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Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings — Spring 2006

Physics
Course Descriptions
Spring 2006

Physics 107.   Astronomy
(4 credits)
Fleisch, Dan

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 200B. Mechanics & Waves
(5 credits)
Lee, David

Pre-requisite: Placement into Math 201 is required. Math 201 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: 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.

Physics 213. Thermodynamics and Optics
(2 credits, 1 st half)
Dollhopf, William

Pre-requisite: 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)
Lee, David

Pre-requisite: 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, 2 nd half)
Dollhopf, William

Pre-requisite: 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)
Dollhopf, William

Pre-requisites: 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 312. Wave Phenomena
(5 credits)
Fleisch, Dan

Pre-requisite: 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, electromagnetic, and matter waves. Topics include wave propagation, reflection and refraction, geometrical optics, interference, diffraction, and polarization. This is a laboratory course and it is writing intensive.

Physics 320. Computational Physics
(2 credits)
Fleisch, Dan

Pre-requisites: Physics 220 and Math 202 and Comp 150.
This course builds upon the foundation laid in Physics 220, Mathematics 202, and Computer Science 150. We will explore computational physics by developing numerical solutions to a variety of physics problems that do not have analytic solutions. We will also look at various means of visualizing the complex data sets that frequently arise from this type of problem solving. This course will also serve as an introduction to MATLAB.

Physics 321. Signal Processing
(2 credits, 2nd half)
Fleisch, Dan

Prerequisite: Physics 218 and Math 202.
This course on signal processing will emphasize the role of both analytical and digital Fourier series and transforms in understanding the operation of physical systems, i.e., it will be a brief introduction to “linear systems analysis.” Topics to be covered include: The Fourier transform, convolution, correlation, and applications to familiar problems including digital communications, radar, and image processing.

Physics 360. Junior Seminar
(1 credit)
Dollhopf, William

Physics 411 . Quantum Mechanics
(4 credits)
Dollhopf, William

Pre-requisite: Physics 311. Writing intensive.
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.

Physics 460. Senior Seminar
(1 credit)
Dollhopf, William

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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