Astronomy Minor Requirements

Department Chairperson:Alessandro Massarotti Office: Shields Science Center 309 Phone: 508-565-1430amassarotti@stonehill.edu

A minor program in Astronomy is an excellent complement to programs in Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science, or Life Sciences, especially for students planning on teaching at the secondary level, or for elementary education students with an interest in science. The minor is also useful for Business or Economics majors who will seek employment in science-related businesses.

The minor in Astronomy requires the completion of six courses:

Complete Five Required Courses

Code Course Credits

PHY 121

Physics I

Offered: Fall Semester

Brief introduction to vectors and basic concepts of calculus; kinematics; Newton’s laws, force, work and power; conservative forces, potential energy; momentum, collisions; rotational motion, angular momentum, torque; oscillations, simple harmonic motion; gravitation and planetary motion; fluid dynamics; kinetic theory of gases, thermodynamics; heat capacity and transport.

Corequisite(s): MTH 125.

4

PHY 122

Physics II

Offered: Spring Semester

Brief introduction to the basic concepts of vector calculus, such as line and surface integrals, integral version of Gauss’ theorem and Stokes’ theorem; Coulomb’s law, insulators and metals; electrostatic induction, potential energy; capacitance; currents, resistance, basic circuits, batteries; magnetism and currents; Ampere’s law; motion of free charges in magnetic fields, mass spectroscopy; magnetic induction, Faraday’s law; Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves; geometric and wave optics; light as photons, photoelectric effect.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 125
Corequisite(s): MTH 126.

4

PHY 221

Physics III

Offered: Fall Semester

Mechanical and electrical examples of damped, forced and resonant oscillations; the mechanical wave equation via Newton’s mechanics; the electromagnetic wave equation via Maxwell’s equations; traveling sound and electromagnetic waves; diffraction and interference, geometrical limit of wave optics.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 125, MTH 126, PHY 121 and PHY 122.

4

PHY 322

Astrophysics and Cosmology

Offered: Spring Semester

Introduction to the structure of stars and hydrostatic equilibrium; stellar nuclear fusion; stellar evolution, the ultimate fate of stars, stellar super-winds and supernovae; stellar remnants: white dwarfs, neutron stars and degeneracy pressure; x-ray sources; black holes and accretion disks; how relativity predicts the expansion of the universe; quasars and gamma ray bursts; modern cosmology: microwave background radiation; dark matter; vacuum energy; the formation of galaxies from gravitational instability; primordial synthesis of the elements; the Big Bang as a test of our high energy physics theories.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122, and PHY 221.

3

PHY 404

Topics in Astronomy

Offered: Not Offered 2015-2016

The mechanism for PHY 404 is the same as for PHY 403: examples are PHY 404 - Research in Extrasolar Planets, PHY 404 - Stellar Evolution or PHY 404 - Cosmology.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122, and PHY 221.

3

Complete One Upper-Level Elective Course

Code Course Credits

PHY 223

Introduction to Physics Computing

Offered: Offered Periodically

This course teaches how to use software (MATLAB, Mathematica, other) to solve Physics problems. Students learn LaTex, the software used writing research articles. Topics range from the use of derivatives and integrals to complex variables, differential equations, systems of differential equations, partial differential equations and systems, with applications to mechanics, statistical mechanics, wave motion in one and two dimensions and others. We will explore solutions to the wave equations, diffusion equation and Schroedinger's equation.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 221.

3

PHY 321

Statistical Physics

Offered: Spring Semester

An introduction to the macroscopic view of thermodynamics: temperature, heat, work, entropy, equations of state, engines and refrigerators. Introduction to the microscopic or statistical view: Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution; microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical distributions; quantum statistics of bosons and fermions; black body radiation; electronic and thermal properties of quantum liquids and solids.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122, and PHY 221, LC 235 recommended.
Fulfills the Statistical Reasoning requirement.

3

PHY 323

Quantum Physics

Offered: Not Offered 2015-2016

Schroedinger wave equation and the statistical interpretation of the wave function; the time independent equation in one dimension - free particle, square wells, barriers, tunneling; the equation in three dimensions - hydrogen atom and angular momentum; identical particles and spin; multiparticle states and entanglement; introduction to solids and Block theorem.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122, and PHY 221 and MTH 251 (Linear Algebra), LC 235 is highly recommended.

3

PHY 324

Electromagnetism

Offered: Not Offered 2015-2016

The sources, the properties and the waves of electromagnetic fields and potentials; Boundary value problems in electrostatics; Magnetostatics and Faraday's law; Electromagnetic Properties of media: dielectrics, diamagnetic, paramagnetic and ferromagnetic materials; Maxwell's equations in differential form; Relativistic basis of electromagnetism; Electromagnetic basis of geometric and wave optics: lenses, mirrors, diffraction, polarization.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121, PHY 122 and PHY 221.

3

PHY 325

Electronics

Offered: Fall Semester

Analog electronic circuits, from RL, RC, RLC filters to transistors and operational amplifiers; introduction to digital circuits. The course includes both theory and a strong lab component.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122.

4

PHY 326

Geophysics

Offered: Offered Periodically

Students will study creeping flow mantle; physical chemical evidence of plate tectonics; planetary tomography; ridges subduction zones; formation continental crust; plumes hot spot volcanism; seafloor depth versus age, lithosphere in time; model of heat diffusion; pressure, gravity, sound speed composition of lithosphere, mantle and core; viscous flow, stress, strain, strain rate; equations governing fluid flow; viscosity of the mantle; plate tectonics heat flow, Earth heat engine; convection plate motion; and past Earth origins of plate tectonics.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 221.

3

PHY 328

Planetary Astrophysics

Offered: Offered Periodically

Rocky planets, icy planets, giants; solar nebula and planets' formation by core accretion and planets' migration; present data frequency of planets around stars; dust to planetesimals to planets; comparative analysis of rocky planets in solar system; plate tectonics, stagnant lid describing Mars, Venus and Earth; whole planet heat structure models of planets in solar system; modeling of super-Earths other solar systems; outer moons tides; search for life on planets and moons; habitable zone around stars.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 221.

3

PHY 404

Topics in Astronomy     (if topic differs from previous PHY 404 taken above)

Offered: Not Offered 2015-2016

The mechanism for PHY 404 is the same as for PHY 403: examples are PHY 404 - Research in Extrasolar Planets, PHY 404 - Stellar Evolution or PHY 404 - Cosmology.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121-PHY 122, and PHY 221.

3

Note

Students may have one of the following courses approved as a substitute for an upper-level course above with the approval of the program director.

Code Course Credits

ENV 350

Climate Science

Offered: Spring Semester

An overview of the Earth's climate system, including major physical and chemical components and interactions. Students will acquire the scientific perspective necessary to competently assess issues related to current climate change concerns.

Prerequisite(s): Junior or Senior standing and one course in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

3

ENV 360

Introduction to Oceanography

Offered: Fall Semester

This course is designed to be a fundamental introduction to ocean sciences. Students will explore the physical and biological processes that govern the ocean's circulation and marine life. Topics include waves and currents, marine life and ecosystems, tides, beach erosion and the way the ocean is being affected by global climate change.

Prerequisite(s): One year of chemistry. Environmental Science or Studies, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Physics majors only.
This course includes substantial field work off campus, and requires walking outdoors over uneven terrain, often in less than ideal weather. Students who may have difficulty navigating uneven terrain should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources at 508-565-1306 or accessibility-resources@stonehill.edu at least two weeks in advance of the course to allow for planning around accommodation needs.

3

MTH 363

Modern Geometry

Offered: Fall Semester

The axiomatic approach of Hilbert to Euclid’s Elements. Geometry from the viewpoint of rigid transformations. Non-Euclidean Geometry. The roles of coordinates, both global and local. Geometrizations of low dimensional manifolds.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 251, MTH 261.

3

MTH 393

Numerical Analysis

Offered: Alternate Years: Spring 2016, 2018

Both theoretical and practical problems in the computational aspects of mathematics: approximation of functions, numerical differentiation, solutions to algebraic and differential equations; topics in linear algebra.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 251 and MTH 261.

3