Physics 107N. Astronomy
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, and we'll consider the question, "What exactly is a planet?" 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 a 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
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 205. Topics in Classical and Modern Physics
Pre-requisite: Physics 200B or equivalent.
This course is a sequel to Physics 200B, designed specifically to give an overview of selected topics in physics for students such as biology and geology majors and pre-health professionals. Topics to be covered include: heat and thermodynamics, geometrical and physical optics, electricity and magnetism, electrical circuits, and radiation. We will include applications of physics to biology and medicine and to other areas of student interest. A three-hour lab will meet every week.
Physics 218. Introductory Electromagnetism
Pre-requisite: Physics 200B; Mathematics 202 is required as a co-requisite.
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.
Physics 311. Mechanics
Pre-requisites: Physics 220 & 218. Mathematics 212 & 215 are recommended.
Mechanics 311 is intended for students who have studied some mechanics in an introductory physics course. It extends and expands the techniques from the introductory level to allow us to deal with more complicated and realistic problems and also to look at more fundamental issues in physics such as conservation laws. We will explore many topics from among these: conservation laws, oscillations, Lagrangian mechanics, two-body problems, non-inertial frames, rigid bodies, normal modes, chaos theory, Hamiltonian mechanics, and continuum mechanics. Analytic and numerical (computer) techniques will be included in this exploration.
Physics 313. Electronics
(2 credits, 1st half)
Pre-requisite: Physics 218
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 useful circuits such as voltage dividers, filters, amplifiers, and oscillators.
Physics 380. Topics: Digital Electronics
Prerequisite: Physics 313 or permission of the instructor.
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.