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Course Descriptions

How do scientists know what they know? The course is taught in a Workshop Physics style emphasizing hands-on experimentation and timely topics in today's world. Instrumentation and learning by doing are emphasized. Includes student-designed, peer-reviewed group projects.

An introduction to astronomy with a particular focus on the origin and evolution of the solar system, planets and their satellites. Topics include a brief history of the science of astronomy, telescopes and observational methods, gravitation, spectra and the sun, asteroids, comets, astrobiology, and searches for new planetary bodies and extraterrestrial life. Special emphasis is given to the Earth as a planet, with comparisons to Mars and Venus. Fall and spring quarters. Students should be familiar with arithmetic and basic algebra. Observational lab meets five times during the quarter.

An introduction to astronomy with a particular focus on the origin and evolution of the universe, galaxies and stars. Topics include a brief history of the science of astronomy, telescopes and observational methods, gravitation, spectra and the sun, black holes, nebulae, the big bang, and the expansion and ultimate fate of the universe. Special emphasis is given to theories of the cosmos from Stonehenge to the present. Fall and spring quarters. Students should be familiar with arithmetic and basic algebra. Observational lab meets five times during the quarter.

An exploration of the connection between the art of dance and the science of motion with both lecture/discussion sessions and movement laboratories. Topics include: mass, force, equilibrium, acceleration, energy, momentum, torque, rotation, and angular momentum. Movement laboratory combines personal experience of movement with scientific measurements and analysis, in other words: dance it and measure it. This is a lab science, not a dance technique course. Also listed as DANC 4.

Examines the physics and other science depicted in the Star Trek television shows and movies. Topics include Newton's and Einstein's physics, the Standard Model of particle physics, and the physics that underlies inertial dampers, transporter beams, warp drive, and time travel. Considers the impact on society of interplanetary and intergalactic travel, including the relationship between the space program and the advance of technology, the political ramifications of the mankind's race to space, and the implication of the discovery of extraterrestrial life on religion and faith.

An introduction to space exploration and how observations from space have influenced our knowledge of Earth and of the other planets in our solar system. This is synthesized within the context of the field of astrobiology, an interdisciplinary study of the origin of the Universe and the evolution and future of life on Earth.

One-dimensional motion. Vectors. Two--dimensional motion. Newtonian laws of motion. Law of gravitation. Planetary motion. Work. Kinetic and potential energy. Linear momentum and impulse. Torque and rotational motion. Rotational energy and momentum. Equilibrium. Elastic deformation of solids. Density and pressure of fluids. Bernoullis principle. Buoyant forces. Suface tension.Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisites: MATH 11, 12, 13 or 14 or permission of the instructor. The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit.

Temperature. Thermal expansion of solids and liquids. Thermal energy. Heat transfer. Specific heat. Mechanical equivalent of heat. Work and heat. Laws of thermodynamics. Kinetic theory of gases. Ideal gas law. Entropy. Vibration and wave motion. Hooke's law. Sound. Electric charges, fields and potential. Gauss's Law. Ohm's law. Potential difference. Electric potential. Capacitors. Electric current. Resistance and resistivity. Electric energy and power. Kirchhoff s Rules. RC circuits. Magnetic fields and forces. Ampere's Law. Induced EMF. Faraday's Law. Lenz's Law. Self-inductance. Lab. Prerequisite: PHYS 11. The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit.

RCL series circuit. Power in an AC circuit. Resonance. Transformers. Optics: reflection, refraction, mirrors, and lenses. Total internal reflection. Diffraction. Youngs double slit interference. Polarization. Optical Instruments. Relativity. Wave-particle duality. Photoelectric effect. X-rays. Pair production and annihilation. Bohr Atom. Spectra. Uncertainty principle. Quantum numbers. Radioactivity. Nuclear particles and reactions. Subnuclear particles. Lab. Prerequisite: PHYS 12. The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit.

Measurement. Vectors. Straight-line kinematics. Kinematics in two dimensions. Laws of inertia, mass conservation, and momentum conservation. Center-of-mass and reference frames. Force. Newtonian mechanics and its applications. Work and kinetic energy. Potential energy and energy conservation. Rotational dynamics. Statics. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: MATH 11, 12, 13, or 14. The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit.

Simple harmonic motion. Gravitation. Kepler's Laws. Fluids. Waves, sound. Interference, diffraction, and polarization. Thermodynamics. Prerequisites: MATH 12, 13 or 14 and PHYS 31. (MATH 12 may be taken concurrently.) The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit. PHYS 32L (lab) is taken concurrently.

Electrostatics. Gauss s Law. Potential. Capacitance. Electric current. Resistance. Kirchhoff s rules. DC circuits. AC circuits. Magnetic force. Electromagnetic induction. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: MATH 12, 13 or 14 and PHYS 32. (MATH 13 may be taken concurrently.) The PHYS 31/32/33 sequence and the PHYS 11/12/13 sequence cannot both be taken for credit.

Special relativity. Historical development of modern physics: black body radiation, photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, X-rays, Bohr atom, DeBroglie wavelength, Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Quantum waves and particles. Schrödinger equation. Nuclear structure and decay. Particle physics. Introduction to semiconductors. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 33.

Linear electric circuits. DC analysis, network theorems, phasor AC analysis. Diode circuits. Physics of p-n junction. Junction diodes, field-effect devices, bipolar junction transistors. Elementary amplifiers. Small-signal device models. Logic gates, digital integrated circuits, Boolean algebra, registers, counters, memories. Operational amplifier circuits. Linear amplifier bias circuits. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 33.

Basic elements of programming in MATLAB®. Ordinary and partial differential equations. Fourier transforms and spectral analysis. Linear regression and curve fitting. Numerical integration. Stochastic methods. Selected applications include planetary motion, diffusion, Laplace and Poisson equations and waves. Weekly computer lab. Prerequisite: MATH 22 or MATH 23 or AMTH 106.

Calculus of variations. Hamiltons principle. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches to classical dynamics. Central force motion. Noninertial reference frames. Dynamics of rigid bodies. Selected topics in classical dynamics such as coupled oscillators, special relativity, and chaos theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 31 and MATH 22 or AMTH 106.

Review of vector calculus. Dirace delta function. Electrostatic fields. Work and energy. Laplace's and Poisson's equations. Separation of variables. Fourier's trick. Legendre equation. Multipole expansion. Computational problems. Prerequisite: PHYS 33 and MATH 22 or MATH 23 or AMTH 106. Co-requisite: PHYS 103.

Magnetostatics. Induced electromotive forces. Maxwell's equations. Energy and momentum in electrodynamics. Electromagnetic stress tensor. Electromagnetic waves. Potential formulation. Computational problems. Dipole radiation. Prerequisite: PHYS 111 or ELEN 104.

Geometric optics. Polarization and optically active media. Interferometry. Optical signal and noise in detection and communication. Interaction of light with metals, dielectrics, and atoms. Thermal radiation. Laser operation. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 112 or consent of instructor. Also listed without lab as ELEN 725.

Crystal structure. Phonons. Free electron theory of metals. Band theory of solids. Semiconductors. Electrical and thermal transport properties of materials. Magnetism. Superconductivity. Topics from current research literature. Physics 116 is taught as a capstone course. Prerequisites: PHYS 120, PHYS 121, and senior standing.

Laws of thermodynamics with applications to ideal and nonideal systems. Elementary kinetic theory of gases. Entropy. Classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Bose and Fermi systems. Selected topics from magnetism and low-temperature physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 34 and PHYS 103. Recommended: PHYS 121.

The Schrödinger equation. The wave-function and its interpretation. One dimensional potentials. Harmonic oscillator. Methods in linear algebra including matrix operations, unitary transformations and rotations, eigenvalue problems and diagonalization. Hilbert space, observables, operators, and Dirac notation. The Hydrogen atom. Prerequisites: PHYS 34 and PHYS 103.

Angular momentum and spin. Electrons in EM field. Addition of angular momenta. Identical particles. Time-independent perturbation theory. Fine and hyperfine structure. Time-dependent perturbation theory and its application to light-matter interaction. Fermi's golden rule. PHYS 122 is taught as a capstone course. Prerequisite: PHYS 121.

Variational principle. WKB approximation. Scattering theory. Quantum paradoxes. Introduction to Quantum computation: qubits, quantum gates and circuits, quantum teleportation, quantum algorithms, error correction codes. Quantum computer implementations. Includes weekly laboratory. Prerequisite: PHYS 122

Laboratory-based experiments in the areas of atomic, nuclear, and quantum and condensed matter physics. Emphasis on in-depth understanding of underlying physics, experimental techniques, data analysis, and dissemination of results. Design and implementation of independent table-top project. Introduction to LabVIEW. Written and oral presentations. Prerequisite: Senior standing in physics or consent of instructor.

A survey of astronomy for science majors focused on the physics and mathematics that astronomers use to interpret observations of planets, stars, and galaxies. Topics include the kinematics of objects in the solar system, the nature of stars and their evolution, and the evolution and formation of galaxies. Prerequisite: PHYS 33. PHYS 34 recommended but not required.

A survey of cosmology for science majors. Much of course will focus on the properties of an idealized, perfectly smooth, model universe. Topics include the formation of galaxies and clusters in an evolving universe, the Benchmark Model of the universe, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the Cosmic -Microwave Background and its fluctuation spectrum, recent results from such experiments as WMAP and Planck, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, and problems with the standard Big Bang models and inflation theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 34 or PHYS 161. Knowledge of calculus through differential equations is assumed.

Diffusion and dissipation in cells. Friction and inertia in biological systems. Entropic and chemical forces. Macromolecules. Molecular machines. Ion pumps. Nerve impulses. Prerequisite: PHYS 33 or consent of instructor.

Advanced topics in selected areas of physics. Enrollment by permission of instructor.

Physics research that has a significant societal impact presented by invited speakers from academia, the private sector, and government laboratories. Students participate in discussions and write reflection papers. Prerequisite: Physics 34

Departmental work under close professorial direction on research in progress. Permission of the professor directing the research must be secured before registering for this course. Restricted to physics majors, engineering physics majors, and honors students with a 3.0 or higher grade point average.

Detailed investigation of some area or topic in physics not covered in regular courses; supervised by a faculty member.  Permission of the professor directing the study must be secured before registering for this course.