Chemistry & Physics

Physics Course Descriptions

200 Level Courses:
PHYS 200: Environmental Geoscience
PHYS 201: Principles of Physics
PHYS 210: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.
PHYS 211: General Physics I
PHYS 212: General Physics II
PHYS 213 Magnetism, Waves and Optics 
PHYS 215: Electronics
PHYS 290: Selected Topics

300 Level Courses:
PHYS 309: Modern Physics
PHYS 320: Biophysics
PHYS 324: Computational Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
PHYS 350: Intermediate Mechanics
PHYS 361: Mathematical Methods for Physics
PHYS 390: Selected Topics
PHYS 391, 392: Research
PHYS 397, 398: Internship

400 Level Courses:
PHYS 401: Mechanics II
PHYS 411: Electricity and Magnetism I
PHYS 412: Electricity and Magnetism II
PHYS 420: Computational Physics
PHYS 442: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 490: Selected Topics
PHYS 491, 492: Research
PHYS 493: Senior Seminar
PHYS 497, 498: Internship


PHYS 200: Environmental Geoscience. 4 hours.

A study of the interrelationship between humans and the physical environment. The course will focus on natural resources, soils, hydrology and water supplies, erosional processes, karst landscapes, land-use planning, and geologic map interpretation. Includes laboratory. Field work required. 

PHYS 201: Principles of Physics. 4 hours.

Prerequisite:  MATH 211.
The principles of mechanics, heat, sound and electricity are presented in this one-semester, non-calculus course. The workshop format — integrated lecture with laboratory — emphasizes experiment, data collection, analysis and group work. Not intended for biology, chemistry or physics majors. Offered fall semester.

PHYS 210 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. 3 hours.

Prerequisite: BIOL 171
This course will provide students with a working knowledge of geographic data, data input, data models, spatial analysis, output and the uses of graphic information systems (GIS) in socio-economic and environmental studies.  The course utilizes ArGIS software. Course fee required.

PHYS 211: General Physics I. 5 hours.

Co-requisite:  MATH 231.
The principles of mechanics, heat, sound, light, electricity and some topics from atomic and nuclear physics are presented. Calculus and vector analysis are used extensively. Intended for science majors. The workshop format — integrated laboratory and lecture — emphasizes experiment, data collection and analysis, and group work. Three two-hour sessions per week. Offered fall semester. 

PHYS 212: General Physics II. 5 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 211.
The principles of mechanics, heat, sound, light, electricity and some topics from atomic and nuclear physics are presented. Calculus and vector analysis are used extensively. Intended for science majors. The workshop format — integrated laboratory and lecture — emphasizes experiment, data collection and analysis, and group work. Three two-hour sessions per week. Offered spring semester.

PHYS 213: Magnetism, Waves and Optics. 3 hours.

Prerequisite: PHYS 212.
Principles of magnetism and an introduction to electromagnetic interactions; wave phenomena, including interference and diffraction; and an introduction to geometrical and physical optics. 

PHYS 215: Electronics. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 212.
Design, construction and testing of the circuits underlying modern instrumentation, including both analog and digital electronics. Two lectures and one laboratory per week. Offered occasionally.

PHYS 309: Modern Physics. 4 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 213.
Discussion of relativity, Bohr theory, atomic structure, classical and quantum probability and measurement, wave/particle duality, radioactivity, nuclear reactions and fundamental particles. Experiments are done to measure gamma ray spectra, the half-life of a radioactive isotope and gamma ray absorption. Offered spring semester.

PHYS 320 Biophysics. 3 hours.

Prerequisites: PHYS 212, CHEM 238.
Improves and develops understanding of physics concepts, and applies them
to molecular and cellular biological systems. Concepts and principles from thermodynamics, 
statistical mechanics, and electricity will be applied to systems such as bacteria, cell membranes, vascular
networks, and biological molecules (RNA, DNA, and proteins including enzymes).
For biology and biochemistry students who seek to learn more about the application of
physics concepts and principles in biological systems, as well as for physics
students interested in thinking more about cells and biological molecules.

PHYS 324 Computational Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. 3 hours.

Prerequisites: MATH 232, PHYS 212, CHEM 336, BIOL 172.
For all science students interested in using physico-chemical principles and
computational studies to model physical interactions of biological molecules,
using classical mechanics, statistical mechanics, electricity, and chemistry. Uses simple programs 
that draw upon existing sophisticated computational approaches from industry and academia
to study molecular interactions and obtain fundamental insights in drug-discovery and drug-design, 
small molecule binding to proteins, and carcinogen binding to DNA and RNA. No prior experience with
computer programming is required.

PHYS 350 Intermediate Mechanics. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 212. Co-requisite: MATH 233.
Particle and rigid body dynamics, moving coordinate systems, rotating bodies, variational principles, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches, small oscillations, planetary orbits, Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion. Offered spring semester.

PHYS 361: Mathematical Methods for Physics. 3 hours.

Prerequisite: MATH 232, PHYS 212.
This course extends students’ physical understanding through the incorporation of advanced mathematical methods. Topics include numerical integration and Gaussian quadrature; special functions, including the Gamma function and applications to quantum mechanics, elliptical functions and the pendulum, and the error function: applications of linear algebra and the eigenvalue problem to classical coupled systems and quantum mechanics; orthogonal functions and solution methods for differential equations. Offered occasionally.

PHYS 401: Mechanics II. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 350, MATH 233, MATH 366.
Particle and rigid body dynamics, moving coordinate systems, rotating bodies, variational principles, Lagrange and Hamilton’s formalism, small oscillations, planetary orbits, Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion. Offered fall semester.

PHYS 411: Electricity and Magnetism I. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  MATH 233, PHYS 213.
Principles and applications of static and moving charges, magnetism, electromagnetic theory and Maxwell’s equations. Offered fall semester.

PHYS 412: Electricity and Magnetism II. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 411MATH 366.
Principles and applications of static and moving charges, magnetism, electromagnetic theory and Maxwell’s equations. Offered spring semester.

PHYS 420 Computational Physics. 3 hours.

Prerequisites: MATH 366, PHYS 411, CSCI 251.
With the increase in computing power and development of algorithms,
computational methods are routinely used to solve physics problems where
analytical solutions do not exist. This course employs such methods to problems
from classical mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics, including projectile 
motion, planetary dynamics, oscillatory motion and chaos, electrostatics, magnetostatics, 
waves, random systems, and phase transitions. 

PHYS 442: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. 3 hours.

Prerequisite:  PHYS 309, MATH 233MATH 366.
A study of the principles of quantum mechanics and applications, operators, differential equations of quantum mechanics, particle in a box, harmonic oscillator, one-electron atoms, barrier potentials, tunneling. Offered spring semester.

PHYS 493: Senior Seminar. 3 hours.

PHYS 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics. 1-3 hours.

PHYS 391, 392, 491, 492: Research.

PHYS 397, 398, 497, 498: Internship.

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