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Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings -Fall 2002

Physics Department
Course Descriptions
Fall 2002

Physics 107. Astronomy (4 credits) Dr. Fleisch
The subject matter of this course spans the entire Universe, from our earthly environment to the farthest reaches of space and time. We begin by examining the sky using only our eyes, just as humankind has done for thousands of years. We then study the contributions of the great astronomers and physicists of the last 400 years, including Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler. Moving outward from the earth, we will learn about each member of our solar system, from scorching Mercury to ice-covered Pluto. We'll consider asteroids, comets, and meteoroids, and discuss the probability and consequences of collisions with our planet. Next on our agenda is an overview of the birth and death of stars, after which we proceed outward through our galaxy and into the deep cosmos, toward the edge of the known Universe and the beginning of time. We conclude with discussion of the beginning and possible destiny of the Universe, and we consider the possibility that we are not alone. This course is accompanied by periodic observing sessions at Weaver Observatory. This is a math-intensive course.
Pre-requisite: Minimum Math Placement 22.

Physics 200. Mechanics and Waves (5 credits) Dr. Dollhopf
This is the first course in the introductory sequence. (For majors in Biology, Pre-Health, and Geology this sequence includes P200 & P205; for majors in Chemistry, P200 & P218; for majors in Physics and Engineering, P200, P213, P214, P215, P218, & P220) Topics to be covered include kinematics & dynamics, forces, impulse, work and energy, momentum, collisions, rotational motion, fluids, and waves. There will be 3 class meetings and one 3-hour lab per week. Placement into Math 201 is required. Math 201 (Calculus I) is suggested as a co-requisite.

Physics 205. Topics in Classical and Modern Physics (5 credits) Staff
This course is a sequel to Physics 200, which is a prerequisite, designed specifically for those students such as biology and geology majors and pre-health professionals who need a two semester sequence in physics. Topics to be covered include: geometrical and physical optics, electrostatics, DC circuits, magnetism, relativity and its origins, nuclear physics, and heat and thermodynamics. A three-hour lab will meet most weeks during the semester.
Prerequisite: Physics 200 or equivalent.

Physics 218. Introductory Electromagnetism (5 credits) Dr. Fleisch
This course is part of the calculus level introductory sequence in physics. It is required of all physics and chemistry majors. The course includes an introduction to electric fields, magnetic fields and DC and AC circuits. The laboratory will emphasize both passive and active electric circuits and such instruments as oscilloscopes, digital multimeters, and signal generators. One three-hour lab per week.
Prerequisite: Physics 200; Mathematics 202 is required as a co-requisite.

Physics 311. Mechanics (4 credits) Staff
Classical Mechanics provides an elegant description of the motion of objects under the influence of forces. This course begins with a review of Newton's Laws of motion and develops sophisticated techniques for using them to solve problems such as the motion of a simple harmonic oscillator and the motions of the planets. We finish with an introduction to the techniques of Lagrange which analyze motion from an energy perspective rather than from a force perspective.
Pre-requisites: Physics 220 & 218. Mathematics 212 & 215 are recommended.

Physics 313. Electronics (2 credits) Dr. George
The invention of the solid state transistor a little over 50 years ago changed the way we live and work, making possible the variety of cheap and powerful electronic devices that we use every day. This course will provide you with an understanding of basic electronic circuits and devices. The emphasis will be on a hands-on, practical understanding of circuit elements. A majority of class time will be spent in the lab, where you will learn to design, construct, test, and use circuits such as voltage dividers, filters, amplifiers, oscillators, and digital gates. The first two-thirds of the course will focus on analog circuits, with simple digital circuits covered in the last third of the course.
Prerequisite: Physics 218

Physics 325. Topics in Contemporary Physics (2 credits) Dr. George
In this course, we will investigate a variety of topics in nuclear physics. Course goals include learning some advanced nuclear and particle physics concepts as well as some widely-used techniques of particle detection, signal processing, and data analysis, and relating these concepts and techniques to cutting-edge research and modern applications of nuclear physics. The course will be structured around experiments and projects; a majority of class time will be spent in the lab. Specific experiments and projects will depend on student interest and equipment availability, but may include detection of cosmic rays and measurement of the lifetime of cosmic ray muons; detection and identification of environmental radiation; various nuclear techniques for trace-element analysis; pair production and positron annihilation; parity violation in beta decay; beta spectroscopy; and nuclear scattering experiments using Wittenberg's 400 kV accelerator.

Physic 360. Junior Seminar (1 credit) Staff

Physics 411. Quantum Mechanics (4 credits) Dr. Dollhopf
In-depth study of quantum mechanics with an emphasis on simple systems and the operator approach as applied to the harmonic oscillator and angular momentum. Applications such as perturbation theory are included.
Prerequisite: Physics 311
Writing intensive.

Physics 460. Senior Seminar (1 credit) Staff

Physics 490. Independent Study (variable credit) Staff

Physics 491. Internship (variable credit) Staff
Course reserved for supervised research during summers or while off campus.

Physics 498. Senior Thesis (variable credit) Staff
Offered on demand.
Writing intensive.

Physics 499. Senior Honors Thesis (variable credit) Staff
Offered on demand.
Writing intensive.

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