Courses in Physics (Division 444)

Since the Physics Department discourages students from changing midstream from Physics 140 to Physics 125 or from Physics 240 to Physics 126, it is important that students choose the first course of a physics sequence with care. Prospective engineers, physicists and chemists should elect Physics 140/240 rather than Physics 125/126 because concentration programs in these areas require the Physics 140/240 sequence. In the case of some departmental concentration programs (e.g., biology) or in special individual circumstances, students can elect or are encouraged to elect the Physics 125/126 sequence. Some advisors will advise all students who have had calculus to elect Physics 140/240. Physics 140/240 can be elected by all students who have had calculus, but it should be elected only by students who enjoy solving difficult problems and who think that they will be good at it.

103. The Physical Universe: Relativity and Quanta. High School geometry, trigonometry, and algebra. (1). (NS).

The goal of physicists is to understand everything that goes on in the universe in terms of a small number of fundamental laws of nature. The various laws we presently know may even derive from some single unifying principle. The laws of gravity, relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics will be discussed and applied to simple problems. Grades will be based on pre-announced in-class quizzes and a research paper of approximately 3000 words. WL:4

104. The Physical Universe: What Einstein Never Knew. High School geometry, trigonometry, and algebra. (1). (NS).

The goals of physicists is to understand everything that goes on in the universe in terms of a small number of fundamental laws of nature. Recent developments involving quarks, leptons, black holes, big-bang cosmology, dark matter, etc. will be described on an elementary level. In the end, all questions of "how" and "why" must be answered or else pushed to the limit of present knowledge. Grades will be based on pre-announced in-class quizzes and a research paper of approximately 3000 words. The are no college physics or advanced mathematics prerequisites. WL:4

125. General Physics: Mechanics, Sound, and Heat. Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 140. (3). (NS).

Physics 125 and 126 constitute a two-term sequence offered primarily for students concentrating in the natural sciences, architecture, pharmacy, or natural resources; and for preprofessional students preparing for medicine, dentistry, or related health sciences. Physics 125 and 126 are an appropriate sequence for any student wanting a quantitative introduction to the basic principles of physics but without the mathematical sophistication of Physics 140 and 240. Strong emphasis is placed on problem solving, and skills in elementary algebra and trigonometry are assumed. While a high school level background in physics is not assumed, it is helpful. Physics 125 and 126 are NOT AVAILABLE by the Keller plan.

PHYSICS 125 covers classical mechanics (laws of motion, force, energy and power) and mechanical wave motion (including sound waves). The final course grade is based on three one-hour examinations, class performance and a final examination. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

126. General Physics: Electricity and Light. Phys. 125. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 240. (3). (NS).

See Physics 125 for a general description of this introductory sequence of courses.

Physics 126 is a continuation of Physics 125; it covers electricity and magnetism, the nature of light, and briefly introduces atomic and nuclear phenomena. The final course grade is based on three one-hour examinations, class performance and a final examination. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

127. Mechanics, Heat and Sound Lab. To be elected concurrently with Physics 125. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Physics 141. (1). (NS).

Physics 127 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 125 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes and on written laboratory reports. [Cost:1] [WL:4]

128. Electricity and Light Lab. To be elected concurrently with Physics 126. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Physics 241. (1). (NS).

Physics 128 is laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 126 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes and on written laboratory reports. [Cost:1] [WL:4]

140. General Physics I. Prior or concurrent election of calculus. Phys. 140 and 141 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 125. (3). (NS).

Physics 140, 240, and 242 constitute a three-term sequence which examines concepts in physics fundamental to the physical sciences and engineering. This introductory sequence uses calculus, and, while it is possible to elect Physics 140 and Mathematics 115 concurrently, some students will find it more helpful to have started one of the regular mathematics sequences before electing Physics 140. The introductory sequence is primarily designed to develop a SKILL: the skill to solve simple problems by means of mathematics. Developing this skill requires DAILY practice and a sense for the MEANING of statements and formulas, as well as awareness of when one understands a statement, proof, or problem solution and when one does not. Thus one learns to know what one knows in a disciplined way.

The topics in Physics 140 include (1) classical mechanics: vectors, motion in one dimension, circular motion, projectile motion, relative velocity and acceleration, Newton's laws, particle dynamics, work and energy, linear momentum, torque, angular momentum of a particle, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, planetary motion, pressure and density of fluids, and Archimedes' principle; and (2) space-time relativity. Evaluation is based on performance on 2 hourly examinations (see Time Schedule for dates and times) and a final examination.

Certain sections of Physics 140 are offered by the Keller Plan, a self-paced program without formal lectures. These sections are marked in the Time Schedule. An information sheet describing the format of Keller Plan offerings is available in the Physics Department Office (1049 Randall Laboratory). Students who want to elect Physics 140 by the Keller Plan should read this information before registering.

141. Elementary Laboratory I. To be elected concurrently with Phys. 140. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 127. (1). (NS).

Physics 141 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 140 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes and on written laboratory reports. [Cost:1] [WL:4]

160. Honors Physics I. Math. 115 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 140. (4). (NS).

Physics 160 is a rigorous introduction to particle mechanics and the motion of extended objects. Particular topics include vectors, one and two dimensional motion, conservation of laws, linear and rotational dynamics, gravitation, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. Students should also elect a Physics 141 laboratory.

201(101). Physics and Ideas. Sophomore standing or permission of instructor. Simple high school algebra and geometry will be helpful. (3). (NS).

This course is designed for all students, especially non-science majors, who are interested in increasing their understanding of the goals, methods, and achievements of physics. A number of physics concepts and laws (e.g., related to gravity, motion, energy, atoms, quarks and leptons, phases of matter) will be discussed, a few in depth. All will be examined along with their historical context, the ways by which they are tested, in what sense we believe them, and what impacts they have had on the development of science and society. The student will learn something about where scientists are today in trying to understand the natural world. The grading will depend on approximately three writing assignments (one based on an original historical work of physics, one based on something involving physics to be selected by the student, and one based on the impact of physics on superstition) plus two tests, one oriented towards facts and relationships and one oriented towards concepts. [WL:4]

240. General Physics II. Phys. 140 or the equivalent; Phys. 240 and 241 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 126. (3). (NS).

See Physics 140 for a general description of the introductory physics sequence.

The topics covered in PHYSICS 240 include (1) classical electromagnetism: charge, Coulomb's Law, electric fields, Gauss' Law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, electromotive force and circuits, magnetic fields, Biot-Savart Law, Ampere's Law, Faraday's Law of induction, simple AC circuits; and (2) geometrical and physical optics.

Certain sections of Physics 240 are offered by the Keller Plan, a self-paced program without formal lectures. These sections are marked in the Time Schedule. An information sheet describing the format of Keller Plan offerings is available in the Physics Department Office (1049 Randall Laboratory). Students who want to elect Physics 240 by the Keller Plan should read this information before registering.

241. Elementary Laboratory II. To be elected concurrently with Phys. 240. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 128. (1). (NS).

Physics 241 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 240 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes and on written laboratory reports. [Cost:1] [WL:4]

242. General Physics III. Phys. 240 or equivalent. (3). (NS).

This course is the third in a three-term introductory physics sequence, and is required of all physics concentrators. It will deal in a quantitative manner with topics which may be classified as "modern" physics, and shall include the investigation of: special relativity, the relationship of particles and waves, the Schrödinger equation applied to barrier problems, atomic structure and the interpretation of quantum numbers, the exclusion principle and its applications, structure of solids, etc. The class will meet as a lecture group. Applications of the principles will be considered in the lecture section on a regular basis. Math 215 is strongly recommended. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

250/Environ. Studies 353. Energy, Entropy, and Environment. Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, or any college course in mathematics or natural science. (3). (NS).

This course discusses the role of energy in the modern world: the sources, distribution, utilization, and environmental consequences of various forms of energy (such as fossil fuels, nuclear and solar energy, etc.) Basic physics definitions and principles are introduced, including the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Related aspects of energy utilization will also be addressed, such as economic and safety issues, resource conservation, the "greenhouse effect," etc.

260. Honors Physics II. Physics 140 and Math. 115, or equivalent, or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 240. (4). (NS).

Physics 260 is a rigorous introduction to the theory of electromagnetic phenomena. Topics include electric and magnetic fields and potentials, DC and AC circuits, inductance and Maxwell's equations. Students should elect Physics 241 laboratory.

262. Honors Physics III. Physics 240 or equivalent, prior or concurrent enrollment in Math. 216 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 242. (4). (NS).

Physics 262 is an introduction to the ideas of modern physics with emphasis on the development of basic Quantum Mechanics. Topics covered include special relativity, particle in a box, quantum oscillators, the hydrogen atom and its spectra, spin and statistics, nuclear and particle physics.

401. Intermediate Mechanics. Phys. 126 or 240-241, and Math. 216; or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course is required for physics concentrators. It includes a study of vector operators and vector calculus along with their application to various physical problems. Among the topics investigated are: (1) harmonic motion in several dimensions; (2) motion under the influence of central forces; (3) wave motion; and (4) rigid-body rotation. The methods of Lagrange are applied to suitable examples. Examinations are given at various times during the term. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

402. Light. Phys. 126 or 240-241, and Math. 216; or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course may be included in a concentration in physics. Topics studied cover the phenomena of physical optics, reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction, and polarization interpreted in terms of the wave theory of light. Several topics in modern optics will also be developed. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

403. Optics Laboratory. Phys. 242 or permission of instructor. (2). (Excl).

This is a laboratory course in geometrical and physical optics intended for science concentrators and especially for students electing Physics 402. One experiment every one or two weeks is performed during four-hour laboratory periods; a short report is required for each experiment. The experiments are designed such that they may be performed without students having a formal background in the topic investigated. The experiments include: (1) lens equations; (2) lens aberrations; (3) telescopes; (4) polarization; (5) diffraction; (6) interferometry; (7) electro-optical effects; (8) light detection; (9) fourier optics; (10) holography; and (11) spectroscopy. Students may also devise experiments. The course grade is based on the work done in the laboratory period as well as written reports. [WL:3]

405. Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism. Phys. 126 or 240-241, and Math. 216; or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course extends the material introduced in Physics 240 on the classical theory of electricity and magnetism. It tries to develop further both the theoretical ideas contained in Maxwell's equations for these fields, as well as their practical application. It is a required course for all physics concentrators, and is basic to many of the courses and laboratories which follow. Physics 242 is strongly recommended. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

406. Statistical and Thermal Physics. Phys. 126 or 240-241, and Math. 216. (3). (Excl).

An introduction to the thermal and other macroscopic properties of matter, their description in terms of classical thermodynamics, and their microscopic interpretation from the perspective of statistical mechanics. Techniques from classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and elementary quantum mechanics will be used. Frequent homework problem assignments, at least one hour exam, and a final examination will be given. [Cost:2] [WL:4]

407. Thermodynamics Laboratory. Phys. 126 or 240-241. (2). (Excl).

This course is normally elected concurrently with Physics 406 and emphasizes thermodynamics and heat transport. Each section consists of eight students subdivided into groups of two with each group rotating through five experiments: (1) use of the thermoelectric effect to measure temperature, (2) use of thermistors for the measurement of temperature, (3) measurement of the viscosity of gases, (4) measurement of the thermal conductivity of gases, and (5) determination of the ice-water phase diagram. Each experiment takes a maximum of three weeks of laboratory time. Grades are based on the record of data taken, computation and analysis, error analysis, display of results (graphs, tables, etc.) and comparison of results with theory and/or accepted values. Laboratory performance is observed and evaluated by the course instructors. [Cost:1] [WL:3]

409. Modern Physics Laboratory. Open primarily to science concentrators with junior standing, or by permission of instructor. (2). (Excl). May not be elected by Physics concentrators unless written permission is given by a Physics concentration advisor.

This course is an advanced undergraduate laboratory course designed to acquaint students in the basic techniques of experimental physics and to introduce them to physical phenomena of modern physics. Students select experiments from among those which are available. The results of the experiments are recorded. These laboratory notes together with a written laboratory report are graded. The reports and performance in laboratory are the basis for the course grade. There are no formal examinations. Students may modify existing experiments or design new experiments. Topics investigated include: photo-electric effect; diffraction; electron charge and charge-to-mass ratio and others. This laboratory is not open to physics concentrators who should choose Physics 459 or 461. This course is required for concentrators in the Engineering Physics program. [Cost:1] [WL:3]

411. Introduction to Computational Physics. Physics 401, Math. 216 or equivalent. Some familiarity with a computer language. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to the techniques of computational physics with applications in optical, atomic, solid-state, nuclear, and particle physics. Typical topics include particle motion in a force field, calculation of electric and magnetic fields, optical and ion-optical ray tracing, quantum-mechanical (QM) bound states (Schrödinger Equation) and QM barrier penetration and scattering. The course is taught with two formal lectures per week together with supervised, informal computer laboratory sessions using microcomputers. True BASIC is the adopted programming language and will be used for most assignments. Grading will be based on weekly or semi-weekly computer problem assignments, a term project on a specific numerical problem selected by the student, and a short oral exam on the latter and the course material given at the end of the term. Some prior knowledge of BASIC, PASCAL or FORTRAN will be useful, but students should be able to learn and use BASIC quickly. However, more advanced students may use FORTRAN or PASCAL for selected assignments or their term projects.

418. Macromolecular and Biophysics II. Math. 216 and Phys. 242, 402, and 417; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course will provide an introduction to physical techniques used to study the ultrastructure of macromolecules and biomolecules: characterization of macromolecular structure; factors influencing conformational stability; an elementary study of structural techniques; scattering theory (such as X-ray diffraction, light scattering, etc.) and spectroscopic methods (such as infrared, Raman, UV, etc.) with applications to macromolecules.

435. Gravitational Physics. Physics 242, and 401 and 405, or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

The Einstein theory of general relativity provides the foundation of gravitational physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. After an introduction to the theory, experimental tests of general relativity which were performed in the past, the implications of pulsars, black holes, supernovae, and cosmic background radiation as well as the ongoing experimental detection of gravitational waves are discussed. This is an elective course for concentrators in physical sciences and the prerequisites for the course are Physics 242 and 401 or equivalent. Regular exams as for any elective course in physics are given. [WL:4] (Tomozawa)

438. Electromagnetic Radiation. Phys. 405. (3). (Excl).

Electromagnetic waves in free space; propagation of electromagnetic waves in matter; reflection and refraction by dielectrics, conductors and ionized gases; dispersion; waves guides, cavity resonators and transmission lines; absorption and scattering of light; radiation by dipoles and antennas; radiation by moving charges: Bremsstrahlung; syncroton radiation and Cerenkov radiation. [WL:3]

451. Methods of Theoretical Physics. Phys. 401 and Math. 450, or equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This is a course in the mathematical methods used in physics and is considered necessary preparation for graduate school. Among the topics treated are orthogonal functions and vector spaces, complex variables, differential equations and their special functions, Fourier series, and aspects of group theory. [Cost:4] [WL:3]

453. Quantum Mechanics. Phys. 242; recommended Phys. 401 and 405 previously or concurrently. (3). (Excl).

A brief review of the mechanical, thermal, electric, magnetic and chemical properties of matter will be given. The empirical foundation of atomic physics will be discussed in some detail. The theoretical developments resulting from the failure of classical theories and early atomic models will be discussed, wherein wave mechanics will be studied and a brief introduction to the Schrödinger equation will be given. Other topics include the exclusion principle and some quantum statistical mechanics. [Cost:3] [WL:4]

455. Electronic Devices and Circuits. Phys. 240 and 241. (5). (Excl).

An introduction to DC and AC circuits; j-notation, circuit theorems; semiconductors (primarily qualitative) and introduction to diodes and bipolar (junction) transistors; four-terminal networks; transistor characteristics and biasing, equivalent circuits, transistor amplifiers and their frequency and pulse response; unipolar transistors (J-FET, MOSFET, IGFET); resonant circuits, oscillators, inductive coupling; transistors as switches, the multivibrator family including the Schmitt trigger circuit; integrated circuits: operational amplifiers and logic gates; pulse shaping; modulation and detection; noise; and power supplies. Two or three hour exams, plus a final. Four hours of laboratory per week, with written reports.

459. Nuclear Laboratory. Phys. 242 and any 400-level physics laboratory course, or permission of instructor. (2). (Excl).

This is an advanced laboratory course designed to acquaint students with the techniques of experimental nuclear physics and to introduce them to physical phenomena of modern physics. Included are experiments in the following areas: scintillation counting; gamma-gamma angular correlation; Compton effect; Rutherford scattering; muon lifetime; nuclear magnetic resonance; and nuclear fission. This course is normally elected as a sequel to Physics 403, 407, or 409. [Cost:1] [WL:3]

461. Atomic Laboratory. Phys. 242 and any 400-level physics laboratory course, or permission of instructor. (2). (Excl).

Intended mostly for science majors. Conducted in a manner similar to Physics 403, 407, 409 and 459, but more advanced. Emphasis on atomic phenomena and instrumentation. Experiments available include atomic spectroscopy, Zeeman effect, optical pumping and lasers, x-ray diffraction and Moseley's law, Faraday effect and others. [Cost:1] [WL:3]

464. Solid State Laboratory. Physics 242 (General Physics III) and Physics 406 (Thermodynamics). Prior or concurrent enrollment in Physics 463. (2). (Excl).

This is a laboratory course covering experimental work in x-ray diffraction from solids, electron transport in solids, phase transitions, the use of the electron microscope and thermal mechanisms in solids. Conducted in a manner similar to the other physics labs (403, 407, 409, 459, and 461). [Cost:1] [WL:3]

465. Senior Seminar. Open to Physics concentrators in their junior or senior year. (2). (Excl). Fulfills the Junior-Senior writing requirement.

In this seminar students explore topics chosen on the basis of their importance and interest to physics and on the basis of student and faculty interest. Seminar members read in the research literature, write extensively, and contribute to discussions led by seminar members or visitors. [Cost:1] [WL:3]

468. Elementary Particles. Prior or concurrent election of Phys. 453. (3). (Excl).

The course offers a very broad but disciplined introduction to the exciting field of elementary particle research: methods of producing and detecting particles, their interactions, and an outline of the most current theoretical ideas. Since the course is not part of a required sequence, students are expected to be motivated primarily by a fundamental curiosity to learn about one of the frontier sciences. [Cost:3] [WL:3]


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