacetime, differential operators and integral theorems of vector calculus, Maxwell’s equations in differential form, electromagnetic waves, and the electromagnetic vector potential. (PHYS 0110 or PHYS 0114; students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0214 and PHYS 0201) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0216
Upcoming

Waves and Fourier Analysis

Course Description

**Waves and Fourier Analysis**

Wave mechanics provides our most fundamental description of all known forms of matter, radiation, and their interactions. In this course we will develop the physics of oscillations and waves and the associated mathematics of Fourier series and transforms, orthogonal functions, and solutions of ordinary and partial differential equations, focusing especially on solutions of initial and boundary value problems by separation of variables in Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical coordinates. (MATH 0122; PHYS 0109 or PHYS 0110 or PHYS 0111 or PHYS 0114; students may not receive credit for both PHYS 0212 and PHYS 0216) 4.5 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0218
Current
Upcoming

Quantum Physics

Course Description

**Quantum Physics**

Classical theories of physics fail to adequately explain the behavior of the smallest and most fundamental objects in nature. In this course we introduce quantum theory, which makes accurate predictions by describing fundamental particles as wave-like and measurements as inherently probabilistic. Students will utilize prior knowledge of wave behavior to explore the foundational principles of quantum theory, including the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the Schrödinger wave equation and wave-particle duality. These principles and techniques are then applied to explain the properties of elementary particles, atoms, molecules, and nuclei. (PHYS 0212 or PHYS 0216) (Students cannot receive credit for both PHYS 0218 and PHYS 0202) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0221

Electronics For Scientists

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0222
Current
Upcoming

Experimental Physics I

Course Description

**Experimental Techniques in Physics I**

In this lab course, we will learn the design and execution of experiments, the modeling of physical systems, and the analysis and presentation of data, at an intermediate level. Laboratory experiments will examine topics in classical mechanics, optics, quantum mechanics, and electricity and magnetism, each with an emphasis on the acquisition of data and computer-aided analysis of data. Students will also gain experience keeping a lab notebook and writing a lab report. (PHYS 0110 or PHYS 0114) (PHYS 0202 or PHYS 0218 concurrent or prior) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0225

Computational Physics

Course Description

**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. Students who meet the prerequisites for PHYS 0325 must register for that course instead. (Not open to students who have taken PHYS 0230 or PHYS 0202, or CSCI 0145 or CSCI 0150) (PHYS 0109; MATH 0122)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0230

Computational Physics

Course Description

**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)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**,

**WTR**

###
PHYS 0241

Biomedical Imaging

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0255
Current

Intro to Astrophysics

Course Description

**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). We will apply these techniques to learn about the physics of stars including stellar interiors and stellar atmospheres as well as their nuclear energy generation processes. We will use real astrophysical data to explore the wide-ranging properties of stars and stellar evolution from birth to death. Students will engage with the literature and learn to use data analysis tools, including Python programming, to analyze real data. No prior experience with programming is required. 3 hrs. lect. 1 hour discussion (PHYS0110 OR PHYS0111 OR PHYS0114) AND (PHYS0212 OR PHYS0214 OR PHSY0216 OR MATH0223)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0301
Upcoming

Intermediate Electromagnetism

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0302
Upcoming

Electromagnetic Theory

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0318
Current
Upcoming

Quantum Mechanics

Course Description

**Quantum Mechanics** (formerly PHYS 0401)

A fundamental course in quantum mechanics aimed at understanding the mathematical structure of the theory and its application to physical phenomena at the atomic level. Topics include the basic postulates of quantum mechanics, operator formalism, Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and central potentials, and angular momentum and spin. (PHYS 0202 or PHYS 218; PHYS 0212 or PHYS 0216; MATH 0200) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0321
Current
Upcoming

Experimental Physics II

Course Description

**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 or PHYS 0216, and PHYS 0201 or PHYS 0214, and PHYS 0202 or PHYS 0218) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/1 hr disc. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**CW**

###
PHYS 0325

Computational Physics

Course Description

**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. Prior programming experience or physics coursework at 200 level is required to enroll in this course; students without this background may be eligible to enroll in PHYS 0225 (not open to students who have taken PHYS 0230). (PHYS 0109 and MATH 0122 and PHYS 0202 or CSCI 0145 or CSCI 0150 or equivalent).

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0330
Upcoming

Analytical Mechanics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0340

Solid State Physics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0350
Current
Upcoming

Statistical Mechanics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0370
Upcoming

Cosmological Physics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0380
Upcoming

General Relativity

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**

###
PHYS 0401

Quantum Mechanics

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0500
Current
Upcoming

Ind. Study & Special Topic

Course Description

**Independent Study and Special Topics**

(Approval required)

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0704
Current
Upcoming

Senior Project

Course Description

**Senior Project**

Independent research project incorporating both written and oral presentations.

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 0705
Current
Upcoming

Senior Research & Thesis

Course Description

**Senior Research and Thesis**

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

Terms Taught

###
PHYS 1015

Intro to Rocket Propulsion

Course Description

**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)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**SCI**,

**WTR**

###
PHYS 1036

Intro to the Space Environment

Course Description

**Introduction to the Space Environment**

Space - It’s all around us. What’s there? How do we know what’s there? How do we get there? What do we do there? We will explore these questions along with the fundamentals of space science and engineering, focusing on the near-earth space environment. Topics include: History of rocket science, basic physics (forces and Newton’s laws.), rocket and jet engines, orbits, satellite missions, the space environment/weather, space policy and commerce, and space in pop culture. We will have lectures interspersed with small group discussions. Labs will highlight the scientific process and associated skills such as data collection, validation, and analysis. Additionally, we will have guest presentations by space industry professionals.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**SCI**,

**WTR**

###
PHYS 1103
Upcoming

Picture a Physicist

Course Description

**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.)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**SCI**,

**WTR**

###
PHYS 1105

Ancient Astronomy

Course Description

**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.

Terms Taught

Requirements

**CMP**,

**SCI**,

**WTR**

###
PHYS 1108

Quantum Mech./Linear Algebra

Course Description

**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.)

Terms Taught

Requirements

**DED**,

**SCI**,

**WTR**