Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Physics

Curriculum

Below you will find a list of our current or recent offerings. See the course catalog for descriptions and updated information.

  • 53-034 INTRODUCTION TO EARTH SCIENCE (3-2)
    This course examines the complex physical relations between land, sea and atmosphere. It also explores how some actions of our modern civilization disrupt the environment. Topics include geologic hazards, land management, water resources, hazardous waste disposal, energy resources, mineral resources and conservation of resources. Also Environmental Studies 49-034. (NSL) (Fall, Odd years)
  • 53-054 EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE (3-3)
    This course is an introduction to the science of astronomy for non-science majors. Emphasis is to be placed on utilizing (as much as possible) observations obtained by students so that their science experience becomes learner centered. Labs and activities will allow students to infer from their own data (or archival data collected by other students) astronomical knowledge about the universe. Prerequisite: Mathematics 52-104 or a higher-level mathematics course. (NSL) (Fall, Even years)
  • 53-064 MUSICAL ACOUSTICS (3-2)
    Physics of sound with application to musical instruments and music. Designed for students not majoring in science, but open to any student with knowledge of elementary algebra. (NSL) (Spring, Even years)
  • 53-154 FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS I & II (3-3)
    A calculus-based treatment of mechanics, wave motion, electromagnetism and optics. Prerequisites: Concurrent registration or credit in Mathematics 52-154. (Physics 53-154 is prerequisite for Physics 53-164.) (NSL) (154 Fall, 164 Spring)
  • 53-164 FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS I & II (3-3)
    A calculus-based treatment of mechanics, wave motion, electromagnetism and optics. Prerequisites: Concurrent registration or credit in Mathematics 52-154. (Physics 53-154 is prerequisite for Physics 53-164.) (NSL) (154 Fall, 164 Spring)
  • 53-214 ELEMENTARY MODERN PHYSICS (3-3)
    An introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, relativity, quantum mechanics, and the physics of atoms, nuclei and particles. Prerequisite: Physics 53-154, 53-164, and Mathematics 52-154 and 52-254. Mathematics 52-354 as a pre-requisite or co-requisite or consent of the instructor. (NSL) (Fall)
  • 53-324 ELECTROMAGNETISM I (3-3)
    Development of Maxwell’s equations with applications to electrostatics and magnetostatics. Prerequisites: Physics 53-154, 53-164. Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and Mathematics 52-354 is a pre- or co-requisite for this course. (NSL) (Fall)
  • 53-334 CLASSICAL MECHANICS I (3-3)
    An advanced treatment of Newtonian mechanics with applications to kinematics, forced oscillations, central force motion and systems of particles. Prerequisites: Mathematics 52-354 and Physics 53-154, 53-164. Mathematics 52-754 is a pre- or co-requisite for this course. (NSL) (WA) (Spring)
  • 53-354 ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT (3-2)
    An examination of energy and its many forms (mechanical motion, thermal, radiant, electrical, chemical, nuclear, sound), the laws of thermodynamics that govern the conversion of energy from one form to another, the units in which energy is measured (and bought and sold), energy resources (hydrocarbons, biomass, solar, wind, waves, nuclear) and the usefulness of energy as a unifying concept for studying planetary processes. Also Environmental Studies 49-384. Prerequisites: Physics 53-034 or Biology 50-144 or Environmental Studies 49-104. (NSL) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-404 ELECTRONICS (3-3)
    Introduction to digital and analog circuits, with applications to modern instrumentation. Prerequisites: Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and Physics 53-154, 53-164. Mathematics 52-354 is a pre- or co-requisite for this course. (NSL) (Fall, Even years)
  • 53-413 CLASSICAL MECHANICS II (3-0)
    Introduction to the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics with application to non-inertial reference frames, rigid bodies and oscillating systems. Prerequisite: Physics 53-334. (NS) (Fall, Odd years)
  • 53-423 QUANTUM PHYSICS (3-0)
    A detailed introduction to quantum mechanics and its applications to atoms and molecules. Prerequisites: Physics 53-214 and 53-334. (NS) (Spring)
  • 53-433 ELECTROMAGNETISM II (3-0)
    Applications of Maxwell’s equations to propagation of plane and guided waves in various media. Prerequisite: Physics 53-324. (NS) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-434 STATICS (3-3)
    A study of forces, resultants and components of force systems, forces due to friction, conditions of equilibrium, forces acting on members of trusses and frame structures, centroids and moments of inertia. The lab portion of this course involves graphics and modeling fundamentals for engineering design: computer modeling of solid geometry and generation of engineering drawings. Introduction to computer programming using a high-level language and applications of computational methods to the solution of mechanical engineering problems. Prerequisite: Physics 53-154, Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and 52-354 (or concurrent). (NSL) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-443 THERMODYNAMICS (3-0)
    Basic principles of macroscopic thermodynamics including pressure-volume-temperature relationship of pure substances, work, heat, first and second laws of thermodynamics, entropy and the analysis of simple power and refrigeration systems. Prerequisite: Physics 53-154, 53-164, 53-214, Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and 52-354. (NS) (Spring, Even years) .
  • 53-453 MATH METHODS IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE (3-0)
    This course examines select mathematical methods used in analyzing problems that arise in the physical sciences and engineering. Emphasis is given to both analytical and computer algebra or numerical approaches to problem solving and analysis. Analytical topics may include: linear vector spaces, Fourier series, ordinary differential equations, the calculus of variations, special functions, series solutions of differential equations, partial differential equations, functions of a complex variable, and integral transforms. Prerequisite: Mathematics 52-354 or permission of the instructor. (NS) (Fall, Even years) .
  • 53-872 CAPSTONE COURSE (2-0)
    A scientific writing course for physics majors in which the capstone is drafted, discussed, revised and polished so that the writing is effective and conforms to modern standards of scientific journal style. In addition the student will learn how to fully integrate graphical elements and tables, mathematical equations, and numerical information into the document. The student and capstone course professor will work closely with the student’s capstone research advisor to bring the document to completion. Requirement: Students are expected to be finished with or nearing completion of the research phase of their capstone. (Spring)
  • 53-001 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-002 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-003 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-004 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-301 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-302 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-303 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-304 SELECTED TOPICS
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 53-901 TUTORIAL
  • 53-902 TUTORIAL
  • 53-903 TUTORIAL
  • 53-904 TUTORIAL
  • 53-941 ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP
    Must be taken Pass/D/F.
  • 53-942 ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP
    Must be taken Pass/D/F.
  • 53-943 ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP
    Must be taken Pass/D/F.
  • 53-944 ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP
    Must be taken Pass/D/F.
  • 53-951 INDEPENDENT STUDY AND RESEARCH
    May be repeated with change in content.
  • 53-952 INDEPENDENT STUDY AND RESEARCH
    May be repeated with change in content.
  • 53-953 INDEPENDENT STUDY AND RESEARCH
    May be repeated with change in content.
  • 53-954 INDEPENDENT STUDY AND RESEARCH
    May be repeated with change in content.
  • 53-984 HONORS
    By invitation only.
  • 53-104 INTRODUCTION TO ENGINEERING (3-4)
    Introduction to engineering as a discipline and a profession. Examines the design, manufacture, assembly and evaluation of products using individual and team projects. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of written and graphical communication in the design process, the use of computer-aided design and rapid prototyping in product development and the role of entrepreneurship in high-tech ventures. (NSL) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-974 DESIGN PROJECT (0-4)
    After identifying a subject for their project, students will perform a feasibility study, create a preliminary design, produce a functional prototype and present a final report that describes their work. Ideally these projects should examine problems that require a synthesis of market needs, creativity, engineering knowledge and aesthetics.