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Undergraduate Bulletin 2007-2008
Bulletin Homepage |College of Arts & Sciences | Courses in Physics

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. [NS]

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. [NS]

A Phy 104 Physical Science for Humanists (3)

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. Intended for nonmajors. [NS]

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 or 141H. Prerequisite(s): three years of high school mathematics. [NS]

A Phy 106 General Physics Lab (1)

Laboratory experiments to complement the topics being studied in A Phy 105. One laboratory each week. Co-requisite(s): A Phy 105. Offered summer and fall semesters only.

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 or 151. Prerequisite(s): A Phy 105. [NS]

A Phy 109 General Physics Lab (1)

Laboratory experiments to complement the topics in A Phy 108. One laboratory period each week. Co-requisite(s): A Phy 108. Offered spring and summer semesters only.

A Phy 111 The Mind and the World + Discussion (4)

A critical examination of contemporary topics concerning the relationship between the human mind and the natural world. The topics vary with semesters, but typically include the state of knowledge about the mind and its relationship to the brain, the possibility of a science of the mind, skepticism about knowledge, free will and determinism, and the limits of scientific knowledge. In addition to regular lectures, students will attend a weekly discussion section.

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.

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. Pre/corequisite: A Mat 111 or 112 or 118. [NS]

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 141H instead of A Phy 140. Only one of A Phy 140 or 141H may be taken for credit. Offered in fall semester only. Prerequisite(s): A Mat 111 or 112 or 118. [NS]

A Phy 145 Physics Lab I (1)

Experiments in mechanics. One laboratory period each week. Offered fall semester only. Pre/corequisite: A Phy 140 or 141H.
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. Pre/corequisite: A Mat 113 or 119; prerequisite: A Phy 140 or 141H. [NS]

A Phy 151 Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism (3)

Course content will follow A Phy 150. 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 151 instead of A Phy 150. Only one of A Phy 150 or 151 may be taken for credit. Offered in spring semester only. Pre/corequisite(s): A Mat 113 or 119; prerequisite(s): A Phy 140 or 141 and permission of instructor. [NS]

A Phy 155 Physics Lab II (1)

Experiments in electricity and magnetism, circuits, and optics. One laboratory period each week. Offered spring semester only. Pre/corequisite: A Phy 150 or 151.

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(s): High school algebra and trigonometry. Co-Prerequisite(s): A Mat 112 or A Mat 118.

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(s): algebra. [NS]

A Phy 203 Fakes, Frauds, and Modern Science: Artifact Analysis and Archeology (3)

This course discusses our modern understanding of the structure of matter and illustrates how this knowledge can be applied to the study of objects of interest in art history or archaeology. The goals of such studies include learning about the age of an object, the technology used to fabricate the object, and how an object should be stored in order to preserve it for future generations.[NS]

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(s): A Phy 150 or 151. Co-requisite: 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. Offered fall semester only. Pre/corequisite: A Mat 214; prerequisite: A Phy 150 or 151.

A Phy 245 Physics Lab III (1)

Experiments in modern physics. One laboratory period each week. Offered fall semester only. Pre/corequisite: A Phy 240.

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). Pre/corequisite: A Mat 220; prerequisite: A Phy 240.
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. Offered fall semester only. Prerequisite: A Phy 250, or permission of the instructor.

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. Offered spring semester only. Prerequisite: A Phy 250 or permission of instructor. [WI]

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. Offered fall semester only. Prerequisite(s): A Phy 235 and A Phy 250.

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. Offered spring semester only. Prerequisite(s): A Phy 340.

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 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. May not be offered 2007-2008. 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. May not be offered 2007-2008.

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. Offered fall semester only. Prerequisite: A Phy 250.

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. Offered spring semester only. Prerequisite: A Phy 440.

A Phy 451 (=I Csi 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. Prerequisite(s): A Mat 214 (or equivalent) and I Csi 101 or I Csi 201.

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. Pre/co-requisite: 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: A Phy 330. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Phy 467 Physics of Semiconductor Devices (3)

A survey of state-of-the art semiconductor device manufacture and usage in the electronics industry. Topics covered include basic semiconductor physics (band structure, electron transport, phonon, optical, thermal, and high magnetic field properties) and the operating principles and current manufacturing techniques of various devices (p-n junctions, transistors, CCD’s, photonic devices, and superlattices). Prerequisite(s): A Phy 330 and A Phy 460; corequisite: A Phy 450. May not be offered 2007-2008.
A Phy 468 Introduction to Particle Physics (3)

Particle interactions and symmetries. Introduction to classification and the quark model. Calculation of elementary processes using Feynman diagrams. Prerequisite(s): Corequisite of A Phy 440 or equivalent or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

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 330 or permission of instructor.

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.