PhysicsDean A. Zollman, Head
University Distinguished Professors Zollman, Cocke, C. D. Lin, Rahman, Reay, Richard, and Sorenson; Professors Ben-Itzhak, Bolton, Chakrabarti, DePaola, Gray, Hagmann, Jiang, Law, J. Y. Lin, O'Shea, Stanton, Thumm, Weaver, and Wysin; Associate Professors Chang and Ratra; Assistant Professors Demina, Esry, and Rebello; Associate Research Professors Carnes, Fehrenbach, and Sidwell; Assistant Research Professor Kara; Emeriti: Professors Bhalla, Curnutte, Dale, Donoghue, Dragsdorf, Folland, Legg, Manney, and Williams.
Physics is a quantitative science based on observation and experiment. Students of physics learn, often by performing experiments themselves, how a body of experimental data suggests an experimental law. Then they see how this experimental law can be generalized and tested by further experiment. However, it is as the originator of the next step in the method of science that physics emerges as the foundation of our technological age. The collection of experimental laws is studied and when properly generalized and tested is unified into a fundamental physical principle.
A major in physics equips a liberal arts student with a broad education that is uniquely adapted to our time. The physics curriculum provides a broad science background suitable for the creative application of science and mathematics to interdisciplinary problems. Although physics does not exclude the intuitive mind, the emphasis on mathematics tends to favor more analytically talented individuals.
Students choosing to major in physics may earn either a bachelor or science (B.S.) or a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree. The B.S. degree is recommended for students who are considering a career in a technical industry, in research, or in teaching at the post-secondary level. Students who are planning to attend graduate school should complete the B.S. degree in order to be properly prepared.
Physics majors seeking a B.A. complete the requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences in addition to the following courses:
Bachelor of arts
Bachelor of science in physics
The flexibility of the physics curriculum permits individual advisement, on the basis of studies completed, for students who transfer into the curriculum from other majors, community colleges, or other universities.
A five-year dual degree program in physics and mechanical engineering is available and similar dual degree programs can be arranged with physics and electrical engineering, nuclear engineering, or business administration. Interested students should inquire about these programs at the Department of Physics.
PHYS 101. The Physical World I. (3) I, II, S. The courses The Physical World I and II are designed to present an overview of the physical sciences for students who have little or no previous physical science. The Physical World I is principally physics and atomic theory. The observations and phenomena are simple and basic. Three hours lec. a week. Open only to freshmen, sophomores, and first-semester transfer students. Not available for credit to students who have credit in PHYS 106.
PHYS 102. The Physical World II. (3) I, II. Continuation of PHYS 101. The Physical World II presents an over- view of astronomy, geology, chemistry, and molecular biology. Three hours lec. a week. Not open to seniors. Pr.: PHYS 101.
PHYS 106. Concepts of Physics. (4) I. An introductory course in physics which emphasizes the topics of physics normally presented to elementary school children. A qualitative approach with integrated laboratory, this course is recommended for students preparing for careers as elementary school teachers. Not available for credit to students who have completed PHYS 101.
PHYS 107. Physical Science Colloquium. (1-2) Offered by TELENET. Topics in physical science chosen to illustrate current research of scientists and methods used to study the physical universe. At each offering of this course a syllabus will be available giving the topics to be studied and the details of administration of the course. May be repeated once. Not open to physics majors.
PHYS 113. General Physics I. (4) I, II, S. A basic development of the principles of mechanics, heat, fluids, oscillations, waves, and sound. Emphasis is on conceptual development and numerical problem solving. Two hours lec., one hour rec., one hour quiz, and two hours lab a week. Pr.: MATH 150 or one and one-half units of high school algebra and one unit high school trigonometry.
PHYS 114. General Physics II. (4) I, II, S. The continued treatment of the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, light and optics, atomic and nuclear physics. These concepts are used to understand D.C. and A.C. circuits, motors, and generators. Emphasis is placed on conceptual development and problem solving. Two hours lec., one hour rec., one hour quiz, and two hours lab a week. Pr.: PHYS 113.
PHYS 115. Descriptive Physics. (5) I, II. A one-semester course in physics covering mechanics, electricity, heat, light, sound, and atomic theory. It presents a survey of the major fields of physics with a concentration on how physicists work to understand and describe physical phenomena. Three hours lec., one hour quiz, one hour rec., and two hours lab a week. Pr.: High school algebra.
PHYS 122. Computation and Experimentation in Physics. (3) I. An introduction to the study of physics. Experiments on topics of contemporary interest in physics. Computers are used to acquire and analyze data and to create models of various phenomena. One hour lec., one hour computer lab, and two hours experimental lab per week.
PHYS 191. Descriptive Astronomy. (3) I, II. A qualitative study of the sun and planets, stars and galaxies; a survey of what is known about the universe and how it is known.
PHYS 214. Engineering Physics II. (5) I, II. Sound, electricity, magnetism, light, and modern physics; for students of science and engineering. Two hours lec., two hours rec., one hour quiz, and four hours studio a week. Pr.: PHYS 213, MATH 221.
PHYS 223. Physics I, Mechanics and Thermodynamics. (5) II. For students of science and engineering. Lecture and quiz in common with PHYS 213. Special studio. Pr.: PHYS 122 or permission of lecturer, MATH 221 or conc.
PHYS 224. Physics II, Electromagnetism and Sound. (5) I. For students of science and engineering. Lecture and quiz in common with PHYS 214. Special studio. Pr.: PHYS 223 or permission of lecturer, MATH 221 or conc.
PHYS 300. Physics in Relation to Other Disciplines. (1-3) On sufficient demand. Variable content, offered only by prearrangement with the physics department and with the instructor. A brief syllabus will be available for each offering of PHYS 300 outlining the objectives and organization of the course for the semester in which offered. Pr.: Consent of instructor.
PHYS 325. Physics III, Relativity and Quantum Physics. (4) II. An introduction to modern physics as exemplified by atomic, nuclear, condensed matter, and particle phenomena. Three hours of lec. and one two-hour lab per week. Pr.: PHYS 122, 224 or 214; MATH 240 or conc. enrollment, and a working knowledge of spreadsheets and use of computers as data analysis tool.
PHYS 399. Physics Honors Seminar. (1-3) On sufficient demand. Discussions of topics of current interest in physics. Students must be enrolled in the arts and sciences honors program or have permission of the instructor.
PHYS 400. Independent Study in Physics. (1-3) I, II, S. Independent theoretical or experimental investigation of a topic for physics majors or for a senior honors thesis. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 6 hours. Pr.: Junior standing and consent of instructor.
PHYS 451. Principles of Contemporary Physics. (3) II. A nonmathematical introduction to twentieth century physics: relativity, quantum mechanics, the physics of solids, and fundamental particles. Not open to physics majors. Credit is not granted for both PHYS 451 and PHYS 452. Pr.: PHYS 101 or equiv.
PHYS 452. Contemporary Physics: Problems and Principles. (4) II. An introduction to twentieth century physics; relativity, quantum mechanics, the physics of solids, and fundamental particles. The lectures are in common with PHYS 451. Three hours lec. and two hour lab each week. The laboratory will include the quantitative aspects of the subject matter. Not open to physics majors. Credit is not granted for both PHYS 451 and PHYS 452. Pr.: One year of college physics (PHYS 113 and 114 or equiv.), college algebra, and trigonometry.
PHYS 472. Mathematical Physics. (3) An introduction to the application of mathematical methods to the study of physical systems. Topics include the use of ordinary differential equations in physics, the application of Fourier's methods to waves, vectors and matrices, applications of vector calculus, partial differential equations. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 224, MATH 222 or conc. enrollment.
PHYS 495. Astronomy. (3) Topics in modern astronomy. Use of a telescope for observational astronomy will be emphasized. Two hours lec. and two hours independent observational astronomy a week. Pr.: PHYS 191.
PHYS 497. Senior Research in Physics. (1-3) I, II, S. Individually directed research in atomic physics, condensed matter, particle physics or physics education. Students in the Arts and Sciences honors program should enroll in PHYS 498 and PHYS 499 instead of PHYS 497. May be repeated once. Pr.: Senior in physics and permission of instructor.
PHYS 498. Honors Tutorial in Physics. (1-3) I, II, S. Individually directed research in physics, normally taken as a preparation for writing an honors thesis. Open only to students in the arts and sciences honors program. May be repeated once to a total of three credit.
PHYS 499. Senior Honors Thesis. (2) I, II, S. Open only to seniors in the Arts and Sciences honors program.
PHYS 506. Physics Laboratory. (3) I. The completion of experiments of current and/or historical interest in contemporary physics. Students develop skills in and knowledge of measurement techniques using digital and analog instruments. Various data analysis techniques are used. One hour rec. and six hours lab per week. Pr.: PHYS 325 and the ability to write computer programs in one of the following languages: BASIC, Pascal, FORTRAN, C, or C++.
PHYS 515. Physics for Science Teachers. (1-4) Study of current topics in physics, with laboratory experience and demonstration of the processes or phenomena under consideration. Topics and activities will be directed toward providing teachers with material for demonstrations and student experiments or projects. Examples of topics are: solar power, laser applications, holography, and subnuclear particles, relativity, or the historical development of some physical concept. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours credit. Pr.: One year of college physics.
PHYS 522. Mechanics. (4) I. Principles of statics and dynamics of systems of particles and rigid bodies using the methods of calculus. Three hours of lec. and one hour rec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 224, 472.
PHYS 532. Electromagnetic Fields. (3) II. Study of static and dynamic electromagnetism, including the development and application of Maxwell's equations. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 472 and MATH 240.
PHYS 562. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. (3) II. An introduction to quantum mechanics. Topics include solutions to the time independent Schrödinger equation, descriptions of one-electron and multi-electron atoms, electron spin and magnetic moments. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 325, 522.
PHYS 564. Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics. (3) I. An introduction to thermodynamics developed from the concepts of statistical physics. Applications include the gas laws, concepts of heat and work, phase transitions, and kinetic theory with applications to statistical physics. Pr.: PHYS 522; MATH 240.
PHYS 620. Teaching University Physics. (3) I, in alternate years. A discussion of techniques which will aid in the development of understanding of the concepts in physics. Emphasis is placed on models of learning and teaching techniques which can be applied to the teaching of contemporary physics to university students. These models and techniques are used to analyze a teaching approach of a topic, such as quantum mechanics, which is important to today's physicist. Three class hours per week. Pr.: PHYS 562.
PHYS 623. Oscillations, Waves and Relativity. (3) I, in alternate years. A study of the theoretical aspects of linear and non-linear oscillating systems and the theory of special relativity. Topics include periodic motion, coupled oscillations, Fourier analysis, mechanical and electromagnetic waves. Special relativity is introduced through its foundation in electromagnetism. Pr.: PHYS 472, 522, and 532.
PHYS 636. Physical Measurements and Instrumentation. (5) II. A laboratory-oriented course to acquaint students with electronic circuits, their interfacing with measuring instruments, and their use in making physical measurements. Two hours lec. and six hours lab a week. Pr.: PHYS 214.
PHYS 639. Computations in Physics. (3) II, in alternate years. An introduction to applying computational and numerical techniques to solve problems of interest to physicists. Topics include the application of computational solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, Fourier analysis, and numerical integration to physical situations. Students will use both personal computers and advanced workstations. One hour lec., two hours of computer lab per week. Pr.: PHYS 472, one physics course at the 500 level and a working knowledge of FORTRAN, BASIC, C or Pascal computer language.
PHYS 642. Nuclear Physics. (3) An introduction to the structure of the nucleus, radioactivity and nuclear energy; the application of quantum mechanics to describe nuclear physics. Offered on sufficient demand. Pr.: PHYS 562.
PHYS 651. Introduction to Optics. (3) I, in alternate years. Introduction to modern concepts in optics: electromagnetic waves, propagation of light through media, geometrical optics of lenses and mirrors, interference, coherence, Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffractions. Three hours of lec. a week. Pr.: PHYS 214.
PHYS 652. Applied Optics and Optical Measurement. (3) II, in alternate years following PHYS 651. Topical approach oriented toward measurements including coherence, Fourier optics, holography, light scattering, interferometry, laser technology. Three hours of lec. a week. Pr.: PHYS 651.
PHYS 655. Physics of Solids. (3) I, in alternate years. An introduction to the physics of solids with an emphasis on energy band structures, electrical and optical properties of solids and solid state devices. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 562.
PHYS 691. Introduction to Astrophysics. (3) II, in alternate years. An introduction to the application of physical principles to understanding astronomical objects. Topics include properties of stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, and cosmology. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 325, 522, 532.
PHYS 694. Particle Physics. (3) II, in alternate years. An experimental and phenomenological introduction to high energy physics. The course will emphasize understanding the experimental basis of what is known about the subnuclear domain. Students will be asked to design simple conceptual experiments in addition to solving problems. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 562.
PHYS 707. Topics in Physics. (Var.) I, II, S. Special topics courses. Topics and credits announced for the semester in which offered. May be given in conjunction with lecture series by visiting scientists. Pr.: Graduate standing or senior standing and consent of instructor.
PHYS 709. Applied Quantum Mechanics. (3) I. A study of Schrödinger's theory of quantum mechanics and its application to one electron atoms, multielectron atoms, quantum statistics, spectra of molecules and selected topics in quantum excitations of solids, nuclear physics, and elementary particles. Three hours of lec. per week. Pr.: PHYS 562.