Undergraduate Physics Courses

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Undergraduate Courses

PHS 115 Science and Society (A,N)

Cross listed with ESC/GEP 115. Examines how science as an enterprise explains processes and phenomena that humans experience, infer, and observe. Using a specific theme (e.g. future of life on earth, anthropogenic climate change, mutation and exchange of genes from viruses to humans, space travel and biodiversity), the student will explore how scientists use basic principles of energy, matter, motion, behavior, ecology, and evolution to understand and predict phenomena on many different scales, ranging from the microscopic to universal. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

PHS 205 Introduction to Physics I (with lab) (A,L)

$5 Course fee required: Prerequisite: MTH 122. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers the fundamental principles of mechanics. Covers linear, rotational and oscillatory motion including kinematics, Newton's laws, and energy and momentum and their conservation laws. Experiments explore the topics covered in the lectures. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS 235. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. May not be applied to major or minor programs in physics. 4 Cr. Fall.

PHS 210 Introduction to Physics II (A,L)

$5 Course fee required: Prerequisite: PHS 205 or PHS 235. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers sound, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, light, and modern physics. Experiments explore the topics covered in the lectures. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS240. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. May not be applied to Major or Minor programs in Physics. 4 Cr. Spring.

PHS 235 Physics I (A,L)

$5 Course fee required: Corequisite: MTH 201. Calculus-based introductory physics. Introduces the fundamentals of mechanics from Kinematics to Newton's laws, energy, momentum and their conservation laws, rotational and harmonic motions, then statics and equilibrium. Experiments explore the topics covered in the lectures. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Fall.

PHS 240 Physics II (A)

$5 Course fee required: Prerequisites: PHS 235; corequisite: MTH 202. Calculus-based introductory physics. Introduces fluids, waves and their propagation, thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, and the first and second law, as well as, the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, from fields and potentials to electric circuits, and Maxwell's equations. Experiments explore the topics covered in the lectures. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Spring.

PHS 307 Physics III (A)

Prerequisite: PHS 240; corequisite: MTH 203.

The first part of a one year transition to advanced physics. Discusses topics in classical physics beyond the first year courses. Includes topics such as complex mechanical systems, statistical thermodynamics, electromagnetic fields and geometrical optics. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall.

PHS 308 Electronics Laboratory (A)

Prerequisite: ENG112.

Introduction to electronics. Experiments include studying the limits of Ohm's Law, Kirchoff's Laws, semiconductor devices including diodes, light emitting diodes, and transistors, and an introduction to modern electronics including programming Arduino microcontrollers. 1 Cr. Fall.

PHS 328 Modern Physics (A)

Prerequisite PHS 307.

Provides an introduction to the theory of special relativity, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and elementary particle physics. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHS 329 Modern Physics & Optics Laboratory (A)

Prerequisite: PHS 307 and Corequisite: PHS 328.

This is the companion lab to PHS 328 Modern Physics. The first half of the course explores the wave and particle aspects of light in experiments demonstrating interference, diffraction, polarization, the color-dependence of the refractive index of materials, and the basics of interferometry. The course continues with some of the seminal experiments in modern physics, such as the photoelectric effect, the speed of light, the wavelike nature of electrons, the analysis of emission line spectra, and the charge-to-mass ratio of the electron. This course and PHS 309 Electronics lab will fulfill the two-credit PHS 325 Intermediate Lab requirement. NYSED requires a minimum course grade of “C” (undergraduate sections) for certification. 1 Cr. Spring.

PHS 332 Intermediate Mechanics & Math Methods (A)

Prerequisite: PHS 307 & MTH 203 with (Corequisite MTH255 with minimum grade of C) .

Explores Newtonian Mechanics utilizing the mathematical tools necessary for a realistic and comprehensive analysis of topics including Air Resistance, Momentum Conservation, Energy Analysis, and Oscillations. In addition, many of the mathematical tools required for junior and senior level Physics classes will be emphasized. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHS 345 Advanced Physics Laboratory (A)

$5 Course fee required: Prerequisites: PHS 329 and 332. Students conduct advanced experiments using modern physical measurement techniques, produce written scientific reports with detailed analyses, and make oral presentations describing methods and results. Particular skills emphasized include the statistical treatment of data, propagation of errors, graphs, and report writing. 1 Cr. Fall.

PHS 350 Instrumentation Laboratory (A)

$5 Course fee required: Prerequisite: PHS 308 & CSC 203 or instructor permission. This is a project-based laboratory in which students learn to design and 3D print parts for an Arduino-controlled ‘Mars Rover’ robot. Skills developed include programming a small microprocessor, designing and making robotic parts, and LabVIEW programming for automated instrumentation and measurements. Weekly labs include a brief skills-based lecture and project. Students describe their methods, analysis, and results in scientific reports, by demonstrating autonomous completion of a task by the Mars Rover, and in a student-developed final project. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr. Fall.

PHS 361 Spec Topics in Physics (A)

Prerequisites: PHS 328 and PHS 332, or permission of instructor.

Provides an intermediate-level introduction to selected areas of physics. Possible topics include Condensed Matter Physics, Astrophysics, and others. May be taken only once for major credit. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Even Fall.

PHS 362 Solid State Physics (A)

Prerequisite: PHS 332.

This course will examine the physical nature of matter in the solid state. Topics will include crystal lattices, crystallographic imperfections, transport in metals and semiconductors, x-ray techniques, electronic band structure, semiconductor devices, and phonons. 3 Cr.

PHS 363 Astrophysics (A)

Prerequisites: PHS 328 and 332 with min grade of D-.

Connects the observed properties of stars, galaxies, and the universe itself to the underlying physical principles governing their behavior. The main focus will be on the properties and life-cycle of stars, including their birth, death, and the formation of remnants such as black holes and neutron stars. Examines the nature and evolution of galaxies, and the energy output of active galaxies and quasars powered by supermassive black holes. The final portion of the course is an overview of our evolving universe, including the Big Bang model, dark energy and dark matter, the formation and distribution of galaxies, and the ultimate fate of the universe. 3 Cr.

PHS 399 Independent Study in Physics (A)

Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

PHS 403 Physics Project Seminar I (A)

Prerequisite: senior status and permission of instructor.

In-depth investigation of an individual topic in physics with agreement of a faculty mentor. Includes topic and project development and investigation as well as attendance at seminars. One hour of seminar/discussion per week. 1 Cr. Fall.

PHS 404 Physics Project Seminar II (A)

Prerequisite: PHS 403.

Continuation of PHS 403. Student research culminates in preparation and presentation of a public lecture and poster. Attendance at seminars is also required. One hour of seminar/discussion per week. 1 Cr. Spring.

PHS 411 Quantum Mechanics (A)

Prerequisites: PHS 328 and PHS 332.

Provides a rigorous introduction to quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schrödinger equation with various potentials, hydrogen-like atoms, spin, and approximation methods. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.

PHS 415 Thermal Physics (A)

Prerequisites: PHS 332.

The physics of large numbers of particles can be treated in two ways. The first half of the course will investigate the principles of thermodynamics, the measurement of the bulk properties of matter (energy, entropy, enthalpy, etc.) and the exchange of heat between systems. Understanding 'why' heat flows from hot to cold, however, requires an understanding of the quantum behavior of atoms and the statistics that connect one atom with many. In the second half of the course, we will examine the statistical behavior that underlies the laws of thermodynamics. We will explore quantum and classical probability distributions, as well as partition functions and their associated thermodynamical potentials. 3 Cr.

PHS 419 Electricity & Magnetism (A)

Prerequisites: PHY332 and MTH255 with min grade of "C".

An introduction to the treatment of electromagnetic fields using vector calculus. Includes electrostatic and magnetic fields in vacuum and in matter, time-varying fields, magnetic induction, Maxwell's Equations and the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Required course. 3 Cr.

PHS 423 Advanced Mechanics (A)

Prerequisite: PHS332 and MTH255 with a min grade of C.

Explores more complex applications of Newtonian mechanics in solving for orbits, coupled oscillators, rotating bodies, and non-inertial frames. Introduces students to the energy-based formulations of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian and the concept of generalized coordinates. Includes a brief overview of the principles of non-linear dynamics and chaos. This is one of the required core courses in the Physics major. NYSED requires a minimum course grade of “C” for undergraduate sections. 3 Cr.

PHS 499 Independent Study in Physics (A)

Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.