Courses in Physics (Division 444)


The Physics Department discourages students from changing midstream from Physics 140 to Physics 125 or from Physics 240 to Physics 126, so 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. Physics 145 is a three-credit version of Physics 140. The difference between Physics 140 and Physics 145 is that Physics 140 meets in two lectures and two discussion sessions per week, while Physics 145 has three lectures per week and no discussion sessions. The same topics are covered in both courses, and the final exam is common for Physics 140 and Physics 145. Physics 145 is primarily intended for students in the College of Engineering who have a limit on their number of credit hours, although it is not restricted to Engineering students.

Note: If the Waitlist code on a Physics course is WL:5, then both sign on the waitlist through Touch-tone Registration and contact the department office.

106. Everyday Physics. (3). (NS). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
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. Cost:2 WL:5
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115. Living with Physics. Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 125, 140, or 160. (3). (NS). (BS).
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 (Ross)
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125. General Physics: Mechanics, Sound, and Heat. Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, including trigonometry. Phys. 125 and 127 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 140, 145, or 160. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
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 evening examinations, class performance, and a final examination. Physics 127 should be taken concurrently. Cost:3 WL:5 (McKay)
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126. General Physics: Electricity and Light. Physics 125. Phys. 126 and 128 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 240 or 260. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
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 evening examinations, class performance, and a final examination. Physics 128 should be taken concurrently. Cost:3 WL:5 (Gray)
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127. Mechanics, Heat, and Sound Lab. Concurrent election with Phys. 125 is strongly recommended. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 141. (1). (NS). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
Physics 127 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 125 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. Macintosh computers are used for data acquisition and analysis. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes, and on written laboratory reports and quizzes. Cost:2 WL:5
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128. Electricity and Light Lab. Concurrent election with Phys. 126 is strongly recommended. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 241. (1). (NS). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
Physics 128 is a 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:2 WL:5
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140. General Physics I. Math. 115. Physics 140 and 141 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 125, 145, or 160. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
Physics 140, 240, and 340 constitute a three-term sequence which examines concepts in physics fundamental to the physical sciences and engineering. This introductory sequence uses calculus. 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 three evening hourly examinations (see Time Schedule for dates and times) and a final examination. Cost:3 WL:5 (Evrard)

Sections 035 and 036 Keller Plan. 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.
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141. Elementary Laboratory I. Concurrent election with Phys. 140 or 145 is strongly recommended. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 127. (1). (NS). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
Physics 141 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 140 or 145 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. Macintosh computers are used for data acquisition and analysis. Cost:2 WL:5
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160. Honors Physics I. Math. 115. Students should elect Physics 141 concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 125, 140, or 145. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
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 (Stuart)
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214/RC Nat. Sci. 214. The Physicists and the Bomb. High school mathematics. (4). (NS). (BS).
See RC Natural Science 214. (Sanders)
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240. General Physics II. Physics 140, 145 or 160; and Math. 116. Physics 240 and 241 are normally elected concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 126 or 260. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
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 three evening hourly examinations (see Time Schedule for dates and times) and a final examination. Cost:3 WL:5

Sections 035 and 036 Keller Plan. 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. (Dierker)
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241. Elementary Laboratory II. Concurrent election with Phys. 240 is strongly recommended. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 128. (1). (NS). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
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:2 WL:5
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260. Honors Physics II. Physics 140, 145, or 160; and Math. 116. Students should elect Physics 241 concurrently. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phys. 240. (4). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
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 (Williams)
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288. Physics of Music. (3). (NS). (BS). (QR/1).
The purpose of this course is to study the physical aspects of the phenomena that make up the practice and experience of music, as well as to get a glimpse into physics as a mental activity. No previous expertise in either physics or music is required. The main emphasis will be on lecture demonstrations with student participation where feasible. Topics to be covered include: the nature of sound; mechanics of vibration; musical tones and intervals; scales and temperaments; wave motion, interference, and diffraction; propagation of sound through pipes; physics of brass instruments; physics of woodwind instruments; physics of string instruments; physics of the piano; and high-fidelity sound reproduction. A graduate-credit option (Physics 489) is available by supplementing the regular course with an appropriate independent project. Cost:3 WL:3 (Axelrod)
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290. Physics of the Body and Mind. Physics 125 or 140, and prior or concurrent enrollment in 126 or 240. (3). (NS). (QR/2).
This course is intended for students interested in the application of physics to biology, biochemistry, physiology, psychology, genetics, medicine, bioengineering, and related life sciences. It provides an introduction to topics in biomechanics, biophysics, and medical physics including biosensors (EKG, EMG,...) and medical imaging (X- rays, CT, PET, MRI, ultrasound,...). The lectures will include interactive demonstrations requiring student participation and related audio-visual/CAI material will be provided for take-home assignments. Selected visits to related UM research facilities (e.g., at UM Hospital) will also be arranged. Grading will be based on in-class participation, take-home assignments, a midterm exam, and a final exam. (Sayegh)
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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 credits 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 earned. Registration requires instructor approval, and the appropriate application forms are available in the Physics Student Services Office, 2061 Randall Lab.
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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. See Physics 333.
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340. Waves, Heat, and Light. Physics 240 or 260, and Math 215. Concurrent election of Physics 341 is strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). (BS).
This course is the third in a three-term introductory physics sequence, and is required of all physics concentrators. The topics covered in this course include thermodynamics, light and optics, and special relativity. The Wave equation is treated in detail. The class meets in lecture, with applications and demonstrations of the topics covered. (Myers)
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341. Waves, Heat, and Light Lab. Physics 240 or 260. Concurrent election of Physics 340 is strongly recommended. (2). (Excl). (BS). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
Physics 341 is a laboratory course intended to accompany Physics 340 and provide a perspective on physics as an experimental science. The experiments performed cover topics that include temperature measurement, black body radiation, optics, interference, diffraction, and the speed of light. Evaluation is based on participation and performance in the laboratory classes, and on written laboratory reports. (Akerlof)
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390. Introduction to Modern Physics. Physics 340 and Math 216. (3). (Excl). (BS).
This course is a quantitative introduction to modern physics and includes a review 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. This course includes a survey of the topics and techniques in several subfields of physics, including Solid State, Atomic, Nuclear, and Particle Physics. The class will meet as a lecture group. Applications of the principles will be considered in the lecture section on a regular basis. (Gray)
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401. Intermediate Mechanics. Physics 126/128 or 240/241, and Math. 216. (3). (Excl). (BS). (QR/1).
This course is required for physics concentrators. It presents a systematic development of Newtonian mechanics beginning with single particle motion in one 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. (Schmidt)
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405. Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism. Physics 126/128 or 240/241, and Math. 216. (3). (Excl). (BS).
This is a second course on the classical theory of electromagnetism. Familiarity with Maxwell's equations at the level of 240 is assumed. Physics 340 is strongly recommended. The course elaborates on 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 (Qian)
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406. Statistical and Thermal Physics. Physics 126/128 or 240/241, and Math. 216. (3). (Excl). (BS).
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 (Allen)
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415. Special Problems for Undergraduates. Permission of instructor. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for a total of six 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.
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417/Chem. 417. Dynamical Processes in Biophysics. Math. 216, and Physics 340 or Chem. 463 (or 468). (3). (Excl). (BS).
Topics include diffusion in biology (electrical potentials across membranes, nerve action potentials, neuromuscular synapses, the physics of chemoreception, and reaction rate theory); optical techniques (visible and ultraviolet light absorption, fluorescence and phosphorescence); and random processes in biophysics (mathematics of random noise, membrane electrical fluctuations, quasielastic light scattering fluctuations, fluorescence fluctuations, and chaotic processes). This course is intended primarily for biophysics students, but it may be used as one of the two courses needed to satisfy requirement (4) of the physics concentration. (Axelrod)
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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 (Krisch)
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421. Living with Physics for Elementary Teachers-Lab. Concurrent registration in Physics 420. Open only to elementary education concentrators. (1). (Excl). Laboratory fee ($25) required.
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 (Krisch)
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438. Electromagnetic Radiation. Physics 405. (3). (Excl). (BS).
Topics of study include: 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 (Ward)
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442. Advanced Laboratory II. Physics 390 and any Physics 400-level course. (2). (Excl). (BS).
This is an advanced laboratory course. A wide selection of individual experiments are offered. Students are required to select 5 experiments in consultation with the lab instruction. Experiments are to be selected from several different areas of physics.
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452. Methods of Theoretical Physics. Physics 451. (3). (Excl). (BS).
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 (Adams)
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453. Quantum Mechanics. Physics 390. (3). (Excl). (BS).
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 Schrödinger 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. (Tomozawa)
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457. Subatomic Physics. Physics 453. (3). (Excl). (BS).
Topics of study will include: (1) nuclear structure binding energies, size and shape, angular momentum, parity, isopin, magnetic moments, electric quadrupole moments, statistical, shell 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 (Roe)
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460. Quantum Mechanics II. Physics 453. (3). (Excl). (BS).
This course is a sequel to Physics 453, and continues to develop non-relativistic quantum mechanics from the perspective of atomic physics. Topics covered: quantum mechanics of the hydrogen atom; solving Schrödinger's equation for a single electron atom; spectra of alkali atoms: the quantum defect; orbital and spin magnetism; Fine structure; atoms in magnetic fields; quantum mechanics of atoms in magnetic fields; the Bloch equations; a brief look at relativity in quantum mechanics; atoms in electric fields, and introduction to perturbation theory; atoms in time-varying electric fields; time-dependent perturbation theory in a 2- level system; spin and photon echos; field quantization why excited states decay. A peek at quantum electrodynamics: mass renormalization and the Lamb shift; optical transitions; theory of lineshape; multi-electron atoms; angular momentum coupling schemes; X- rays and inner shell spectroscopy; ground state configurations and terms; a peek at group theory; Hartree and Hartree Fock methods of calculating wave functions; nuclear spin and the hyperfine interaction; lasers; modern spectroscopy; chemical bonds. Cost:4 WL:4 (Yao)
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463. Introduction to Solid State Physics. Physics 453. (3). (Excl). (BS).
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 (Rojo)
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465. Senior Seminar. Open to junior and senior Physics concentrators. (2). (Excl). (BS). Meets 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 (Becchetti)
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489. Physics of Music. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). (BS). (QR/1). May not be included in a concentration plan in physics.
See Physics 288. (Axelrod)
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496. Senior Thesis I. Permission of departmental concentration advisor. (2-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
Students get introductory experience and research work with faculty, the results of which could provide the basis for a senior thesis project. If work is not completed in the Fall Term, student would register for 497 in the Winter Term.
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497. Senior Thesis II. Permission of departmental concentration advisor. (2-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
A continuation of Physics 496. Students who do not complete their thesis research in Physics 496 may continue to 497. If continuing, a grade of Y is given for Physics 496 and a final senior thesis grade is given upon completion of the research.
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498. Introduction to Research for Honors Students. Permission of departmental concentration advisor. (2-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
Honors students get introductory experience with research work with faculty, the results of which could provide the basis for a thesis used to satisfy that part of the Honors requirement. If work is not completed in Fall Term, the student would register for 499 in Winter Term.
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499. Introduction to Research for Honors Students. Permission of physics concentration advisor. (2-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
Honors students get introductory experience with research work with faculty, the results of which could provide the basis for a thesis used to satisfy the part of the Honors requirement.
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