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Academics: Courses

Physics and astronomy courses

Physics: introductory courses

133 Introductory Physics: Mechanics and Gravity (4). F and S. An introduction to classical Newtonian mechanics applied to linear and rotational motion; a study of energy and momentum and their associated conservation laws; introductions to oscillations and to gravitation. Attention is given throughout to the assumptions and methodologies of the physical sciences. Laboratory. Prerequisite: Mathematics 162 or concurrent registration in Mathematics 172. Students currently enrolled in Mathematics 169 or 171 may enroll in Physics 133 with permission of the instructor.

134 Matter, Space, and Energy (4). S. Theories of the fundamental character of matter, interactions, and space, including historical perspectives. Observational astronomy, Greek science, and the five essences. The Copernican revolution and the Newtonian synthesis. Gravity and force at a distance. The atomic model of matter, including the states of matter. Introductory thermodynamics and the arrow of time. Blackbody radiation and energy quantization. Electromagnetic and nuclear forces. Radioactivity, nuclear processes, and the weak force. E=mc2. Quarks, gluons, and the Standard Model. Relativity and Spacetime. Modern Cosmology. Perspectives on the character of scientific inquiry, models, and humans’ quest for understanding. Laboratory. Prerequisite: any of Mathematics 132,161, 170 or 171 or permission of the instructor.

195 Physics and Astronomy Student Seminar (0). F and S. This course gives students a broad overview of the fields of physics and astronomy through guest lectures by active researchers, focused readings and discussions of Science, Technology, and Society issues, and presentations by students enrolled in Physics 295 & 296. A student may earn honors credit in an approved introductory physics course by completing a paper and, at the instructor’s option, a class presentation on an approved topic. This course may be taken multiple times.

212 Inquiry-Based Physics (4). F. This course provides a hands-on study of important concepts in physics. The course is designed specifically to meet the needs of teacher-education students who wish to be elementary- or middle-school science specialists, but is open to other students who satisfy the prerequisites. Topics covered include mechanics (energy, force, friction, work, torque, momentum, and simple machines), pressure, waves, sound, light, resonance, electricity, magnetism, and radioactivity. Reflections on the nature of physical science and the physical world are included; connections to everyday experience and to technology are discussed. Prerequisite: Science Education Studies 112 or high-school physics.

221 General Physics (4). F. This course is designed for those who do not intend to do further work in physics. Topics covered in the two-semester sequence (Physics 221- 222) include Newtonian mechanics, fluids, waves, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, light, optics, atomic physics, and nuclear radiation. Attention is given throughout to quantitative analysis, empirical methods, experimental uncertainties, perspectives on the assumptions and methodologies of the physical sciences, and the use of physics in the life sciences. Laboratory. Prerequisites: high-school algebra and trigonometry.

222 General Physics (4). S. A continuation of Physics 221, which is a prerequisite. Laboratory.

223 Physics for the Health Sciences (4). F. An introduction to those topics in physics that are applicable to a variety of health science fields, with special emphasis on understanding various physical aspects of the human body. Topics include basic laboratory techniques and instruments for physical measurements, data analysis, basic mechanics, fluids, heat, electrical circuits, sound, optics, radioactivity and x-rays, a discussion of the nature of physical science, and a Christian approach to science. Laboratory. Prerequisites: High school geometry and algebra. Not open to those who have taken or plan to take Physics 221.

235 Introductory Physics: Electricity and Magnetism (4). F. A study of electric and magnetic forces, fields, and energy, and of the integral form of Maxwell’s equations, which describe these fields; electric circuits. Laboratory. Prerequisites: Physics 133 and Mathematics 162 or 172.

246 Waves, Optics, and Optical Technology (4). S. Introduction to the basic properties of waves and light, with applications to optical technology. Development of wave and particle models for light. Interactions between light and matter. Reflection, refraction, interference, and diffraction. Devices and applications, including lasers and other light sources, detectors, lenses, thin films, gratings, interferometers, polarizers, phase retarders, fiber optics, nonlinear crystals, and electro-optical technologies. . Prerequisites: Physics 235 or Physics 222 and Mathematics 172. Computer Science 106 is recommended.

295 Seminar in Physics, Technology and Society (0). F and S. This course gives students a broad overview of the fields of physics and astronomy through guest lectures by active researchers, focused readings and discussions of Science, Technology, and Society issues, and student presentations. Each student is required to make a presentation on an approved topic. Meets concurrently with physics 195. Prerequisite: Physics 235 and at least one semester of Physics 195. This course may be taken multiple times. Concurrent enrollment in 296 is not allowed.

296 Studies in Physics, Technology and Society (1). F and S. This course is identical to Physics 295, except that each student must pursue an instructor-approved project that will produce an in-depth paper as well as an oral presentation. Prerequisite: Physics 235 and at least one semester of Physics 195. This course may be taken multiple times. Concurrent enrollment in 295 is not allowed.

Physics: advanced theory courses

306 Introduction to Quantum Physics (4). S. An introduction to non-classical phenomena and their explanation in quantum mechanics. Wave-particle duality of matter and light; the Heisenberg uncertainty principle; Schroedinger’s wave mechanics; spin; quantum mechanical treatment of atoms; introduction to statistical mechanics; the quantum mechanical description of solids; introduction to nuclear physics. Prerequisites: Physics 134 or 235, and Mathematics 270 or 271. Computer Science 106 is recommended.

335 Classical Mechanics (3). F, alternate years. The motion of particles and systems in Newtonian terms, covering the assumptions, goals, and methods of Newtonian mechanics, and describing some of its notable successes. Areas of coverage include systems of particles, conservation laws, harmonic motion, centralforce motion, rotational motion, and motion in non-inertial reference frames. The status of Newtonian determinism and the question of predictability are also addressed. Prerequisites: Mathematics 172 and at least concurrent enrollment in Physics 235. Mathematics 270 or 271 and Computer Science 106 are also recommended. Not offered 2012-13.

336 Classical Mechanics II (3). S, alternate years. Continuation of Physics 335, which is a prerequisite. Coupled oscillators, moment of inertia tensors and extended bodies in rotation. Lagrangian mechanics, the principle of least action, and the Hamiltonian formulation of mechanics. Non-linear systems and chaotic motion. Not offered 2012-13.

345 Electromagnetism (4). F, alternate years. The basic equations of electromagnetism are developed and applied to simple charge and current distributions. Further applications are made to electromagnetic energy and electromagnetic properties of matter. Prerequisite: Physics 235 and Mathematics 270 or 271. Mathematics 231 and Computer Science 106 are also recommended.

346 Advanced Optics (3). S, alternate years. The systematic application of Maxwell’s Equations to electromagnetic radiation, including the interaction of light with matter, electromagnetic wave propagation, polarization, interference and diffraction. Includes a study of technologically significant systems such as waveguides, optical filters and fibers, laser cavities, and some electro-optical technologies. Prerequisites: Physics 246 and Physics 345 or Engineering 302.

347 Relativistic Electrodynamics (1). S, alternate years. Special relativity is reformulated in terms of 4-vectors and this new understanding is used to explicitly articulate the relativistic nature of Maxwell’s equations. An introductory understanding of special relativity is assumed. Prerequisites: Physics 134 and concurrent registration in Physics 346.

359 Seminar in Secondary Teaching of Physics (3). S. A course in perspectives on, principles of, and practices in the teaching of physics and the other natural sciences at the secondary level. Included are teaching strategies, curriculum studies, readings regarding new developments in science education, and considerations of educational uses of statistics and computers. This course should be taken concurrently with education 346, and provides a forum for the discussion of concerns that develop during directed teaching. This course is part of the professional education program and may not be included in the major or minor in physics.

365 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (4). F. alternate years. Equations of state, heat capacities, and the laws of thermodynamics. The thermodynamic potentials. Application to some simple systems and changes of phase. Kinetic theory. Statistical mechanics with emphasis on the canonical ensemble. Determination of entropy and the thermodynamic potentials with application to solids and gases. Introduction to quantum statistical mechanics. Prerequisite: Mathematics 231, Physics 306, and either Physics 134 or Engineering 209.

375 Quantum Mechanics (3). F, alternate years. The main emphasis is on wave mechanics and its application to atoms and molecules. One-electron atoms are discussed in detail. Additional topics discussed are electronic spin and atomic spectra and structure. Nuclei, the solid state, and fundamental particles are also considered. Prerequisite: Physics 306 and Mathematics 231. (Concurrent registration in Mathematics 231 is allowed with permission of the Instructor.) A course including linear algebra is recommended. Not offered 2012-13.

376 Quantum Mechanics (3). S, alternate years. A continuation of Physics 375, which is a prerequisite. Not offered 2012-13.

390 Independent Study in Physics. F, I, and S. Independent readings and research in physics under the supervision of a member of the departmental staff. Prerequisite: permission of the chair and supervising professor.

Physics: laboratory courses

380 Great Experiments in Physics (2). F, alternate years. Students recreate several historic experiments that originally led to the development or confirmation of physical theories related to quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, wave-particle duality, relativity, and gravity. Prerequisite: Physics 306. Not offered 2012-13.

381 Electronic Instrumentation (2). F, alternate years. An introduction to electronic circuits and devices and to their use in scientific measurements. Topics include a review of DC and AC circuits, introductions to diode and transistor characteristics, operational amplifiers, digital logic, and the use of specialized instruments in laboratory measurements. Prerequisite: Physics 235 or permission of the instructor.

384 Laboratory Investigations in Physics (2). S, alternate years. A laboratory-based course in which students choose and complete investigative projects under the supervision of the instructor. The projects are relatively open-ended, with students being responsible for learning background information regarding their topics and becoming familiar with relevant equipment, then designing and conducting open-ended investigations, interpreting their results, and presenting their conclusions. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in Physics 306. Students may concurrently enroll in Physics 395 and use Physics 384 and 395 as a single package. Not offered 2012-13.

386 Advanced Optics Laboratory (2). S, alternate years. This course builds upon the conceptual and laboratory skills developed in Physics 246 by giving students the opportunity to investigate optical phenomena and applications using advanced instrumentation. Each student selects from a list of several multi-week projects in the fields of laser technology, spectroscopy, interferometry, electro-optical devices, non-linear optics, and quantum optics. Prerequisite: Physics 246.

395 Physics Research, Writing, and Presentation (0-3). F, I, and S. Completion of an approved experimental or theoretical research with presentation of results. The research may be done entirely as part of this course or through another avenue (e.g., summer research with a faculty member or Physics 384). Normally, each student is required to submit a formal, written report and to present results in a department seminar and/or poster presentation. This course may be repeated twice. Prerequisites: A faculty sponsor and approval of the department.

Astronomy courses

110 Planets, Stars, and Galaxies (4). S. A survey of the major astronomical objects, including planets, stars, and galaxies; a study of their characteristics and their organization into a dynamic, structured universe; an investigation of the processes now occurring in the universe and the methods used to study them; a presentation of the history and development of the universe. The course examines scientific perspectives on the natural world, various relationships between science and culture, the role of Christianity in the development of science, and relationships between Christianity and current scientific findings. Not open to students who have taken, or wish to take, Astronomy 111 or 112. Students who meet the prerequisites of Astronomy 211 or 212 are encouraged to take one of those courses instead. Laboratory. Prerequisites: developing a Christian mind core or sophomore standing.

111 The Solar System (4). F. This course is similar to Astronomy 110 in providing an introduction to astronomy from a Christian perspective, but emphasizes the contents of our solar system (ranging from planets and satellites down to meteorites and dust), their interrelatedness, and their development over time. Not open to students who have taken Astronomy 110, but open to students who have taken or plan to take Astronomy 112. Students who meet the prerequisites of Astronomy 211 or 212 are encouraged to take one of those courses instead. Laboratory. Prerequisites: developing a Christian mind core or sophomore standing.

112 Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe (4). F. This course is similar to Astronomy 110 in providing an introduction to astronomy from a Christian perspective, but emphasizes objects beyond our solar system (including stars, black holes, and galaxies), their function and development, and how they fit into the structure and development of the universe as a whole. Not open to students who have taken Astronomy 110, but open to students who have taken or plan to take Astronomy 111. Students who meet the prerequisites of Astronomy 211 or 212 are encouraged to take one of these courses instead. Laboratory. Prerequisites: developing a Christian mind core or sophomore standing. Not offered 2012-2013.

211 Planetary and Stellar Astronomy (4). S, alternate years. This course is an introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics for students with some science and mathematics preparation. The first portion of the course includes a study of the planets and other objects in the solar system, including their physical processes and development and the formation of the solar system as a whole. The second portion of the course emphasizes the physical structure of stars, their origin and development, and their end results (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes). Students may take both Astronomy 211 and 212, but one is not a prerequisite for the other. Laboratory. Prerequisites: one course in college calculus (such as Mathematics 132, 161 or 171) and one course in high school or college physics, or permission of the instructor. Not offered 2012-2013

212 Galactic Astronomy and Cosmology (4). S, alternate years. This course is an introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics for students with some science and mathematics preparation. The first portion of the course includes a study of our own Galaxy, its structure, its contents (including the interstellar medium and dark matter), and its formation and development. The second portion of the course covers other galaxies, including their classification, clustering, and development, as well as active galaxies and quasars. The final portion of the course covers physical cosmology, including expansion of the universe, its age and ultimate fate, and the formation of elements. Students may take both Astronomy 211 and 212, but one is not a prerequisite for the other. Laboratory. Prerequisites: one course in college calculus (such as Mathematics 132, 161 or 171) and one course in high school or college physics, or permission of the instructor.

384 Modern Observational Astronomy (2). S, alternate years. Students will learn techniques of modern observational astronomy by doing observing projects in each of three wavelength regimes: optical, radio, and one other (e.g., Xray). Optical observations will use CCD detectors to do multi-color photography, photometry, astrometry, and spectroscopy. Radio observations made with the Very Large Array will be used for interferometric imaging. NASA archival data will be used for other wavelengths. Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in or completion of Astronomy 211 or 212.

390 Independent Study. F, I, and S. Independent readings and research in astronomy. Prerequisite: permission of the chair.

395 Astronomy Research, Writing, and Presentation (0-3). F, I, and S. Completion of an approved experimental or theoretical research with presentation of results. The research may be done entirely as part of this course or through another avenue (e.g., summer research with a faculty member). Normally, each student is required to submit a formal, written report and to present results in a department seminar and/or poster presentation. This course may be taken up to three times. Prerequisites: A faculty sponsor and approval of the department.

Secondary

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