Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.
Physics & Astronomy
An introduction to the fundamental concepts of classical mechanics: Newton’s laws, conservation of momentum and energy, and oscillatory and rotational motion. Students planning to take additional physics courses should take Mathematics 110 concurrently with Physics 101. Four hours of classroom work and two hours of laboratory work are required each week. (4U) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: high-school mathematics, including trigonometry.
A continuation of Physics 101. Introduction to geometric optics, electric circuits, and electric and magnetic fields. Four hours of classroom work and two hours of laboratory work are required each week. (4U) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: Physics 101 and Mathematics 110, 113, or 115.
An introduction to modern astronomy, with emphasis on the development of planetary, stellar, and galactic systems. Study of the observations and physical laws that lead astronomers to our current understanding of the universe. Evening laboratories include outdoor observations using binoculars and telescopes, as well as indoor observations using planetarium software and astronomical datasets. Four class hours per week. (4U) Offered occasionally.
An introduction to the special theory of relativity, early quantum theory, and non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Application of these ideas to selected topics in atomic, nuclear, and condensed matter physics. The laboratory will require independent use of advanced equipment and statistical analysis of data. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: Physics 101 and Mathematics 115. Physics 102 recommended.
Relativistic dynamics, nuclear models, nuclear decay and reactions, high energy physics, elementary particles. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Physics 210 and Mathematics 190.
Research project conducted by a student with supervision by a faculty member. Projects may include a laboratory investigation, a design study, or other work in applied physics or astronomy. The work must be documented, and a final report suitable for publication is required. Prerequisite: Physics 210. Consent of faculty supervisor and department chair.
Dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, oscillatory motion, variational methods, Hamilton’s principle, Lagrangian dynamics, systems with many degrees of freedom. Both analytical and numerical techniques are utilized. Offered each spring semester. Prerequisite: Physics 101 and Mathematics 190.
An applied course in numerical methods and computational techniques related to problems in the natural sciences and engineering. Systems of equations, integration, differential equations, and parallel techniques will be examined within the framework of spreadsheets and structured programming. Error analysis and run-time will be addressed, as well as Unix system administration. (CP) Offered each fall semester. Prerequisite: Physics 101, Mathematics 110 or 115, and some previous computer experience. Recommended: Mathematics 115 and 190 and a course in computer programming.
Classical field theory. Maxwell’s equations, waves and radiation, fields in continuous media; relativistic considerations. Offered each spring semester. Prerequisite: Physics 102 and Mathematics 190.
A course in experimental physics beyond the level of the 200-level courses. Students carry out several experiments that elucidate the principles studied at the 300-level, and design and carry out experiments of their own. Typical experiments include nuclear coincidence experiments, electron spin resonance, the Faraday effect, shot noise determination of the electron charge, the Zeeman effect, and holographic testing. (CP) Offered each fall semester. Prerequisite: Physics 210 and Mathematics 190.
Foundations and mathematical techniques of quantum mechanics, including variational methods and perturbation theory; applications to atomic, molecular, and nuclear structure and processes. Offered each spring. Prerequisite: Physics 210 and Mathematics 190.
Group and individual guidance on methods of writing a comprehensive paper, composed of critical evaluation of a topic or original research in consultation at various stages of revision with a primary and secondary faculty reader. This course is required to be considered for honors in physics. Offered each semester, on demand. (CP) Prerequisite: senior standing in physics, and prior approval of a thesis advisor.
Independent library research or independent theoretical work in physics, astronomy, or a cross-disciplinary area involving physics or astronomy. Prerequisite: at least 2 units of physics and sophomore standing. Physics 206 recommended.
Work with faculty in classroom and laboratory instruction. Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor and the chair of the department.
An introductory survey of the engineering design process. Topics include fundamental mathematical concepts and formulae associated with engineering; analytical, graphical, and computational approaches to problem solving; communication of engineering ideas through written and spoken modes; the design cycle; and how to prototype. Participants must identify a need, examine possible currently-existing devices, define the specifications for a device, develop a model, demonstrate the practicality of the proposed model through a proof-of-concept example, review the design from the standpoint of cost analysis and ethical considerations, and then construct a final prototype. Students present their prototypes to the class and wider college community at the end of the term. Prerequisite: Physics 101. Preference given to students with first year standing or 3-2 Engineering major or Engineering Physics major; others may seek consent of instructor.
An introduction to engineering in analog circuits from a systems perspective. The course covers foundational material of the passive devices of resistors, capacitors, and inductors; complex impedance notations; Thevenin and Norton equivalent elements; and idealized amplifier concepts. The central part of the course works with feedback circuits. The final part of the course considers nonlinear devices with PN semiconductor junctions, transistors, and small and large signal transistor circuits. The course consists of both lab-centered practical circuit analysis and computer-simulated circuit analysis. (1S) Prerequisite: Physics 102 and Mathematics 110.
In this companion course, concepts of statics are studied in parallel with the dynamics concepts of Physics 330. Topics include: equilibrium of point masses; force couples, moment arms and lines of action; equilibrium of rigid bodies; stress and strain; and structural analysis of trusses, beams, cables, and machines. Students design and test a simple structure. Prerequisite: Physics 101 and Mathematics 110; to be taken concurrently with Physics 330.
In this companion course, concepts of applied electromagnetism are studied in parallel with the concepts of Physics 340. The course may cover high voltage charging devices, electromagnets, waveguides, transmission lines, and antennas, based on instructor and student interests, as students work in teams on self-proposed maker-style design projects with a focus on fostering creativity, teamwork, and debugging skills. Fundamentals include electric field generation, magnetic field generation, electromagnetic power and energy, transmission, diffraction, resonance filters, and high-frequency circuits. Lab activities may include building to testing of devices and systems, such as Van de Graff chargers, high field electromagnets, antenna arrays, microwave resonators, dielectric waveguides, and impedance matching circuits. This course is ordinarily taken at the same time as Physics 340. Can be taken after Physics 340, with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: Engineering 105, Physics 102, and Mathematics 190.
This course is the first half of a two-part year-long project; though it is possible to get credit for finishing only the first semester, both semesters must be completed in order to fulfill the capstone requirement. Students work in teams of two or three; for larger projects, work can be distributed among multiple teams. Students propose a problem, design a solution, and then construct a physical prototype. In addition, students develop career skills such as searching for and applying to jobs. The seminar involves oral and written presentations by each student. Offered every fall semester. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, with a major in engineering physics.
This course is the second half of a two-part year-long project; though it is possible to get credit for finishing only the first semester, both semesters must be completed in order to complete the capstone requirement. Students continue testing their prototype developed in Engineering 381 and complete at least one cycle of feedback and revision of the prototype. The seminar involves oral and written presentations by each student, including job interview etiquette, mock interviews, and elevator pitches. (CP) Offered every spring semester. Prerequisite: Engineering 381.
Work with faculty in classroom and laboratory instruction. Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor.