PHY (Physics)

PHY 100 Introduction to Descriptive Astronomy (4 hours)

This is an introductory course in descriptive astronomy. The principle topics to be treated are: (1) history of astronomy, (2) foundations required for the understanding of the cosmos (some fundamental concepts of physics and chemistry), (3) the solar system, (4) stellar characteristics, (5) stellar evolution, (6) galaxies, and (7) cosmology. The successful student will leave this course with a very good understanding of modern astronomy at an introductory quantitative level. 

PHY 101, PHY 102 General Physics I, II (4 hours each)

An introductory course without calculus. Fundamental aspects of mechanics, fluids, waves, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. The text will be on the level of Cutnell and Johnson, College Physics. Three lectures per week. Prerequisites: Satisfaction of the mathematics placement requirement (Sec. 6.4.1. and Sec. 6.4.2.); PHY 101 must precede PHY 102. Co-requisites: PHY 101L, PHY 102L. 

PHY 101L, PHY 102L Introductory Physics Laboratory I, II (1 hour each)

Introductory physics laboratories to accompany PHY 101, PHY 102, PHY 201 and PHY 202. A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.


PHY 200 Independent Study in Physics (1-5 hours)

This course provides the opportunity for an intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy.  (Sec. 6.15.)

PHY 201, PHY 202 College Physics I, II (5 hours each)

Introductory physics with calculus. Subject matter is the same as in general physics but on a level more suited to physics majors, engineering majors, etc. One year of calculus as a prerequisite is preferred; otherwise calculus must be taken concurrently. The text will be on the level of Halliday, Resnick and Walker, Fundamentals of Physics. Prerequisites: Satisfaction of the mathematics placement requirement (Sec. 6.4.1. and Sec. 6.4.2.); PHY 201 with a grade of “C-” or higher must precede PHY 202. Co-requisites: PHY 101L, PHY 102L. 

PHY 203 Modern Physics (4 hours)

For physics, engineering, and chemistry majors, this course is an introduction to the most important developments in 20th century physics.  The main topics of this course are special relativity, wave-particle duality, introductory quantum mechanics, nuclear and particle physics. Text will be on the level of Serway, Modern Physics. Prerequisites: PHY 202 and MAT 132 with a grade of “C-“or higher in each course.  Co-requisite: PHY 203L.

PHY 203L Modern Physics Laboratory (1 hour)

Laboratory course to accompany and enhance the PHY 203 Modern Physics course. The experiments to be conducted in this laboratory will largely focus on measurement(s) of several of the fundamental constants and verification of physical laws that suffuse 20th and 21st century advances in physics.  These include the speed of light, Planck’s constant, the charge and mass of the electron, verification of Wien’s law and the Stefan-Boltzmann distribution, and investigations of the properties of radioactive decay products. Co-requisite: PHY 203.  A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.

PHY 204 Mathematical Physics (4 hours)

This course covers a variety of math topics of particular use to physics and engineering students.  Topics include ordinary differential equations, complex numbers, Taylor series, linear algebra, Fourier analysis, partial differential equations, and a review of multivariate calculus, with particular focus on physical interpretation and application. Text will be on the level of Boas. Prerequisites: PHY 201 and MAT 233 with a grade of “C-” or higher in each course.

PHY 206 Computational Physics (4 hours)

This course is intended to give an introduction to the main computational tools, techniques and methods used in contemporary physics. Student will practice writing, compiling, and running computer programs, together with analysis of results and presentation of results as scientific reports.

PHY 211, PHY 212 Classical Mechanics I, II (4 hours each)

This is the student’s first introduction to theoretical physics. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods are developed with Newton’s laws of motion and applied to a variety of contemporary problems. Emphasis is placed on problem work, the object being to develop physical intuition and facility for translating physical problems into mathematical terms. The text will be on the level of Analytical Mechanics by Fowles. Prerequisites: MAT 132 and PHY 202 with a grade of “C-” or higher in each course. Co-requisite for PHY 211: PHY 211L. A grade of “C-” or higher must be earned in PHY 211 before taking PHY 212.

PHY 211L Classical Mechanics Laboratory (1 hour)

Experimental mechanics laboratory to accompany PHY 211. Experiments will be undertaken primarily in statics and strength of materials, but some dynamics experiments may also be included.  Covers statics, mechanics of materials, and dynamic testing methods, including sensors and data acquisition, strain gauges and experimental stress analysis, tension and compression, torsion, bending, testing of mechanisms, and simulation of dynamic systems.  Co-requisite: PHY 211.  A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.

PHY 232 Fundamentals of Electronics (4 hours)

This course is designed primarily for science majors and dual degree engineering students. Coverage includes DC and AC circuits, semi-conductor devices, amplifiers, oscillators and digital devices. The intent is to provide a working understanding of common instrumentation in science and technology. Text will be on the level of Simpson, Electronics for Scientists and Engineers. Prerequisite: PHY 102 or PHY 202 with a grade of “C-” or higher. Co-requisite: PHY 232L.

PHY 232L Fundamentals of Electronics Laboratory (1 hour)

Laboratory work will involve design, construction, troubleshooting and analysis of standard analog and digital circuits. Co-requisite: PHY 232. A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period. 

PHY 290 Special Topics in Physics (1-5 hours)

Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

Specifically, this Physics course has had topics drawn from areas of theoretical or experimental physics, or closely related fields such as astronomy and cosmology, which are not treated in detail in standard Physics courses. This course is appropriate for students at the intermediate level of preparation.

PHY 331, PHY 332 Electricity and Magnetism I, II (4 hours each)

This course is a thorough introduction to one of the two fundamental disciplines of classical physics, using vector calculus methods. After a brief review of vector analysis, the first semester will treat electrostatic and magnetic fields and provide an introduction to the special theory of relativity. The second semester will develop electrodynamics, including Maxwell’s equations, the propagation of electromagnetic waves, radiation and the electromagnetic theory of light. The treatment will be on the level of the text of Reitz, Milford and Christy. It is recommended that MAT 241 be taken concurrently. Prerequisites: MAT 233 and PHY 202 with a grade of “C-” or higher in each course; PHY 331 must precede PHY 332.


PHY 333 Thermal and Statistical Physics (4 hours)

The purpose of this course is to provide physics, engineering and chemistry majors with a fundamental understanding of heat and the equilibrium behavior of complex systems including statistical mechanics. Topics will include the zeroth, first and second laws of thermodynamics with applications to closed and open systems; microcanonical and canonical ensembles for classical and quantum systems, with applications to ideal gases, specific heats, blackbody radiation, etc.; the kinetic description of equilibrium properties. Text will be on the level of Kestin and Dorfman or Zemansky. Prerequisites: MAT 132 and PHY 202 with a grade of “C-” or higher in each course.


PHY 334 Quantum Mechanics (4 hours)

An introduction to the techniques of quantum mechanics including the Schrodinger equation, eigenvalues and eigenstates, operators, matrix mechanics, and elementary perturbation theory. Simple Systems such as barrier potentials, the harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom will be examined.  Philosophical aspects of quantum mechanics will be discussed whenever possible. The text will be on the level of Griffiths or Shankar. Prerequisites: PHY 203 and CSC 201, and either MAT 238 or MAT 372.


PHY 335 Modern Optics (4 hours)

A standard intermediate level optics course which will treat the basics of wave theory and the electromagnetic origin of optical phenomena, geometrical optics, physical optics including Fourier optics, Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction and dispersion. The course will conclude with some consideration of current topics such as holography, quantum optics and non-linear optics. Text will be on the level of Jenkins and White or Hecht. Prerequisites: MAT 132 and PHY 202 with a grade of “C-” or higher in each course. Co-requisite: PHY 335L.


PHY 335L Modern Optics Laboratory (1 hour)

A non-introductory optics laboratory, this course encompasses both geometric and wave optics including measurements of the speed of light, refractive indices, polarization of light, spectroscopy, lasers, holography and interference phenomena and instruments. Co-requisite: PHY 335. A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.


PHY 400 Advanced Independent Study in Physics (1-5 hours)

This course provides the opportunity for an advanced, intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy.  (Sec. 6.15.)

PHY 420 Advanced Physics Laboratory (4 hours)

Blended lecture and laboratory course focusing on the design and execution of advanced physics experiments.  The lecture portion of this course will treat the design of a procedure and the associated apparatus to achieve the objective of answering an experimental question, as well as the subsequent analysis of the collected data and detailed consideration of experimental uncertainty.  In the laboratory portions of the course some of the experiments to be conducted will include the Cavendish experiment, Bragg scattering, X-ray spectra, the Rutherford alpha scattering experiment, and SQUID measurements, among others.  Each student will also research and propose an experimental question to be answered through the design and execution of an experiment.  Prerequisites: PHY 331, PHY 333, and PHY 334. A non-refundable fee is billed to every student who is registered for this course at the end of the drop/add period.


PHY 490 Advanced Special Topics in Theoretical Physics (1-5 hours)

Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

Specifically, this Physics course draws topics from areas of theoretical physics, or closely related fields such as astronomy and cosmology, which are not treated in detail in standard Physics courses. This course is appropriate for students at the advanced level of preparation.


PHY 491 Advanced Special Topics in Experimental Physics (1-5 hours)

Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

Specifically, this Physics course draws topics from areas of experimental physics, or closely related fields such as astronomy and cosmology, which are not treated in detail in standard Physics courses. This course is appropriate for students at the advanced level of preparation.


PHY 495 Internship in Physics (1-12 hours)

An internship designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to have an application (which satisfies all internship requirements developed by the academic program that oversees the internship) and to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study. All internships are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites are determined by the academic program overseeing the internship course.