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Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings - Spring 2009

Physics 102B. Physics through Experimentation
(4 credits)
Dollhopf, William

This course provides an introduction to physics using small groups to explore the physical world through experimentation and discussion.  The emphasis will be on discovering physical concepts and principles by means of guided inquiry.  The specific topics we will investigate may include density, light, electricity, and radioactivity.  Activities used in the course will be mostly based on material from Lillian McDermott’s Physics by Inquiry.

Physics 107N.  Astronomy                                                                
(4 credits)                   
Voytas, Paul

Pre-requisite:  Minimum Math Placement 22.
This course surveys fundamental concepts and recent developments in astronomy and astrophysics. We will not only look at what kind of things astronomy is concerned with, we will look hard at how we know what we
know about those things, whether they are comets, black holes, or the universe itself. This course is accompanied by periodic observing sessions at Weaver Observatory. This is a math-intensive course.

Physics 200B.  Mechanics & Waves                                     
(5 credits)                                                                               
Fleisch, Dan

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, 1st 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, heat and temperature, energy and entropy, thermodynamic processes, mirrors, lenses, and interference and diffraction of light.  The physical principles at work in various scientific and medical devices such as heat engines, telescopes, and interferometers are presented.  

Physics 214.  Intermediate Physics Laboratory
(1 credit)
Williams, Jeremiah

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 heat and temperature, thermodynamic processes, mirrors and lenses, diffraction and interference, and some modern physics experiments. 

Physics 215.  Special Relativity and Applications
(2 credits, 2nd half)
Dollhopf, William

Pre-requisite:  Physics 200;  Suggested co-requisite:  Mathematics 202.
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. Concepts such as energy and momentum are redefined.  Other modern developments in our understanding of the nature and structure of matter will be discussed.

Physics 220. Modern Physics
(5 credits)
George, Elizabeth

Pre-requisite:  Physics 218.  Co-requisite:  Physics 215.
An introduction to quantum mechanics with applications from atomic, molecular, condensed matter, nuclear, and particle physics.  The lab will include experiments that illustrate the ideas of quantum mechanics as well as experiments that introduce you to modern research techniques in these areas. The course is writing intensive, so an emphasis will be placed on communicating scientific ideas and experimental results in writing.

Physics 312. Wave Phenomena
(5 credits)
Williams, Jeremiah

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 325. Topics in Contemporary Physics: Nuclear Physics
(2 credits, 1st half)

George, Elizabeth
 

Pre-requisite: Physics 220
We will investigate the major concepts of nuclear and particle physics, and then relate these concepts to contemporary research that involves applications of nuclear and particle physics to astrophysics and/or energy and medicine. Specific topics will depend on student interest, but in the area of nuclear astrophysics could include the nuclear fusion reactions that power stars; the creation of the elements in the Big Bang, stars, and supernovas; using radioactive decay as a cosmic clock; and/or the role of the four fundamental forces in shaping our universe and its exotic objects such as neutron stars. Applications to energy and medicine might include fusion and fission reactors; radiation therapy for cancer; and/or positron emission tomography.

Physics 360.  Junior Seminar                                    
(1 credit)                    
Williams, Jeremiah

Physics 460.  Senior Seminar                                    
(1 credit)                    
Willliams, Jeremiah

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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