Department of Physics

Professor Lynn L. Hatfield, Chairperson.

Horn Professor Menzel; Bucy Professor Wigmans; Professors Borst, Cheng, Estreicher, Gangopadhyay, Lichti, Lodhi, Myles, and Quade; Associate Professors Gibson, Glab, Holtz, Lamp, Peters, and Sill; Assistant Professor Papadimitriou; Joint Professors Ishihara, Kristiansen, Krompholtz, Portnoy, Quitevis, Robinson, and Temkin; Adjunct Faculty: Guenther, Scully, and Wong.

This department supervises the following degree programs: PHYSICS, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy. The department also supervises an applied physics option leading to the M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees. The program in engineering physics is listed under the College of Engineering.

A typical sequence of courses in physics begins with: PHYS 1308 and 1105, 2301 and 1106, and 2402, for a total of 12 hours at the introductory level. These are followed by the intermediate and advanced sequences: PHYS 3204 (1 semester required, 2 semesters recommended), 3301, 3305, 3306, 4302, 4304, and 4307. It is recommended that students who intend to pursue graduate work in physics take courses in advanced topics such as Computational Physics (4301), Solid State Physics (4309), and Nuclear and Particle Physics (4312).

The required mathematics courses for physics majors are MATH 1351, 1352, 2350, 3350, and 3351. The sequence MATH 3354 and 4354 can be substituted for MATH 3350 and 3351. Students planning to pursue graduate work in physics should consult the physics advisor about which math courses to take.

In fulfilling degree requirements, majors in this department must have a grade-point average of 2.00 or better in physics courses, with at least 37 hours of physics in which a grade of C or better was received, and must meet the general requirements of the degree they are seeking (as described in this catalog). The maximum number of hours required for physics is 133. Credit for transferred physics hours will be handled by the departmental advisor on an individual basis.

Students are encouraged to devote time to undergraduate research. Research in the department includes atomic, molecular, and optical physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, biophysics, and nonlinear systems. Applied physics is pursued in fluorescence spectroscopy, forensic studies, pulsed power, materials, and surfaces.

A broad variety of minor subjects can be elected by a student majoring in physics. These include such traditional choices as mathematics, chemistry, and geophysics, but also other areas such as computer science, business, and electrical engineering. Students contemplating minors outside the College of Arts and Sciences should seek advice from the departmental advisor before beginning that minor.

A minor in physics requires 18 semester hours, at least 6 of which must be at the 3000-level or above and must be approved by the undergraduate advisor. The minor sequence is PHYS 1308, 1105, 2301, 1106, and 2402, plus 6 semester hours of approved courses at the 3000-level or above. Students must receive a grade of at least C in all courses counted toward a minor in Physics.

Students are encouraged to join The Society of Physics Students, which sponsors the "Physics Circus" and many other academic and social activities.

Physics Curriculum.

Fall Spring
PHYS 1308, Prin. of Phys. I 3 PHYS 2301, Prin. of Phys. II 3
PHYS 1105, Prin. of Phys. I Lab. 1 PHYS 1106, Prin. of Phys. II Lab. 1
CHEM 1307, Prin. of Chem. I 3 CHEM 1308, Prin. of Chem. II 3
CHEM 1307, Prin. of Chem. I Lab 1 CHEM 1108, Prin. of Chem. II Lab. 1
MATH 1351, Calculus I 3 MATH 1352, Calculus II 3
ENGL 1301, Ess. Coll. Rhetoric 3 ENGL 1302, Adv. Coll. Rhetoric 3
*Health and Physical Fitness 1 *Health and Physical Fitness 1
15 15
Fall Spring
PHYS 2402, Prin. of Phys. III 4 PHYS 3204, Intermed. Lab. 2
MATH 2350, Calculus III 3 PHYS 3301, Optics 3
**English 3 MATH 3350, High. Math. Eng. & Sci. 3
POLS 1301, Am. Govt. 3 **English 3
Foreign Lang. 5 POLS 2302, Am. Pub. Pol. 3
18 Foreign Language 5
Fall Spring
PHYS 3305, Elect. & Magnet. 3 PHYS 3204, 2
PHYS 4304, Mechanics 3 PHYS 3306, Elect. & Magnet. 3
MATH 3351, High. Math. Eng. & Sci. 3 Elective 3
HIST 2300, Hist. of U. S. to 1877 3 PHYS 4302, Stat. and Therm. 3
Elective 6 HIST 2301 Hist. of U. S. since 1877 3
18 Social/Behavioral science 3
Fall Spring
PHYS 4307, Quant. Mechanics 3 COMS 2300 3
Adv. phys. elective 3 + Adv. Electives 12
+ Adv. Electives 12 15

* Select from Arts and Sciences General Degree Requirements.

** See English requirements.

Offered in alternating years. Check with undergraduate advisor.


+ Computer language and advanced physics courses recommended.

Teacher Education. Students seeking secondary certification to teach physics and other sciences should consult the undergraduate advisor in the Physics Department and the "Teacher Education" section of the catalog. For information on certification in physics and science, the College of Education should also be consulted.

Courses in Physics. (PHYS)

1101. Experimental Elementary Physics (Laboratory) (1:0:2). Corequisite: PHYS 1303. Designed to introduce students to some experimental techniques and to complement the lecture course PHYS 1303. [PHYS 1105]

1103. Experimental General Physics I (Laboratory) (1:0:2). Corequisite: PHYS 1306. Designed to introduce students to laboratory techniques and to complement the lecture course PHYS 1306. [PHYS 1101]

1104. Experimental General Physics II (Laboratory) (1:0:2). Prerequisite: PHYS 1103 and 1306; and corequisite: PHYS 1307. A continuation of PHYS 1103. [PHYS 1102]

1105. Principles of Physics I (Laboratory) (1:0:2). Corequisite: PHYS 1308. Introduces students to experimental techniques and complements PHYS 1308 lectures. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 2125]

1106. Principles of Physics II (Laboratory) (1:0:2). Prerequisite: PHYS 1105 and 1308; corequisite: PHYS 2301. Continuation of PHYS 1105. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 2126]

1303. Physics for Nonscience Majors (3:3:0). Corequisite: PHYS 1101. Course intended to acquaint students with the basic laws and vocabulary of physics. A minimum of mathematics is used. With laboratory PHYS 1101, this course counts toward fulfillment of the natural science requirement in Arts and Sciences. [PHYS 1305]

1304. Physics: Basic Ideas and Methods (3:3:0). Intended to provide physics background to pre-engineering students. Examines basic concepts in physics. Problem solving techniques, graphical representations, and pertinent mathematics. [PHYS 1310]

1305. Engineering Physics Analysis I (3:3:0). The profession of engineering physics and its relation to energy, materials, resources, computers, communication, and control. Basic computer programming. Synthesis and analysis of typical engineering physics problems. For engineering physics students.

1306, 1307. General Physics (3:3:0 each). Prerequisite: MATH 1320 and 1321. Corequisite: PHYS 1103 with 1306 and PHYS 1104 with 1307 A noncalculus introductory physics course designed to provide students with a background for further study in science and related areas. Covers mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, light, and modern physics. With laboratories PHYS 1103 and 1104, this course may be counted toward fulfillment of the natural science requirement in Arts and Science. [PHYS 1301, 1302]

1308. Principles of Physics I (3:3:0). Corequisite: MATH 1351 and PHYS 1105. Calculus-based introductory physics course. Mechanics, kinematics, energy, momentum, gravitation, waves, and thermodynamics. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 2325]

1400. Fundamentals of Physics (4:3:3). Prerequisite: MATH 1320. Development of basic concepts of physics: Astronomy, motion, density, sound, electricity, magnetism, atoms, light, and radioactivity. Not for engineering, science, or mathematics majors.

1406. Physics of Sound and Music (4:3:3). A qualitative course designed to acquaint the student with the principles of physics used in the production of sound and music. A minimum of mathematics will be used. Some of the physical principles are exemplified in laboratory sessions. Satisfies natural science requirement in Arts and Sciences.

2301. Principles of Physics II (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHYS 1308, 1105; corequisite: MATH 1352 and PHYS 1106. Calculus-based introductory physics. Electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, and optics. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 2326]

2402. Principles of Physics III (4:3:3). Prerequisite: PHYS 2301, 1106. Study of atomic, molecular, and nuclear phenomena. Relativity, quantum effects, hydrogen atom, many electron atoms, and some molecular physics. Includes laboratory. [PHYS 2427]

3000. Undergraduate Research (V1-6). Individual and/or group research projects in basic or applied physics, under the guidance of a faculty member.

3204. Intermediate Laboratory (2:0:6). Prerequisite: PHYS 1308, 2301, 2402, with laboratories. Laboratory course on advanced physical principles, including experiments in optics, atomic, molecular, solid state, and nuclear physics. May be repeated for credit.

3301. Optics (3:2:3). Prerequisite: PHYS 1308, 2301. Geometrical and physical optics with emphasis on the latter. Waves, reflection, scattering, polarization, interference, diffraction, modern optics, and optical instrumentation.

3305, 3306. Electricity and Magnetism (3:3:0 each). Prerequisite: PHYS 2301. Maxwell's equations, electrostatics, dielectric materials. Magnetic fields and materials. Electromagnetic waves, radiation. Relativity.

3310. Modern Physics for Non-Majors (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHYS 2301. Intended primarily as an elective course for engineers and scientists. Survey of contemporary research areas in physics, quantum physics, atomic physics, relativity, subatomic physics cosmology, astrophysics, and solid state physics.

4000. Independent Study (V1-4). Prerequisite: Approval of advisor. Study of advanced topics of current interest under direct supervision of a faculty member.

4301. Computational Physics (3:2:2). Prerequisite: PHYS 1308, 2301, 2402. Numerical modeling of physical systems. Data acquisition and analysis. Graphics for displaying complex results. Quadrature schemes, solution of equations. Use of microcomputers in assignments.

4302. Statistical and Thermal Physics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHYS 2402. Knowledge of differential equations. Introduction to statistical methods in physics. Formulation of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics from a unified viewpoint with applications from classical and quantum physics.

4304, 4305. Mechanics (3:3:0 each). Prerequisite: PHYS 1308, 2301, or equivalent, and differential equations. Dynamics of particles and extended bodies, both rigid and fluid, using Newtonian mechanics and the Euler-Lagrange equations from Hamilton's principle. Nonlinear systems and chaos with numerical modeling. Applications of the Navier Stokes equation.

4306. Senior Project (3). Prerequisite: Senior standing in physics or engineering physics. Individual research project under the guidance of a faculty member.

4307. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: MATH 3350. Experimental and conceptual bases. Dualism, uncertainty principle. Mathematical framework. Schroedinger equation, solutions. Hydrogen atom. Pauli principle, spin. Periodic table. Perturbation theory.

4309. Solid State Physics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHYS 3305 and knowledge of elementary quantum mechanics. The structural, thermal, electric, and magnetic properties of crystalline solids. Free electron theory of metals. Concept of energy bands and elementary semiconductor physics.

4312. Nuclear and Particle Physics (3:3:0). Prerequisite: PHYS 4307. Nuclear structure and nuclear models, radioactivity, alpha and beta decays, gamma transitions, nuclear reactions, nuclear energy, elementary particle classification, conservation laws, weak and strong interactions, symmetry.

Courses in Astronomy. (ASTR)

The 8 hours in ASTR 1300, 1100, 1301, and 1101 meet the 8-semester-hour Arts and Sciences requirement in lab science.

1100. General Astronomy Laboratory I (1:0:2). Corequisite: ASTR 1300. Use of telescopes and other instruments such as cross-staff, quadrant, and spectroscope. Observation of the sun, planets and their moons, stars, nebulae, our galaxy, and other galaxies. [PHYS 1111]

1101. General Astronomy Laboratory II (1:0:2). Corequisite: ASTR 1301. Astronomic observations with instruments and telescopes. Stellar spectra, classification, and photometry. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 1112]

1300. Solar System Astronomy (3:3:0). Corequisite: ASTR 1100. Structure of the solar system. Gravitation, light, and orbits of the solar system. Planets and their moons, asteroids, and comets. [PHYS 1311]

1301. Stellar Astronomy (3:3:0). Corequisite: ASTR 1101. Structure, models of the universe. Stellar evolution. Gravitation, light, orbits of the stars and galaxies. Endpoints of stellar evolution. (Honors section offered.) [PHYS 1312]

Return to Home Page

Page Maintained by: Cheryl Hedlund

Page Administrator: Gale Richardson


Apr 27, 2017