Physics

Courses

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
    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. Contributes to Environmental Studies. (NS) (Fall, Odd years)
  • 53-044 Introduction to Climate Science
    Climate is the sum of weather over long periods and is changing (e.g., greenhouse warming, ozone depletion, urban smog) due to mankind's activities. Conceptual understanding of how and why the present-day atmosphere behaves as it does and how this may change in the future is the primary goal of this course. Contributes to Environmental Studies. (NS)
  • 53-054 Exploring the Universe
    This course is an introduction to the science of astronomy for non-science majors. It also examines our current understanding of the physical universe. (NS) (Fall, Even years)
  • 53-104 Introduction to Engineering
    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)
  • 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)
  • 53-254 Observing the Universe
    This course teaches basic observing techniques of the night sky. Students will learn to operate telescopes, make astronomical measurements and take astronomical images. Prerequisite: Mathematics 52-104 or a higher-level mathematics course. (NS) (Fall, Even years)
  • 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
    An examination of the different types of energy, the laws of thermodynamics that govern the conversion of energy from one form to another, the sources of energy and the usefulness of energy as a unifying concept for studying planetary processes. Prerequisite: Physics 53-034 or 53-044. Contributes to Environmental Studies. (NS) (Spring)
  • 53-404 Electronics (3-3)
    Introduction to digital and analog circuits with applications to modern instrumentation and robotics. Prerequisites: Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and Physics 53-154, 53-164 or consent of the instructor. (NSL) (Spring, Odd 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)
  • 53-424 Quantum Physics
    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
    Applications of Maxwells equations to propagation of plane and guided waves in various media. Prerequisite: Physics 53-324. (NS) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-434 Statics
    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). (NS) (Fall).
  • 53-444 Math Methods in Physical Science I
    This course surveys a number of mathematical methods that arise in the physical sciences and engineering. Topics include applications of linear algebra, vector calculus and differential equations. Prerequisite: Mathematics 52-254 or permission of the instructor. (NS) (Spring, Odd years)
  • 53-454 Math Methods in Physical Science II
    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. Also Mathematics 52-454. (NS) (Spring, Even years)
  • 53-463 Dynamics
    A study of kinematics, force-mass-acceleration relations, work and energy, impulse and momentum as well as the moments of inertia of mass. Prerequisite: Physics 53-434, Mathematics 52-154, 52-254 and 52-354 (or concurrent). (NS) (Spring. Odd years).
  • 53-473 Thermodynamics
    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)
  • 53-872 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 students 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)