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Physics Course Descriptions

Course NumberDescription

PHY 1000


Astronomy of the Solar System.
An introduction to modern astronomy with emphasis on the solar system. Topics include observational astronomy, history and development of astronomy, formation of the solar system, and the structure and composition of Sun, planets, asteroids, and comets. This course is intended primarily for non-science majors and satisfies the Area II General Education elective in Natural Science. Four credits. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 1050


Astronomy of Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos.
An introduction to modern astronomy with emphasis on the Universe beyond the solar system. Topics include properties and life cycles of stars, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, quasars, interstellar medium, galaxies, and cosmology. This course is intended primarily for non-science majors and satisfies the Area II General Education elective in Natural Science. Four credits. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 1100

Physics of Sound and Music.
An introduction to the physics of sound and music. Topics include vibrations, waves, fundamentals and overtones, musical scales, harmony, and production, detection, and perception of sound. This course is intended for non-science majors and satisfies the Area II General Education elective in Natural Science. Four credits (2 lecture hours + 2 lab hours). Offered Fall.

PHY 1200

Physics for Video Games.
An introduction to laws of physics needed to produce games, simulations, and computer animations with compelling realism. Topics include kinematics, Newtons laws of motion, conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, and rotational dynamics, with applications to projectile motion, collisions, oscillations, and rotational motion. Laboratory topics include measurement, graphical interpretation and curve fits, video analysis, and simulation development. No programming experience is required. This course is intended for non-science majors and satisfies the Area II General Education requirement. Four credits (2 lecture hours + 2 lab hours). Offered Spring.

PHY 1510


General Physics I.
An introduction to mechanics, properties of matter, waves, sound, and thermodynamics. Prerequisite: MTH 1400. This course is intended for science majors who are not required to take calculus-based physics for their major. This course satisfies the Area II General Education elective in Natural Science. The lecture must be taken concurrently with the lab (PHY 1511). Three credits. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 1511


General Physics I Laboratory.
A laboratory to accompany PHY 1510. Topics include measurement, error analysis, graphical interpretation and curve fits, video analysis, and computer data acquisition interfaces and sensors. Applications are congruent with topics covered in PHY 1510. One credit. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 1520


General Physics II.
An introduction to electricity and magnetism, geometrical and physical optics, relativity, and atomic and nuclear physics. The course is intended for science majors who are not required to take calculus-based physics for their major. The lecture must be taken concurrently with the lab (PHY 1521). Three credits. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 1521


General Physics II Laboratory.
A laboratory to accompany PHY 1520. Topics include measurement, error analysis, graphical interpretation and curve fits, video analysis, and computer data acquisition interfaces and sensors. Applications are congruent with topics covered in PHY 1520. One credit. Offered Fall and Spring.

PHY 2001


Research and Scientific Writing in Physics I.
An introduction to research methods and scientific writing in the area of physics. This course emphasizes critical review of scientific literature, formulation of research problems, design of experiments, collection of experimental data, discussion of uncertainty and error analysis. The student will begin an independent year-long research project which will continue into PHY 2002. One credit. Offered Fall.

PHY 2002


Research and Scientific Writing in Physics II.
An introduction to research methods and scientific writing in the area of physics. This course is a continuation of PHY 2001 and emphasizes presentation of experimental results, in written, oral, and poster formats. Each student will learn how to graphically display results with MATLAB and prepare scientific articles with LaTeX. Two credits. Prerequisite: PHY 2001. Offered Spring.

PHY 2010


Fundamentals of Physics I.
A calculus-based study of mechanics, waves, and thermal physics with emphasis on atomic models and fundamental principles. This course satisfies the Area II General Education elective in Natural Science. Topics include various applications of fundamental principles to matter and interactions, including classical, relativistic, and quantum systems. Four credits (6 hours of integrated lecture and lab). Corequisite or Prerequisite: MTH 1410. Offered Fall.

PHY 2020


Fundamentals of Physics II.
A calculus-based study of electricity and magnetism, and geometrical and physical optics, with emphasis on atomic models, fields, and the classical interaction of light and matter. Four credits (6 hours of integrated lecture and lab). Prerequisite: PHY 2010. Corequisite or Prerequisite: MTH 1420. Offered Spring.

PHY 2030


Modern Physics
An introduction to space-time physics (relativity and gravity) and quantum physics with applications in astronomy, atomic physics, solid-state physics, nuclear physics, and particle physics. Four credits. Prerequisite: PHY 2020. Offered Fall.

PHY 2200

Computational Physics.
A project-based introduction to computational physics through computational modeling. Students will learn to construct, solve, validate, and communicate mathematical models of physical systems. Topics include numerical techniques for solving ordinary and partial differential equations, data analysis, error analysis, and parallel computing. Applications of modeling across a variety of areas, including statistical mechanics, fluid dynamics, and non-linear dynamics, will be explored. Prerequisites: PHY 2010 and CSC 1710. Four credits.

PHY 3110


Classical Mechanics.
An advanced study of Newtonian mechanics applied to particles and systems of particles. Topics include central force motion, oscillators and coupled oscillators, rotating systems and rigid bodies, calculus of variations, and the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics. Prerequisites: PHY 2030, MTH 2410, and MTH 3610 (MTH 2310 and MTH 3410 may be taken in place of MTH 3610). This course is offered in the fall of odd-numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 3210


Electromagnetism.
n advanced study of electromagnetic theory using the methods of vector calculus. Topics include electrostatics of conductors and dielectrics, electric currents, magnetic fields, Maxwells equations, wave propagation in media, and electromagnetic radiation. Prerequisites: PHY 2030, MTH 2410, and MTH 3410 (MTH 3610 may be taken in place of MTH 2410 and MTH 3410). This course is offered in the spring of odd- numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 3310


Quantum Mechanics.
An introduction to non-relativistic quantum mechanics and its physical interpretation. Topics include operator mechanics, matrix mechanics, the Schrodinger equation, one-dimensional potentials, bound states, tunneling, and central potential problems in three dimensions including the hydrogen atom. Prerequisites: PHY 2030, MTH 2410, and MTH 3610 (MTH 2310 and MTH 3410 may be taken in place of MTH 3610). This course is offered in the fall of odd-numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 3400


Statistical and Thermal Physics.
An introduction to the microscopic description of thermodynamics and its application to macroscopic systems. Topics include temperature, heat, internal energy, entropy, phase transformations, kinetic theory, classical and quantum statistical distributions. Prerequisites: PHY 2030, MTH 2410, and MTH 3610 (MTH 2310 and MTH 3410 may be taken in place of MTH 3610). This course is offered spring of even-numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 3600

Optics.
An investigation of the fundamental properties of electromagnetic wave propagation and interaction with matter. Topics include both geometrical and physical optics such as interference, diffraction, polarization, coherence and laser physics. Prerequisite: PHY 2030. This course is offered in the fall of odd-numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 3700

Modern Astrophysics.
An introduction to the fields of modern astrophysics and cosmology. This course will explore the applications of fundamental physics to the processes that govern celestial bodies in the universe, and is designed for students who have taken calculus-based physics. Topics include celestial mechanics, star formation, stellar structure & evolution, exoplanets, Galactic and extragalactic astronomy, cosmology, and observational astronomy. Prerequisite: PHY 2020. This course is offered in the spring of even-numbered years. Four credits.

PHY 4000


Undergraduate Research in Physics.
Research of a theoretical, computational, or experimental topic in physics. Results will be given in a written paper and an oral presentation to the seminar participants and department faculty. Students may satisfy the research component of this course through a summer research experience, but must submit a written paper and give a department seminar on their summer research project. Prerequisites: PHY 2002 or permission of the instructor. A total of three credits are required for the B.S. degree. May be repeated for credit. One or two credits.

 

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