Physics

Requirements & Courses

  • Major or Teaching Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits, including PHY 121, 122, 220, 221, 312, 321, 323, 421; and either 333, 380, 499, 500 or Astronomy 225.
    2. Twenty cognate credits, including Mathematics 121, 122, 210, 211 and Computer Science 120.
  • Minor or Teaching Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits, including Physics 121, 122, 220, 221 and eight credits from Physics and Astronomy courses numbered 200 or above. Twenty cognate credits, including Mathematics 121, 122, 210, 211 and Computer Science 120.

  • Four credits from PHY, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Natural Sciences — Physical Sciences.

Courses

  • PHY
    101
    .
    Making of the Atomic Bomb
    4
    Review of the scientific, engineering, military and social factors involved in the development of the atomic bomb from 1900-1945. Does not count toward Physics major. MTH-101 recommended.
  • PHY
    112
    .
    General Physics I
    4
    MTH-112, 113, or 121 or Permission
    First half of an introductory survey of physics with emphasis on problem-solving. Uses algebra and trigonometry but not calculus. Appropriate for students who plan no further study in physics. Topics include motion, forces, rotation, conservation laws and thermal physics. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    113
    .
    General Physics II
    4
    PHY-112
    Second half of the introductory survey of physics started with PHY 112. Uses algebra and trigonometry but not calculus. Topics include vibrations and waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern topics. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    121
    .
    Introduction to Physics I
    4
    First half of introductory survey of physics with emphasis on problem-solving. Uses calculus. Appropriate for physics, chemistry or mathematics majors, pre-engineering students, and pre-medical students who have had calculus. Includes mechanics,dynamics and rotation. Requires MTH-121 concurrently or permission. Permission will be granted immediately to students who already have credit for MTH-112 or 113. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    122
    .
    Introduction to Physics II
    4
    PHY-121
    Second half of the introductory survey of physics started with PHY 121. Uses calculus.Includes oscillations, gravity, waves, sounds,fluids and thermal physics. Completion of MTH-122 or concurrent enrollment in MTH-122 is strongly recommended. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    140
    .
    Machine Shop
    2
    Introduction to machine shop tools and techniques. Requires instructor permission to register. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    212
    .
    Mechanics I: Statics
    4
    PHY-121 and CSC-120; MTH-210 concurrently
    Study of static equilibrium of rigid bodies. Includes translational and rotational equilibrium; stresses, strains and deformations; strengths of materials.
  • PHY
    *
    220
    .
    Introduction to Electromagnetism
    4
    PHY-122; MTH-210 or Permission
    Continuation of survey of physics begun in PHY 121-122. Study of fundamentals of electricity and magnetism: charge, current, fields, potentials, resistance, capacitance, and an introduction to electromagnetic waves. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    221
    .
    Modern Physics
    4
    PHY-122; MTH-210 or Permission
    Survey of fundamentals of modern physics; special relativity, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and introductory quantum wave mechanics. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    225
    .
    Astrophysics
    4
    Study of the physics of stellar constituents of the universe: distances, magnitudes, colors, spectra and motions of stars; multiple and variable stars; stellar structure and evolution, star clusters, structure and rotation of the Milky Way galaxy, galaxies and cosmology. Requires PHY-221 concurrently.
  • PHY
    *
    299
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1-8
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHY
    *
    312
    .
    Dynamics
    4
    PHY-122 and MTH-210; PHY-251 strongly recommended
    Study of motion. Includes particle dynamics, central force motion, rigid body motion, Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations of motion. See Catalog for prerequisites.
  • PHY
    *
    321
    .
    Advanced Electromagnetism
    4
    PHY-220 and MTH-210; PHY-251 strongly recommended
    Study of electric and magnetic fields. Introduces and uses vector calculus. Includes integral and differential forms of Maxwell’s equations; electric, scalar and vector potentials; radiation; and electric and magnetic properties of matter.
  • PHY
    *
    323
    .
    Thermal/Statistical Physics
    4
    PHY-221 and MTH-210; PHY-251 strongly recommended
    Study of thermodynamics as seen and derived from a quantum statistics perspective. Includes first, second and third laws of thermodynamics; kinetic theory of gasses; Maxwell-Boltzman statistics; thermal equilibrium; and fluctuations and irreversibility.
  • PHY
    *
    333
    .
    Optics
    4
    PHY-122; PHY-220 recommended
    Study of geometric and physical optics. Includes mirror and lens systems, apertures and stops, photography, fiber optics, Fourier techniques, interference and diffraction, limits of resolution, optical image processing, electro optics, lasers and holography. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    380
    .
    Topics in Physics
    4
    Study of topic of current or historical importance chosen by instructor. Prerequisites vary with selections. May require instructor permission.
  • PHY
    *
    399
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1-4
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHY
    *
    421
    .
    Quantum Mechanics
    4
    PHY-221 and MTH-310
    Study of wave and matrix mechanics, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom and angular momentum and spin.
  • PHY
    *
    480
    .
    Topics in Physics
    4
    Study of topic of current or historical importance chosen by instructor. Prerequisites vary with selections. May require instructor permission.
  • PHY
    *
    499
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1-4
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student. Requires instructor permission.
  • PHY
    *
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    2-4
    Planned program of research performed on campus or as part of research group at major university or national laboratory. Requires instructor permission. Course fee.