Physics and Astronomy Courses


PHY 161General Physics I1Mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, and sound. Lecture and laboratory. Partially satisfies the Natural World LADR. Prerequisite: Mat 112 or 121, or concurrent enrollment.
PHY 185General Physics II1Electricity and magnetism, light, relativity. Lecture and labo- ratory. Prerequisites: Phy 161.
PHY 225Modern Physics1Experimental and theoretical basis of modern concepts of atomic and nuclear structure and some of their applications. Prerequisite: 185
PHY 320Thermal Physics1Temperature and heat, kinetic theory, the laws of thermody- namics with applications, phase space probability distribution and approach to equilibrium, equilibrium ensembles, and ideal quantum gases. Prerequisite: 185.
PHY 329History of Physics1The evolution of ideas in physics, with philosophical perspec- tives, from Babylonians and pre-Socratics through Hellenistic years, to medieval times, to Newtonian and post-Newtonian physics and cosmology, to the scientific revolution of modern times. No prerequisites.
PHY 331Classical Mechanics1Formal introduction to classical mechanics. Newton's laws, symmetry and conservation theorems, central motion, non-inertial reference frames, systems of particles, rigid-body motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, scattering, and oscillations and waves. Prerequisite: 161.
PHY 332Electricity and Magnetism1Electric and magnetic fields and their interactions with charges and currents. Topics include electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetic properties of matter, Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite: 185.
PHY 340Optics1Theoretical and experimental study of the properties of light: wave mo- tion, propagation of light in media, geometrical optics, polarization, interference, diffraction, Fourier optics and coherence theory. Prerequisite:185.
PHY 341Advanced Physics Laboratory1Experiments in upper-level physics topics requir- ing measurement using optical, mechanical and electrical devices; report writing including standard methodologies and techniques in data handling, analysis and display. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: Phy 225.
PHY 408Senior Thesis0.5A two-semester equivalent of 471. .50 unit each.
PHY 409Senior Thesis0.5A two-semester equivalent of 471. .50 unit each.
PHY 420Special Relativity1Space time and reference frames, Lorentz transformations, rela- tivistic effects, Minkowski space and 4-vectors, relativistic dynamics and collisions, relativity and electrodynamics, principle of equivalence. Prerequisite: 185.
PHY 432Quantum Mechanics1Wave functions and the Schrodinger equation, 1-dimen- sional problems, uncertainty, angular momentum, central potentials and the Hydrogen atom, Dirac formalism, spin, approximation methods, several-electron atoms. Prerequisite: 331.


AST 111Life in the Universe1An introduction to physical conditions and dynamics in the known universe as they permit or preclude life, examining the compatibility of presently ac- cepted cosmology and cosmogony with the dynamics and time scales of evolutionary change in living systems viewed as quantitatively circumscribable processes.
AST 165Stars and the Universe1An in-depth introduction to the physical processes oc- curring in and causing the dynamical evolution of stars, to the dynamics of galaxies, and to physical processes and the evolution of a variety of cosmological models of the universe. Laboratory work emphasizes hands-on experiences including data collection and manipula- tion. Partially satisfies Natural World LADR.
AST 166The Solar System1Explores current understanding of the solar system from its formation to possible final states. Study of the planetary system and the sky both as a system offering humans objective truths and as a battleground of competing human conceptions of the system of the world. Partially satisfies Natural World LADR.
AST 237Intermediate Astronomy1Equilibrium structure of stars; dynamics and evolution of galaxies; origin, structure, and dynamics of the universe.

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