Physics Courses

For specific questions regarding undergraduate course offerings in physics, please contact the Department of Physics or consult the Undergraduate Bulletin of Information 2015-2016.

PHYS 08699. Directed Research: Particle Physics

(V-0-V)
Directed research course for high school students combining coverage of topics in particle physics with participation in experimental research in ongoing experiments conducted by particle physics faculty. Students maintain a research logbook and submit a written research summary at the conclusion of the research period.

PHYS 08798. Directed Research in Nuclear Astrophysics

(V-0-V)
Directed research course for high school students combining coverage of topics in nuclear astrophysics with participation in experimental research in ongoing experiments conducted by nuclear astrophysics faculty. Students maintain a research logbook and submit a written research summary at the conclusion of the research period.

PHYS 10033. Earth Focus

(3-0-3)
Earth Focus will begin with a history of the "origin" of the Universe. We will develop a picture of how, when and where the elements that compose our universe and in particular, the planets (and Earth), were created and how they got to the present state that allows life to exist on the Earth. The course will describe our unique place in nature. The goal will be to discuss how human activities (the production of the greenhouse gases) may/or may not be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. Notre Dame students will be faced with numerous environmental issues throughout their lives and this course will provide a basis for intelligent and knowledgeable decisions in the future. The course will include a discussion of the sustainability of our energy situation as well as a discussion of alternative technologies that might be implemented in the future.

PHYS 10051. Energy and Society

(3-0-3)
A course developing the basic ideas of energy and power and their applications from a quantitative and qualitative viewpoint. The fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) are studied together with their societal limitations (pollution, global warming, diminishing supply). Nuclear power is similarly studied in the context of the societal concerns that arise (radiation, reactor accidents, nuclear weapons proliferation, high-level waste disposal). The opportunities as well as the risks presented by alternative energy resources, in particular solar energy, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, together with various aspects of energy conservation, are developed and discussed. This course is designed for the non-specialist.

PHYS 10052. Concepts of Energy and the Environment

(3-0-3)
A course developing the basic ideas of energy and power and their applications. The fossil fuels are considered together with their limitations, particularly as related to global warming, pollution, and their nonrenewable character. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power are studied and compared with alternative energy sources such as solar energy, wind, and geothermal and hydroelectric power. Various aspects of energy storage and energy conservation are also considered. This course is designed for the non-specialist. It is open to first-year students only.

PHYS 10061. Nuclear Warfare

(3-0-3)
Nuclear phenomena; nuclear fission and fusion. Nuclear weapons. Effects of blast, shock, thermal radiation, prompt and delayed nuclear radiation. Fire, fallout, ozone-layer depletion, electromagnetic pulse, "nuclear winter." Medical consequences, physical damage, effects on the individual and on society. Defensive measures and their feasibility. Scenarios for war and peace, proliferation of nuclear weapons material, recent diplomatic history. US Bishops' Pastoral Letter. The course counts for science majors as a general elective credit.

PHYS 10062. Science Literacy

(3-0-3)
A course that provides the tools for a basic understanding of scientific developments and their potential consequences. Developments in many areas of science will be discussed, including biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, engineering, and computer science, with the view that basic physical laws serving as a common thread among them. Topics covered include the mechanisms of scientific discovery, the impact of scientific discoveries on society, science and ethics, and the tools of contemporary science. The course focuses on concepts rather than formulas and concentrates primarily on examples taken from current scientific developments. If taken by science or engineering students, this course counts as a general elective.

PHYS 10091. Principles of Physics I

(3-0-3)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 10111. PHYS 10111 is a prerequisite to PHYS 10222. A course intended for students who desire a grounding in all the major principles of physics but who plan to major in some area other than science or engineering. The ability to apply these principles to the solution of problems is a major goal of the course. The following topics are normally included; kinematics and dynamics of a particle, work, energy, momentum, harmonic motion, gravitation, and circular orbits; wave motion, interference, standing waves, the Doppler effect; and temperature, heat, first law of thermodynamics, and kinetic theory of gases. Additional material will be at the discretion of the instructor. The division between PHYS 10111 and 10222 will depend on the order of presentation.

PHYS 10092. Principles of Physics II

(3 -0-3)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 10222. PHYS 10111 is a prerequisite to PHYS 10222. A course intended for students who desire a grounding in all the major principles of physics but who plan to major in some area other than science or engineering. The ability to apply these principles to the solution of problems is a major goal of the course. The following topics are normally included; electric charge, Coulomb's law, electric field and potential, current, resistance, and DC circuits; magnetic force, and electromagnetic induction; the nature of light, the spectrum; photons, photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, deBroglie waves, energy levels, X-rays; nuclei and radioactivity; and special relativity. Additional material will be at the discretion of the instructor. The division between PHYS 10111 and 10222 will depend on the order of presentation.

PHYS 10093. General Physics I

(4 -0-4)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 10310. The first course in a two-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include the kinematics and mechanics of a particle; work, energy and momentum, and associated conservation laws; rotation, torque and angular momentum; oscillations and wave motions. A course designed for students of science and engineering. Laboratory meetings in alternating weeks only. Weekly tutorial sessions. Students intending to seek a major where AP science credit is not accepted, or where two semesters of general physics with laboratories at the college level are required, almost universally waive their AP credit at Notre Dame and take the classes for academic degree credit. In these cases, PHYS 10093/10094 will revert to non-degree credit on their final transcript, when replaced by 8.0 letter-graded degree credits of PHYS 10310/11310 + 10320/11320 as determined by the requirements of their respective majors.

PHYS 10094. General Physics II

(4 -0-4)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 10320. The second course in a two-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include electrostatics, electric current, and circuits; magnetism, electromagnetic induction, and waves; and geometrical optics. A course designed for students of science and engineering. Laboratory meetings in alternating weeks only. Weekly tutorial sessions. Students intending to seek a major where AP science credit is not accepted, or where two semesters of general physics with laboratories at the college level are required, almost universally waive their AP credit at Notre Dame and take the classes for academic degree credit. In these cases, PHYS 10093/10094 will revert to non-degree credit on their final transcript, when replaced by 8.0 letter-graded degree credits of PHYS 10310/11310 + 10320/11320 as determined by the requirements of their respective majors.

PHYS 10095. Physics I

(4 -0-4)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 30210. It requires demonstrated knowledge of the basic principles of mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, wave motion, and sound. Primarily for students in the life sciences. Laboratory meetings each week. Students intending to apply to medical or other professional schools where AP science credit is not accepted, or where two semesters of general physics with laboratories at the college level are required, almost universally waive their AP credit at Notre Dame and take the classes for academic degree credit. In these cases, PHYS 10095/10096 will revert to non-degree credit on their final transcript, when replaced by 8.0 letter-graded degree credits of either PHYS 30210/31210 + 30220/31220 or PHYS 10310/11310 + 10320/11320 as determined by the requirements of their respective majors.

PHYS 10096. Physics II

(4 -0-4)
This course is the AP-credit equivalent of PHYS 30220. It requires demonstrated knowledge of the basic principles of electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Primarily for students in the life sciences. Laboratory meetings each
week. Students intending to apply to medical or other professional schools where AP science credit is not accepted, or where two semesters of general physics with laboratories at the college level are required, almost universally waive their AP credit at Notre Dame and take the classes for academic degree credit. In these cases, PHYS 10095/10096 will revert to non-degree credit on their final transcript, when replaced by 8.0 letter-graded degree credits of either PHYS 30210/31210
+ 30220/31220 or PHYS 10310/11310 + 10320/11320 as determined by the requirements of their respective majors.

PHYS 10111. Principles of Physics I

(3 -0- 3)
PHYS 10111 is a prerequisite to PHYS 10122. A course intended for students who desire a grounding in all the major principles of physics but who plan to major in some area other than science or engineering. The ability to apply these principles to the solution of problems is a major goal of the course. The following topics are normally included; kinematics and dynamics of a particle, work, energy, momentum, harmonic motion, gravitation, and circular orbits; wave motion, interference, standing waves, the Doppler effect; and temperature, heat, first law of thermodynamics, and kinetic theory of gases. Additional material will be at the discretion of the instructor. The division between PHYS 10111 and 10122 will depend on the order of presentation.

PHYS 10122. Principles of Physics II

(3 -0- 3)
PHYS 10111 is a prerequisite to PHYS 10122. A course intended for students who desire a grounding in all the major principles of physics but who plan to major in some area other than science or engineering. The ability to apply these principles to the solution of problems is a major goal of the course. The following topics are normally included; electric charge, Coulomb's law, electric field and potential, current, resistance, and DC circuits; magnetic force, and electromagnetic induction; the nature of light, the spectrum; photons, photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, deBroglie waves, energy levels, X-rays; nuclei and radioactivity; and special relativity. Additional material will be at the discretion of the instructor. The division between PHYS 10111 and 10122 will depend on the order of presentation.

PHYS 10140. Descriptive Astronomy

(3 -0- 3)
A description of the motions and structure of the earth, moon, and planets; an exposition of the modern theories of solar and stellar structure, nebulae, and galaxies; basics of stellar evolution, black holes, quasars, and other recent developments; an introduction to cosmology. This course includes elementary observational projects.

PHYS 10222. Introductory Physics II

(3 -0- 3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10111
This non-calculus-based course is intended for students seeking an understanding of principles of physics beyond those discussed in a one-semester course. The course covers topics useful to but not limited to students in architecture and designed for students who plan to major in some area other than science or engineering. Among the topics discussed are phases of matter, thermodynamics, heat exchange, energy storage, vibrations and acoustics, and basic electricity and magnetism. The course will emphasize applications to practical problems and will explore challenges such as light pollution, earthquake-proofing, and energy conservation. 

PHYS 10240. Elementary Cosmology

(3-0-3)
An elective course for students planning to major in the arts and letters or business. It is designed to acquaint the non-mathematically inclined student with the most important discoveries in physics of the last few decades and how
they have altered our perceptions of the origin and structure of the universe. This course examines such questions as: “Where did the universe come from?” “Why do scientists feel sure that it was born in a cosmic fireball called the Big Bang?” and “Where did the Big Bang itself come from?” This is a reading-intensive course based on popularizations of science written for the curious and intelligent layperson. The emphasis will be on class discussion of the readings. One book report and a term paper are required in addition to examinations. If taken by College of Science students, this course counts as general elective credit.

PHYS 10262. Physical Methods in Art and Archaeology

(3-0-3)
A course that gives an overview of the various physics-based analysis and dating techniques used in art and archaeology. The course will cover topics such as X-ray fluorescence and X-ray absorption, proton-induced X-ray emission, neutron-induced activation analysis, radiocarbon dating, accelerator mass spectroscopy, luminescence dating, and methods of archeometry. Multiple examples of the use of the techniques in art and archaeology will be given, e.g., under X-ray techniques and accelerator mass spectrometry, the analysis of ancient coins and violin varnish and the Iceman and the Turin Shroud are used respectively as examples. Physics
principles of the methods and techniques will be taught in a descriptive manner.

PHYS 10310. General Physics I

(4-0-4)
Prerequisite: MATH 10550 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 10850 (may be taken concurrently)
Corequisite: PHYS 11310, PHYS 12310
The first course in a two-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include the kinematics and mechanics of a particle; work, energy and momentum, and associated conservation laws; rotation, torque and angular momentum; oscillations and wave motions. A course designed for students of science and engineering. Laboratory meetings in alternating weeks only. Weekly tutorial sessions.

PHYS 10320. General Physics II

(4-0-4)
Prerequisites: (PHYS 10310 or PHYS 10411 or PHYS 10093) and (MATH 10550 or MATH 10850) and (MATH 10560* or MATH 10860*)
Corequisite: PHYS 11320, PHYS 12320
The second course in a two-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include electrostatics, electric current, and circuits; magnetism, electromagnetic induction, and waves; and geometrical optics. A course designed for students of science and engineering. Laboratory meetings in alternating weeks only. Weekly tutorial sessions.

PHYS 10342. Modern Physics from Quarks to Quasars

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: ALHN 13950
Restricted to first-year Arts and Letters intents in the Honors Program. This course emphasizes themes of modern physics and will be organized around the concepts of symmetry and physical laws. For example, how do symmetries observed in nature lead to fundamental laws of conservation of energy and momentum? Examples from areas of modern physics such as cosmology and astrophysics are used to bring these topics to life. We consider questions such as: “What happens if one travels alongside a beam of light?” (which leads us into special relativity); “Why is the night sky so dark?” (the Big Bang); “What is matter?”; “What is mass”; “What are forces?” The course is a mix of lecture, discussions, and lab/demonstrations.

PHYS 10411. General Physics A-M/Mechanics

(4-0-4)
Prerequisite: MATH 10550 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 10850 (may be taken concurrently)
Corequisite: PHYS 11411
The first semester of a three-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include the kinematics and mechanics of a particle; work, energy, and momentum, and associated conservation laws; rotation, torque, and angular momentum; oscillations and wave motions. A course designed for students intending to enter the Department of Physics. Laboratory meetings each week.

PHYS 10424. General Physics: B-M/Waves, Thermodynamics, Special Relativity

(4-0-4)
Prerequisite: (PHYS 10310 or PHYS 10411) and (MATH 10550 or MATH 10850) and (MATH 10560 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 10860 (may be taken concurrently))
Corequisite: PHYS 11424
The second semester of a three-semester course in general physics. Topics include classical thermodynamics, fluids and acoustics; wave motions, geometric and physical optics; special relativity. The course is intended primarily for physics majors but is open to other qualified students.

 

PHYS 10430. Introduction to Circuitry and Electronics

(1-2-1.5)
An introduction to the basics of circuitry and electronics, including both theory and laboratory practice. This course provides a stand-alone foundation which students will develop in later courses. This course is intended to be taken by Physics majors and is a co-requisite of PHYS 10424.

PHYS 10555. Science Play: Physics and Astronomy on the Stage

(3-0-3)
This course will examine a selection of plays that use astronomy or physics to delve into the scientific process, including plays by Auburn, Stoppard, Brecht, and Frayn. By focusing on the moments abutting the instant of scientific discovery,these plays create an ideal space to explore the scientific idea itself as well as the attending complex human interactions and issues such as the scientific method, the interplay of society and science, the scientist’s responsibility to society, and gender and genius. The course will guide the student through our evolving view of the physical laws that govern the interactions between particles in the universe, loosely mirroring the arc of the scientific content of the plays. In addition to addressing these key ideas, we will study the theatricality of the plays. Having explored major topics in physics at a non-technical level as well as the roles of the playwright, director and actor in giving life to the science play, the course will culminate in the translation of these scientific ideas to the stage.

PHYS 11310. General Physics I Laboratory

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 10310, PHYS 12310
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 10310.

PHYS 11320. General Physics II Laboratory

(0-1-0)
Corequisites: PHYS 10320, PHYS 12320
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 10320.

PHYS 11411. General Physics A-M/Mechanics Lab

(0-2-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 10411
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 10411.

PHYS 11424. General Physics B-M/Waves, Thermodynamics, Special Relativity Lab

(0-2-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 10424
The Laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 10424.

PHYS 12310. General Physics I Tutorial

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 10310, PHYS 11310
The tutorial is a corequisite for PHYS 10310.

PHYS 12320. General Physics II Tutorial

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 10320, PHYS 11320
The tutorial is a corequisite for PHYS 10320.

PHYS 20051. Energy and Society

(3-0-3)
A course developing the basic ideas of energy and power and their applications from a quantitative and qualitative viewpoint. The fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) are studied together with their societal limitations (pollution, global warming, diminishing supply). Nuclear power is similarly studied in the context of the societal concerns that arise (radiation, reactor accidents, nuclear weapons proliferation, high-level waste disposal). The opportunities as well as the risks presented by alternative energy resources, in particular solar energy, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, together with various aspects of energy conservation, are developed and discussed. This course is designed for the non-specialist.

PHYS 20054. Climate Physics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: MATH 10360
This course is a one-semester investigation of the processes leading to balance in the earth’s climate system. The course will study the physical processes driven by the laws of thermodynamics, convective hydrodynamics, and radiative energy transfer. The course is appropriate for undergraduate science as well as non-science majors and will count for science credit for science majors.

PHYS 20061. Nuclear Warfare

(3-0-3)
Nuclear phenomena, nuclear fission and fusion. Nuclear weapons. Effects of blast, shock, thermal radiation, prompt and delayed nuclear radiation. Fire, fallout, ozone-layer depletion, electromagnetic pulse, “nuclear winter.” Medical
consequences, physical damage, effects on the individual and on society. Defensive measures and their feasibility. Scenarios for war and peace, proliferation of nuclear weapons material, recent diplomatic history. U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter. The course counts for science majors as a general elective credit.

PHYS 20071. Physics of Sound and Music

(3-0-3)
This course includes a non-technical introduction to the physics of sound, including musical acoustics and the science of sound reproduction. The course will include basic Newtonian mechanics, oscillating systems, wave motion, sound,
Fourier synthesis, psychoacoustics and hearing, and the acoustics of various musical instruments. It will also include a short introduction to electricity and magnetism, and the physics of microphones, loudspeakers, phonographs, digital
recording, and electronic synthesizers. Although there are no formal prerequisites, the course will make use of some algebra and trigonometry. There will not be laboratory, but many demonstrations will be offered, including students playing their own instruments.

PHYS 20140. Descriptive Anatomy 

(3-0-3) 

A description of the motions and structure of the Earth, moon, and planets. An exposition of the modern theories of solar and stellar structure, nebulae, and galaxies. Basics of stellar evolution, black holes, quasars, and other recent developments. An introduction to cosmology. This course includes elementary observational projects. 

PHYS 20262. Physics Methods in Art and Archeology

(3-0-3)
A course that gives an overview of the various physics-based analysis and dating techniques used in art and archaeology. The course will cover topics such as X-ray fluorescence and X-ray absorption, proton-induced X-ray emission, neutron-induced activation analysis, radiocarbon dating, accelerator mass spectroscopy, luminescence dating, and methods of archeometry. Multiple examples of the use of the techniques in art and archaeology will be given, e.g., under X-ray techniques and accelerator mass spectrometry, the analysis of ancient coins and violin varnish and the Iceman and the Turin Shroud are used respectively as examples. Physics principles of the methods and techniques will be taught in a descriptive manner.

PHYS 20330. General Physics III

(3.5-0-3.5)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10320 and (MATH 10560 or MATH 10860) and (MATH 20850 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 20550 (may be taken concurrently))
Corequisite: PHYS 21330
A third semester in general physics. Topics include: 1) interference and diffraction; 2) quanta and the wave-particle duality; 3) introduction to quantum mechanics; 4) atomic, nuclear, and particle physics; 5) physics of the solid state; and 6) astrophysics and cosmology. A course designed for students of science and engineering. Laboratory meetings in alternating weeks only.

PHYS 20435. GenPhysC-M/Electricity and Magnetism

(3-0-4)
Prerequisite: (PHYS 10310 or PHYS 10411) and (MATH 20550 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 20850 (may be taken concurrently))
Corequisite: PHYS 21435
The third semester of a three-semester sequence in general physics. Topics include electrostatics, electric current and circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic induction and waves. A course designed for students majoring in the Department of Physics. Laboratory meetings each week.

PHYS 20451. Mathematical Methods in Physics I

(3-0-3.5)
Prerequisite: (MATH 10560 or MATH 10860)
Corequisite: PHYS 22451
A two-semester course in the study of methods of mathematical physics. Topics include linear algebra (including matrices and determinants), vector and tensor analysis, vector calculus, curvilinear coordinates, series, ordinary differential
equations, partial differential equations, orthogonal functions and vector spaces, special functions (including Bessel, Legendre, and Hermite), calculus of variations, Fourier series, and group theory. The division between PHYS 20451 and 20452 will depend on the order of presentation. Weekly tutorial sessions.

PHYS 20452. Mathematical Methods in Physics II

(3-0-3.5)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20451 or MATH 20570
Corequisite: PHYS 22452
A two-semester course in the study of methods of mathematical physics. Topics include linear algebra (including matrices and determinants), vector and tensor analysis, vector calculus, curvilinear coordinates, series, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, orthogonal functions and vector spaces, special functions (including Bessel, Legendre, and Hermite), calculus of variations, Fourier series, and group theory. The division between PHYS 20451 and 20452 will depend on the order of presentation. Weekly tutorial sessions.

PHYS 20454. Intermediate Classical Mechanics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: (PHYS 20451 or MATH 20570) and (PHYS 20452 (may be taken concurrently) or MATH 20670 (may be taken concurrently))
Newtonian mechanics of particles in one, two, and three dimensions; oscillations; non inertial reference frames; gravitation, central forces; systems of particles; kinetics and dynamics of rigid body motion; Lagrangians; Hamilton’s equations.

PHYS 20464. Modern Physics I

(4-0-4)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10424 or PHYS 20435 or PHYS 10320
Special relativity, foundations of quantum concepts. Properties of atoms. Interactions of electromagnetic fields with atoms. Wave mechanics and the Schroedinger equation. Atomic structure and atomic spectra. Atomic wave functions. Fine structure and Zeeman effect. Multiplet analysis. Exclusion principle, periodic table and spectra of multielectron atoms. Introduction to the statistical physics of quantum mechanical systems.

PHYS 20481. Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics for Majors

(3-0-3) Phillips
Prerequisites: PHYS 10310 or PHYS 10093 or PHYS 10411 or PHYS 30210 or PHYS 10095
This one-semester course uses basic physical principles of mechanics, optics, and radiation to provide an introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics. Topics include the solar system, stars, interstellar matter, galaxies, and cosmology. The underlying observations (from radio to gamma rays) are used to provide a fundamental understanding topics and their historical background. Several observing projects will be completed at the observatory in the Jordan Hall of Science. (This course is offer in the fall of even years.)

PHYS 21330. General Physics III Laboratory

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 20330
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 20330.

PHYS 21435. GenPhysC-M/E&M Laboratory

(0-2-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 20435
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 20435.

PHYS 22451. Mathematical Methods in Physics I Tutorial

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 20451
The tutorial is a corequisite for PHYS 20451.

PHYS 22452. Mathematical Methods in Physics II Tutorial

(0-1-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 20452
The tutorial is a corequisite for PHYS 20452.

PHYS 23411. Sophomore Seminar

(1-0-1)
An introduction to the physics major, career and post-graduate options, and current topics in physics research. Classes are conducted by staff members.

PHYS 30210. Physics I

(3-0-4)
Prerequisite: MATH 10360 or MATH 10460 or MATH 10560 or MATH 10860
Corequisite: PHYS 31210
The basic principles of mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, wave motion, and sound. Primarily for students in the life sciences. Laboratory meetings each week. This is the first semester of a 2 semester calculus based course. 

PHYS 30220. Physics II

(3-0-4)
Prerequisites: (PHYS 10310 or PHYS 10093 or PHYS 10411 or PHYS 30210 or PHYS 10095 or PHYS 34210) and (MATH 10360 or MATH 10560 or MATH 10860)
Corequisite: PHYS 31220
The basic principles of electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Primarily for students in the life sciences. Laboratory meetings each week. This is the second semester of a 2 semester calculus based course.

PHYS 30389. Philosophical Issues in Physics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10122 or PHYS 10320 or PHYS 30220 or PHYS 20435
This course is intended for non-science students who desire to begin an examination of the origins of the modern laws of physics and for science students who wish to know the actual route to the discovery and the broader implications of the formal theories with which they are already familiar. The historical background to and philosophical questions associated with major laws of physics will be discussed, in large measure by examining directly relevant excerpts from the writings of some of the creators of seminal concepts and theories in physics. The latter part of the course will concentrate on historical and philosophical issues related to relativity and especially to quantum theory and its interpretation. This course is accepted as a science elective in the College of Science.

PHYS 30421. Scientific Programming

(3-0-3)
This course will introduce computational physics to physics majors who have had previously little or no programming experience. Topics covered will include: 1) Modern programming languages used in physics; 2) Graphical presentation of results; 3) The use of computation in physics as a complement to theory and experiment. Emphasis will be placed on teaching students to seek out and learn software tools, in particular "non-proprietary," "free" software that runs on student-owned laptop computers. Programming languages to be discussed include Fortran 90, C, C++, and Python. Most programming exercises will use C++. Physics applications will include such topics as mechanical motion problems (projectiles, planets, billiard balls), oscillations and chaos, and random processes in nature.

PHYS 30432. Lasers and Modern Optics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20330 or (PHYS 10424 and PHYS 20435)
Corequisite: PHYS 31432
Principles and practical aspects of laser operation and applications in modern optics. Propagation of plane electromagnetic waves. Diffraction and interference of light. Gaussian beam propagation and optical resonators. Theory of laser oscillation. Gas, solid, semiconductor, and dye lasers. Detectors of optical radiation. Nonlinear optics. Applications in research and industry. Laboratory exercises include polarization, interference, Fourier optics, holography, gas, diode and turnable lasers, and harmonic generation. A course primarily intended for physics majors.

PHYS 30461. Thermal Physics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20454
The first half of this course covers classical thermodynamics, from ideal gases to thermodynamic potentials, finishing with phase transitions. The second half is devoted to statistical mechanics as the basis of thermodynamics. Classical and quantum distributions will be introduced to explain the collective behavior of particles, ending with Bose-Einstein condensation.

PHYS 30465. Topics in Modern Physics II

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20464
A continuation of Modern Physics I. Topics in quantum physics. Molecular bonding and spin valence. Molecular spectra. Bonding, energy levels and band structure in solids. Ionic crystals, metals and semiconductors. Thermal, electric, magnetic and optical properties of solids. Quantum numbers of particles, basic forces, the particle zoo. Stable nuclei, nuclear structure and models, nuclear decay and reactions, energy levels, fission, fusion. Particle scattering. Production, detection and properties of elementary particles.

PHYS 30471. Electricity and Magnetism

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20454
Electro-and magnetostatics. Laplace’s and Poisson’s equations. Boundary value problems. Multipole fields. Dielectric and magnetic phenomena. Maxwell’s equations.

PHYS 30472. Electromagnetic Waves

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 30471
Study of electromagnetic waves, physical optics, radiation from accelerating charges, and some topics from the special theory of relativity.

PHYS 30481. Modern Observational Techniques

(3-2-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20435 or PHYS 10320
This one-semester modern-astrophysics laboratory course emphasizes new advances in telescopes, astronomical imaging and spectroscopies as well as photoelectric observations. Data processing and analysis techniques are taught. Extensive use will be made of the new observatory in the Jordan Hall of Science. There is a possibility of field trips to the VATT, LBT, or other major research telescopes (This course is offered in the fall of odd years.).

PHYS 31210. Physics I Laboratory

(0-2-0)
Prerequisite: PHYS 30210 (may be taken concurrently) or PHYS 34210
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 30210.

PHYS 31220. Physics II Laboratory

(0-2-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 30220
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 30220.

PHYS 31432. Lasers and Modern Optics Lab

(0-2-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 30432

Accompanying lab for PHYS 30432.

PHYS 31454. Computational Laboratory in Quantum Mechanics 

(0-3-1)

This course is designed to be taken as a computational laboratory in association with PHYS 40454 - Quantum Mechanics II. Students in the class will work on projects in which they will hone their computational skills in order to solve problems in quantum mechanics, including a variety of applications in modern physics. The course will focus on translating physical problems to the computer, improving programming skills, and developing proficiency in numerical techniques, with quantum mechanics as the theme for the problems. This course is not intended as a first introduction to computing; students will be required to have taken PHYS 20420, or have permission from the instructor based on computer skills obtained in another setting. 

PHYS 33411. Junior Seminar

(1-0-1)
A discussion of current topics in physics by staff members.

PHYS 40371. Medical Physics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10320 or PHYS 20435 or PHYS 30220
Topics involving the applications of physics in medicine and biology are selected from the following: external and internal forces on the body; heat and temperature equilibrium; physics of hearing; physics of vision; nerve conduction; muscle contraction; electric potentials of the brain; physics of cardiovascular and pulmonary systems; ionizing radiations and their effects; nuclear medicine; radiotherapy; physics of some biological instruments. A science elective course for preprofessional students, but open to other students.

PHYS 40432. Biological Physics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 10320 or PHYS 20435 or PHYS 30220
The functioning of cells at the molecular level will be discussed on the basis of basic physics principles including Newtonian mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and electrical transport. The course covers diverse topics including cell energy balance, molecular machines, nerve impulse propagation, self-assembly; electrical properties of molecules. This is an approved science elective.

PHYS 40441. Modern Physics Laboratory I

(0-2-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 20464 and PHYS 30471
Corequisite: PHYS 41441
A two-semester laboratory course stressing experiments in atomic, nuclear, and solid-state physics. The course is designed to introduce the student to experiments and methods closely related to modern-day research. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of semiconductor devices and the construction and use of such devices.

PHYS 40442. Modern Physics Laboratory II

(0-3-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 40441
Corequisite: PHYS 41442
A two-semester laboratory course stressing experiments in atomic, nuclear, and solid-state physics. The course is designed to introduce the student to experiments and methods closely related to modern-day research. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of semiconductor devices and the construction and use of such devices.

PHYS 40445. Advanced Astrophysics

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 30471 (may be taken concurrently) and PHYS 40453 (may be taken concurrently)
A study of the physical problems associated with stellar motions; energy generation and radiation; astronomical distances; celestial mechanics; galactic dynamics; cosmic rays; interstellar matter; thermodynamics; and equations of state of various stellar models. Observational techniques and methods of computation will be discussed. An elective course for senior physics majors and other qualified students. (This course is offered in the fall of odd years.)

PHYS 40453. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I

(3-0-3)
Prerequisites: (PHYS 20464 and PHYS 20452)
A two-semester course on the experimental basis for the wave picture of matter and the fundamental ideas of quantum mechanics. The first semester covers:scattering and bound state solutions to the Schrodinger equation in one and three dimensions; Hilbert spaces and the mathematical formalism underlying quantum mechanics; angular momentum and spin; the hydrogen atom; and multi-particle wave functions and identical particles.

PHYS 40454. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 40453
A two-semester course on the experimental basis for the wave picture of matter and the fundamental ideas of quantum mechanics. The second semester covers: corrections to the hydrogen atom, including fine structure, hyperfine splitting and Zeeman effect; approximation techniques, including WKB, perturbation theory, and variational principle; adiabatic theorem; geometrical phases; and scattering theory.

PHYS 40602. Particle Physics and Cosmology

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 40453
An introduction to particle physics and cosmology. The course will cover the two well-established foundations of the fields: the standard model of particle physics and the standard model of cosmology. Topics to be covered, relativistic quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics and the weak interaction. General relativity, the Big Bang and the expanding universe, the cosmic microwave background, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, stellar evolution, dark matter and dark energy.

PHYS 41441. Modern Physics I Laboratory

(0-4-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 40441
The laboratory is a co-requisite for PHYS 40441.

PHYS 41442. Modern Physics II Laboratory

(0-4-0)
Corequisite: PHYS 40442
The laboratory is a corequisite for PHYS 40442.

PHYS 43411. Senior Seminar

(1-0-1)
A discussion of current topics in physics by students and staff members.

PHYS 46490. Directed Readings

(V-0-V)
Study of topics not covered or only briefly covered in other courses. Readings, problems and reports.

PHYS 48480. Undergraduate Research

(V-0-V)
Research in collaboration with members of the faculty. Five to fifteen hours each week, arranged individually for each student. One to three credits.

PHYS 48998. Physics Graded Research Education for Undergraduates

(2-0-6)
This course has been created so that select students can take it for a grade/credit. It is the same as Phys 48999 and will be held at the same time in the same location.

 

PHYS 48999. Physics Research Education for Undergraduates

(3-12-0)
Students are granted stipends, university housing, and assistance with travel and food expenses. REU program gives valuable research experience, to help students decide if physics research is right for them.

 

PHYS 50051. Numerical PDE Techniques for Scientists and Engineers

(3-0-3)
Partial differential equations (PDEs) are ubiquitous in science and engineering and are usually discussed in classes as analytic solutions for specialized cases. This course will teach the students the basic methods for their numerical solution. The course starts with an overview of PDEs, then moves on to discuss finite difference approximations. Hyperbolic systems are introduced by the scalar advection and scalar non-linear conservation laws, followed by the Riemann problem for hyperbolic systems and approximate Riemann solvers. Multidimensional schemes for non-linear hyperbolic systems are then presented. Elliptic and parabolic systems and their solution methodologies are then discussed including Krylov subspace methods and multigrid methods. The course explains the theory underlying the numerical solution of PDEs and also provides hands-on experience with computer codes. A recommended prerequisite for this course is programming courses or programming background.

 

PHYS 50201. Advanced Astrophysics

(3-0-3) 
A study of the physical problems associated with stellar motions; energy generation and radiation; astronomical distances; celestial mechanics; galactic dynamics; cosmic rays; interstellar matter; thermodynamics; and equations of state of various stellar models. Observational techniques and methods of computation will be discussed. An elective course for senior physics majors and other qualified students.

 

PHYS 50303. Quantum Optics

(3-0-3) 
Prerequisite: PHYS 40453
This course will cover properties of the quantized electromagnetic field as it interacts with atoms and other forms of matter. The interaction of light with matter is the basis for the phenomena of photoelectric detection, measurement, and nonlinear optics which will be used to investigate the quantum mechanical nature of photon correlations, coherent states of light, squeezed states, and the basics of quantum computing.

PHYS 50472. Relativity: Special and General

(3-0-3)
Prerequisite: PHYS 30471
An introduction to relativity, both special and general. Special relativity: Lorentz transformations of events, geometry of space-time, relativistic kinetics (energy- momentum), Lorentz transformations of electromagnetic fields. General relativity: gravity and light, principle of general covariance, Einstein’s field equations, Schwarzchild solution, precession of perihelions of planets, deflection of light, black holes. An elective course for senior physics majors.

 

PHYS 50501. Introduction to Solid-State Physics

(3-0-3)
The course is intended to introduce the principles of the behavior electrons and phonons in solids, advanced concepts and applications, such as low-dimensional systems and superconductivity, and set the conceptual framework needed for future study and graduate research in condensed matter physics or technology-related industry. Topics will include: crystal structure and diffraction, phonons and heat capacity, free electron gas and elementary band theory, semiconductors, magnetism, and superconductivity.

PHYS 50602. Particle Physics and Cosmology

(3-0-3)

An introduction to Particle Physics and Cosmology. The course will cover the two well established foundations of the fields; The Standard Model of Particle Physics and the Standard Model of Cosmology. Topics to be covered, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics,Quantum Electrodynamics,Quantum Chromodynamics and the Weak Interaction. General Relativity, The Big Bang and the expanding universe, The Cosmic Microwave Background, Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, Stellar Evolution, Dark Matter and Dark Energy. 

PHYS 50701. Introduction to Nuclear Physics

(3-0-3)
This course will introduce students to the goals and history of nuclear physics, including: nuclear properties (size, shape, mass, lifetime and decay modes); the nuclear shell model; basic mechanisms for decay, reactions and fission of nuclei; and current problems and open questions.