Physics and Astronomy Courses

Code Course Credits

PHY 101

Basic Physics I

Offered: Fall Semester

Fundamentals of physics for students of biology. Topics in classical mechanics, heat and molecular view of gases; electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. Three periods of lecture and two hours of laboratory a week for two semesters.

4

PHY 102

Basic Physics II

Offered: Spring Semester

Fundamentals of physics for students of biology. Topics in classical mechanics, heat and molecular view of gases; electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. Three periods of lecture and two hours of laboratory a week for two semesters.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 101 .

4

PHY 105

Physics Problem Solving I

Offered: Spring Semester

This series of one-credit courses is meant to help students integrate the knowledge acquired in several physics topics from freshman to senior year. The topics covered range from engineering applications of physics concepts to advanced topics in physics and astrophysics. Students are given complex and multifaceted problems that they can study individually and in groups with the help of the Physics faculty.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121
Corequisite(s): PHY 122
Each spring semester there will be four separate sections of the course for, respectively, PHY 105 for freshmen, PHY 205 for sophomores, PHY 305 for juniors and PHY 405 for seniors. Seniors will read research papers and present them to the rest of the class.Completion of the four courses will satisfy the Capstone requirement for Physics and Astronomy majors.

1

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 192

Astronomy in the Scientific Revolution

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

The development and establishment of heliocentric theory. Topics include celestial observations, the geocentric universe, Copernicus’ rejection of geocentrism, Kepler’s and Galileo’s contributions to heliocentrism, 17th-centuryobservations, and the gradual acceptance of heliocentrism. The course stresses exercises, observation, establishment of data, preparation of tables, and construction of mathematical models.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 193

Science and Belief

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

Exploration of the relation between science and religion looking at selected historical episodes from St. Augustine to Richard Dawkins. Possible topics include: reactions to Copernican cosmology; the Galileo affair; rationalism and empiricism in the scientific revolution; Aristotelianism and mechanical philosophies; Puritanism and science; Enlightenment critique of religion; responses to Darwin; Big Bang cosmology and the fine-tuning argument; evolutionary psychology; the growth of anti-scientific sentiment within American fundamentalism.

Fulfills the Catholic Intellectual Traditions and Natural Scientific Inquiry requirements.

3

PHY 194

Physics in the Scientific Revolution

Offered: Fall and Spring Semester

The development of classical mechanics. Topics include medieval Aristotelian principles of motion; the development of statics, kinematics and dynamics along with mathematical advances in the 17th century; and Newton's Principia. The course stresses exercises, observation, laboratory experiments, establishment of data, and the development of mathematical analysis and laws.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 195

Quarks and Quanta: Exploring the Subatomic World

Offered: Spring Semester

The search for the ultimate building blocks of matter is traced from antiquity up to the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, culminating in the standard model of particle physics. The symmetry ideas that underlie the theory and the role of particles in the evolution of the universe are emphasized.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 196

Quantum World and Relativity

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

Introduction to the mysteries of quantum physics and relativity for the general student. Despite nearly a century of confirmations, the basic rules of quantum physics and relativity are still strange, mysterious, and counter-intuitive, and fun to think about. This course examines these rules – their discovery, content, and experimental verifications – and the people who created them – Einstein, Bohr, DeBroglie, Heisenberg, etc. You do not need to be a science major to take this course.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 205

Physics Problem Solving II

Offered: Spring Semester

This series of one-credit courses is meant to help students integrate the knowledge acquired in several physics topics from freshman to senior year. The topics covered range from engineering applications of physics concepts to advanced topics in physics and astrophysics. Students are given complex and multifaceted problems that they can study individually and in groups with the help of the Physics faculty.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 221
Corequisite(s): LC 235 - Learning Community: Quantum Waves
Each spring semester there will be four separate sections of the course for, respectively, PHY 105 for freshmen, PHY 205 for sophomores, PHY 305 for juniors and PHY 405 for seniors. Seniors will read research papers and present them to the rest of the class.Completion of the four courses will satisfy the Capstone requirement for Physics and Astronomy majors.

1

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 222

Classical Mechanics

Offered: Offered in 2015-2016

Lagrange's equations; central forces; kinematics and equations of motion for rigid bodies; Hamilton's equations; Hamilton-Jacobi equations; small oscillations; elements of fluid dynamics.

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

3

PHY 291

Planets, Moons and the Search for Alien Life

Offered: Fall Semester

Earth and the solar system, the search for planets around other stars and a discussion about the probability of finding life on other planets or their moons. Topics include: birth of the solar system; early history of the Earth; emergence of life on our planet; mass life extinctions; space exploration of planets and moons in our solar system and search for extraterrestrial life; recent successful search for planets around other stars; possibility of discovering Earth-like planets around other stars in the near future. The course will include class activities, such as labs, and repeated visits to our astronomical observatory.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 292

The Universe

Offered: Spring Semester

Structure and evolution of the Universe. Topics include: a brief history of our ideas about the size of the Universe, from the Greeks to Copernicus; the Newtonian revolution and the defeat of the anthropocentric view of the cosmos; Einstein and the geometry of space-time; the Milky Way and the discovery of other galaxies; stellar evolution; supernovae; white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes; pulsars; how stars produce the atomic building blocks of life; Big Bang and the expansion of the universe; discovery of microwave background radiation; and the mystery of dark matter. The course will include class activities, such as labs, and repeated visits to our astronomical observatory.

Fulfills the Natural Scientific Inquiry requirement.

3

PHY 305

Physics Problem Solving III

Offered: Spring Semester

This series of one-credit courses is meant to help students integrate the knowledge acquired in several physics topics from freshman to senior year. The topics covered range from engineering applications of physics concepts to advanced topics in physics and astrophysics. Students are given complex and multifaceted problems that they can study individually and in groups with the help of the Physics faculty.

Prerequisite(s): LC 235 - Learning Community: Quantum Waves
Each spring semester there will be four separate sections of the course for, respectively, PHY 105 for freshmen, PHY 205 for sophomores, PHY 305 for juniors and PHY 405 for seniors. Seniors will read research papers and present them to the rest of the class.Completion of the four courses will satisfy the Capstone requirement for Physics and Astronomy majors.

1

PHY 321

Statistical Physics

Offered: Offered in 2015-2016

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.

3

PHY 322

Astrophysics and Cosmology

Offered: Offered in 2015-2016

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 323

Quantum Physics

Offered: Spring Semester

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: Offered in 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: Offered in 2015-2016

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 401

Great Experiments in Modern Physics I

Offered: Fall Semester

Available experiments include: Cavendish experiment for the gravitational constant, Young's two-slit interference experiment, Fizeau's rotating mirror experiment for the speed of light, Maxwell's speed of light via electrical measurements, Thomson's experiment for the electron charge/mass ratio, Millikan's experiment for the electron charge, Einstein-Perrin's for Boltzmann's constant, Planck's constant via photoelectric effect, Planck's constant via hydrogen spectrum, Rutherford's experiment for nuclear size, Frank-Hertz experiment on inelastic electron-atom collisions. PHY 401 may be elected without PHY 402; however, to complete all of the experiments students will need both semesters. See Program Director.

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

3

PHY 402

Great Experiments in Modern Physics II

Offered: Spring Semester

Available experiments include: Cavendish experiment for the gravitational constant, Young's two-slit interference experiment, Fizeau's rotating mirror experiment for the speed of light, Maxwell's speed of light via electrical measurements, Thomson's experiment for the electron charge/mass ratio, Millikan's experiment for the electron charge, Einstein-Perrin's for Boltzmann's constant, Planck's constant via photoelectric effect, Planck's constant via hydrogen spectrum, Rutherford's experiment for nuclear size, Frank-Hertz experiment on inelastic electron-atom collisions. PHY 401 may be elected without PHY 402; however, to complete all of the experiments students will need both semesters. See Program Director.

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

3

PHY 403

Topics in Physics

Offered: Spring Semester

This is an umbrella title to accommodate any physics offering not included in the above list. The specific topics covered will be listed in pre-registration materials and will appear in the student's transcripts; for example, PHY 403, Topics in Physics - Medical Physics. Student may take several semesters of PY 403, because of a change in topic: e.g. Topics in Physics-Optics.

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

3

PHY 404

Topics in Astronomy

Offered: Not Offered 2013-2014

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

PHY 405

Physics Problem Solving IV

Offered: Spring Semester

This series of one-credit courses is meant to help students integrate the knowledge acquired in several physics topics from freshman to senior year. The topics covered range from engineering applications of physics concepts to advanced topics in physics and astrophysics. Students are given complex and multifaceted problems that they can study individually and in groups with the help of the Physics faculty.

Prerequisite(s): LC 235 - Learning Community: Quantum Waves
Each spring semester there will be four separate sections of the course for, respectively, PHY 105 for freshmen, PHY 205 for sophomores, PHY 305 for juniors and PHY 405 for seniors. Seniors will read research papers and present them to the rest of the class.Completion of the four courses will satisfy the Capstone requirement for Physics and Astronomy majors.

1

PHY 420

Engineering Statics

Offered: Fall Semester

Introduces students to the basic principles of engineering statics. The course deals with forces acting on rigid bodies under static equilibrium. Topics include forces, force systems, moments, couples, first and second moments of areas and volumes, inertia, centroids, frames and trusses.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121

3

PHY 425

Solid Mechanics

Offered: Spring Semester

The concepts of stress and strain and their relation are introduced. Axially loaded members, temperature effects, torsion, bending, combined loading and stress transformations are studied. Torsion, deflection of beams, stability and buckling of columns are discussed.

Prerequisite(s): PHY 121 , PHY 420

3

PHY 490

Directed Study

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

This is an opportunity for upper level students to do advanced work in a specialized area of physics or astronomy.

3

PHY 496

Independent Research

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

Students carry out an independent research project under the direction of a faculty member. The research may be part of an ongoing project being conducted by the faculty member, or the student and faculty member may develop an original project. Approval of the faculty member and the Department Chairperson needed.

3

PHY 497

Senior Thesis

Offered: Fall and Spring Semesters

Students complete an independent scholarly work under the guidance of a faculty member, resulting in a substantial written work.

Prerequisite(s): Senior standing in the department; approval of the faculty member and the Department Chairperson.

3