Physics - Course Descriptions
Major in Physics



Course Descriptions - 2006-07

PHY 111 – Intelligent Life in the Universe

(3) IR
Examines probability of extraterrestrial
intelligence. Topics include star and
planet formation, habitable conditions,
physics and biochemistry of carbonbased
life and intelligence, technical civilizations,
and methods of communication
with extraterrestrial civilizations.

PHY 115 – Principles of Astronomy: The Solar System
(3) IR
Study of the sun, planets, meteors,
comets, their origins, the celestial sphere,
ancient astronomy, and modern space
exploration. Construction and use of
models supplement lecture, readings,
films, and observation. Some arithmetic

PHY 116 – Astronomy: A Study of the Universe
(3) Y
Introductory astronomy. Celestial sphere
and planetary positions; history of
astronomy; survey of the solar system;
the “message” of starlight; H-R diagrams;
stellar evolution; quasars; cosmology
and the possibility of extraterrestrial
life. No physics or astronomy
background is required. Some elementary
algebra is used.

PHY 123 – Physics for Liberal Arts
(3) Y
Exploration of what the physical world is
like, how it fits together, and some of its
implications. The course covers classical
mechanics and modern physics (special
relativity and quantum physics). No
formal mathematics will be used, but all
the central concepts will be there. No

PHY 151 – General Physics I: Mechanics, Heat, and Waves
(4) F,S,U
Introduction to principles of kinematics,
dynamics, machines, energy, momentum,
heat, oscillations, waves, sound,
and fluids. Applications to biomechanics
and to energy generation, storage, and
transfer. Lecture and three-hour

PHY 152 – General Physics II: Electricity, Optics,
and Modern Physics

(4) S,U
Introduction to principles of electricity,
magnetism, optics and radiation, atomic
and nuclear physics. Applications to
electronics and instrumentation.
Lecture, laboratory, and demonstrations.
Prerequisite: Physics 151.

PHY 163 – How Things Work
(3) Y
Practical introduction to science in
everyday life. Discover how things work
using case-studies of real-world objects
such as baseballs, rockets, vacuum cleaners,
faucets, wood stoves, air conditioners,
flashlights, lasers, clocks, guitars and
microwave ovens. Some elementary
algebra is used. Lecture/discussion/demonstration.

PHY 261 – Physics I
(4) F
Calculus-based general physics.
Introduction to principles of kinematics,
forces, statics, dynamics, rotation, work,
energy, gravitation, equilibrium, scientific
methodologies and their development.
Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite:
Mathematics 201 (may be taken concurrently).

PHY 262 – Physics II
(4) S
Calculus-based general physics.
Electricity and magnetism, radiation,
optics, and elementary atomic physics.
Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites:
Physics 261 and Mathematics 202 (may
be taken concurrently).

PHY 323 – Statics and Dynamics
(4) O
Composition and resolution of forces
and torques, conditions of static equilibrium
of particles and rigid bodies, friction,
laws of motion, work and energy,
momentum and impulse, applications.
Same as Engineering 225. Prerequisite:
Physics 261.

PHY 345 – Physical Chemistry I: Thermodynamics & Kinetics
(3) O
Classical thermodynamics, electrochemistry,
and reaction kinetics. Applications
to chemical and biological phenomena.
Same as Chemistry 345. Prerequisites:
Mathematics 201 and one year of college

PHY 350 – Research
(up to 18 credits total, maximum of 3 credits per semester)
An introduction to a field of physics
research under the guidance of a staff
member. Students must submit a plan of
work for approval, hand in a final
report, and perhaps give a colloquium.
Prerequisite: permission of the staff.
May be repeated.

PHY 351 – DC and AC Electronics
Analysis of DC and AC LRC, filter and
resonant circuits and their instrumentation.
Kirchhoff’s laws, network theorems,
branch, loop and nodal analysis.
Laboratory includes oscilloscopes, signal
generators, power supplies, digital/analog
multimeters, soldering and breadboarding.
Lecture and laboratory. Same as
Engineering 351. Prerequisite: Physics 262.

PHY 355 – Electronics
(4) IR
Kirchoff’s laws, complex phasors, branch
current, loop and nodal analysis, and
network parameters. Theory and applications
of semiconductor devices.
Lecture, demonstrations, and laboratory.
Prerequisites: Physics 261, 262, and 351
or permission of instructor.

PHY 363 – Physics III
(4) O
The physics developed in the 20th
century by Einstein, Schrodinger,
Planck, and others. Relativity theory,
thermal physics, introduction to quantum
theory, atomic, molecular, and
nuclear theory. Lecture, laboratory.
Prerequisite: Physics 262. Prerequisite or
corequisite: Mathematics 302.

PHY 390 – Independent Study in Physics
(up to 18 credits total, maximum of 3 credits per semester)
Independent study in areas not covered
by regularly offered courses. Students
must submit a plan of study, meet periodically
with an instructor, and submit a
final report in addition to problems
and/or exams. Prerequisites: permission
of the department and at least a 3.0 average
in physics courses.

PHY 400 – Current Topics in Physics
(2) O
A seminar course on current topics in
the physics literature. Meetings will be
held weekly under the guidance of a staff
member to discuss topics and prepare
colloquia. May be taken twice for credit.
Prerequisites: Physics 261 and 262.

PHY 455 – Physical Electronics
(3) IR
Vacuum, gaseous, solid state, and quantum
electronics including charged particle
dynamics, the band theory of solids
with application to semiconductor
devices, electron emission, assemblies of
particles and gaseous processes, plasma
physics and modem amplifiers.
Prerequisites: Physics 261, 262, and 363.

PHY 461 – Classical Mechanics
(3) O
Fundamentals of Newtonian dynamics,
work-energy concepts, conservation
laws, an introduction to Hamilton’s
Principle and Lagrange’s Equations. The
study of oscillatory motion, central force
motion, rigid body dynamics, and accelerated
reference systems. Prerequisites:
Physics 261 and 262. Prerequisite or
corequisite: Mathematics 317.

PHY 462 – Electricity and Magnetism
(3) O
The Classical theory of static and
dynamic electricity and magnetism
including solution of Maxwell’s equations
for special cases. Prerequisites:
Physics 262 and Mathematics 302.

PHY 465 – Physical Optics
(3) IR
Wave theory of interference, diffraction,
polarization, and double refraction.
Propagation of light in crystals, magneto-
optics, and electro-optics.
Prerequisites: Physics 261 and 262.

PHY 467 – Introduction to Statistical Mechanics
(3) IR
Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, applications,
Fermi Dirac statistics, applications,
temperature and entropy, thermodynamics
and gases, applications of statistical
thermodynamics, the Canonical
Ensemble. The Grand Canonical
Ensemble. Prerequisite: Physics 345.

PHY 471 – Introduction to Quantum Physics I
(3) O
Wave particle duality, uncertainty principle,
atomic structure, Black Body
Theory, quantization, Bohr Theory,
Schrodinger equation, Vector coupling,
Stern-Gerlach experiment, periodic
table, atomic spectra, selection rules,
bonding, molecular spectra, masers and
lasers, Band Theory, and applications to
semiconductors. Prerequisite: Physics

PHY 472 – Introduction to Quantum Physics II
(3) IR
Eigenvalues, Orthonormal functions,
superposition principle, potential well,
harmonic oscillator, Heisenberg picture,
Schrodinger picture, perturbation theory,
degeneracies, one electron atoms,
angular momentum, quantum numbers,
many electron atoms, coupling, multiciplicities,
magnetic and electric interactions.
Prerequisite: Physics 471.

PHY 475 – Nuclear Physics
(3) IR
Basic properties of nuclei, radioactivity,
Alpha, Beta, and Gamma decay nuclear
reactions, nuclear forces, nuclear models,
nuclear instrumentation, and elementary
particles. Prerequisite: Physics 363.

PHY 477 – Introduction to Solid State Physics
(3) IR
The fundamental properties of the solid
state from a microscopic point of view.
Includes crystal structure, lattice vibrations,
theory of metals, magnetism, and
special topics culled from current areas
of interest. Prerequisite: Physics 363.


Note: The figure in parentheses following the title of the course indicates the credit hours per term. Courses that extend through two terms are shown as follows: (3, 3). Courses that are one term only are shown by: (3). Courses with variable credit are shown with the range of credit available, for example: (1-6).

Letters appearing after course credit hours in this section are explained as follows:
U=Summer Session
Y=at least once each academic year Check schedule for Winter Session
O=every other year

The College reserves the right to cancel any course if registration does not justify continuance and to make changes in curricula at any time. 



Linda S. Dake, Ph.D.
266 Gordon Science Center

(315) 792-3805
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