PHYSICS DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Course Offerings Fall 2012-Spring 2013

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PROFESSORS: Belloni, Boye, Cain, Christian (Dept. Chair), Gfroerer,
ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS: Yukich

look over a few typical plans of study


Core Requirements: Any course in physics numbered 103 or above may be counted toward the fulfillment of the core requirement in Natural Science and Mathematics. Physics 120, 220, 130, or 230 satisfies the core requirement in laboratory science. AP credit for Physics 118 or 119 does not satisfy the core requirement in laboratory science.  Physics 101W satisfies the composition requirement, but not the core requirement in natural science.

Major Requirements: Physics 120 or 130 is a prerequisite to a major in physics.  Only with specific permission of the department chair can Physics 118 satisfy this prerequisite.  The major consists of ten physics courses:  220 or 230, 200, 310, 320, 330, 335, 350, and 360; the mathematics requirement; and one course chosen from courses numbered 400 to 460.  If Physics 201 is not taken to fulfill the mathematics requirement, then an additional physics course is required at the 400 level with approval of the department.

Major Requirements (3/2 Engineering Track):  Students seeking to complete the 3/2 engineering track are required to take the following courses in order to receive a B.S. degree in Physics from Davidson:  Physics 230, 310, 320, 335; the mathematics requirement; and two courses from 330, 350, and 360.

Mathematics Requirement:  Either Physics 201 or both Mathematics 150 and 160 will satisfy the mathematics requirement for the major.

Honors Requirements: In addition to completing the requirements for a major in physics, a candidate for honors in physics must submit a written thesis covering an independent research project. Such a project may be based upon work completed in Physics 495, 496  or in an undergraduate research program on or away from campus that is approved by the department. Applications for honors in physics should be made in writing to the chair of the department of physics no later than the end of the junior year.

The awarding of honors in physics is based on:
1. An overall average of at least 3.2, with an average of at least 3.5 in physics courses taken at Davidson.
2. An acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination in Physics.
3. An oral presentation of the research in a departmental seminar.
4. The favorable vote of the physics faculty concerning the qualities of the candidate, the course of study, the written thesis, and the oral defense.

Applied Mathematics Concentration: Students who are interested in applied mathematics are encouraged to consider the Applied Mathematics Concentration.  The concentration offers a track for students interested primarily in the natural sciences and a track for students interested primarily in the social sciences.

Computer Science Concentration:  Students who are interested in computer science are encouraged to investigate the Computer Science Concentration.  Physics courses involved in the computer science concentration are Physics 200, 310, and 397.   Mathematics courses in the concentration are listed under the Mathematics department listing in the catalog.  The student who intends to pursue graduate study in computer science should major in physics or mathematics or take upper-level physics and math courses to augment the Computer Science Concentration.  Examples of student computational work can be found at http://webphysics.davidson.edu.


COURSE TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS

103 PHYSICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT (Mr. Cain)
A study of the physical laws and processes that underlie environmental phenomena with a special focus on energy and radiation.  Technical, economic and social consequences of these laws and processes will be examined to better delineate the complex decisions related to environmental issues.  No laboratory. (Fall)

105 ASTRONOMY (Mr. Cain, Mr. Belloni)
An examination of the structure and evolution of the universe. Emphasis on physical principles necessary for an understanding of how astronomers see and interpret phenomena. Topics include life cycle of stars, size and fate of the universe and current cosmology. No laboratory. Not open to seniors. (Spring)

110 THE PHYSICS AROUND YOU (Mr. Cain, Mr. Yukich)
A descriptive course, designed primarily for non-science majors, concerning the laws of mechanics, heat, electricity, light and the atom as applied to the devices and natural occurrences observed in everyday experience. No laboratory. Not open to students with credit for Physics 120, 220, 130, or 230. (Fall & Spring)

115 MUSICAL TECHNOLOGY (Mr. Boye)
The physical principles of sound light, and electricity are developed and explored in order to understand their application in such technologies as digital audio recording and reproduction, synthesis of musical instruments, CD's, lasers, and room acoustics. Designed for non-science majors. No laboratory. (Spring)

118 ADVANCED PLACEMENT CREDIT: MECHANICS
Course credit for appropriate scores on the AP Physics B exam or the AP Physics C (mechanics) exam.  The course does not satisfy the lab science core requirement.  Only with specific permission of the chair may the course serve as prerequisite to other courses in Physics.  Credit for Physics 118 is forfeited by a student who elects to take Physics 120 or 130.

119 ADVANCED PLACEMENT CREDIT: ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM
Course credit for appropriate scores on the AP Physics C (electricity and magnetism) exam.  The course does not satisfy the lab science core requirement.  Only with specific permission of the chair may the course serve as prerequisite to other courses in Physics.  Credit for Physics 119 is forfeited by a student who elects to take Physics 220 or 230.

120,220 GENERAL PHYSICS (Mr. Belloni, Mr. Boye, Mr. Cain, Mr. Christian, Mr. Yukich)
Mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. One laboratory period each week. Physics 120 or permission of the instructor is a prerequisite for Physics 220. Physics 120 (Fall and Spring); Physics 220 (Fall and Spring)

130,230 GENERAL PHYSICS WITH CALCULUS (Mr. Boye, Mr. Belloni, Mr. Cain, Mr. Yukich)
Mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. More comprehensive than Physics 120,220 and designed for students who intend to major in chemistry, mathematics, physics, or 3-2 Engineering. Corerequisite for Physics 130: Mathematics 111 or 112. Prerequisite for Physics 230: Physics 130 or permission of the instructor. One laboratory period each week. (Physics 130 -- Fall, Physics 230 -- Spring).

200 COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS (Mr. Belloni, Mr. Christian)
(Cross-listed Computer science 200) Introduction to computer programming using LabVIEW or Java programming language.  Assignments will be based on simulations emphasizing problem solving in science, program writing, and numerical methods in science.  A final project of the student's choice is presented in an end-of-term poster session and published on the Physics Department web server.  Prerequisite: Physics 120 or 130 at Davidson or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

201 MATHEMATICAL METHODS FOR SCIENTISTS ( Mr. Belloni, Mr. Gfroerer)
Designed to develop a basic competence in many areas of mathematics needed for junior/ senior level work in the sciences. Basic methods of power series, complex numbers, special functions, linear algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, multivariable and vector calculus covered clearly and carefully, but without detailed proofs. Symbolic computation and scientific visualization tools used as appropriate. Prerequisite: Math 113 or 140. (Spring)

310 ELECTRONICS AND INSTRUMENTATION (Mr. Boye, Mr. Yukich)
Analog and digital circuits and their use in computers and as instrument building blocks. Circuit theory developed for diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers and logic gates. Integration of these components to construct power supplies, oscillators, amplifiers, and microcomputer data acquisition systems. Two laboratory periods each week. Prerequisites: Physics 220 or 230. (Fall)

320 INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS (Mr. Boye, Mr. Gfroerer)
Atomic view of matter, electricity and radiation, atomic models, relativity, x-rays, waves and particles, wave mechanics and radioactivity and nuclear processes. One laboratory period each week. Prerequisite: Physics 220 or 230. (Fall)

330 INTERMEDIATE MECHANICS (Mr. Boye, Mr. Gfroerer)
Using the Lagrangian technique and the principles of vector calculus, Newtonian principles are applied to the analysis of oscillating systems and central forces. Emphasis on the development of energy as the single most useful concept in understanding the physical universe.Prerequisite: Physics 220 or 230 and Mathematics 113 or 140, or permission of the Instructor. (Fall)

335 ADVANCED LABORATORY (Mr. Gfroerer, Mr. Yukich) Introduces physics majors to modern laboratory experiments and research techniques. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: Physics 220 or 230 and Physics 320. Physics 310 is recommended. (Spring)

350 ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM (Mr. Boye, Mr. Cain) Electrostatics, magnetostatics, DC and AC circuits and electromagnetic waves, with emphasis on the derivation of Maxwell's equations. Corequisite: Mathematics 160 or Physics 201 or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

360 QUANTUM MECHANICS I (Mr. Belloni, Mr. Christian) Quantum mechanics with applications to simple systems. Corequisite: Matheatics 150 or Physics 201. Prerequisites: Physics 330 and 350 or permission of the instructor. (Fall)

391, 392 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS (Staff) Open to qualified students with permission of instructor. Topics announced in advance of registration.

395, 396 INDEPENDENT STUDY (Staff) Open to students with substantial backgrounds in physics with written permission from a supervising professor who reviews and approves the study topic. The independent study typically culminates in a written paper and/or an oral presentation.

397 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ADVANCED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN SCIENCE (Mr. Christian) (Cross-listed Computer Science 397)  Independent study using computers to model dynamical systems in the natural sciences under the direction and supervision of the instructor who approves the specific topic of study.  Emphasis is on the use of object-oriented programming and web-based protocols to investigate both dynamical systems and the representation of those systems as data structures and algorithms.  Prerequisites: CSC/PHY 200 or CSC 121 and one of PHY 310, CSC 231 or CSC 325, or permission of the instructor. (Course not offered 2010-11.)

400 STATISTICAL AND THERMAL PHYSICS (Mr. Cain, Mr. Gfroerer, Mr. Yukich) Limitations on the conversion of energy from one form to another in physical systems. Statistical approach; conclusions of classical thermodynamics derived from statistical results. Prerequisite: Physics 330 or permission of the instructor. (Fall)

410 INTERMEDIATE ASTROPHYSICS (Mr. Belloni) Astrophysical concepts are considered using the techniques of classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, statistical mechanics, and quantum mechanics.  Topics include:  star formation, the structure and evolution of degenerate stars, supernova explosions, special and general relativity, and cosmology.  Prerequisite:  Two or more of Physics 330, 350, 360, and 400 or permission of the instructor. (Not offered 2010-11.)

415 OPTICS AND LASERS (Mr. Yukich) Applications of electromagnetic theory to modern optics and lasers. Topics include electromagnetic wave propagation and superposition, optical elements and devices, Fourier transforms, diffraction, polarization, interference, and coherence theory. Specific applications are made to lasers, spectrometers, interferometers, and optical systems. Prerequisite:  Physics 350 or permission of the instructor. (Not offered 2010-11.)

420 SOLID STATE PHYSICS (Mr. Cain) An examination of the properties of solids and their device applications. Topics will include: crystal structure and diffraction; phonons and lattice vibrations; free eletron theory and band structure;semiconductors; magnetic properties; electrical properties; and superconductivity. Satisfies a major requirement in Physics. Prerequisite:  Physics 330 or permission of the instructor. Physics 350, 360, and 400 are recommended. (Spring)

430 ADVANCED MECHANICS (Mr. Boye, Mr. Christian) Continuation of Physics 330, including motion in non-inertial reference frames, the dynamics of rigid bodies, coupled oscillations, and the one-dimensional wave equation. Prerequisite: Physics 330.  (Not offered 2010-11.)

435 ADVANCED LABORATORY (Staff) Topics announced in advance of registration. Prerequisite: Physics 310 and Physics 335.  (Not offered 2010-11)

450 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY (Mr. Cain) Electromagnetic fields and waves, Maxwell's equations and applications to electromagnetic and optical phenomena. Prerequisite: Physics 350.  (Not offered 2010-11)

460 QUANTUM MECHANICS II (Mr. Belloni, Mr. Boye) Continuation of Physics 360 including applications to atomic, molecular, solid state and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: Physics 360.  (Not offered 2010-11)

495, 496 INDEPENDENT RESEARCH (Staff) Open to students with substantial backgrounds in physics with written permission of the supervising professor who reviews and approves the study topic. Satisfactory completion of a project includes an oral presentation. (PHY495, Fall; PHY496, Spring)


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