# Physics

Physics is the study of the fundamental laws that govern our universe. Our curriculum is designed to give our students a solid foundation for understanding these laws and how they were uncovered. The language that best expresses these laws is mathematical, so there are a significant number of mathematics courses which serve as prerequisites for our courses. However, since physics describes the real world, our curriculum also incorporates a significant laboratory component to ensure our students will learn how to interrogate Nature and understand the answers it gives. Only by balancing theoretical concepts with experimental reality can one reach a more complete understanding of the world.

Our physics majors and minors will master valuable analysis and problem-solving skills, which can be applied to a wide variety of situations beyond physics. By integrating these skills with their liberal arts experiences, our students are prepared for a vast spectrum of careers. Recent graduates have gone on to work in physics research, engineering, computer programming, teaching, environmental studies, law, business, and other fields.

## For Senior Comprehensives

Majors must pass a multi-part exam which requires them to demonstrate a coherent understanding of all the major areas of physics covered in the required courses, including computational and laboratory methods, and the ability to apply this understanding to solve specific problems. Students must have completed PHY-111 General Physics I, PHY-112 General Physics II - Science Majors, PHY-209 Intro Thermal Phy & Relativity, PHY-210 Intro Quantum Theory & Apps, PHY-381 Advanced Laboratory I, and two out of the three 300-level theory courses (PHY-310 Classical Mechanics, PHY-314 Electromagnetic Theory, PHY-315 Quantum Mechanics) prior to taking the exam. Finally, student portfolios will be utilized as part of the assessment of the comprehensive exams.

## Requirements for a Major

Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|

PHY-111 | General Physics I | 1 |

PHY-112 | General Physics II - Science Majors | 1 |

PHY-209 | Intro Thermal Phy & Relativity | 1 |

PHY-210 | Intro Quantum Theory & Apps | 1 |

PHY-381 | Advanced Laboratory I | 0.5 |

PHY-382 | Advanced Laboratory II | 0.5 |

Select two from the following: | 2 | |

Classical Mechanics | ||

Electromagnetic Theory | ||

Quantum Mechanics | ||

Physics Electives | 2 | |

Total Credits | 9 |

Majors will also be required to maintain a portfolio of their work from courses, internships, and other work outside of class. (More information on portfolios can be found on the Physics Department Canvas page). Evaluation of portfolios will be an aspect of the comprehensive exams for the physics major. In addition, mathematics courses that are prerequisites or co-requisites for physics courses are the following:

Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|

Collateral Requirements | ||

MAT-111 | Calculus I | 1 |

or MAT-110 | Calc. I With Pre-Calc. Review | |

MAT-112 | Calculus II | 1 |

MAT-223 | Elementary Linear Algebra | 1 |

MAT-224 | Elem Differential Equations | 1 |

MAT-225 | Multivariable Calculus | 1 |

Total Credits | 5 |

PHY-101 Astronomy, PHY-104 Special Topics, PHY-105 Adventures in Physics, PHY-109 Motion and Waves, and PHY-110 Fluids and Fields do not count toward the major unless supplemented by additional work that must receive prior approval by the course instructor and the physics department chair. Students accepted into a 3-2 engineering program may substitute CHE-111 General Chemistry for the one elective physics course. Although not required, CSC-111 Intro to Programming is highly recommended, and MAT-324 Topics in Differential Equations and MAT-344 Complex Analysis are useful.

Those planning to go on to graduate school in physics should plan to take the following:

Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|

PHY-230 | Thermal Physics | 1 |

PHY-310 | Classical Mechanics | 1 |

PHY-314 | Electromagnetic Theory | 1 |

PHY-315 | Quantum Mechanics | 1 |

Total Credits | 4 |

Since physics is a hierarchical subject, it is important to take PHY-111 General Physics I and PHY-112 General Physics II - Science Majors during the freshman year if one wishes to major in physics. The hierarchical nature of the discipline requires mastery of each course’s material prior to moving on to the next course in the sequence, and many courses therefore require a C- or better in prerequisite courses. A possible schedule to fulfill all of the necessary requirements:

Freshman | ||
---|---|---|

Fall Semester | Credits | |

PHY-111 | General Physics I | 1 |

MAT-111 | Calculus I | 1 |

Credits | 2 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHY-112 | General Physics II - Science Majors | 1 |

MAT-112 | Calculus II | 1 |

Credits | 2 | |

Sophomore | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHY-209 | Intro Thermal Phy & Relativity | 1 |

MAT-223 | Elementary Linear Algebra | 1 |

Credits | 2 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHY-210 | Intro Quantum Theory & Apps | 1 |

MAT-224 | Elem Differential Equations | 1 |

Credits | 2 | |

Junior | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHY elective | 1 | |

PHY-381 | Advanced Laboratory I | 0.5 |

MAT-225 | Multivariable Calculus | 1 |

Credits | 2.5 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHY elective | 1 | |

Credits | 1 | |

Senior | ||

Fall Semester | ||

PHY elective | 1 | |

PHY-382 | Advanced Laboratory II | 0.5 |

Credits | 1.5 | |

Spring Semester | ||

PHY elective | 1 | |

Credits | 1 | |

Total Credits | 14 |

300-level elective courses regularly offered in the fall semester are PHY-310 Classical Mechanics, PHY-315 Quantum Mechanics, while PHY-314 Electromagnetic Theory is taught in the spring semester. In addition, PHY-220 Electronics and PHY-230 Thermal Physics are usually taught in alternate years.

The Physics Department will not accept a transfer credit for PHY-111 General Physics I as a prerequisite to the College’s PHY-112 General Physics II - Science Majors unless approval is received by a department chair.

## Requirements for a Minor

Code | Title | Credits |
---|---|---|

PHY-111 | General Physics I | 1 |

PHY-112 | General Physics II - Science Majors | 1 |

PHY-209 | Intro Thermal Phy & Relativity | 1 |

PHY-210 | Intro Quantum Theory & Apps | 1 |

Physics Elective | 1 | |

Total Credits | 5 |

Any exceptions must receive prior approval from the department chair. PHY-101 Astronomy, PHY-104 Special Topics, PHY-105 Adventures in Physics, PHY-109 Motion and Waves, and PHY-110 Fluids and Fields do not count toward the minor unless supplemented by additional work that must receive prior approval by the course instructor and the physics department chair. Mathematics prerequisites (or co-requisites) are MAT-111 Calculus I (or MAT-110 Calc. I With Pre-Calc. Review) and MAT-112 Calculus II.

## Physics (PHY)

**PHY-101 Astronomy**

An introductory course intended for the non-science liberal arts student. Historical and philosophical ideas will be stressed as well as the experimental concepts and methods used in astronomy. A good working knowledge of algebra, plane geometry, and trigonometry is required. Satisfies half of the laboratory science requirement. Three class periods and one laboratory each week.** Prerequisites:** none**Corequisites:** PHY-101L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Science Lab, Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-104 Special Topics**

A special interest course for the non-science liberal arts student on an introductory-level physics topic not covered in a regular physics course. (Does not count toward the major or minor, or the lab science requirement.)Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-105 Adventures in Physics**

A one-semester course for the non-science liberal arts student that investigates the world from the viewpoint of a physicist. Topics will vary and will be announced prior to registration. Partially fulfills the college laboratory science requirement, but does not count toward a physics major or minor. Three class periods and one laboratory each week.** Prerequisites:** none**Corequisites:** PHY-105L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Science Lab, Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-109 Motion and Waves**

An introduction to the study of motion and waves; topics include Newton's laws, energy and work, periodic motion and feedback, sound and light waves, and optics. These topics are especially relevant for students interested in pre? health. The lab activities will introduce measurement techniques and will emphasize understanding the limits to any measurement. Three class periods and one lab period each week. Partially fulfills the college laboratory science requirement, and may count toward a physics major or minor with department permission. This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** none**Corequisites:** PHY-109L.**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics, Science Lab

**PHY-110 Fluids and Fields**

An introduction to the study of fluids and fields; topics include basic motion and energy models, fluid statics and dynamics, Brownian motion, diffusion, electric and magnetic forces, and electric circuit design and use. These topics are especially relevant for students interested in pre?health. The lab activities will introduce experiment design techniques and will use statistics to combine results into a bigger picture. Three class periods and one lab period each week. Partially fulfills the college laboratory science requirement, and may count toward a physics major or minor with department permission.** Prerequisites:** none**Corequisites:** PHY-110L.**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics, Science Lab

**PHY-111 General Physics I**

A calculus-based introduction to classical mechanics forphysics, chemistry, and engineering. Topics include Newton's laws of motion, conservation laws, and rotational dynamics. The lab will introduce data acquisition and analysis techniques. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** MAT-110 or 111 or placement into MAT-111 with
concurrent registration, or placement into 112, or 223**Corequisites:** PHY-111L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Science Lab, Natural Science/Mathematics** Equated Courses:** APCR

**PHY-112 General Physics II - Science Majors**

An introduction to the fundamental concepts concerning fluids, waves, optics, electricity, and magnetism. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the spring semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-111 with grade of C- or better.**Corequisites:** PHY-112L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Science Lab, Natural Science/Mathematics** Equated Courses:** CR

**PHY-177 Special Topics**

A special interest course on an introductory-level physics topic not covered in regular physics courses. This course is offered in the fall semester.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-178 Special Topics**

A special interest course on an introductory-level physics topic not covered in regular physics courses. This course is offered in the spring semester.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-187 Independent Study**

Enrollment through Instructor and Department Chair approval.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-188 Independent Study**

Enrollment through Instructor and Department Chair approval.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-209 Intro Thermal Phy & Relativity**

An introduction to thermal physics and special relativity. Topics include the laws of thermodynamics, statistical nature of entropy, Lorentz transformations, equivalence of mass and energy. The lab will introduce the methodology of experimental design, numerical techniques for solving differential equations, and the writing of scientific papers using LaTeX software. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-112 with grade of C- or better and MAT-112**Corequisites:** PHY-209L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-210 Intro Quantum Theory & Apps**

An introduction to quantum theory with applications to atomic, solid state, nuclear, and particle physics. Three class periods and one laboratory each week. This course is offered in the spring semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-209 with grade of C- or better and MAT-223.**Corequisites:** PHY-210L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics** Equated Courses:** CR

**PHY-220 Electronics**

Introduction to analog and digital electronics. Fundamentals of DC and AC circuits, transistors, and amplifiers will be covered. Includes one laboratory each week. This course is offered every other year.** Prerequisites:** PHY-112 with grade of C- or better**Corequisites:** PHY-220L**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-230 Thermal Physics**

Introduction to thermal and statistical physics. The laws of thermodynamics are studied from microscopic and macroscopic perspectives. Quantum statistical mechanics will be developed and applied to blackbody radiation, fermionic and bosonic systems. This course is offered every other year.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210 with grade of C- or better**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-235 Stochastic Simulation**

Interesting real world phenomena often involve randomness at some level, and this course develops mathematical and computational tools for studying these systems. In particular, students will study and implement computer simulation models of continuous and discrete stochastic processes with potential applications in physics, economics, epidemiology, networks, sports, elections, and industrial engineering. Specific topics for study include: basic probability models, pseudo-random number generation, queueing models, discrete event simulations, Poisson processes, random walks, Markov chains, Monte Carlo methods, and statistical analysis of simulated data.** Prerequisites:** Prereq of MAT 112 and CSC 111**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-277 Special Topics**

A special interest course covering at an intermediate-level a physics topic not covered in regular physics courses. This course is offered in the fall semester. Student input as to the course topic will be sought prior to fall registration.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-278 Special Topics**

A special interest course covering at an intermediate-level a physics topic not covered in regular physics courses. This course is offered in the spring semester. Student input as to the course topic will be sought prior to spring registration.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-287 Independent Study**

This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-288 Independent Study**

This course is offered in the spring semester.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-302 Electron Microscopy**

Electron microscopes employ a focused beam of highly energetic electrons to examine sample morphology and topography on a very fine scale. This information is essential to the characterization of a wide range of biological and inorganic specimens including microorganisms, cells, crystals, metals, microelectronics, and nanomaterials. The initial classroom portion of this course focuses on fundamental topics in instrument design, applications, limitations, and sample preparation methods. Subsequent laboratory work involves hands-on instrument training and a substantial microscopy project.** Prerequisites:** none**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics** Equated Courses:** CHE-302

**PHY-310 Classical Mechanics**

Advanced topics in classical mechanics, including harmonic motion and Lagrangian mechanics. This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210 with a C- or better and and MAT-224 or
permission of instructor.**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-314 Electromagnetic Theory**

Advanced explorations in understanding and applying Maxwell's equations. This course is offered in the spring semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-112 and MAT-224, 225**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-315 Quantum Mechanics**

Introduction to quantum mechanics. Topics include Dirac notation, postulates of quantum mechanics, and applications to important physical systems. This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210 with grade of C- or better and MAT-223, 224**Credit: **1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-377 Adv. Special Topics in Physics**

Special interest course covering one of a selection of advanced physics topics including: atomic physics, nuclear physics, quantum field theory, advanced electrodynamics, advanced quantum mechanics, advanced classical mechanics, or other topics proposed by students. This course is offered in the fall semester. Student input as to the course topic will be sought prior to fall registration.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-378 Adv. Special Topics in Physics**

Special interest course covering one of a selection of advanced physics topics including: atomic physics, nuclear physics, quantum field theory, advanced electrodynamics, advanced quantum mechanics, advanced classical mechanics, or other topics proposed by students. This course is offered in the spring semester. Student input as to the course topic will be sought prior to spring registration.Refer to the Course Descriptions document on the Registrar's webpage for Topics and Descriptions of current offerings.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-381 Advanced Laboratory I**

Students will participate in a broad range of experiments that cover major research areas in contemporary physics, including atomic, molecular, and optical physics, condensed matter physics, and nuclear and particle physics. Advanced measurement and data analysis techniques will be used. All experiments will be planned, executed, and presented according to current professional standards. Students should take this course during their junior year.** Prerequisites:** PHY-210**Corequisites:** PHY-381L**Credits: **0.5

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-382 Advanced Laboratory II**

This course is an independent research project, typically a continuation of either an Advanced Laboratory I project or a summer internship research project. Typically taken in the fall semester of the senior year.** Prerequisites:** PHY-381**Credits: **0.5

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-387 Independent Study**

This course is offered in the fall semester.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-388 Independent Study**

This course is offered in the spring semester.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-487 Independent Study**

Enrollment through Instructor and Department Chair approval.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-488 Independent Study**

** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1

** Distribution:** Natural Science/Mathematics

**PHY-IND Independent Study**

Students may enroll in independent study courses for 0.5 or 1 course credit(s), with the approval of a supervising faculty member, the appropriate department/program chair, and the student's advisor. Registration forms for independent study are available in the Registrar's Office.** Prerequisites:** none**Credits: **0.5-1