Courses
» Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings.
PHY 1021R The Physical Universe
2 credits
Interdisciplinary course for non-science majors, emphasizing the main ideas in astronomy and the physics of motion, light, heat, and electricity. Not open to students who have completed any college course in physics.
Corequisite: PHY 1021L.
PHY 1021L The Physical Universe Lab
1 credit
Laboratory experiments designed to help students master the principles covered in PHY 1021. (2 hours)
Laboratory fee: $40.
Corequisite: PHY 1021R.
PHY 1024C Great Ideas and Experiments in Modern Physics
3 credits
Oriented toward non-science students, explores the great ideas that shaped physics during the early part of the 20th century: the theory of relativity and the quantum revolution. Hands-on experiments investigate the ideas of particle creation and destruction, nuclear reactions, magnetic resonance, atomic structure, and crystallography.
PHY 1026R Introduction to Astronomy: Planets
2 credits
History of astronomy; early models of the universe. The Copernican Revolution and the Newtonian Universe. The solar system, from terrestrial and Jovian planets to comets and asteroids. Possibility of organic life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond. Future evolution of our planetary system. Recently discovered planetary systems around other stars.
Corequisite: PHY 1026L.
PHY 1026L Introduction to Astronomy: Planets—Laboratory
1 credit
Hands-on experiments and computer simulations illustrating concepts introduced in the course. Observations of planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae with the university’s 12-inch telescope.
Laboratory fee: $50.
Corequisite: PHY 1026R.
PHY 1027R Introduction to Astronomy: Stars
2 credits
Birth, life, and death of stars: from proto-stars, main sequence, red giant stages to white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. The Milky Way galaxy. Evolution of galaxies and their types. Hubble law and expansion of the universe. Big bang and inflation theory.
Corequisite: PHY 1027L.
PHY 1027L Introduction to Astronomy: Stars—Laboratory
1 credit
Hands-on experiments and computer simulations illustrating concepts introduced in the course. Observations of planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae with the university’s 12-inch telescope.
Laboratory fee: $50.
Corequisite: PHY 1027R.
PHY 1028R Environmental Physics
2 credits
Discusses how relatively cheap energy shapes modern life—and causes many problems. Fossil fuels (power plants, cars), nuclear energy, solar energy, eolic and hydroelectric plants. Related environmental issues in the world, our homes, and workplaces.
Corequisite: PHY 1028L.
PHY 1028L Environmental Physics—Laboratory
1 credit
Experiments involving making measurements and analyzing data that are relevant to the different topics of the course.
Laboratory fee: $40.
Corequisite: PHY 1028R.
PHY 1031R, 1032R Introductory Physics—Lectures
4 credits
Algebra-based, two-semester introduction to mechanics, electromagnetism, waves, optics, and thermodynamics.
Lecture: 4 hours; Recitation: 1 hour.
Corequisite: PHY 1031L, PHY 1032L.
PHY 1031L, 1032L Introductory Physics—Laboratory
1 credit
Algebra-based version of PHY 1041L–1042L. (2 hours)
Laboratory fee: $40.
Corequisite: PHY 1031R, PHY 1032R.
PHY 1036 Physics Problems for Pre-Health
1 credit
Complement to PHY 1031–1032. Topics include optics, fluid mechanics as related to the health sciences.
Prerequisites: PHY 1031, PHY 1032.
PHY 1041R, 1042R General Physics—Lectures
4 credits
Introduction to Newtonian mechanics for particles, systems of particles (in particular rigid bodies). Notions of fluid mechanics and elasticity. The physics of waves and geometrical and physical optics. Gravitation. Electricity and magnetism. Circuits of resistors, capacitors, and inductors. Transformers. Maxwell’s equations. Elements of Thermodynamics.
Lecture: 4 hours; Recitation: 1 hour.
Prerequisite: MAT 1412.
Corequisite: PHY 1041L and MAT 1413.
PHY 1041L, 1042L General Physics— Laboratory
1 credit
Laboratory experiments designed to complement the principles covered in PHY 1041R–1042R. Covers mechanics, heat, optics, elasticity, electricity, circuits, and magnetism. (2 hours)
Laboratory fee: $40.
Corequisite: PHY 1041R, PHY 1042R.
PHY 1041H, 1042H Honors General Physics
4 credits
Complements 1041R, 1042R. Lectures with an honors recitation section and/or honors laboratory section.
PHY 1110 Waves and Optics
3 credits
Introduction to normal modes in discrete and continuous systems, linearization, basic Fourier analysis, and applications. Traveling waves on strings, sound waves, introduction to electromagnetic waves. Wave reflection, refraction, and partial transmission. Doppler effect. Waves on transmission lines and characteristic impedance. Group velocity, pulses, wave packets, Fourier integral, bandwidth theorem. Elements of geometrical optics. Fermat’s principle. Physical optics: interference, diffraction, limit of resolution, applications.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042.
Corequisite: MAT 1510.
PHY 1120 or 1120H Introduction to Modern Physics
3 credits
Einstein’s theory of relativity. Time dilation and length contraction. E=MC2. The great experiments that shaped last-century physics. Blackbody radiation. The basis of kinetic theory. Quantum theory and Bohr’s model of the atom. Waves of matter, wave-particle duality, and the uncertainty principle. Schrödinger’s equation.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042.
PHY 1221 or 1221H Classical Mechanics
3 credits
Particle motion in space, time, or velocity-dependent potentials. Damped and driven oscillations, resonances. Elements of nonlinearity and chaos. Noninertial reference systems. Motion relative to the Earth. Central forces. Planetary motion. Stability of orbits.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042.
Corequisite: MAT 1510.
PHY 1222 Advanced Mechanics
3 credits
Systems of particles. Variable mass. Collision theory. Lagrangian mechanics. Constraints. Variational calculus and Hamilton’s equations. Rotations of rigid bodies in two and three dimensions. Euler’s equations. Tensor analysis. Small coupled oscillations and normal coordinates. Fluid mechanics. Viscosity. Relativistic mechanics.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042, MAT 1510
Recommended: MAT 2105, PHY 1221.
PHY 1321 Electromagnetic Theory
3 credits
Review of vector calculus. Electro- and magnetostatics, multipole expansions, time-dependent fields. Development of Maxwell’s equations. Laplace and Poisson equations, boundary value problems. Electromagnetic wave equation, plane waves in a vacuum. Poynting vector, “blue sky law.” Microscopic and phenomenological theories of dielectric and magnetic materials. Resistors, capacitors, inductors, and their uses in circuits, transformers; generalized forces on charges in electro-magnetic fields.
Prerequisite: PHY 1042 (or PHY 1032 with permission of the instructor).
Corequisite: MAT 1510.
PHY 1322 Electromagnetic Theory II
3 credits
Relativistic transformation of fields and covariance of Maxwell’s equations. Polarizability tensor, electrodynamics in matter. Electromagnetic radiation by accelerating charges; Lienard-Wiechert potentials, multipole radiation, bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, applications to astrophysical sources. Antennas. Electromagnetic wave propagation in matter. Electromagnetic basis of physical optics. Fresnel equations, Kirchoff diffraction theory. Wave-guides and cavity resonators.
Prerequisite: PHY 1321.
PHY 1401 Introduction to Solid State Physics
3 credits
A survey of the properties of condensed matter. Classification of crystalline lattices. Elements of crystallography. Cohesive forces in solids. Vibrations of crystals phonons. Debye and Einstein theories of phonons and thermal conductivity. Free electron theory of metals. Bloch states and band theory. The Fermi surface. Semiconductors.Survey of advanced topics: excitations in lattices (plasmons and polarons), superconductivity, magnetic materials and models, theory of crystalline defects and alloys.
Prerequisite: PHY 1120.
PHY 1510 Elements of Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
3 credits
The laws of thermodynamics. Entropy. Equations of state. Phase transitions. Thermodynamic potentials. The Third Law. Distribution functions. Theory of ensembles. Statistical formulation of temperature. Quantum and classical ideal gasses. Electronic conductance. Bose-Einstein statistics: phonons, Planck’s Law, Bose condensation.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042.
PHY 1520 Advanced Statistical Mechanics
4 credits
Gibbs theory of ensembles. Quantum statistics. Superfluidity. Quantum transport. Virial expansions. Magnetic systems and the Ising model. Theory of phase transitions. Ideas of the renormalization group. Random walks, accretion and percolation phenomena. Complexity and self-organization. Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. Boltzmann’s equation.
Prerequisite: PHY 1510.
PHY 1621 or 1621H Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
3 credits
Wave-particle duality. Operators. Commutation relations. Solutions of Schrödinger’s equation in one dimension for square well and barrier potential, harmonic oscillator, and rigid rotator with fixed axis; dynamics of non-monochromatic free particles. Observables, expectation values, uncertainty relations; wave packets. Applications to quantum wells and superlattices, molecular beam epitaxy and scanning probe microscopy.
Prerequisite: PHY 1120.
PHY 1622 Advanced Quantum Theory
3 credits
Perturbation theory, approximations; solution of Schrödinger’s equation for the hydrogen atom; Angular momentum. Addition of angular momentum. Clebsch-Gordon coefficients. Pauli exclusion principle, electron spin; atomic spectroscopy and second quantization. Elements of quantum field theory.
Prerequisite: PHY 1621.
PHY 1724 Electronics
2 credits
Electronic devices and their use in power supplies, audio and radio frequency amplifiers, operational amplifiers, and instrumentation circuits. Electrochemical and biomedical applications; generation, processing, and analysis of signal waveforms related to speech, music, optical, and biophysical phenomena, and radio and television broadcasting.
Prerequisite: PHY 1032 or PHY 1042R&L.
PHY 1810 Intermediate Experimental Physics
2 credits
Experimental projects relevant to modern experimental physics and engineering. Covers the fields of mechanics, analog communication electronics, transmission lines and wave-guides, physical and fiber optics, atomic spectroscopy, nuclear statistics, nuclear spectroscopy, interferometer, and laser physics. Recent examples: impedance divider, gravitational acceleration, thermocouple junction, microwave optics, mechanical phonons, Millikan’s experiment, dielectric constant of water, Stephan-Boltzmann law, radioactivity and Poisson statistics, Michelson interferometer.
Lecture: 1 hour; Lab: 3 hours.
Laboratory fee: $50.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042 or (PHY 1031, PHY 1032 and permission of the instructor).
PHY 1830 Advanced Experimental Physics
2 credits
A selection of independent projects designed to prepare students for contemporary research in physics. Recent examples: statistics of discharges, temperature dependence of conductivity, Einstein temperature, and the Hall effect. (Lab: 4 hours) Laboratory fee: $50 per semester.
Prerequisites: PHY 1810
PHY 2255R, 2256R + PHY 2255L, 22256L Biophysics—Lectures & Laboratory
2 + 1 credits
Thermodynamics of the body, pressure, hemodynamics, nerve cells, transmission of signals, electrocardiography, transport phenomena, diffusion, osmosis, radiation, production and use of X-rays, nuclear medicine, physics of the eye and ear, exponential growth and decay, measurement, instrumentation.
Experiments to accompany Biophysics—Lecture. (2 hours)
Laboratory fee: $50.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042, BIO 1011R, BIO 1012R.
Note: You MUST sign up for both classes to be allowed in these courses.
PHY 2601, 2602 Special and General Relativity
3 credits
Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity; underlying physical and mathematical concepts; formulation of Einstein’s theory of gravitation; mathematical structure, observational tests, exact and approximate methods of solution; problem of gravitational radiation; theory of motion of ponderable bodies.
Prerequisites: PHY 1120, PHY 1221.
PHY 3301 or 3301H Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences
3 credits
Basic use of symbolic logic software and exploration of different areas of physics through numerical and computational techniques, including random-walk models, accretion phenomena, Monte Carlo methods in statistical physics, cellular automata, complexity, chaos, and planetary motion. Methods of interpolation, rates of convergence, projection methods, boundary problems and singular perturbation methods.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042.
Recommended: COM 1300.
PHY 4911 Research in Physics
Variable credits
Independent individual research projects done under the guidance of a physics faculty member.
PHY 4933 Topics in Physics
2 credits
Analysis of biological phenomena from a physical perspective. Topics include diffusion of macromolecules, self-assembly of amphiphiles, molecular machines and protein crystallization.
Basic techniques underlying the foundations of medical imaging. Reconstruction imaging by absorption (X-rays) and transmission (MRI). Radon transform. Complementarity between CAT scan and magnetic resonance imaging. Positron emission tomography. Side effects of imaging fields: artifacts and heating. Description of model building: phantoms.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042 or permission of the instructor.
PHY 4991 or 4991H The New Physics and Astronomy
3 credits
Review of the new problems and areas that have reshaped physics in the last 30 years: theory of chaos, the quark and the Standard Model, the new cosmology, and the inflationary universe. Physics of scales and the renormalization group. The quantum fluids and superconductivity and superfluidity. The new theory of complexity, quantum transport.
Prerequisites: PHY 1041, PHY 1042, PHY 1120 or permission of the instructor.