2011 - 2012 Physics Courses

PHYS 102 Introduction to the Physical Universe, LE (3)
Elementary study of physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and meteorology as applied to understanding the universe. Topics include planet Earth, the solar system, stars and galaxies, cosmology, introduction to astrophysics, the role of physics in understanding natural phenomena, plus historical and philosophical development of scientific thought. Active learning strategies including writing, guided-inquiry, and group work are employed. MATH 105 is recommended as background.
 
PHYS 104 Explorations in Science and Society, LE (4)
Science is full of discourse and debate, but what are these scientists arguing about and how does it affect you? This class is more than just a physics class. It is a class in how science as a whole works and its ramifications for society at large. We will examine the different circumstances under which scientists may disagree and explore the extent to which these disagreements can affect public policy. In addition to learning about contemporary debates in science, students will also take part in debates and will work collaboratively to propose unique solutions to problems in sustainability and resource management.
 
PHYS 151-
152
Principles of Physics I and Lab
Principles of Physics II and Lab
(4)
(4)
A one-year algebra and trigonometry-based introductory physics course using the workshop method. This method combines inquiry-based cooperative learning with the comprehensive use of computer tools for data acquisition, data analysis and mathematical modeling. Kinematics, Newton's Laws of motion, conservation laws (energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum), rotational motion, and oscillations are studied during the first semester. In the second semester, topics in electricity, magnetism, dc circuits, thermodynamics, and geometric optics are covered. Recommended for life science and pre-med. students. Prerequisite: MATH 141-142. A passing grade of C- or better in PHYS 151 or PHYS 211 is a prerequisite for PHYS 152.
 
PHYS 200 Special Topics in Physics (1-4)
Topics in physics of wide interest and interdisciplinary nature will be offered as requested. Regular offerings include physical science for elementary and junior high teachers, conceptual physics and physics of biology. Prerequisite: MATH 105.
 
PHYS 211-
212
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and Lab
Physics for Scientists and Engineers II and Lab
(4)
(4)
A one-year calculus-based introductory physics course using the workshop method. This method combines inquiry-based cooperative learning with the comprehensive use of computer tools for data acquisition, data analysis and mathematical modeling. Kinematics, Newton's Laws of motion, conservation laws (energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum), rotational motion, and oscillations are studied during the first semester. In the second semester topics in electricity, magnetism, dc circuits, thermodynamics, and chaos dynamics are covered. Recommended for physical science, mathematics, computer science, and 3-2 engineering students. Three two-hour sessions per week. Prerequisite: MATH 141-142. Co-requisites: MATH 201-202. A passing grade of a C- or better in PHYS 211 is a prerequisite for PHYS 212.
 
PHYS 300 Special Topics in Physics (1-4)
Topics of interest and importance to students majoring in the physical sciences are offered as needed. Regular offerings include topics such as solid state physics, particle physics, and others in modern physics are offered as requests are made or need arises. Prerequisite: MATH 142.
 
PHYS 301 Introduction to Modern Physics (3)
Elementary concepts of modern physics. Topics include: special relativity, elementary quantum theory, atomic and molecular spectra, X-rays, introduction to solid state, nuclear and laser physics. The curriculum will be problem-based with an integrated lab. Prerequisites: PHYS 212.
 
PHYS 305 Optics (4)
This class is intended to give students a background in practical optics. Topics studied include lenses and mirrors, systems of lenses and mirrors and aberrations in lenses and mirrors, polarizers and filters, interference and diffraction. Ray diagrams and Fermat's Principle of least time are treated along with waves, and the electromagnetic basis for understanding polarization. Prerequisites: PHYS 152 or 212 and MATH 202.
 
PHYS 309 Mathematical Methods of Physics (4)
Specifically designed to introduce physical science students to the elements of mathematics that are useful in the upper division coursework. Prerequisites: MATH 202 and PHYS 211. This course is a prerequisite for most of the upper division physics classes and should be taken as early as possible.
 
PHYS 311 Analytical Mechanics (4)
Intermediate problems in Newtonian mechanics, system of particles, dynamics of rigid bodies, gravitation, moving coordinate systems, mechanics of continuous media, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, and the theory of small vibrations. Prerequisites: MATH 202, 203; PHYS 212, 309.
 
PHYS 370 Scientific Computing (3)
An introduction to programming techniques that apply to a wide range of scientific disciplines. Topics include basic programming principles, equation solving, and model simulation. Prerequisites: PHYS 211, or both PHYS 151 and MATH 201 or equivalent. Students who have completed CMPT 201 may not take this course without instructor's approval. Same as BIOL 370 and CHEM 370.
 
PHYS 400 Advanced Topics in Physics (1-5)
Meets the special needs of physics majors. Subjects offered include: (a) Topics in Modern Physics: Relativity and Quantum Theory, and (b) Biophysics. The course offering depends upon student need and interest. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
 
PHYS 401 Directed Studies (1-4)
A tutorial-based course used only for student-initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered in the Physics Program. Prerequisites: senior standing and consent of instructor and school dean.
 
PHYS 410 Quantum Mechanics (4)
A study of the basic principles of quantum mechanics and its application to atomic structure, molecular structure and spectroscopy. A laboratory section accompanies the lecture. Prerequisites: CHEM 112; MATH 202; PHYS 212, 309. Same as CHEM 421.
 
PHYS 411 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (4)
A study of the theoretical macroscopic properties of matter. An introduction to statistical mechanics, chemical thermodynamics and kinetics with applications to gases, solutions, and phase and chemical equilibria. A laboratory section accompanies the lecture. Prerequisites: CHEM 112; MATH 202; PHYS 212; 309. Same as CHEM 422.
 
PHYS 425 Quantum Physics (4)
Study of the mathematical fundamentals of quantum mechanics and its application to diverse non-chemical problems. Applications include quantization of problems, measurability, fundamental particles, scattering, operator algebra, representation theory, and more approximate methods. Prerequisite: PHYS 301, 309; MATH 203, 211.
 
PHYS 430 Undergraduate Research (1-4)
Students undertake a portion of a research project and learn all aspects of scientific inquiry. One credit hour equates to three hours per week in the laboratory. This course may be taken one credit at a time. Permission of a faculty mentor is required.
 
PHYS 431 Electrodynamics (4)
Fundamental theories of electricity and magnetism from the viewpoint of fields. Topics include electrostatic fields, Laplace's and Poisson's equations, magnetic fields, Maxwell's equations, propagation of electromagnetic waves, and electromagnetic radiation. Prerequisites: PHYS 212, 309; MATH 203, 211.
 
PHYS 440 Internship (1-8)
Offers students the opportunity to integrate classroom knowledge with practical experience. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing (for transfer students, at least 15 hours completed at Westminster or permission of instructor), minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of the Career Resource Center internship workshop, and consent of program director and Career Center internship coordinator.
 
PHYS 487 Undergraduate Teaching (1)
Provides an opportunity for teaching experience in lower-division laboratories by junior- and senior-level Physics majors. PHYS 487 may not be used as elective hours in the Physics majors or minors. This course is graded Credit/No Credit. Prerequisite: consent of program director.