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Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings - Spring 2003

 
PHYSICS DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Spring 2003


Physics 102. Physics through Experimentation, (4 credits), Dr. Lee
This course provides an introduction to physics through group activities and discussion. The emphasis will be on discovering physical concepts and principles by means of guided inquiry. The specific topics we will investigate will depend somewhat on student interest, but may include density, light and color, magnetism, electricity, radioactivity, and astronomy. Activities used in the course will be mostly based on material from Lillian McDermott’s Physics by Inquiry.

Physics 107. Astronomy, (4 credits), Dr. Fleisch
Pre-requisite: Minimum Math Placement 22.

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.

Physics 200. Mechanics & Waves, (5 credits), Dr. George
Pre-requisite Placement into Math 201 is required. Math 201 (Calculus I) is strongly suggested as a co-requisite.

The study of classical mechanics and waves. Topics include kinematics (the description of motion), dynamics (forces and Newton's laws), work and energy, impulse and momentum, statics, rotational motion, and waves. There will be 3 class meetings and one 3-hour lab each week. This is the first course in various introductory physics sequences designed for science majors and pre-health students: P200 & P205 for pre-health, biology, and geology; P200 & P218 for chemistry and math/computer science; P200, P213, P214, P215, P218, & P220 for physics and pre-engineering majors.

Physics 213. Thermodynamics and Optics, (2 credits, 1st half), Dr. Lee
Prerequisite: Physics 200; Suggested co-requisite: Mathematics 202.

This course builds upon the foundation laid in Physics 200 for understanding the nature and behavior of heat and light. Specific topics include the ideal gas, thermodynamic processes, multi-lens systems and diffraction theory. The physical principles at work in scientific and medical devices such as heat engines, microscopes, and interferometers are presented.

Physics 214. Intermediate Physics Laboratory, (1 credit), Dr. Lee
Prerequisite: Physics 200; Required co-requisite: Physics 213.

This laboratory course provides the opportunity for students to conduct experiments that elucidate and extend the concepts presented in Physics 213 and 215. Specific topics include lens systems, the diffraction and interference of single- and multiple-slit gratings, and the thermodynamic properties of matter. Several modern-physics experiments are also included.

Physics 215. Special Relativity and Applications, (2 credits, 2nd half), Dr. Lee
Prerequisite: Physics 200; Suggested co-requisite: Mathematics 202.

In 1905, Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity revolutionized our understanding of space and time. This course introduces the student to Special Relativity as well as its consequences and apparent paradoxes. In studying the kinematics and dynamics of rapidly moving bodies, concepts such as energy and momentum are redefined. Applications of the Special Theory include phenomena such as the Compton effect and elementary nuclear physics.

Physics 220. Modern Physics, (5 credits), Dr. Dollhopf
Prerequisites: Physics 200 and Mathematics 201. Co-requisites: Physics 215 and Mathematics 202.

An introduction to quantum mechanics with applications from atomic, molecular, condensed matter and nuclear physics. The operation of devices such as nuclear detectors and the scanning electron microscope will be studied. An emphasis will be placed on the use of computer programs which do symbolic calculations. The writing intensive portion of the course will be addressed through the preparation of extensive laboratory reports. One three-hour lab per week.

Physics 280. Observational Astronomy, (4 credits), Dr. Fleisch
Prerequisite: Physics 107 or permission of the instructor.

This course is a sequel to Physics 107 (Introductory Astronomy) designed for students who wish to acquire hands-on experience using telescopes, digital cameras, and other astronomical hardware and software through which the Universe may be explored. Students will collect data using Weaver Observatory’s 10-inch Lundin refractor, 1.5 mega-pixel CCD camera, cassegrain spectrograph, and 0.7-Angstrom H-alpha filter for solar observations. Additionally, students will learn how to acquire and process data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey taken with the 2.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory. Periodic observing sessions will be scheduled by the instructor.

Physics 312. Wave Phenomena, (5 credits), Dr. Voytas
Prerequisite: Physics 220. Math 212 and 215 are recommended.

This course is a unified treatment of the general properties of waves including the mathematical representation of mechanical and electromagnetic waves. Topics include reflection and refraction, propagation, interference, diffraction, polarization, and geometrical optics. This is a laboratory course and it is writing intensive.

Physics 325. Topics in Contemporary Physics; Solid State Physics, (2 credits), Dr. Lee
Prerequisites: Physics 218, 220 and 311.

This course will be an introduction to both theoretical and experimental Solid State Physics. Crystal structure, electronic band structure, lattice vibration (phonon) modes, and charge transport in solids will be introduced. Examples will be drawn from electronic device physics and will include the basics of Schottky diode, pn-junction diode, and field effect transistor operation. An introduction to the physics of conducting polymer devices will also be included.

Physics 332. Electromagnetism, (4 credits), Dr. Dollhopf
Prerequisites: Physics 311 and Math 212.

Mathematical theory of electric and magnetic fields. Emphasizes three-dimensional boundary value problems for evaluating the physical behavior of electric and magnetic fields. Maxwell's equations are developed in both the differential and the integral forms and are used in the analysis of electromagnetic phenomena.

Physics 360. Junior Seminar, (1 credit), Dr. Fleisch

Physics 460. Senior Seminar, (1 credit), Dr. Fleisch

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
Writing intensive. Offered on demand.

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

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