# Course Descriptions

**Please note:** The course descriptions displayed here are current as of Friday, March 27, 2015, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

#### PHYS 107

Physics of Music

Explores the relationship between physics and music, covering such topics as vibrations, waves, interference, resonance, wave forms, scales and temperament, physics of musical instruments, characteristics of auditoriums, impact of electronics. Weekly laboratory.
Units: 6. #### PHYS 110

Topics in Astronomy

Treats selected topics in astronomy and cosmology: the solar system, stellar evolution and death, black holes, galaxies, the big bang theory of the early universe. Astronomical observations are interpreted in light of known physical laws to form a comprehensible picture of the universe.
Units: 6. #### PHYS 112

Energy Technology, Society, and the Environment

Explores energy production, storage, and usage as they are currently practiced. Certain emerging technologies will also be addressed. Environmental and socio-economic impact will be discussed in the context of limitations imposed by the laws of physics.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 115

#### PHYS 115

Aspects of Physics

Treats topics selected for the non-scientist who wants one term of physics. In recent years, the course has sometimes focused on the nature of time and relativity. Physics 115 is not intended to serve as a general introduction to physics, as are Physics 141, 151, and 160, and does not supply an adequate background for intermediate or advanced courses.
Units: 6. #### PHYS 141

Principles of Classical, Relativistic, and Quantum Mechanics

A calculus-based introduction to fundamental concepts in mechanics, from Galileo and Newton through relativity and quantum mechanics. Weekly laboratories emphasize the aquisition, reduction and interpretation of experimental data and the keeping of complete records. Explicit instruction in calculus will be provided.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: None, but calculus is recommended. #### PHYS 151

Principles of Classical Physics

A continuation of Physics 141. Physics 151 offers a brief review of mechanics, and covers electricity, magnetism, circuits, waves, optics and thermal physics. Weekly laboratories emphasize the acquisition, reduction, and interpretation of experimental data and the keeping of complete records.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 141, or one year of high school physics and MATH 140. #### PHYS 160

Principles of Modern Physics

Treats basic ideas developed since 1900: quantum aspects of nature, special relativity, elementary wave mechanics, atomic and nuclear structure, fundamental particles. Weekly laboratory.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 151 and MATH 150 #### PHYS 191

Directed Study in Physics

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required. #### PHYS 215

Newtonian Lit: Chronicles of a Clockwork Universe

Newtonian Lit is a course that investigates the connections between the literature and science of the Enlightenment, particularly with respect to contemporary notions of space and time. Students will analyze important texts from the fields of English and Physics, notably Laurence Sterne’s *The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman*and Isaac Newton’s

*Principia*. Units: 6. Prerequisite: ENG 150 or its equivalent, plus any introductory course in the natural sciences (e.g., PHYS 141), plus sophomore standing or consent of instructor

Also listed as English 410

#### PHYS 216

Apocalypses: The Earth, The Solar System, and the Universe

This course explores the questions of endings—of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life—and how these can be addressed through the methods of astronomy, physics, and geology. Topics considered include environmental and planetary catastrophies, the late evolution of the Earth and the Sun, and the cosmological fate of the Universe. Apocalypses is intended as a bookend to the Origins course (PHYS 212/BIOL 212/GEOL 215).
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: Introductory course in any two different natural sciences; at least one intermediate course in a natural science; sophomore standing
Also listed as Geology 216

#### PHYS 220

Physical Electronics

A laboratory course covering analysis, construction, and testing of circuits used in present-day experimental research. Strict adherence to standard laboratory practice required. Two laboratories and one lecture per week. *Note:*To register, you must sign up with instructor. Units: 6. Prerequisite: PHYS 151 and MATH 130 or 140

#### PHYS 225

Computational Mechanics

Introduces symbolic and numerical computation through examples drawn mainly from classical mechanics but also from classical electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. This course emphasizes computer-based approaches to graphical visualization, the solution of ordinary differential equations, the evaluation of integrals, and the finding of roots, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 151 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 230

Electricity and Magnetism

Develops and explores charge and current densities, particle motions, electrostatics, magnetostatics, induction, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves, responses of matter.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 310

Quantum Mechanics

Develops the theoretical framework used to describe microscopic phenomena: wave-particle duality, wave functions, states and observables, Schrödinger equation, uncertainty relations, bound states, quantum scattering, angular momentum, spin, and stationary and time-dependent perturbation theories.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225, MATH 210, and some exposure to quantum mechanics (e.g. PHYS 160, CHEM 470) #### PHYS 320

Thermal Physics

Treats elementary statistical mechanics, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics, kinetic theory, and classical thermodynamics.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 160 and 225 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 330

Advanced Laboratory

Independent work on experiments selected from the following areas: optical, Mössbauer, alpha, beta, gamma ray, and x-ray spectroscopy; optical double resonance; magnetic resonance; vacuum techniques; solid-state physics; laser physics; nuclear physics. Three laboratories weekly; no lectures.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 160, 220 and 225; PHYS 310 recommended #### PHYS 340

Optics

Treats geometrical optics, interference, diffraction, polarization, and various other topics in classical and contemporary optics.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 160 and PHYS 225 or 230 #### PHYS 350

Physics on Your Feet I

This is the first part of a two-course sequence in which approaches to a wide variety of problems in all major areas of physics are discussed. Special emphasis is placed on quickly identifying relevant fundamental princples and make order of magnitude estimates.
Units: 2.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225, 230 and 310 #### PHYS 351

Physics on Your Feet II

This is the second part of a two-course sequence in which approaches to a wide variety of problems in all major areas of physics are discussed. Special emphasis is placed on quickly identifying relevant fundamental principles and make order of magnitude estimates.
Units: 2.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225, 230 and 310. #### PHYS 390

Tutorial Studies in Physics

Readings of texts and/or current literature to study a topic not covered in regular offerings. Topics must be carefully defined and a bibliography assembled before permission to enroll is granted.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required. #### PHYS 391

Directed Study in Physics

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required. #### PHYS 399

Independent Study in Physics

Theoretical or experimental independent study. A written proposal must be submitted to the department at least one term before enrolling. Recent independent studies have been undertaken in fluid mechanics, general relativity, atomic systems coupled to electromagnetic fields, phase transitions in liquid crystals, plasma physics, and robotics.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required. #### PHYS 425

Advanced Mechanics & Computational Physics

Treats various topics selected from: mechanics of rigid bodies, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, variational principles, fluids, classical scattering, relativistic mechanics, and theory of small vibrations. In addition to analysic approaches, computational methods to solving problems are emphasized, such as finite difference and finite element methods for solving partial differential equations as well as graphical visualization techniques.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225 #### PHYS 430

Advanced Electricity and Magnetism

Treats several topics selected from: multipole expansions, radiation from accelerated charges, solutions to Laplace’s equations, retarded potentials, wave guides, modern optics, and electron physics.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 230 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 440

Mathematical Methods of Physics

Treats several topics selected from: Fourier series and transforms, partial differential equations, special functions, numerical methods, matrix methods, calculus of variations.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 460

Advanced Modern Physics

Treats quantum mechanically various topics selected from atomic and nuclear physics. This course will concentrate on properties of atoms and nuclei, atomic and nuclear structure, the deuteron, nucleon-nucleoon scattering, nuclear models, and nuclear decay. Six supplemental laboratory exercises that focus on laser spectroscopy will be arranged.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310 and MATH 210 #### PHYS 500

Special Topics in Physics

Treats selected topics, such as relativity, fundamental particles, fluid mechanics, and surface physics that vary according to the interests of students and staff.
Units: 6. #### PHYS 520

Plasma Physics

Explores the properties of hot, ionized gases: motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, plasma kinetic theory, fluid models, waves and instabilities, wave-particle interactions (Landau damping), and plasma confinement and transport. Offered every two or three years.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 230 #### PHYS 530

Solid State Physics

Explores the fundamental properties of crystalline solids from an experimental perspective. Experimental investigations using scanning probe microscopy and x-ray diffraction introduce the topics of crystal structures and the reciprocal lattice, phonons, and the quantum theory of electronic band structure. Insights from experiments will guide theoretical development.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 310 #### PHYS 560

Topics in Astrophysics

Treats selected topics in astrophysics and cosmology, such as orbital mechanics, stellar structure and evolution, galactic dynamics, the origin and evolution of the Universe.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 225 and PHYS 230 #### PHYS 570

Biological Physics

Develops and explores the physical principles underlying biological systems, with a particular emphasis on building quantitative models. Applies fundamental topics including thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, elasticity, and electrostatics to model molecular and cellular phenomena such as gene expression, virus assembly, DNA bending and stretching, and nerve impulses.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: PHYS 151, and one of PHYS 230, CHEM 252, CHEM 340, or BIOL 354
Also listed as Biology 570