Course Descriptions

Physics Courses

PHYS 104 - Astronomy

3.00 Cr
An introduction to astronomy for the non-science major. This course satisfies the Core requirement for a lab course in natural sciences. The course begins with an historical development of astronomy and a qualitative account of relevant principles of science. Topics include the tools of astronomy, the solar system, stars and stellar evolution, the Milky Way, extragalactic astronomy, cosmology, and life in the universe. Two one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 155 - Robotics/Experimental Physics

3.00 Cr
Learn how to build and control simple robotic devices, and along the way you will learn the fundamentals of logic and control common to all computer programming languages. We will perform numerous discovery exercises in the laboratory, to introduce and practice experimental methods and mathematical modeling useful for physics. This course satisfies the Core requirement for a laboratory course in the natural sciences. Students who have taken PHYS 205 or CS 120 must have instructor approval to enroll in PHYS 155/ENGR 155. Two two-hour laboratories per week.

PHYS 160 - Einstein's Physics

3.00 Cr
Is it possible to travel faster than the speed of light? Could time travel become a reality? Would it be possible to create a teleporter? Do wormholes exist? Is antimatter real? To answer these questions we will explore the key ideas of relativity and quantum mechanics, and the famous experiments that led to the discovery of these ideas. We will study the relative nature of time, wave/particle duality, and the uncertainty principle in detail. This course satisfies the Core requirement for a laboratory course in the natural sciences. Two one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 189 - Special Topic

1.00 Cr
Special Topics courses include ad-hoc courses on various selected topics that are not part of the regular curriculum, however they may still fulfill certain curricular requirements. Special topics courses are offered at the discretion of each department and will be published as part of the semester course schedule - view available sections for more information. Questions about special topics classes can be directed to the instructor or department chair.

PHYS 201 - Physics I

4.00 Cr
An introductory algebra-based physics course, with emphasis on the principles of physics, for health sciences majors. Topics include classical mechanics, oscillatory (wave) motion, sound, and the behavior of solids and fluids. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 202 - Physics II

4.00 Cr
Physics II: Thermodynamics, Electricity and Magnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics. A continuation of PHYS 201. Topics include thermal physics, electrical and magnetic phenomena, simple electrical circuits, optics, and quantum physics. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 205 - Physics Using Calculus I

4.00 Cr
An introductory calculus-based physics course for physics, chemistry, and engineering majors. Topics include statics, kinematics, and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, work and energy, conservation of energy and momentum (linear and angular), harmonic motion. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 206 - Physics Using Calculus II

4.00 Cr
Physics Using Calculus II: Electricity and Magnetism. A continuation of PHYS 205. Topics include electrostatics and Gauss' Law; electric potential, capacitance, and Kirchhoff's Laws for analysis of simple DC circuits; magnetostatics and Ampère's Law; electromagnetic induction, simple AC circuits, and transformers. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 305 - Electronics/Circuit Anlys I

4.00 Cr
An introductory survey of the behavior of electrical circuits. Review of current, voltage, and passive circuit elements (resistors, capacitors, and inductors). Kirchhoff's Laws, network theorems, and basic network analysis. General characteristics of amplifiers and electronic instrumentation. Introduction to operational amplifiers and active elements (transistors). Laplace transform analysis of transient (switching) response, and complex phasor analysis of sinusoidal steady-state response. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week, in which students build and test circuits and learn how to use typical circuit simulation software (PSPICE).

PHYS 306 - Electronics/Circuit Anlys II

4.00 Cr
A continuation of PHYS 305 / ENGR 305. Systematic node-voltage and mesh-current methods of circuit analysis. Network transfer functions and frequency spectra. Mutual inductance and transformers. Diode circuits and the behavior of single-transistor amplifiers using field-effect or bipolar-junction transistors. Analysis and design of digital logic circuits. Principles of operation and interfacing of typical laboratory instruments. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

PHYS 323 - Optics/Electromagn Radiation

3.00 Cr
A survey of geometrical and physical optics, including the behavior of electromagnetic radiation across the spectrum. Topics include the dual wave/particle nature of radiation, lenses and ray-tracing, analysis of simple optical instruments (microscopes, telescopes), interference and diffraction phenomena, lasers and holography. Two 75-minute periods per week, one of which may be used for laboratory exercises.

PHYS 331 - Computational Physics

3.00 Cr
A study of mathematical techniques and numerical computing methods used to solve problems of interest in physics. Topics include numerical solution of selected ordinary and partial differential equations (e.g., the wave equation, Laplace's equation, Schrödinger's equation), Monte Carlo simulations, and chaotic dynamics. Three hours lecture per week.

PHYS 340 - Classical Mechanics

3.00 Cr
An intermediate course in classical mechanics. General treatment of the motion of particles in two and three dimensions, using Cartesian and polar coordinate systems. Static equilibrium of systems is studied, as is the central-force problem and rigid-body rotation, including the inertia tensor. Introduction to the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics. Three hours lecture per week.

PHYS 342 - Thermal Physics

3.00 Cr
An introduction to classical thermodynamics and statistical descriptions of many-particle systems. The first five weeks of the course provide an introduction to thermodynamics: definition of the fundamental state variables (temperature, pressure, energy, enthalpy, entropy) and formulation of the three laws of thermodynamics. Subsequent topics include diffusion and the random-walk problem, characterization of statistical ensembles and the meaning of equilibrium, partition functions, free energies, and entropy. The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for classical systems is contrasted with the Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions of quantum-mechanical systems. Three hours lecture per week.

PHYS 345 - Electromagnetism

3.00 Cr
An intermediate course utilizing vector calculus to study electrostatic and magnetostatic fields, both in vacuum and in matter. The relation between electrostatic and magnetostatic fields under relativistic transformations is studied, as are electrodynamics and Maxwell's Equations, and the generation and propagation of electromagnetic radiation. Three hours lecture per week.

PHYS 346 - Quantum Mechanics

3.00 Cr
An introduction to the use of wave functions, and their probabilistic interpretation, to characterize particles. Solutions of Schrödinger's wave equation are studied in one dimension (particle in a box, harmonic oscillator) and three dimensions (hydrogen atom). Operator methods and perturbation techniques are also introduced. Additional topics may include multi-electron atoms and/or an introduction to solid-state physics. Three hours lecture per week.

PHYS 452 - Advanced Physics (WI) Lab

3.00 Cr
A laboratory course intended to introduce the student to the design and operation of apparatus and experiments, technical lab skills such as computer-aided data acquisition, and communication within the discipline of physics. Approximately half of the course will be spent on understanding computer-aided data acquisition, primarily through the use of LabView. The other half of the course will be spent on designing, performing, and interpreting the results of an experiment. The results will be presented in a written and oral format. In order to prepare the student for the written presentation, students will write drafts of various pieces of their final report. Additionally, students will be required to read and report on articles from the American Journal of Physics. Two two-hour laboratories per week.

PHYS 485 - Independent Study

1.00 Cr
Independent study is open to junior and senior students only. At the time of application, a student must have earned a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. A student may register for no more than three (3) semester hours of independent study in any one term. In all cases, registration for independent study must be approved by the appropriate department chairperson and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

PHYS 499 - Senior Thesis

1.00 Cr
The senior thesis is designed to encourage creative thinking and to stimulate individual research. A student may undertake a thesis in an area in which s/he has the necessary background. Ordinarily a thesis topic is chosen in the student's major or minor. It is also possible to choose an interdisciplinary topic. Interested students should decide upon a thesis topic as early as possible in the junior year so that adequate attention may be given to the project. In order to be eligible to apply to write a thesis, a student must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 based upon all courses attempted at Carroll College. The thesis committee consists of a director and two readers. The thesis director is a full-time Carroll College faculty member from the student's major discipline or approved by the department chair of the student's major. At least one reader must be from outside the student's major. The thesis director and the appropriate department chair must approve all readers. The thesis committee should assist and mentor the student during the entire project. For any projects involving human participants, each student and his or her director must follow the guidelines published by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Students must submit a copy of their IRB approval letter with their thesis application. As part of the IRB approval process, each student and his or her director must also complete training by the National Cancer Institute Protection of Human Participants. The thesis is typically to be completed for three (3) credits in the discipline that best matches the content of the thesis. Departments with a designated thesis research/writing course may award credits differently with approval of the Curriculum Committee. If the thesis credits exceed the full-time tuition credit limit for students, the charge for additional credits will be waived. Applications and further information are available in the Registrar's Office.