Course Offerings

1000 The Physics of How Things Work (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•Students cannot receive General Education credit for both PHYS 1000 and PHYS 1500-1500L.) Students engaged in this course will grasp the workings of the world around them. They will gain a basic understanding of everything from growing trees to flying jets; from crashing cars to cell phone operation. The course relies heavily on conceptual understanding rather than rigorous math, and is highly applicable to everyone who lives in a world of physical things. The lecture will utilize many demonstrations. The lab will allow the student to interact with the concepts learned in class through equipment that is readily available. This course does not require math higher than basic algebra.

1100 Earth Science (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly) This class introduces students to the features and processes involving our earth. These include mineralogy and rocks, plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, weathering, and soil studies. The class also explores oceanic, atmospheric, and space sciences.

1200 Introduction to Astronomy (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly) This course presents an overview of the major fields of astronomy. The course begins with a brief history of astronomy followed by an in-depth discussion of the basic concepts and tools used throughout astronomy. Topics include history of astronomy, naked-eye observations, light, telescopes, stars, stellar evolution, black holes, galaxies, and cosmology. Some of the lab sessions will be scheduled in the evening to allow astronomical viewing. No previous experience in astronomy is expected.

1500 General Physics I (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly) The first of two introductory courses in physics designed to emphasize the experimental laws of physical science. Topics to be covered include mechanics, heat, wave motion and sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. In the laboratory portion of the course, students will perform experiments and analyze the results based on physical law.

1510 General Physics II (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR: PHYS 1500) The second of two introductory courses in physics designed to emphasize the experimental laws of physical science. Topics to be covered include mechanics, heat, wave motion and sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. In the laboratory portion of the course, students will perform experiments and analyze the results based on physical law.

1600 Physics I with Calculus (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR/CO: MATH 201) First of three courses in a calculus-based physics sequence. Topics include vectors, laws of motion, conservation principles, rotational motion, gravitation, solids, liquids, and wave motion. In the laboratory portion, students will perform experiments and analyze the results based on the topics covered in the class.

1610 Physics II with Calculus (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR: PHYS 1500 or PHYS 1600; PR/CO: MATH 202) Continuation of PHYS 1600\. Topics include thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, electric and magnetic fields, electric currents, and motions of charged particles in fields. In the laboratory portion, students will perform experiments and analyze the results based on the topics covered in the class.

2100 Physics III with Calculus (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR: PHYS 1610; PR/CO: MATH 301) Continuation of PHYS 1610. Topics include geometric optics, electromagnetic waves, interference and diffraction, relativity, atomic particles, and atomic and nuclear structure.

2500 Methods of Theoretical Physics (3) (PR: MATH 202) An introduction to mathematical methods that are commonly used in advanced physics. The main topics are vector algebra and calculus (including divergence, gradient, curl, Stokes’ theorem, line and surface integrals, and curvilinear coordinate systems) and the solution of boundary value problems involving the wave equation and Laplace’s equation (separation of variables, power series, and special functions). Other topics such as complex variables and Fourier analysis may be included at the discretion of the instructor.

2600 Engineering Physics (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR: PHYS 1500 or PHYS 1600, and MATH 201) The in-class portion of this course will be devoted to the rigorous topic ‘Statics’ which is fundamental to nearly all fields of engineering. This study will also provide a mechanism to learn how engineers think and how that compares to the thought processes of a physicist. The lab portion of this class is essentially an “engineering seminar” that will be devoted to understanding the field of engineering. In addition to learning engineering experimental methods, students will be exposed to the wide variety of engineering disciplines through guest speakers and field trips.

2700 Basic Electronics (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly•PR: PHYS 1510 or PHYS 1610, and MATH 201) An introduction to analysis of AC and DC circuits, amplifiers, semi-conductor devices, and instrument systems.

2900 Advanced Mechanics (3) (PR: PHYS 1600; PR/CO: MATH 302) A course in classical mechanics covering the dynamics of system of particles, motion of rigid bodies, and an introduction to Lagrange’s equations and the Hamiltonian function as well as other topics of interest to the advanced physics student. A thorough knowledge of integral calculus is assumed. (Alternate years)

3100 Heat and Thermodynamics (3) (PR: PHYS 1610; PR/CO: MATH 302) This course includes a study of thermometry, physical states of matter, calorimetry, heat balance equations, gas laws for real and ideal gases, kinetic theory, cyclical operations, and the laws of thermodynamics. (Alternate years)

3200 Electricity and Magnetism I (3) (PR: PHYS 1610 and MATH 302) This course is designed to introduce the student to the basic laws of electricity and magnetism as they are formulated using differential and integral calculus. Gauss’ law, Laplace’s equation, the Biot-Savart law, Faraday’s law and Maxwell’s equations are studied along with the phenomena of polarization, electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, and other topics. (Alternate years)

3210 Electricity and Magnetism II (3) (PR: PHYS 1610 and MATH 302) A continuation of PHYS 3200.

3300 Classical Optics (3) (PR: PHYS 2100 and MATH 302) An intermediate course in light from the viewpoint of both geometrical and physical optics. (Alternate years)

3400 Physics in Biology and Medicine (3) (PR: BIOL 105, BIOL 106, PHYS 1500, and PHYS 1510) Applications of introductory physics to the processes and systems of biology and medicine. Topics may include the physics of (1) walking, running, and jumping; (2) temperature regulation and metabolism; (3) flight; (4) respiration and circulation; (5) hearing and vision; (6) the nervous system; and (7) medical diagnostics techniques.

3470 Special Topics (1-6) See Catalog.

3600 Plasma Physics (3) (PR: PHYS 3200) Its purpose is to expose students to the basic physical principles governing the solar-terrestrial interactions, including space and atmospheric weather. Its goal is to emphasize the applications of plasma physics to an understanding of the interplanetary environment and earth’s place in that environment, as well as alternative energy sources from plasma fusion. (Alternate years)

4000 Advanced Physics Laboratory (2) (PR:PHYS 2100 and MATH 301) This course consists of several experiments designed to illustrate important concepts in quantum mechanics and modern physics and to introduce the student to some of the techniques of modern experimental physics research. (Alternate years)

4002 Special Projects (1-9) See Catalog.

4003 Honors Research (3-6) See Catalog.

4005 Directed Studies (1-9) See Catalog.

4007 Internship (1-6) See Catalog.

4008 Research (1-9) See Catalog.

4100 Quantum Mechanics (3) (PR: PHYS 2100; PR/CO: MATH 401) A rigorous presentation of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. Topics include the wave function for a free particle, superposition of states, construction and behavior of wave packets, the position and momentum representations, general techniques for constructing solutions to Schrodinger’s equation, and the time development of quantum-mechanical systems. (Alternate years)

4200 Nuclear Physics (3) (PR: PHYS 1610•CO: MATH 301) Properties and behavior of atomic nuclei: mass, binding energy, spin, decay modes, nuclear reactions, and an introduction to nuclear models. Medical applications such as radioactive traces and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (Alternate years)