6: College of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Academic Information | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Afro-American and African Studies | Anthropology | Archaeology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern
Asian Studies | Astronomy | Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Cognitive Science | Comparative Literature
Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences | French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs
History | Latin American Studies | Linguistics | Mathematics | Medieval Studies
Middle East Studies | Music | Personal Skills | Philosophy | Physics | Political and Social Thought
Psychology | Religious Studies | Service Physical Education | Slavic | Sociology
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | University Seminars | Women's Studies

Course Descriptions

Note   There are several introductory course sequences that cover essentially the same topics but in two, three, or four semesters fulfilling different student needs. Students may offer for degree credit only one of PHYS 142E, PHYS 151, PHYS 231; only one of PHYS 232, PHYS 241E, PHYS 252; and only one of PHYS 242E, PHYS 252.

PHYS 101, 102 - (3) (Y)
Concepts of Physics

For non-science majors. Physical knowledge is presented as a feature of human intellectual development, covering the fundamental principles, concepts, and procedures of classical and modern physics, with a view to their humanistic, philosophic, historical, and sociological contexts. Premedical and predental students should elect PHYS 201, 202 rather than 101, 102. PHYS 101 is prerequisite for 102. Three lecture hours.

PHYS 105, 106 - (3) (Y)
How Things Work

For non-science majors. A practical introduction to physics and science in everyday life. These two courses consider objects from our daily environment and focus on their principles of operation, histories, and relationships to one another. PHYS 105 is concerned primarily with mechanical and thermal objects, while PHYS 106 emphasizes objects involving electromagnetism, light, special materials, and nuclear energy. They can be taken in either order.

PHYS 109 - (3) (Y)
Galileo and Einstein

For non-science majors. Examination into how new understanding of the natural world develops, taking two famous scientists as case studies. Galileo was the first to appreciate the importance of experiment, while Einstein was the first to realize time is not absolute and that mass can be converted to energy.

PHYS 121 - (3) (Y)
The Science of Sound and Music

Study of the basic physical concepts needed to understand sound. Aspects of perception, the human voice, the measurement of sound, and the acoustics of musical instruments are developed and illustrated.

PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 - (4) (Y)
Introductory Physics I, II, III, IV

Corequisites: MATH 131, 132, or 221, 225, respectively, or equivalent. The courses should be taken in sequence.
This series of courses, intended for prospective physics majors and other science majors who wish to begin the study of physics in their first semester, prepares students for the physics courses numbered 300 and above. Three lecture hours, one problem hour.

  1. Kinematics and Newton's laws with vector calculus; frames of reference; energy and momentum conservation; rotational motion.
  2. Gravitation and Kepler's laws; harmonic motion; thermodynamics; wave motion; sound; optics.
  3. Special relativity, electrostatics, circuits, electric and magnetic fields; electromagnetic waves.
  4. Physical optics; quantum physics; atomic structure; nuclear and elementary particle physics; solid state physics.

PHYS 177 - (3) (Y)
Science and Technology Issues

Introduction to the scientific basis and prospects of modern technologies at a level suitable for motivated non-science majors. The use of lasers, microwaves, and superconductors in health care and communications are discussed. Environmental and strategic defense problems are debated via case studies by student teams. A high school math background should suffice, in view of the qualitative nature of the analysis in this course.

PHYS 201, 202 - (4) (Y, SS)
Principles of Physics I, II

A terminal course covering the principles of mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics, atomic, solid state, nuclear, and particle physics. A working knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and trigonometry is essential. PHYS 201, 202 does not normally serve as prerequisite for the courses numbered 315 and above. Students who plan to take more physics should elect PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252, 221, 222 instead. PHYS 201, 202, in conjunction with the laboratory, PHYS 201L, 202L, satisfies the physics requirement of medical and dental schools. PHYS 201 is prerequisite for 202. Three lecture hours; and two hours of recitation and problem work.

PHYS 201L, 202L - (1-1/2) (Y,SS)
Basic Physics Laboratory I, II

Corequisites: PHYS 201, 202, or 231, 232. Premedical and predental students should elect this course along with PHYS 201, 202; it is an option for others. PHYS 201L is prerequisite for 202L
Selected experiments in the different branches of physics are carried out and written up by the student. One three-hour exercise per week.

PHYS 221, 222 - (3) (Y)
Elementary Laboratory I, II

Prerequisite: PHYS 231, 232; corequisites: PHYS 251 and PHYS 252 respectively
Selected experiments in mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. One lecture hour and four laboratory hours per week.

PHYS 231, 232 - (4) (Y)
Classical and Modern Physics I, II

Prerequisite: MATH 132 or permission of instructor.
A two-semester introduction to classical and modern physics for science majors. A calculus-based treatment of the principles of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, physical optics, elementary quantum theory, and atomic and nuclear physics. This sequence can be used by prospective physics majors and by other students planning to take physics courses numbered 300 and higher; however, the four-semester sequence PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 is recommended. PHYS 231, 232 in conjunction with the laboratory, PHYS 201L, 202L satisfies the requirements for the B.S. in Chemistry, and can be used in place of PHYS 201, 202, 201L, 202L to satisfy the requirements of medical and dental schools. PHYS 231 is prerequisite for 232. Three lecture hours and one problem session per week.

PHYS 304 - (3) (IR)
Physics of the Human Body

Prerequisites: PHYS 201, MATH 122; Corequisite: PHYS 202 or permission of instructor
Application of basic physical principles to functions of the human body; studies selected aspects of hearing, vision, cardiovascular system, biomechanics, urinary system, and information handling.

PHYS 311, 312 - (4) (Y)
Widely Applied Physics I, II

Prerequisites: PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 or PHYS 231, 232, and MATH 131, 132, 221
Applications of physical principles to a diverse set of phenomena. Topics include materials science and engineering, computers and electronics, nuclear physics and energy, astrophysics, aeronautics and space flight, communications technology, meteorology, and medical physics and imaging. Emphasis on conceptual issues, order of magnitude estimates, and dimensional analysis. PHYS 311 is a prerequisite for PHYS 312. Three lecture hours and a discussion session each week.

PHYS 315 - (3) (Y)
Electronics Laboratory

Prerequisite: PHYS 222 or PHYS 201L
Analogue and digital electronics for scientific applications, including the use of transistors, FET's, operational amplifiers, TTL, and CMOS integrated circuits. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 317 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Laboratory I

Prerequisites: PHYS 315 or permission of instructor
Approximately five experiments drawn from the major fields of physics. Introduction to precision apparatus, experimental techniques, and methods of evaluating experimental results. Outside report preparation is required. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 318 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Laboratory II

Prerequisite: PHYS 315 or permission of instructor
Performance of approximately three to five experiments, selected in consultation with the instructor, with emphasis on modern aspects. Outside library research and report preparation are required. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 319 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Laboratory

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Normally a single, semester-long experiment chosen in consultation with the instructor.

PHYS 321 - (3) (Y)
Classical Mechanics

Prerequisites: MATH 225 and PHYS 152 or 231 or permission of instructor
Statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies treated with extensive use of vector calculus; includes the Lagrangian formulation of mechanics.

PHYS 331 - (3) (Y)
Statistical Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 252 and MATH 225, or permission of instructor
Topics include temperature and the laws of thermodynamics; introductory treatments of kinetic theory and statistical mechanics; and applications of Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac distributions.

PHYS 342 - (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism I

Prerequisites: MATH 225 and PHYS 251 or 232 or permission of instructor
A systematic treatment of electromagnetic phenomena with extensive use of vector calculus, including Maxwell's equations.

PHYS 343 - (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism II

Prerequisite: PHYS 342
Topics include Maxwell's equations; electromagnetic waves and their interaction with matter; interference, diffraction, polarization; waveguides; antennas; and optics.

PHYS 355 - (3) (Y)
Quantum Physics I

Prerequisites: MATH 225; corequisite: PHYS 321 or permission of instructor
Topics include quantum phenomena and an introduction to wave mechanics; the hydrogen atom and atomic spectra.

PHYS 356 - (3) (Y)
Quantum Physics II

Prerequisite: PHYS 355
A continuation of PHYS 355. Intermediate quantum mechanics including perturbation theory; application to systems of current interest.

PHYS 381, 382 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Physics-Related Research Areas

PHYS 381 is not prerequisite to PHYS 382
Application of the principles and techniques of physics to related areas of physical or life sciences or technology with an emphasis on current research problems.

PHYS 393 - (3) (S-SS)
Independent Study

Prerequisite: PHYS 342 and PHYS 355, or permission of instructor
For physics majors in their final year of candidacy. A program of independent study carried out under the supervision of a faculty member and culminating in a written report or essay. May be taken more than once.

PHYS 519 - (3) (Y)

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Practical electronics for scientists, from resistors to microprocessors.

PHYS 521 - (3) (Y)
Theoretical Mechanics

Study of the statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Discussion of the methods of generalized coordinates, the Langrangian, Hamilton-Jacobi equations, and action-angle variables. Explores relation to the quantum theory.

PHYS 524 - (3) (SI)
Introduction to the Theory of General Relativity

Prerequisites: Advanced calculus through partial differentiation and multiple integration; vector analysis in three dimensions
Review of special relativity and coordinate transformations. Topics include the principle of equivalence; effects of gravitation on other systems and fields; general tenser analysis in curved spaces and gravitational field equations; Mach's principle; tests of gravitational theories; Perihelion precession, red shift, bending of light, gyroscopic precession, radar echo delay; gravitational radiation; relativistic stellar structure and cosmography; and a short survey of cosmological models.

PHYS 531 - (3) (E)

Prerequisites: Knowledge of vector calculus and previous exposure to Maxwell's equations
A course on classical optics. Topics include reflection and refraction at interfaces, geometrical optics, interference phenomena, diffraction, Gaussian optics, and polarization.

PHYS 542 - (3) (O)
Introduction to Atomic Physics

Prerequisite: PHYS 356 or permission of instructor
Study of the principles and techniques of atomic physics with application to selected topics, including laser and microwave spectroscopy, photoionization, autoionization, the effects of external fields, and collisions.

PHYS 547 - (3) (E)
Introduction to Molecular Biophysics

Prerequisites: PHYS 331 or CHEM 361, PHYS 355 or CHEM 362, MATH 521, or permission of instructor
A quantitative introduction to the physics of molecular structures and processes in living systems. Topics include molecular structure analysis by X-ray (and neutron) diffraction; electronic configuration of atoms, groups, and small molecules of critical importance in biology; physical methods of macromolecular structure determination, in solution and in the solid state; thermodynamic and electronic factors underlying group interactions, proton dissociation, and charge distribution in macromolecules; solvent—macromolecule interactions; action spectroscopy; and rate processes in series and parallel.

PHYS 551, 552 - (3) (IR)
Special Topics in Classical and Modern Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 342, or permission of instructor
Lectures on topics of current interest in physics research and pedagogy. May be taken more than once.

PHYS 562 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Solid State Physics

Study of crystal structures, lattice vibrations and electronic properties of insulators, metals, and semiconductors; and superconductivity.

PHYS 572 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics

Study of subatomic structure. Basic constituents and their mutual interactions.

PHYS 577 - (3) (O)
Introduction to High Energy Physics

Prerequisites: MATH 221 and PHYS 355, or permission of instructor
Study of the experimental basis of high energy principles. Topics include the behavior of strong, electromagnetic, and weak forces and their symmetries; electroweak standard model; interactions of particles; and present and planned high energy accelerators.

PHYS 593 - (1-3) (S)
Independent Study

A program of independent study carried out under the supervision of a faculty member, culminating in a written report, essay, or examination. May be taken more than once.

Note   Service courses offered by the Department of Physics for the School of Architecture (PHYS 203A) and for the School of Engineering and Applied Science (PHYS 142E, 241E, 242E, 241L, 242L) are open to students in the College of Arts and Sciences. These courses count against the degree credits a student may earn for courses taken outside the College.

Advanced graduate courses in the Department of Physics are described in the Graduate Record.

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