Physics 107. Astronomy
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 200B. Mechanics & Waves
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: PHYS 200B & PHYS 205 for pre-health, biology, and geology; PHYS 200B & PHYS 218 for chemistry and math/computer science; PHYS 200B, PHYS 213, PHYS 214, PHYS 215, PHYS 218, & PHYS 220 for physics and pre-engineering majors. Placement into Math 201 is required. Math 201 (Calculus I) is strongly suggested as a co-requisite.
Physics 205. Topics in Classical and Modern Physics
This course is a sequel to Physics 200B, 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 200B or equivalent.
Physics 218. Introductory Electromagnetism
The course provides an introduction to the physics of electric and magnetic fields and Direct Current and Alternating Current circuits. We will emphasize applications to the real world and developing familiarity with the appropriate mathematical tools. The laboratory will emphasize DC and AC electric circuits and becoming familiar with such nearly universal instruments as oscilloscopes, digital multimeters, and signal generators. One three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite: Physics 200B; Mathematics 202 is required as a co-requisite.
Physics 311. Mechanics
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
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 such as diodes, transistors, and operational amplifiers. 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 three-quarters of the course will cover analog circuits, with simple digital circuits covered in the last quarter of the course. Prerequisite: Physics 218.
Physics 380. Topics: Digital Electronics
We will investigate the fundamentals of digital electronics, including Boolean logic, gates, flip-flops, clocks, counters, and memory. Then we will look at methods of digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion. Finally, we will apply these concepts to a simple (but surprisingly powerful) programmable microcontroller. The course will be project-oriented; students will be able to choose specific applications based on their interests. If there is time and interest, we will also make use of circuit simulation software. Prerequisite: Physics 313 or permission of the instructor.
Physics 410. Mathematical Physics
An introduction to the mathematical techniques utilized in physics such as complex variables, vector and tensor analysis, group theory, Green's functions, and the calculus of variations. Prerequisites: Physics 311 and Mathematics 212 or 215.