PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
For information about
the courses needed for a Physics major,
click here.
For a schedule of which upper level courses
will be offered which semester, click
here.


ASTR 1010.
(4 hours)  An introductory course which includes historical
astronomy, celestial motions, properties and observation of light, and physical
characteristics of the solar system and the Sun. Includes laboratory activities
involving telescope observations of solar system and stellar objects. Designed
for students desiring a laboratory science for its general education value.


ASTR 1020.
(4 hours)  Introduces students to the study of stars,
galaxies, and the universe as a whole. Includes laboratory activities involving
telescope observations of star systems, nebulae, and galaxies. Three hours
lecture, two hours laboratory each week.
NOTE THAT IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO HAVE
TAKEN ASTRONOMY I TO TAKE ASTRONOMY II.


ASTR 1035. (4 hours) 
In this course, we use the scientific method to explore the possibility
of the existence of life elsewhere in the Universe.
We will discuss the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the possibility
of life in other locations in our solar system,
recent discoveries of extrasolar planets, and the possibility
of advanced civilizations elsewhere in the Galaxy. We will also
cover topics in interstellar
communication, space travel, and UFOs.
In this course, we will utilize
aspects of astronomy, physics,
geology, paleontology, biology, and chemistry to investigate
the question of life in the Universe.
This course has a required laboratory.
There are no prerequisites for this course; it is not
necessary to have taken either Astronomy I or II before taking this
course.


ASTR 3970. (2 hours)  Prerequisite: ASTR 1010, 1020.
A selfpaced independentstudy
laboratory course on variable stars. Students will
make approximately weekly observations of variable stars using
the 14inch Celestron Telescope at the Harry D. Powell Observatory.
The observations will be analyzed and
light curves derived.

 ASTR 3415. (3 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS 2120. Students will be
introduced to the theoretical basis of what we understand about the Universe.
Students will study astronomical phenomena through techniques described in
physics: mechanics, atomic and molecular physics (i.e., quantum
mechanics), nuclear physics, relativity, and electromagnetism. Specifically,
the physics of the solar and stellar atmospheres and interiors will be
discussed, as well as stellar evolution. The Milky Way Galaxy and galaxies in
general will be studied in detail. The course will conclude with a treatment
of gravitation and cosmology in the presentation of the Big Bang theory.
Introduction to Physics Survey

 PHYS 1030. (4 hours)  Presents an interdisciplinary approach to the
physical sciences with a concentration in physics. Relates the role of science
to the daily activities of an educated person. Three hours lecture, one hour
demonstration/discussion each week. Not open to students who have any previous
college credit in any of the physical sciences.

 PHYS 1956. (4 hours)  A course designed to teach basic classical and
modern physics through its use or nonuse in science fiction films. Lectures
will be supplemented with the critical viewing of some classic science
fiction films. Grades will be determined from a midterm and a final exam, as
well as, two term papers. Click here for a more detailed description of
The Physics of
Science Fiction Films. Note that this course is only offered during the
summer semester.
Great Ideas in Science I


PHYS 2018. (3 hours)  The first semester of a twosemester sequence
where significant ideas in science are discussed, such as Newton's laws of
motion and gravity, the Copernican revolution, Kepler's laws of planetary
motion, relativity, quantum theory, the Big Bang theory, stellar evolution,
and the origin of the elements. NOTE THAT THIS COURSE IS ONLY OPEN TO
UNIVERSITY HONORS STUDENTS.
Great Ideas in Science II


PHYS 2028. (3 hours)  The second semester of a twosemester sequence
where significant ideas in science are discussed, such as radioactivity,
the periodic table, biochemistry, natural selection in biological evolution,
and geologic evolution. NOTE THAT THIS COURSE IS ONLY OPEN TO
UNIVERSITY HONORS STUDENTS.
General Physics I  Noncalculus


PHYS 2010. (3 hours)  A survey of the topics in classical physics intended
primarily for students in preprofessional curricula and majors in various
engineering technology concentrations. (Engineering transfer students should
take Physics 2110.) Topics include classical mechanics, solids, fluids, and
thermodynamics. A good working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry (at
least at the high school level) is required before taking this course.
Heavy emphasis is made for the solutions to numerical problems. PHYS 2010 is
the first semester of a twosemester sequence in general physics. (Many
curricula require a laboratory course in physics. Students in these curricula
must also take PHYS 2011.) Three hours of lecture each week.
General Physics Laboratory I  Noncalculus


PHYS 2011. (1 hour)  Experiments dealing with the basic laws of physics,
designed to reinforce and supplement concepts learned in PHYS 2010. A good
working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry (at least at the high school
level) is required before taking this course. One (2) twohour lab each
week. Note: Lecture courses requiring a lab can be taken together or
separately, but must both be completed by graduation.
General Physics II  Noncalculus


PHYS 2020. (3 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS 2010. A survey of the topics in
classical physics intended primarily for students in preprofessional curricula
and majors in various engineering technology concentrations. (Engineering
transfer students should take Physics 2120.) Topics include electricity and
magnetism, wave mechanics, and geometric optics. A good working knowledge
of algebra and trigonometry (at least at the high school level) is required
before taking this course. Heavy emphasis is made for the solutions to
numerical problems. PHYS 2020 is the second semester of a twosemester sequence
in general physics. (Many curricula require a laboratory course in physics.
Students in these curricula must also take PHYS 2021.) Three hours of lecture
each week.
General Physics Laboratory II  Noncalculus


PHYS 2021. (1 hour)  Prerequisite(s): PHYS 2011. Experiments dealing with
the basic laws of physics, designed to reinforce and supplement concepts learned
in PHYS 2020. A good working knowledge of algebra and trigonometry (at least
at the high school level) is required before taking this course. One (2)
twohour lab each week. Note: Lecture courses requiring a lab can be taken
together or separately, but must both be completed by graduation.
Technical Physics I  Calculus Based

 PHYS 2110. (5 hours)  A survey of physics for students majoring in
technical fields, such as physics, chemistry, engineering, etc. Students in
preprofessional programs (premed, predentistry, etc.) who desire a stronger
preparation for professional school also can take this course. Topics include
classical mechanics and thermodynamics. One semester of calculus is required
before taking this course. Heavy emphasis is made for the solutions to
numerical problems. PHYS 2110 is the first semester of a twosemester sequence
in calculusbased classical physics. Three hours of lecture and three hours of
laboratory/recitation each week.
Technical Physics II  Calculus Based

 PHYS 2110. (5 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS 2110. A survey of physics for
students majoring in technical fields, such as physics, chemistry, engineering,
etc. Students in preprofessional programs (premed, predentistry, etc.) who
desire a stronger preparation for professional school also can take this course.
Topics include classical electromagnetism and optics. One semester of
calculus is required before taking this course. Heavy emphasis is made for
the solutions to numerical problems. PHYS 2120 is the second semester of a
twosemester sequence in calculusbased classical physics. Three hours of
lecture and three hours of laboratory/recitation each week.
Statics

 PHYS 2810. (3 hours)  Prerequisite: MATH 1910, 1920; Corequisite:
PHYS 2110. Calculusbased course in applied mechanics of engineering statics.
Topics include vectors, Newton's laws, torque, equilibria of rigid bodies, and
aspects of friction.
Dynamics

 PHYS 2820. (3 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS 2810; Corequisite: PHYS 2120.
Calculusbased course in applied mechanics of engineering dynamics. Topics
include kinematic equations of motion, rotational motion, energy, collisions,
and vibrations.

 PHYS 3010. (4 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 21102120. Statics and dynamics
of particles and systems of particles. An introduction to Lagrangian and
Hamiltonian formulations of Newtonian mechanics. Three onehour lectures and
one twohour recitation session each week.

 PHYS 3210. Optics (4 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 21102120. Geometrical
optics including reflection, refraction, dispersion, thin and thick lenses,
optical instruments. Physical optics including electromagnetic character of
light, interference, diffraction, polarization, and related topics. Three
onehour lectures and one threehour lab session, or equivalent, each week.
Modern Physics Lab

 PHYS 3410. (2 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 21102120. An advanced
experimental course covering selected topics in particle physics, atomic
and molecular structure, and wave phenomena. One fourhour lab per week.

 PHYS 3510. Introduction to Biophysics (3 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS
2010/20 or 2110/20. Underlying principles of physics used to explore and
explain biological systems. Techniques discussed include energetics, Xray
analysis, absorption spectroscopy, etc. applied to cellular processes. Three
onehour lectures, or equivalent, each week.

 PHYS 3610. Introduction to Atomic and Nuclear Physics (3 hours) 
Prerequisites: PHYS 21102120. A semiquantitative introduction to the physics
of the atom and its nucleus: constituent parts of atoms, atomic transmutation,
nuclear fission and fusion, and related topics. Three onehour lectures each
week.

 PHYS 3710. (4 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 21102120. An
intermediatelevel course in electromagnetism: electrostatics, dielectrics,
magnetic materials and effects, development of Maxwell's equations. Three
onehour lectures and one twohour recitations/laboratory session each week.


PHYS 40075007. (4 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS 21102120 or MATH2120.
Numerical techniques to model physical processes using digital computers
running Microsoft Windows and Linux. The numerical solution to systems of linear
equations, ordinary differential equations, and partial differential equations
will be presented. In addition, techniques in data fitting and error analysis will
be investigated. One computer project will be required for the course, along with
two exams, and multiple homework sets. Though previous computer programming
experienced is not required, it would be useful to have this knowledge for this
course. Students will select which programming language they wish to use (e.g.,
Fortran 77, Fortran 90/95, C/C++, IDL, or MatLab) and will receive supplemental training in this language should it be required. Visualization techniques will be
discussed to help the student to present their data generated for their projects.
The Project Report must be written using the LaTeX markup language, which is often
used in scientific journals.

 PHYS 41175117.
(4 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 2011. The irst, second, and third laws of
thermodynamics, Kinetic theory of an ideal gas, equations of state, distribution
of molecular velocities, principles of statistical mechanics, transport phenomena,
applications of Boltzmann, FermiDirac, and BoseEinstein statistics.

 PHYS 46175617. (4 hours)  Prerequisites: PHYS 3610 and senior standing
or permission of the instructor. An introduction to quantum theory and
nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. Historical development of ideas which led
to presentday theories. Schroedinger's equation and applications,
approximation methods, matrix methods, and related topics. Two 1.5hour
lectures and one 1hour recitation session each week. Note that this is a
writing intensive course and a computer project is required.

 PHYS 4717/5717. Electromagnetic Theory (4 hours)  Prerequisite: PHYS
3710. Principles of electromagnetic theory, Maxwell's equations, selected
applications, and related topics. Three onehour lectures and one twohour
recitation session each week.

 PHYS 4850. Seminar in Physics and Astronomy (1 hour)  A weekly onehour
session devoted to a range in research and/or teaching topics, or other topics
of departmental interest (see
schedule).
May be taken for credit twice.

 PHYS 4860. Special Topics in Physics (13 hours)  Study of a topic of
interest to faculty and undergraduate students. May be repeated for credit (up
to a maximum of four hours) provided subject matter is not duplicated.
Independent Study

 PHYS 4900. (13 hours)Prerequisite: Prior acceptance by a faculty
research advisor. Independent investigation of a problem of interest to the
student, under the guidance of a faculty research advisor. May be repeated
(up to a maximum of four hours) provided subject matter is not duplicated.
Physics and Astronomy Home Page
Last Modified April 15, 2010 by D. G. Luttermoser