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Physics - Spring 2014

Physics 107N   Astronomy                                                              
4 credits                    
Hoffman, Ian

Prerequisite:  Minimum Math Placement 22.
The subject matter of this course spans the entire Universe, from our earthly environment to the farthest reaches of space and time.  We begin by examining the sky using only our eyes, just as humankind has done for thousands of years. We then study the contributions of the great astronomers and physicists of the last 400 years, including Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler.  Moving outward from the earth, we will learn about each member of our solar system, from scorching Mercury to ice-covered Pluto, and we’ll consider the question, “What exactly is a planet?”  We’ll consider asteroids, comets, and meteoroids, and discuss the probability and consequences of collisions with our planet.  Next on our agenda is an overview of the birth and death of stars, after which we proceed outward through our galaxy and into the deep cosmos, toward the edge of the known Universe and the beginning of time.  We conclude with a discussion of the beginning and possible destiny of the Universe, and we consider the possibility that we are not alone.  This course is accompanied by periodic observing sessions at Weaver Observatory.  This is a math-intensive course.

 

Physics 200B   Mechanics & Waves                                   
5 credits                                                                                
Williams, Jeremiah

Prerequisite:  Placement into Math 201 is required.  Math 201 is strongly suggested as a co-requisite.
The study of classical mechanics and waves.  Topics include kinematics (the description of motion), dynamics (forces and Newton's laws), work and energy, impulse and momentum, statics, rotational motion, and waves.  There will be 3 class meetings and one 3-hour lab each week.  This is the first course in various introductory physics sequences designed for science majors and pre-health students: PHYS 200B & PHYS 205 for pre-health, biology, and geology; PHYS 200B & PHYS 218 for chemistry and math/computer science; PHYS 200B, PHYS 213, PHYS 214, PHYS 215, PHYS 218, & PHYS 220 for physics and pre-engineering majors.

 

Physics 213   Thermodynamics and Optics
2 credits, 1st half
George, Elizabeth

Prerequisite:  Physics 200;  Suggested co-requisite:  Mathematics 202.
This course builds upon the foundation laid in Physics 200 for understanding the nature and behavior of heat and light. Specific topics include the ideal gas, heat and temperature, energy and entropy, thermodynamic processes, mirrors, lenses, and interference and diffraction of light.  Applications to the efficiency of engines, thermal insulation and energy conservation, optical instruments, and the human visual system will be discussed.

 

Physics 214   Intermediate Physics Laboratory
1 credit
George, Elizabeth

Prerequisite:  Physics 200;  Required co-requisite:  Physics 213.
This laboratory course provides the opportunity for students to conduct experiments that elucidate and extend the concepts presented in Physics 213 and 215.  Specific topics include heat and temperature, thermodynamic processes, mirrors and lenses, diffraction and interference, and some modern physics experiments. 

 

Physics 215   Special Relativity and Applications
2 credits, 2nd half
Fleisch, Dan

Prerequisite:  Physics 200; Suggested co-requisite:  Mathematics 202.
Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity revolutionized our understanding of space and time. This course introduces the student to Special Relativity as well as its consequences and apparent paradoxes. Concepts such as energy and momentum are redefined.  Other modern developments in our understanding of the nature and structure of matter will be discussed.

 

Physics 220   Modern Physics
5 credits
Voytas, Paul

Prerequisite:  Physics 218.  Co-requisite:  Physics 215.
An introduction to quantum mechanics with applications from atomic, molecular, condensed matter, nuclear, and particle physics.  The lab will include experiments that illustrate the ideas of quantum mechanics as well as experiments that introduce you to contemporary research laboratory equipment and techniques. The course is writing intensive, so an emphasis will be placed on communicating scientific ideas and experimental results in writing.

 

Physics 320   Computational Physics                                    
2 credits, 2nd half                                                                  
Hoffman, Ian

Prerequisites:  Physics 220 and Math 202 and Comp 150.
This course builds upon the foundation laid in Physics 220, Mathematics 202, and Computer Science 150.  We will explore computational physics by developing numerical solutions to a variety of physics problems that do not have analytic solutions.  We will also look at various means of visualizing the complex data sets that frequently arise from this type of problem solving.

 

Physics 350  Advanced Laboratory
1 credit
Fleisch, Dan; Voytas, Paul

Prerequisites:  Physics 220
A laboratory course emphasizing experimental design, laboratory techniques, analysis and interpretation of data, and written reports of experiments. A variety of advanced physics experiments will be performed.

 

Physics 360.  Junior Seminar                                            
1 credit                      
Fleisch, Dan

This course, intended for upper-level physics majors, has the following goals: to develop the skills required to make clear presentations on technical topics; to learn to use reference materials pertinent to physics; and to get a feel for what is currently interesting and important in physics and related fields, including societal, ethical, and career issues.  CLAC option available.  Please consult the Language Department Course Descriptions for more specific information.

 

Physics 380  Topics:  Fluid Mechanics
2 credits
Williams, Jeremiah
Prerequisite:  Physics 311
This course is designed to give an overview of fluid dynamics.  The topics to be covered will be chosen based on logic, available time and student interest but could include the behavior of ideal fluids, vorticity, viscous dissipation, shock formation, chaos, and turbulence, as well as other phenomena associated with both slow and fast fluid flow.

 

Physics 411  Quantum Mechanics 
4 credits
Hoffman, Ian

Prerequisite:  Physics 311  Writing intensive.
In-depth study of quantum mechanics with an emphasis on simple systems, the operator approach as applied to the harmonic oscillator and angular momentum, and perturbation theory (time--independent and time-dependent).  Numerical approaches will be developed to allow the exploration of arbitrary systems.

 

Physics 460  Senior Seminar                                             
1 credit                      
Fleisch, Dan

Prerequisite:  Physics major of senior standing.
This course, intended for upper-level physics majors, has the following goals: to develop the skills required to make clear presentations on technical topics; to learn to use reference materials pertinent to physics; and to get a feel for what is currently interesting and important in physics and related fields, including societal, ethical, and career issues.  CLAC option available.  Please consult the Language Department Course Descriptions for more specific information.

 

Physics 490  Independent Study                            
1-4 credits
Staff

Prerequisite:  Permission required.
Students must submit an Independent Study proposal to the Registrar’s Office, Recitation Hall, for final approval, the student will then be officially registered for the credits.

 

Physics 491  Internship                                                       
1-4 credits
Staff

Prerequisite:  Permission required.
Course reserved for supervised research during summers or while off campus.

 

Physics 498  Senior Thesis                                     
1-4 credits
Staff

Prerequisite:  Permission of Department Chair required.
Writing intensive.  Offered on demand.

 

Physics 499  Senior Honors Thesis
0-8 credits
Staff

Prerequisite:  Permission of Department Chair and Director of the Honors Program required.
Writing intensive.  Offered on demand.

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