Courses in Physics
A PHY 100 Contemporary Astronomy—The Cosmic Connection (3)
Modern developments in astronomy, the birth and death of stars, solar and planetary science, neutron stars and black holes, galactic structure, cosmology, theories of the origin and future of the universe.
A PHY 103 Exploration of Space (3)
The solar system, modern developments in planetary and space science; human exploration of space; space travel and future colonization.
A PHY 104 Physical Science for Humanists
How the universe works. A historical approach to the development of the laws of physics from the classical physics of Newton to the present. Emphasizes the people and events of the revolution in physics in the 20th century. Unraveling of the structure and properties of the nuclear atom or from raisin pudding to quarks. Intended for nonmajors.
A PHY 105 General Physics I (3)
Vectors, kinematics, dynamics, vibrations and waves, sound, fluids, and thermodynamics. May not be taken for credit by students with credit for A PHY 140, A PHY 141 or T PHY 141H Prerequisite: three years of high school mathematics. Generally offered summer and fall semesters only.
A PHY 106 General Physics Lab I (1)
Laboratory experiments to complement the topics being studied in A PHY 105. One laboratory each week. Corequisite: A PHY 105. Offered summer and fall semesters only. This course may be substituted for A PHY 145.
A PHY 108 General Physics II (3)
Electrostatics, circuit electricity, magnetism, geometrical and physical optics, atomic and nuclear phenomena. May not be taken for credit by students with credit for A PHY 150, A PHY 151 or T PHY 151. Prerequisite: A PHY 105. Generally offered spring and summer semesters only.
A PHY 109 General Physics Lab II (1)
Laboratory experiments to complement the topics in A PHY 108. One laboratory period each week. Corequisite: A PHY 108. Offered spring and summer semesters only.
A PHY 112 Star Systems (3)
We will explore our world and our lives in the context of the solar system to which we belong. We will compare our world to the other rocky worlds of the inner solar system, and explore the gas giants and frozen worlds of the outer solar system. We will come to understand our sun as a star, and will learn about the other stars in our galaxy and what we know about those star systems. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 105 or A PHY 140.
A PHY 140 Physics I: Mechanics (3)
An introduction to the fundamentals of physics: Classical Mechanics. Topics include the concepts of force, energy and work applied to the kinematics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies and an introduction to special relativity. Only one of A PHY 140, A PHY 141 or T PHY 141 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 111 or 112 or 118. Generally offered fall semester only.
T PHY 141 (formerly A PHY 141H) Honors Physics I: Mechanics (3)
Course content will follow A PHY 140. However, topics will be covered in more depth and at a somewhat more advanced level. Students with a strong interest in physical sciences should consider taking A PHY 141 instead of A PHY 140. T PHY 141 is the Honors College version of A PHY 141. Only one of A PHY 140, A PHY 141 or T PHY 141 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 111 or 112 or 118. Open to Honors College students only.
A PHY 145 Physics Lab I (1)
Experiments in mechanics. One laboratory period each week. Prerequisite or corequisite: A PHY 140, A PHY 141 or T PHY 141. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 150 Physics II: Electromagnetism (3)
An introduction to the fundamentals of physics: electrostatics and magnetism, including the concepts of the electric and magnetic fields, electric potential and basic circuits; the laws of Gauss, Ampere, and Faraday; Maxwell’s equations; geometrical optics. Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 113 or 119; prerequisite: A PHY 140, A PHY 141, or T PHY 141. Generally offered spring semester only.
A PHY 151 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism (4)
An introduction to the fundamentals of physics: electrostatics and magnetism, including the concepts of the electric and magnetic fields, electric potential and basic circuits; the laws of Gauss, Ampere and Raraday; Maxwell's equations; geometrical optics. Course content will follow A PHY 150. However, topics will be covered in more depth and at a more advanced level. This course is for advanced students not in the Honors College program. Only one of A PHY 150, A PHY 151 or T PHY 151 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 113 or 119; prerequisite(s): A PHY 140 or 141.
T PHY 151 (formerly A PHY 151H) Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism (4)
An introduction to the fundamentals of physics: electrostatics and magnetism, including the concepts of the electric and magnetic fields, electric potential and basic circuits; the laws of Gauss, Ampere and Raraday; Maxwell's equations; geometrical optics. Course content will follow A PHY 150. However, topics will be covered in more depth and at a more advanced level. Only one of A PHY 150, A PHY 151, or T PHY 151 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite or corequisite(s): A MAT 113 or 119; prerequisite(s): A PHY 140, A PHY 141, or T PHY 141. Open to Honors College students only.
A PHY 155 Physics Lab II (1)
Experiments in electricity and magnetism, circuits, and optics. One laboratory period each week. Prerequisite or corequisite: A PHY 150, A PHY 151, or T PHY 151. Offered spring semester only.
T PHY 160 (formerly A PHY 160H) Space, Time, and Gravity (3)
A survey of the physical theories of space, time, motion, and the theory of gravity, from the early work of Galileo, through Newton's mechanics, and culminating in Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Newton's universal law of gravitation: solar system, stars, and galaxies. Special relativity: space-time, time dilation, length contraction, E=mc². General relativity: gravity as curved space-time, black holes, expanding universe, the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy. Prerequisite: high school algebra and trigonometry. Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 112 or 118. Open to Honors College students only.
A PHY 202 Environmental Physics (3)
Study of the collection, evaluation, and interpretation of data and the modeling and analysis of urban and environmental problems. Topics include population, pollution, mass transportation systems, comparison of various energy sources such as solar, nuclear, and fossil fuel, and effective utilization of natural resources. Prerequisite: algebra.
A PHY 235 Mathematics in Physics (3)
An enhancement of mathematics skills developed in the first year math and physics courses. Emphasis is on applications of calculus, complex variables, linear algebra, power series, and differential equations to problems in physics. Offered fall semester only. Prerequisite: A PHY 150 or 151. Corequisite: A MAT 214.
A PHY 240 Physics III: Structure of Matter (3)
An introduction to the fundamentals of physics: Thermodynamics and kinetic gas theory. Quantum theory of photons, atoms, nuclei and solids. Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 214; prerequisite: A PHY 150 or 151. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 245 Physics Lab III (1)
Experiments in modern physics. One laboratory period each week. Prerequisite or corequisite: A PHY 240. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 250 Physics IV: Waves (3)
Waves and oscillations in optics, in classical and in quantum mechanics. An introduction to physical concepts (wave packets, normal modes, interference and diffraction) and mathematical techniques (Fourier series, transforms, complex numbers, eigenvectors). Prerequisite or corequisite: A MAT 220; prerequisite: A PHY 240. Offered spring semester only.
A PHY 320 Classical Mechanics (3)
Fundamentals of Newtonian mechanics: conservation theorems, central forces, motion in non-inertial frames, rigid-body motion. Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations. Prerequisite: A PHY 240 with a grade of C or better and A PHY 250, or permission of the instructor. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 335Z Advanced Physics Lab (3)
Introduction to the techniques of experimental research in the areas of electronics, electromagnetism and modern physics. Measurement technique and error analysis are emphasized. Three two-hour lab periods each week. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 250 with a C or better or permission of instructor. Offered spring semester only.
A PHY 340 Electromagnetism I (3)
Electrostatics and magnetostatics in vacuum and in materials. Maxwell’s equations. Energy and momentum in the electromagnetic field. Introduction to electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 240 with a grade of C or better, A PHY 235, and A PHY 250, or permission of Department Chair. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 350 Electromagnetism II: Optics (3)
A further development of the theory of electromagnetic waves and their interactions with matter. Applications include both geometric and physical optics. The role of special relativity in electromagnetic theory is discussed. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 340. Offered spring semester only.
A PHY 353 Microprocessor Applications (3)
Applications of microprocessors to data collection and process control; the capabilities of typical microprocessors and the techniques used to interface them to external devices; input/output programming, use of the data and address busses; interrupt handling, direct memory access, and data communications; characteristics of peripheral devices such as keyboards, printers, A/D and D/A converters, sensors, and actuators. Prerequisite(s): I CSI 201 or 204 or equivalent. An elementary knowledge of electricity is helpful.
A PHY 370 (= A THR 370) Lighting Technology (3)
Introduction to the physical properties of light and the technology used in entertainment lighting systems. Topics include the physics of light, electricity, color, optics, photometric calculations, equipment, and the interpretation of drafting and related paperwork. Only one version may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A THR 135 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 415 Electronics (3)
Transistors and their characteristics; electronic circuits, field effect transistors and applications, amplifiers, low and high frequency response; operational amplifiers; consideration of control-circuit design; fast-switching and counting devices; integrated circuits and their designs. Two class periods and one three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisite: A PHY 150 or 151.
A PHY 416 Electronics: Projects (3)
Independent projects involving laboratory work in the study of electronic circuits using linear and/or digital devices. (Each student is expected to undertake a project that requires originality and broadens knowledge of the area.) Special attention is paid to counters, registers, encoders, decoders, and digital applications.
A PHY 426 Introduction to Particle Physics (3)
A broad survey of Particle Physics. The course will cover the basic concepts in this field: Quark Model, Forces and Symmetries in Nature, Feynman diagrams, the Standard Model, recent developments such as the discovery of neurino oscillations and the Higgs boson-like particle, accelerators and detectors used in experiments, and techniques used to analyze data. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 240 or a basic Quantum Mechanics course such as A PHY 440, or permission of instructor.
A PHY 428 The Physics of Radiation Therapy (3)
This course focuses on radiation therapy physics with special emphasis on clinical applications. The course provides basic radiation physics and physical aspects of treatment planning using photon and electron beams and brachytherapy sources. The course consists of three parts: Part I deals with the basic physics of radiation; Part II deals with classical radiation therapy, which includes dosimetry and treatment planning; Part III focuses on modern radiation therapy, which deals with conformal and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. The course will also involve lectures by Medical Physics experts from local hospitals. Students will write a report on a topic selected in consultation with the teacher. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 320, 340, 350, and 440.
A PHY 430 Optics (3)
This course provides a broad introduction to optics, including both theory and experiment. The geometrical and wave theories of light propagation will be introduced along with their applications such as imaging systems (e.g. microscopes, and telescopes), lasers and polarization optics. The course will include 5 labs covering the material presented in lecture. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 235, A PHY 250.
A PHY 433 Physics Measurements (3)
This course offers theoretical and experimental aspects of measurements, data acquisition and test design in physics and engineering. It introduces students to the National Instruments LabVIEW, a graphical programming platform that allows integration of different software and hardware modules into a single project. The course will cover fundamentals of measurement (statistical error, sampling theory and so on), discuss sensor theory, and offer instruction on virtual instrumentation, such as data logging, signal processing, and graphical user interface design. The course will include several labs covering the material presented in lecture. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 335 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 440 Quantum Physics I (3)
Introduction to non-relativistic quantum mechanics; wave functions, amplitudes and probabilities; the superposition of quantum states, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Time evolution: the Schroedinger equation, stationary states, two-state systems. Motion in one-dimensional potentials: tunneling, particle in a box, harmonic oscillator. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 240 with a grade of C or better and A PHY 250, or permission of Department Chair. Offered fall semester only.
A PHY 442 Introduction to General Relativity (3)
Review of Special Relativity. Introduction to tensor analysis and the geometry of curved spaces. Einstein's equations. Applications to gravitational waves, black holes and expanding universes. Prerequisite: A PHY 320.
A PHY 443 Introduction to Cosmology (3)
An introduction to cosmology, the study of the structure and evolution of the Universe. Topics: Newtonian cosmology, elements of general relativity (metric, geodesics, Einstein equations), Friedman equations and their solutions, dark matter, dark energy, inflation, introduction to quantum gravity. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 320 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 448 Medical Imaging (3)
This introduction to the physics of radiography includes discussions of CAT, PET, MRI, SPECT, fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine. Image quality assessment concepts such as contrast, MTF, DQE(f), and ROC will also be covered. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 250 and A MAT 220 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 449 Introduction to Quantum Foundations and Quantum Information (3)
Quantum theory has many mysterious features, such as entanglement and the probabilistic nature of measurements, which seem to defy understanding in terms of the mechanistic clockwork picture of reality that underlies classical physics. What do these features suggest about the nature of physical reality? For example, is there really "spooky action at a distance" in Nature, as Einstein quipped? In this course, we investigate possible answers to these questions, and form an understanding as to why these questions matter. In particular, we look at recent work which views quantum theory as a theory of information manipulation, and see that this provides extraordinary new insights into the nature of physical reality, which leads to new technological possibilities (such as quantum cryptography and entanglement-assisted computation) that harness quantum weirdness, and even helps us to derive the mathematics of quantum theory from simple physical assumptions. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 440 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 450 Quantum Physics II (3)
Quantum motion in central potentials; angular momentum and spin; the hydrogen atom. Identical Particles. The structure of atoms and molecules, the periodic table. Stationary-state and time-dependent perturbation theory. Scattering theory. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 440. Offered spring semester only.
A PHY 451 (= I CSI 451 & I INF 451) Bayesian Data Analysis and Signal Processing (3)
This course will introduce both the principles and practice of Bayesian and maximum entropy methods for data analysis, signal processing, and machine learning. This is a hands-on course that will introduce the use of the MATLAB computing language for software development. Students will learn to write their own Bayesian computer programs to solve problems relevant to physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and signal processing, as well as hypothesis testing and error analysis. Optimization techniques to be covered include gradient ascent, fixed-point methods, and Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling techniques. Only one of I INF 451, I CSI 451, or A PHY 451 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 214 (or equivalent) and I CSI 101 or 201.
A PHY 452 Astroparticle Physics (3)
An in-depth discussion of precision cosmology: dark matter, dark energy, and the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, from experimental/technological, observational, mathematical/theoretical, phenomenological, and computational perspectives. Introduction to intragalactic and extragalactic gamma-ray/x-ray astronomy, the study of cosmic rays, and astrophysical neutrinos, as well as experimental searches for extra/higher spatial dimensions and constraints on Lorentz invariance violation via various particle astrophysics detection methods. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 443 and 320 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 454 Microprocessor Applications Laboratory (3)
Complements the theoretical development presented in A PHY 353. Centers around practical laboratory applications in both hardware and software of a particular microprocessor. Students prototype a minimum system and expanded system. Applications include keyboard, printer, display, A/D, D/A, and control functions. A knowledge of a microprocessor and digital logic functions is desirable. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 415 or permission of instructor or A PHY 353.
A PHY 460 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics (3)
Thermodynamic systems and variables; the laws of thermodynamics. Thermodynamic potentials and applications, ideal and real gas relations; changes of phase, introduction to probability theory; elementary kinetic theory of gases; micro and macro-states of simple quantum-mechanical systems; Fermi-Dirac, Bose-Einstein, and Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics. Offered in spring semester only. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): A PHY 440. Prerequisite(s): A MAT 214 and A PHY 250.
A PHY 462 (formerly A PHY 362) Physics of Materials (3)
The physics of real materials: the structure of crystalline and amorphous solids; x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy; the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations; crystallographic defects and their relation to mechanical properties. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 250.
A PHY 466 X-ray Optics, Analysis and Imaging (3)
A broad survey of x-ray optics and their uses. Introduction to the theory of x-ray interaction with matter, including refraction, diffraction, total reflection, image formation, fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and the effects of Compton scattering, photo-electric absorption, and surface roughness. Applications include x-ray astronomy, microscopy, lithography, materials analysis and medical imaging. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 340.
A PHY 468 Particle Physics (3)
Particle interactions and symmetries. Introduction to classification and the quark model. Calculation of elementary processes using Feynman diagrams. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): A PHY 440 or equivalent or permission of instructor.
A PHY 469 Physics of Nuclei (3)
This course will deal with basic properties of nuclei such as size, shape, and nuclear force. Nuclear structure based upon shell and collective models, nuclear reactions induced by nucleons including nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, and nuclear energy. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 440 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 472 Fluid Mechanics (3)
Most fluids are described by the Navier-Stokes equation. Simplifications or approximations are often needed to extract the physics from this complicated equation. Topics covered include: static fluids, pressure and surfaces; the Euler equation, d’Alembert’s paradox, Bernoulli’s equation and circulation; viscosity, damping and the Reynolds number; boundary layers and turbulence; waves and sound propagation. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 320 and A MAT 214.
A PHY 477 Computational Methods (3)
Applications of modern computational methods to current topics in physics. Basics of coding and use of standard software packages. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 235 or permission of instructor.
A PHY 487 Solid State Physics I (3)
A broad survey of the phenomena of solid state physics. Symmetries of crystals and diffraction from periodic structures; vibrational states and electronic band structures in crystalline metals, semiconductors, and insulators; thermal, transport and optical properties of solids. A PHY 487 is suggested for Honors students, though assignments and grading are not quite at the graduate level. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 440 and A PHY 460.
A PHY 488 Solid State Physics II (3)
A broad survey of the phenomena of solid state physics (continuation of Solid State Physics I). Superconductivity; magnetic and dielectric properties of materials; spectroscopy with photons and electrons; point and line defects; surfaces and interfaces; alloys; noncrystalline solids. A PHY 488 is suggested for Honors students, though assignments and grading are not quite at the graduate level. Prerequisite(s): A PHY 487.
A PHY 497 Research and/or Independent Study (1-3)
Research and/or independent study under the direct supervision of a faculty member with whom the student has made an arrangement. Ambitious students are encouraged to engage in an activity that broadens their experience considerably beyond that of conventional course work. A written report is submitted on the work of each semester. May be repeated for credit. S/U graded.
A PHY 498 Honors Seminar in Physics (3)
A seminar specifically designed for students admitted to the Department’s Honors program. Topics are determined by the Departmental Honors Committee. Prerequisite(s): admission to Honors Program.