Physics

Requirements & Courses

  • Major or Teaching Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits, which must include:  PHY-121, 122, 212, 221, 312, 321, 323, 421; and either 333, 380, 499, 500 or AST-225.
    2. Twenty cognate credits, including MTH-121,122, 210, 211 and CSC-120.
  • Minor or Teaching Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits, including PHY-121, 122, 220, 221 and eight credits from Physics and Astronomy courses numbered 200 or above. Twenty cognate credits, including MTH-121, 122, 210, 211 and CSC-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-100 or 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
    MTH-113 or MTH-121 previously or concurrently
    Calculus-based treatment of one and two-dimensional mechanics, vectors, force, work, energy, momentum, torque, and static equilibrium. Offered every Fall. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    122
    .
    Introduction to Physics II
    4
    PHY-121
    Continuation of PHY 121. Topics include oscillations and waves, sound, Doppler effect, introductory electricity and magnetism, introductory optics. Offered every Winter. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    140
    .
    Machine Shop
    2
    Permission
    Introduction to machine shop tools and techniques. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    212
    .
    Mechanical Systems
    4
    PHY-121 and MTH-121
    Rotational kinematics, dynamics, and advanced static equilibrium; fluids and introduction to thermal physics. Offered Winter, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    *
    221
    .
    Modern Physics
    4
    PHY-121
    Survey of fundamentals of modern physics; special relativity, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and introductory quantum wave mechanics. Laboratory. Course fee.
  • PHY
    *
    225
    .
    Astrophysics
    4
    Take PHY-221 concurrently
    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
    Permission
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student.
  • PHY
    *
    312
    .
    Dynamics
    4
    PHY-212, MTH-211
    Study of motion. Includes particle dynamics, central force motion, rigid body motion, Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations of motion. (Offered Fall, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    *
    321
    .
    Advanced Electromagnetism
    4
    PHY-122, MTH-210
    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. (Offered Fall, Odd numbered years)
  • PHY
    *
    323
    .
    Thermal/Statistical Physics
    4
    PHY-212, 221 and MTH-210;
    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. (Offered Winter, Odd numbered years)
  • 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. Students may need to buy materials for their projects at a cost up to $100.
  • PHY
    *
    399
    .
    Physics Independent Study
    1-4
    Permission
    Planned program of study. Topic selected by instructor and student.
  • PHY
    *
    421
    .
    Quantum Mechanics
    4
    PHY-221, MTH-210; MTH-310 is recommended
    Study of wave and matrix mechanics, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom and angular momentum and spin. (Offered Winter, Even numbered years)
  • PHY
    *
    480
    .
    Topics in Physics
    4
    May require Permission
    Study of topic of current or historical importance chosen by instructor. Prerequisites vary with selections.
  • 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
    Permission
    Planned program of research performed on campus or as part of research group at major university or national laboratory. Course fee.