Physics is the study of the physical universe. In physics, students learn to solve theoretical and practical problems using fundamental principles and to effectively communicate those solutions. This study provides preparation for graduate studies in engineering and other physical sciences and professional schools, as well as preparation for positions in industry.

The various disciplines represented within the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science are united by their reliance upon:

  • methods for discovering and demonstrating patterns, and for constructing structures that exhibit, unify and illuminate these patterns;
  • application of these structures to model a wide variety of phenomena in mathematics and the sciences;
  • precise language as a means to express patterns and describe structures. Accordingly, graduates of the Math/Physics/Computer Science department will
  • demonstrate knowledge of basic content appropriate to the chosen major;
  • communicate precisely and effectively on quantitative matters;
  • perform basic modeling and to interpret the results in terms of the phenomena being modeled;
  • read quantitative material, interpret correctly what has been read, and apply it correctly.

Major

(B.S. degree) Thirty-two semester hours of physics including PHY 211,212, 241, 319, and 343. The remaining 15 hours of physics courses must be numbered 300 and above. The allied courses required are MAT 125, 225, and 325, and no less than 10 hours to be chosen from the following courses: MAT 310 and 345; CHE 111,112, and 113; CSC 115 and 312 (with permission of the instructor, prerequisites for these CSC courses will be waived). Total hours required: 51.

Minor

Nineteen semester hours in physics including PHY 211, 212, 241; and nine hours of 300 or 400 level course work in Physics.

Courses

103. Astronomy. (3 hours) Covers the earth, moon, planets, sun, stars, galaxy, universe; occasional use of the planetarium. No laboratory. Fall

105. Integrated Science in Context: Sustainable Energy. (4 hours) An introduction to the physical sciences through an examination of sustainable energy. The course is primarily for non-science majors and pre-service elementary and middle school teachers. Mathematics requirements will be kept to a minimum. Laboratory

109. Elementary Meteorology. (3 hours) Atmospheric structure, measurements, energy, and motions; climate; weather forecasting; application. Mathematics requirements will be kept at a minimum. No laboratory. Spring

208. Science Careers Seminar. (2 hours) An interdisciplinary seminar in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines that will introduce students interested in scientific research to an array of professions and professionals in these fields. This introduction will emphasize comprehension and analysis of published scientific research and provide students with the opportunity to meet the science professional who produced the work. Prerequisites: One science or mathematics course for majors, sophomore or junior standing, and approval of the instructor. Fall

211-212. College Physics I and II. (4 hours each) Introductory course for college students. First term: mechanics, heat, and thermodynamics, sound and waves. Second term: electricity, magnetism, optics, modern physics. Laboratory. Prerequisite: MAT 107 or equivalent background. Fall and Spring

241. Engineering Physics. (3 hours) Supplements Physics 111-112. Selected topics in mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity , magnetism, optics, and modern physics with the application of calculus in physics. May be taken concurrently with Physics 112. Prerequisite: MAT 125 and 225 (which may be taken concurrently). Fall

260. Engineering Preceptorship. (1 hour) On site supervised experience in the engineering sciences, observing and working with practicing engineers in the field. Pass/fail grading.

301. Electronics. (3 hours) A.C. circuits; D.C. circuits; basic devices; basic instruments. Laboratory. Prerequisites: PHY 111, 112 or approval of instructor. Odd Springs

313. Thermal Physics. (3 hours) Basic principles of thermal and statistical physics; laws of thermodynamics; equilibrium and irreversibility; cyclic processes; ensembles; thermodynamic potentials; canonical distribution; equipartition theorem; Maxwell distribution; phase changes; applications. Prerequisites: PHY 112, 241, and MAT 221. (The latter course may be taken concurrently.) Fall

317. Statics. (3 hours) Application of the conditions of equilibrium to two and three dimensional systems; trusses, frames and beams; friction; shear and ending moment diagrams; centroids, centers of gravity, area and mass moments of inertia, vectors. Prerequisite: PHY 111 and MAT 225. Fall

319. Dynamics. (3 hours) Kinematics and kinetics of particles and rigid bodies; work-energy method; impulse and momentum; harmonic motion; two body problem. Prerequisite: PHY 241 or 317. Spring

343. Relativity and Modern Physics. (3 hours) Special relativity, introduction to general relativity, introduction to quantum physics, hydrogen atom and complex atoms, atomic spectra, topics in nuclear and solid-state physics. Perquisites: PHY 111 and 112. Co-requisite: PHY 241. Fall

401. Advanced Experimental Physics. (3 hours) Selected experiments in mechanics, heat, physical optics, electricity and magnetism, solid state, atomic and nuclear physics, and lasers. Prerequisites: PHY 111 and 112. Even Springs

405. Electricity and Magnetism. (3 hours) Theory of the behavior of electric and magnetic fields and their sources including Maxwell’s equations.  Prerequisites:  PHY241, MAT325, and MAT345.  (The latter two courses may be taken concurrently.)   Fall

440. Independent Study. (1,2, or 3 hours)

450. Seminar. (1 hour) May be taken as many as three times. One formal presentation of current interest must be completed. Visiting scientists will constitute a portion of this course.

471. Topics in Classical Physics. (1, 2, or 3 hours)

473. Topics in Modem Physics. (1, 2, or 3 hours)