# Course Descriptions

**Please note:** The course descriptions displayed here are current as of Monday, January 25, 2021, 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: *Introduction to 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. Weekly laboratory.
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 119: *Victorian Engineering*

The Victorian era (1837-1901) saw tremendous advances in engineering: systems such as steam engines, steel bridges, underground railways and electrical lighting were developed or dramatically enhanced. Moreover, many of these systems are still in use in London. This course uses London as a unique laboratory to investigate classical physics through field trips to engineering edifices combined with classroom discussion to expose the underlying science.
Units: 6.

#### PHYS 141: *Introduction to Physics I*

A calculus-based introduction to fundamental concepts in mechanics, from Galileo and Newton through relativity and quantum mechanics. Weekly laboratories emphasize the acquisition, 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: *Introduction to Physics II*

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 190: *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 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.

Also listed as English 410

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

#### PHYS 220: *Intermediate Lab: 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 260: *Modern Physics*

Treats foundational ideas of quantum physics: quantized aspects of nature, wave-particle duality, elementary wave mechanics, atomic and nuclear structure, fundamental particles, cosmology. Weekly laboratory.
Units: 6.

Prerequisite: PHYS 151 and MATH 200 as pre- or co-requisite or CHEM 470

#### 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*

A laboratory course which treats geometrical optics, interference, diffraction, polarization, and various other topics in classical and contemporary optics. Students will be exposed to the techniques of a modern atomic molecular optics (AMO) laboratory.
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 principles 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 analytic 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-nucleon 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.
*Topic for Fall 2020: General Relativity*

This course will explore General Relativity, “one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind.” Along the way, students will come to an appreciation for and understanding of this phrase and of the physics it describes, as well as black holes, event horizons, gravitational waves, and the cosmic microwave background. Prerequisite: PHYS 230, MATH 210

Units: 6.

Prerequisite: PHYS 230, MATH 210

#### 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.

Also listed as Biology 570

Prerequisite: PHYS 151, and one of PHYS 230, CHEM 252, CHEM 340, or BIOL 354

#### PHYS 590: *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 591: *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 599: *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 650: *Senior Seminar in Physics*

This course is a weekly seminar during which physics majors in their final year work on and deliver oral presentations based on their senior experience study projects.
Units: 2.

Prerequisite: Limited to physics majors in their final year who have completed (or are currently conducting) a senior experience independent study project

#### PHYS 690: *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 691: *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 699: *Independent Study in Physics*

Theoretical, experimental and/or computational independent study. Projects undertaken in satisfaction of the senior experience requirement in physics use this designation. A written proposal must be submitted to the department at least one term before enrolling.
Units: 1 TO 98.

Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.