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 counselors 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.
106. Everyday Physics. (3). (Excl).
This course examines everyday phenomena and current technology in terms of physical concepts and laws. The subjects examined are wide ranging and the discussion focuses on discovering common underlying themes. Examples of topics covered include: lasers, tornadoes, rainbows, computers, and satellites. This class emphasizes concepts rather than mathematical models. Grades are based on homework and exams. Curiosity is the major prerequisite. (Orr)
115. Living with Physics. Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry. (3). (NS).
Physics 115 is a descriptive introduction to Physics for non-science concentrators who do not have an extensive mathematical background. Students will be exposed to both classical and modern conceptions of the physical world. Critical evaluation of ideas through the use of the scientific method will be stressed. Classical concepts involving easily measurable physical quantities will be related to everyday life through a series of lecture demonstrations, take-home exercises and experiments. At the same time, modern ideas ranging from the nature and evolution of the universe, to the world of the atom and of elementary particles will be discussed. It is hoped that students who complete the course will be in a better position to evaluate new and existing ideas in all areas of life by applying those methods which are used in the evaluation of physical theories. The final course grade will be based on homework assignments, a midterm exam and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:4
116. From Quarks to Cosmos: What Holds Everything Together? (3). (Excl).
This course explores the four basic forces of nature and the elementary particles which are the ultimate constituents of matter. We start with gravity - the most familiar, yet the weakest of the forces – and its role in holding together our solar system. Next comes electromagnetism. It is the foundation of our creature comforts and our technology; it holds atoms together in solid or liquid form; and it plays a surprising but essential role in the emission of light. Our discussion of light shows that our universe is expanding, and we speculate on whether this will go on forever. We confront two basic forces discovered only in this century: the strong nuclear force, without which all matter would explode instantly; and the weak nuclear force, without which we'd have no solar energy. Finally we survey the new particles (elementary and otherwise) discovered in this century, and the Standard Model which gives them an elegant organizational structure. Throughout, we try to convey the excitement of modern physics, hoping that its logical structure will help the student interpret other scientific questions and technological issues. Course grades are based upon homework assignments, a midterm exam, and a final exam. 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 or 160. (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:1
126. General Physics: Electricity and Light. Phys. 125. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 240 or 260. (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:1
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 and quizzes. Cost:1 WL:1
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 and quizzes. Cost:1 WL:1
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 or 160. (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: 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. Evaluation is based on performance on 3 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 PSI in the Time Schedule. An information sheet describing the format of Keller Plan offerings is available in the Physics Student Services Office (2061 Randall Lab). Students who want to elect Physics 140 by the Keller Plan should read this information before registering. Cost:3 WL:1
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 and quizzes. Cost:1 WL:1
160. Honors Physics I. Math. 115 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Students should elect Physics 141 concurrently. 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. Cost:3 WL: Registration in this course is by permission of instructor only.
214/RC Nat. Sci. 214. The Physicists and the Bomb. High school mathematics. (4). (Excl).
See RC Natural Science 214. (Sanders)
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 or 260. (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. There will be 3 hourly examinations (see Time Schedule for dates and times) and a final examination.
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 Student Services Office (2061 Randall Lab). Students who want to elect Physics 240 by the Keller Plan should read this information before registering. Cost:3 WL:1
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 and quizzes. Cost:1 WL:1
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 Schrodinger 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:2 WL:4
260. Honors Physics II. Physics 140 and Math. 115, or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Students should elect Physics 241 concurrently. 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, involving a great deal of student participation. Topics include electric and magnetic fields and potentials, DC and AC circuits, inductance and Maxwell's equations. Students should elect Physics 241 laboratory. Cost:3 Registration in this course is by permission of instructor only.
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, and, as time permits, some aspects of condensed matter, and nuclear or particle physics. Registration in this course is by permission of instructor only.
301. The Science Connection. Upperclass standing. For non natural science concentrators. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 422. (3). (NS).
This laboratory course consists of a series of experiments designed to help students gain an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of nature while building some powerful observational and critical thinking skills. The four experiments – Bead Patterns, Granular Flow, snowflakes and fractals, and fluid swirls – will introduce phenomena and concepts at the forefront of current physics research, while completely avoiding cumbersome jargon and scientific "facts". These fun experiments only use simple setups and familiar materials but are designed so that students can also pursue their own special explorations into nature's behavior. Experimental results will be written up in separate laboratory reports which will determine the course grade. No exams on the covered material will be required. This course is an exercise in learning how to perform REAL SCIENCE in a very natural way.
333. Keller Tutor 140. Permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). This is a graded course. (EXPERIENTIAL).
Students work as tutors in Physics 140 Keller sections. One to three hours of credit may be earned while providing tutoring on one-to-one basis under the supervision of the faculty member. Tutors are expected to spend three clock hours per week for each credit hour earned. Registration requires instructor approval, and the appropriate application forms are available in the Physics Student Services Office, 2061 Randall Lab.
334. Keller Tutor 240. Permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). This is a graded course. (EXPERIENTIAL).
Students work as tutors in Physics 240 Keller sections. One to three hours of credit may be earned while providing tutoring on one-to-one basis under the supervision of the faculty member. Tutors are expected to spend three clock hours per week for each credit hour earned. Registration requires instructor approval, and the appropriate application forms are available in the Physics Student Services Office, 2061 Randall Lab.
350. Technologies of Physics. Upperclass standing. (1). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. May be elected for a total of 4 credits.
This is a half-term laboratory course which will develop basic skills in electric circuits.
401. Intermediate Mechanics. Phys. 126 or 240-241, and Math. 216; or equivalent. (3). (Excl).
This course is required for physics concentrators. It presents a systematic development of Newtonian mechanics beginning with single particle motion in on dimension and extending through multiparticle systems moving in three dimensions. The conservation laws of energy and linear and angular momentum are emphasized. Lagrangian mechanics is introduced, and Hamiltonian mechanics may be introduced as well. Physical systems treated in detail include the forced damped-oscillator, inverse square forced orbits, harmonic motion in two dimensions, coupled oscillations and rigid body motion in two and three dimensions. Mathematical topics given extensive treatment include vector algebra, elements of vector calculus, ordinary differential equations, plane and spherical polar coordinates and phasors and/or complex numbers. Grades are based on one or two hourly exams and a two-hour final.
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 is a second course on the classical theory of electromagnetism. Familiarity with Maxwell's equations at the level of 240 is assumed. Physics 242 is strongly recommended. The course elaborates on the the theoretical content of the Maxwell theory as well as practical application. Topics: review of vector analysis; electrostatic boundary value problems; magnetostatics; dielectric and magnetic materials; Maxwell's equations and electrodynamics; the wave equation, electromagnetic waves in free space, waves in conducting and dielectric media; guided waves; electromagnetic radiation, sources of EM radiation. 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
413. Physics of Complexities. Physics 401 or equivalent, and familiarity with programming in BASIC. (3). (Excl).
This course is intended to introduce some concepts of non-linear dynamics, chaos, fractals, and disorderly growth at an undergraduate level. It should be useful to students in physics, chemistry, biological sciences, engineering, medical sciences, and, in some cases, social sciences. The prerequisites are Physics 401 (undergraduate mechanics) or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Cost:4 WL:3
415. Special Problems for Undergraduates. Permission of instructor. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
This course emphasizes experimental or theoretical research under the supervision of a faculty member. Generally a small facet of a large research undertaking is investigated in detail. This is an independent study course, and instructor permission is required. The appropriate form is available in the Physics Student Services Office, 2061 Randall Lab.
417/Chem. 417. Dynamical Processes in Biophysics. Math. 216 or equivalent, and Phys. 242 or Chemistry 468; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
An introduction to the biophysics of cells, emphasizing the electrical and molecular structural properties of membranes and the neuromuscular and sensory systems; physical techniques used in cell absorption, fluorescence, scattering, magnetic resonance, and analysis of spontaneous optical and electrical fluctuations. WL:3
420. Living with Physics for Elementary Teachers. Concurrent registration in Physics 421. Open only to elementary education concentrators. (3). (Excl).
Physics 420 is a survey course designed for concentrators in elementary education. It focuses on material to be used in the elementary classroom. Cost:2 WL:4
421. Living with Physics for Elementary Teachers-Lab. Concurrent registration in Phys. 420. Open only to elementary education concentrators. (1). (Excl).
Physics 421 is a laboratory course accompanying Physics 420. Students will do experiments designed to increase their understanding of physics. Emphasis is placed on the development of demonstrations and activities for use in the elementary school classroom. Cost:1 WL:3
452. Methods of Theoretical Physics. Phys. 451. (3). (Excl).
Physics 451 and 452 constitute a two term sequence in mathematical methods of physics. Among various textbooks, G. Arfken, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, is often used; and in that case about 85% of the contents would be covered over two terms. This course is considered a necessary preparation for graduate school. WL:4
453. Quantum Mechanics. Phys. 242; recommended Phys. 401 and 405 previously or concurrently. (3). (Excl).
This course begins with an overview of the experimental and theoretical foundations for quantum mechanics. The theory is developed and applied to simple physical systems, with examples taken from atomic, molecular, condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics. Topics include: basics of the Schroedinger equations and its solutions in rectangular and spherical coordinates; properties, uses, and interpretations of state functions; expectation values and physical observables; coherence, correlation, and interference. Other topics include spin, the exclusion principle, and some quantum statistical mechanics.
457. Nuclear Physics. Phys. 453. (3). (Excl).
Topics of study will include: (1) nuclear structure – binding energies, size and shape, angular momentum, parity, isopin, magnetic moments, electric quadrupole moments, statistical, shall and collective models for the nucleus; (2) nuclear decays, radioactivity, barrier penetration and alpha-particle decay, the weak interaction and beta-decay, electromagnetic transitions in nuclei; (3) nuclear interactions: basic properties of the nuclear force, nucleon-nucleon scattering, the deuteron, nuclear reactions and reaction models; and (4) nuclear radiation: interaction of charged particles, gamma-rays and neutrons with matter, nuclear radiation detectors. The basic elements of quantum mechanics are used. Cost:2 WL:4
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
460. Atomic Physics. Phys. 453. (3). (Excl).
Physics 460 continues the work of Physics 453 in developing the quantum description of phenomena at the scale of atoms and molecules. Cost:4 WL:4
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
463. Introduction to Solid State Physics. Phys. 453 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
Main topics to be covered are cohesion in solids; Free Electron Theory in Metals; Periodicity in Solids, Crystal Structure, Symmetry, Reciprocal Lattice, Diffraction Methods, Electrons in Periodic Structures; Band Theory of Solids and Fermi Surfaces; Phonons, Thermal Effects; Applications to Semiconductor Devices. Students should have a background in thermodynamics, elementary statistical mechanics, plus a little quantum mechanics. There are three lectures per week, one of which may be a discussion period. Student evaluation is based on midterm and final exams; occasional short tests and weekly problem sets. Cost:3 WL:4
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
University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index
This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall
The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817
Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.