Physics

Requirements for the major: 9 units above the introductory level, including the six core courses 200, 201, 210, 240, 245 and 320 and 3 additional units in Physics or Astronomy (above the 100 level), at least 2 of which must be at the 300 level. In addition to those nine units, students must complete Mathematics 221, 222. Additional recommended Mathematics courses: Mathematics 228, 241, and 263. Physics 200, 201 and 2 10 should be taken prior to the beginning of the junior year. Physics 240 and 320 should be taken prior to the beginning of the senior year.

After the declaration of a physics major, no required courses may be elected NRO. Prospective majors should consult the department as soon as possible and are strongly advised to elect physics and mathematics as freshmen. Those majors planning on graduate work in physics are strongly advised to complete Physics 310 and Physics 341 and are encouraged to consult with the department concerning other courses in the natural sciences which may supplement the physics major.

Special Situations

Those planning graduate school in physics should take 310 and 340 and work closely with an adviser in the department. Those planning certification for high school physics teaching must have one of their 300-level units as a thesis or independent project (Physics 300 or 301) and 1/2 unit each of lab development (Phsyics 298) and lab apprenticeship (Physics 298). Additional courses in Education and Psychology are required for certification. Consult Ms. Schwarz.

Advisers: Mr. Challey, Mr. Daly, Ms. Schwarz, Mr. Tavel.

Correlate Sequence in Physics: Students majoring in other programs may elect a correlate sequence in physics. The requirements for the correlate sequence consist of 4 units of physics above the introductory level (Physics 113/114 or equivalent), 2 of which must be chosen from the following pairs of courses: Physics 210-310, 210-320, or 240-341, Astronomy 212-320, Astronomy 220-320. The two remaining units must be at the 200- or 300-level in physics. (Note that Physics 200 and 210 are prerequisites for Physics 320.) A working knowledge of calculus is required for Physics 113/114 and for all courses above the 100-level. The NRO option may be used for at most one course to be included in the physics correlate sequence.

Related Links

I. Introductory

100b. Physics in Motion (1)

Motion is much of what physics is about and motion can be seen all around us. Recent technological advances in digital video and computers allow many motions to be filmed, analyzed and studied. We begin by filming a variety of objects in motion and uncover the physics inside. In the second half of the semester groups focus on topics (of their choice) of interest to K-12 students. Each group produces a DVD, incorporating video, text, and other media into the project to help explain the physics behind the scenes. The DVD project is presented in local K-12 schools as a final exercise. Ms. Schwarz.

Not open to students who have taken Physics 113.

113a. Fundamentals of Physics I (1)

An introduction to the basic concepts of physics with emphasis on mechanics, wave motion, and thermodynamics. A working knowledge of calculus is required. Recommended for potential majors in physics and other physical sciences. The department.

Corequisite: Calculus.

Three 50-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory.

114a and b. Fundamentals of Physics II (1)

Fundamentals of electricity, magnetism, and optics, with an introduction to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. A working knowledge of calculus is required. Recommended for potential majors in physics and other physical sciences. The Department.

The course is taught both semesters. 114a. (freshmen only)

Corequisite: Calculus

Three 50-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory.

165b. Relativity ( 1/2)

An introduction to the concepts of special relativity. Discussion of paradoxes, time dilation, black holes, etc. This course followed by Cosmology forms a sequence to give the student an understanding of modern cosmological ideas. Mr. Tavel.

No prerequisite. May not count towards a physics concentration.

[168b. A Tour of the Subatomic Zoo] ( 1/2)

This course is designed for nonphysics majors who want to know more about the constituents of matter including quarks, gluons, and neutrinos. The particle discoveries and the implications of the discoveries are discussed in an historical context. Additional topics discussed: matter vs. antimatter, the wave, and particle nature of light. Ms. Schwarz.

May not count towards a physics concentration.

Not offered in 2006/07.

II. Intermediate

Students electing intermediate and upper-level courses are expected to have a working knowledge of differential and integral calculus.

200a. Modern Physics (1)

An introduction to the two subjects at the core of contemporary physics: Einstein’s theory of special relativity, and quantum mechanics. Topics include paradoxes in special relativity; the Lorentz transformation; four-vectors and invariants; relativistic dynamics; the wave-particle duality; the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and simple cases of the Schrodinger wave equation. Mr. Tavel.

Prerequisites: Physics 114, Mathematics 125 or Mathematics 121/122, or permission of instructor.

201b. Modern Physics Lab (1)

An introduction to the tools and techniques of modern experimental physics. Students replicate classic historical experiments (e.g., photoelectric effect, Michelson interferometer, muon lifetime). Emphasis is placed on the use of computers for capturing and analyzing data, and on effective oral and written presentation of experimental results. Mr. Daly.

Prerequisites: Physics 114, Mathematics 125 or Mathematics 121/122.

Corequisite: Physics 200.

210b. Classical Mechanics (1)

A study of the motion of objects using Newtonian theory. Topics include oscillator systems, central forces, noninertial systems, and rigid bodies. An introduction to the Lagrangian formulation. Mr. Challey.

Corequisite: One 200-level mathematics course or permission of instructor.

Prerequisite: Physics 113.

240a. Electromagnetism I (1)

A study of electromagnetic forces and fields. Topics include electrostatics of conductors and dielectrics, electric currents, magnetic fields, and the classical theories and phenomena that led to Maxwell’s formulation of electromagnetism. Mr. Challey.

Prerequisite: Physics 114, Mathematics 222.

Recommended: Mathematics 228.

245b. Introduction to Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (1)

Probability distributions, statistical ensembles, thermodynamic laws, statistical calculations of thermodynamic quantities, absolute temperature, heat, entropy, equations of state, kinetic theory of dilute gases, phase equilibrium, quantum statistics of ideal gases. Mr. Davy.

Prerequisites: Physics 200 and one 200-level mathematics course.

270b. Computational Methods in the Sciences ( 1/2)

(Same as Chemistry 270b) This course introduces students to computational techniques which are helpful in the physical sciences. No previous experience with computer programming is required. Topics include sorting algorithms, numerical integration, differential equations, series, linear algebra, root findings and the basics of fortran programming. Mr. Opazo-Castillo.

One 75-minute period.

Prerequisites: Mathematics 125 or Mathematics 121/122, or permission of instructor.

280b. Optics, Acoustics, and Solid State Physics (1)

A study of optical, electronic, and vibrational waves in solids. Topics include crystal lattices, semiconductors, the interaction of light with matter, lasers, sound and heat. Recent advances in solid-state and nanometer-scale physics are incorporated into the course material. Mr. Daly.

298a or b. Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

III. Advanced

300a, 301b. Independent Project or Thesis ( 1/2 or 1)

310a. Advanced Mechanics (1)

A study of the dynamics of simple and complex mechanical systems using the variational methods of Lagrange and Hamilton. Topics include the variational calculus, the Euler-Lagrange equations, Hamilton’s equations, canonical transformations, and the Hamilton-Jacobi equation. Mr. Fekete.

Prerequisite: Physics 210, Mathematics 221, 222.

Recommended: Mathematics 228.

320a. Quantum Mechanics I (1)

An introduction to the formalism of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics and its physical interpretation, with emphasis on solutions of the Schrodinger wave equation. Topics covered include the operator formalism, uncertainty relations, one-dimensional potentials, bound states, tunneling, central field problems in three dimensions, the hydrogen atom, the harmonic oscillator, and quantum statistics. Ms. Schwarz.

Prerequisites: Physics 200, 210, Mathematics 221.

Recommended: Mathematics 222, or 228.

341b. Electromagnetism II (1)

A study of the electromagnetic field. Starting with Maxwell’s equations, topics covered include the propagation of waves, waveguides, the radiation field, retarded potentials, and the relativistic formulation of electromagnetic theory. Mr. Tavel.

Prerequisites: Physics 240, Mathematics 228 or by permission.

375b. Advanced Topics in Physics (1)

Course topics vary from year to year. Topics include High Energy physics, atomic and nuclear physics, solid state physics, chaos, and advanced computational physics. May be taken more than once for different topics. Prerequisites vary depending on topic. Consult with instructor. Only open to juniors and seniors or

special permission. The department.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)