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Physics

www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/physics/

Professors BURNS, HILT, WHITTEN; Associate Professors CERVANTES, LANG, PURDUE (chair); Adjunct Associate Professor DICENZO; Visiting Associate Professor LAZAROVA

THE MAJOR — REQUIREMENTS:

Students majoring in physics must receive credit for the core curriculum. The core curriculum consists of 12 courses: PC241, 242, 251, 261, 361 (or 362 or 462), 450, three upper-division electives (courses numbered 262 or above), and three mathematics prerequisites, MA126, MA129, and MA204. One block of Investigations in Physics (Physics 391 or 491) may be substituted for an upper division elective, but Readings in Physics (Physics 270, 370, or 470) may not. We strongly recommend that all students majoring in physics do one or more summer research programs in physics or a field specific to their emphasis.

THE MINOR — REQUIREMENTS:

Students minoring in physics must receive credit for Physics 241 and 242 (Introductory Classical Physics I and II), Physics 251 (Modern Physics), Physics 261 (Electronics), plus one other course numbered 200 or above.

Emphases in Physics:

Each emphasis consists of the core curriculum and additional advanced courses in physics, mathematics, and other fields specific to a student’s career. There are currently six emphases offered, four of which are interdisciplinary: Comprehensive Major, Astrophysics, Teaching, Environmental, Geophysics, Chemistry/Material Science. See the physics department website for requirements and a sample four year schedule.

Comprehensive Major:

This emphasis is for students interested in pursuing graduate school in physics or a related field. A broad coverage of major topics of physics is represented, preparing students for graduate school in any field of physics. This emphasis includes nearly every available physics course offered at CC.

Astrophysics emphasis:

The astrophysics emphasis is designed for physics majors who are interested in astronomy and astrophysics. Although this emphasis provides a good preparation for graduate work in astronomy and astrophysics, it is also a good choice for those interested in a liberal arts education with a strong background in the physical sciences.

Interdisciplinary emphasIs:

The following emphases are interdisciplinary and consist of the physics core curriculum and an emphasis in another department. It is recommended that students planning on completing one of these emphases consult an adviser in both departments. See the physics department website for requirements and a sample four year schedule.

Teaching Emphasis:

The teaching emphasis is intended for students interested in teaching physics at a high school level. In Colorado, physics teachers are certified to teach all sciences. This means that students need to major in physics, but also take at least two courses in other sciences. Options for becoming a certified physics teacher as can be found on the physics department website.

Environmental emphasis:

This is an interdisciplinary major in physics and the environmental program (where it is called EV/physics). Students who are interested in applying physics to environmental issues should consider this emphasis.

Geophysics emphasis:

Students who are interested in going into employment or graduate school in geophysics may be interested in this emphasis, which combines the physics core curriculum with four courses in geology.

Chemistry/Material Science emphasis:

Students interested in employment or graduate school in chemical physics or material science may be interested in the chemistry/material science emphasis, which combines the core requirements with courses in chemistry.

OTHER COURSES:

Courses 123 and 124 (Scientific Revolutions I and II) through 137 (Conceptual Physics) are intended primarily for students with no professional interest in the sciences, but a curiosity about what physicists and astronomers know about various aspects of the world and how they found it out.

The Topics in Physics courses (120, 220, 320, and 420) are experimental or occasional courses taught by visiting professors or permanent faculty. Courses offered under this designation will vary year to year. .5 unit or 1 unit.

Physics Courses

PC108 Material Science and Instrument Design

Explores the physical properties of a wide range of materials through applications, such as robotics, and the design of instrument parts via discussion and hands-on experience. Manufacture of assigned instruments and/or parts leads to an understanding of the tolerances that can be expected of common machinery, including a mill, lathe, and a CNC (computer numerical control) mill for the automation of tasks. The course will develop practical skills useful for experimental science or any discipline or trade that requires improvisation or prototyping. (Not offered 2013-14).

.5 unit

PC120 Topics in Physics:

Experimental or occasional courses taught by visiting professors or permanent faculty. Courses under this rubric will vary year to year. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

1 unit —

PC122 Cosmology and Place in the American Southwest

This FYE Seminar introduces students to the foundations of Anthropology and Cultural Astronomy by exploring how groups in the American Southwest imbued the landscape and sky with memories, meanings, and other lived experiences. Students will explore how the Ancient peoples of this region developed complex societies, constructed monumental buildings, and positioned structures and features to engage with the natural world. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Also listed as Anthropology 209 and Southwest Studies 200.

2 units —

PC123 Scientific Revolutions: The Copernican Revolution

Planetary astronomy from the Greeks to the age of Newton. This course is a blend of history and science, and it explores the role of planetary astronomy in the development of Western thought. Readings from Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. Astronomical observations and laboratory work. (Satisfies the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

1 unit —

PC124 Scientific Revolutions: Relativity

This course examines 19th and 20th-century modifications of Newtonian ideas of space, time and interactions. We focus on the concepts and consequences of the theory of relativity: length contraction, time dilation, the relativity of simultaneity, the equivalence of mass and energy, new approaches to gravitation, and black holes. We also explore the impact of relativity outside science. Readings from Einstein, Minkowski, Holton, Kuhn and others. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: The West in Time requirement.

Prerequisite: Physics 123.

1 unit —

PC129 Acoustics

Physics of motion, vibrations and waves, with application to hearing, music and architectural acoustics. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC131 Cultural Astronomy of the Southwest

Surveys the history and concepts of Western astronomy as background for other cultural approaches to astronomy. Focuses on archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy of native Southwestern peoples, including Ancestral Puebloans as well as modern Pueblo and Athabascan tribes. Explores relationships among astronomy, rock art, ritual, oral narratives, social patterns and belief systems. (Also listed as SW 200 and AN 211.) 1 unit. Hilt and department Meets the Critical Perspectives: Diverse Cultures and Critiques requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Also listed as Southwest Studies 131.

1 unit —

PC132 Observational Astronomy for Amateurs

A course for non-physics majors who are interested in learning to use a telescope and studying the sky. Class activities will include: understanding and learning to use the telescope and CCD camera, learning to manipulate and reduce images, offering observational opportunities for campus and community members, and performing individual or group observational projects, such as looking for Messier objects, tracking the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, and observing the tilt of Saturn's rings.

Prerequisite: No credit after completing Physics 362; may be taken up to two times for credit.

.25 unit —

PC133 Astronomy

Our solar system, our galaxy, the expanding universe of galaxies. Methods for obtaining astronomical data; fundamental properties of planets, stars, interstellar matter and galaxies; their origin and evolution; unusual objects like pulsars, quasars and black holes; life in the universe. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

1 unit —

PC135 Meteorology

Basic physics principles are introduced and used to study dynamic processes in the atmosphere: atmospheric energy flow, solar radiation, green-house effect, large-scale circulation of the atmosphere, small-scale processes including clouds and storms, weather forecasting, man's impact on weather and climate. Laboratory and field experiments and field trips will be utilized. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC136 How Things Work

A practical introduction to the physics in everyday life. Covers examples from simple experiences like ice skating and drinking through a straw to complicated devices like televisions and microwaves,these are explained using physical principles, logical arguments, schematic diagrams, lots of demonstrations, and a few equations. Each student dissects and explains a mechanical or electrical device, such as a wind up clock, bicycle, or vacuum cleaner, using principles and techniques developed in the course. Requires no previous experience with physics. Those with significant previous physics experience will find some repetition, but significant new applications. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC137 Conceptual Physics

A nonmathematical introduction to some of the important concepts in physics such as inertia, gravity, energy, relativity, and quanta. Some examples of phenomena and devices that might be covered include falling and floating bodies, rocket action, tides, waves of many kinds, the behavior of atoms, fission and fusion, lasers, the twin paradox, and black holes. (Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC141 Physics for the Life Sciences l

This is the first block of a two-block sequence in introductory physics tailored to students majoring in one of the life sciences. This course covers mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluids. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 125 or 126 or equivalent of consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC142 Physics for the Life Sciences ll

This is the second block of a two-block sequence in introductory physics tailored to students majoring in one of the life sciences. This course covers electricity, magnetism, basic electrical circuits, waves, optics, and quantum physics Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Physics 141 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC151 Biophysics: Physics and Living Things

How physical principles apply to living things. Some examples of the kinds of topics to be discussed are muscle action, running, jumping, flying, circulation of blood, keeping warm, keeping cool, nerve action, hearing, and seeing. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC220 Topics in Physics:

Courses offered under this rubric will vary year to year. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC224 Spacetime Physics

An introductory examination of some of the physics of spacetime. Flat spacetime geometry, momentum and energy, gravity and curved spacetime. Effects of relativity in mechanics, optics and particle physics. More mathematical than 124. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: HS Math & Science.

.5 to 1 unit

PC241 Physics for the Physical Sciences l: Mechanics

This is the first block of a two-block sequence in introductory physics for students planning to major in the physical sciences or enter an engineering program. This course covers mechanics and thermodynamics. The course emphasizes mathematically rigorous problem solving. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 125 or 126 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC242 Physics for the Physical Sciences ll: Electricity & Magnetism

This is the second block of a two-block sequence in introductory physics for students planning to major in the physical sciences or enter an engineering program. This course covers electricity & magnetism, waves, and optics. The course emphasizes mathematically rigorous problem solving. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Physics 241 and Mathematics 129 or equivalent or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC251 Introductory Modern Physics

A continuation of introductory physics using calculus begun in 241 and carried forward in 242. Special relativity and quantum theory are introduced and then used to understand such things as atomic structure, statistical mechanics, and radioactive decay. Experimental exploration of these topics is an especially important component of this course. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Prerequisite: Physics 242 or equivalent.

1 unit —

PC253 Computational Physics

Numerical modeling of physical systems, data acquisition and analysis. The use of data analysis/visualization tools, analytic computation tools, and a general scientific programming language are covered. Students will use topics from regular block courses as the basis for computational projects.

Prerequisite: Physics 242.

.5 unit —

PC261 Electronics I

The block begins with basic circuit theory and discrete circuit elements. We then go on to a study of analog and digital electronics. The emphasis is on experimental work.

Prerequisite: Physics 242 or equivalent.

1 unit —

PC262 Electronics II

The block begins with more analog and digital electronics using integrated circuits. The applications are to physics instrumentation. An introduction to micro-processors may be included. The emphasis is again on experimental work.

Prerequisite: Physics 261.

1 unit —

PC270 Readings in Physics:

Directed readings in selected areas of physics with discussions and written reports.

.5 to 1 unit —

PC308 Introductory Geophysics

Applications of physics to the study of Earth structure from crust to core. Seismology, magnetics, gravity, and geodesy. Explores history of Earth's formation, current geologic and tectonic problems, and uniqueness of interpretation issues. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Calc 1 (Mathematics 125 or 126). Introductory Physics (Asian Studies 141 or 241), and Geology 260 or consent of instructor.

1 unit

PC311 Vector Analysis

Vector functions, divergence and curl. Green's and Stokes's theorems, and the properties of three-dimensional curves and surfaces. Related topics from linear algebra and differential equations.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 203.

1 unit —

PC320 Topics in Physics: Solid State Physics

Courses offered under this rubric will vary year to year. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251.

1 unit

PC333 Solid State Physics

Explores the nature of condensed matter and the geometrical arrangement of atoms in a crystal and how that arrangement affects the electronic structures of that material. Understanding of the different band structures of metals, semiconductors, and insulators, and how these govern the interactions of each material with photons and electrons and lead to the very different roles of these materials in the objects we create and use. Particular subjects are likely to include semiconductor devices, alloys, and the effect of dislocations and impurities on material properties. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251.

1 unit

PC335 Atmospheric Physics and Climate Change

A survey of the physical and chemical components of weather, air pollution and climate at both global and local scales that will outline local, national and global political responses to threats to our atmospheric environment. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251.

1 unit

PC341 Mechanics

Forces, potentials and motion according to Newton, Lagrange and Hamilton. Conditions for conservation of momentum, energy and angular momentum. Topics such as gravitation, oscillations, chaos, scattering and things that go bump in the night. Prerequisite: 251 and Mathematics 203 or Consent of Instructor. 1 unit - Hilt

Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Physics 251 & Mathematics 203.

1 unit —

PC349 Thermal Physics

First and second laws of thermodynamics and their applications. Statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, elementary transport processes. Maxwell-Bolzman, Fermi Dirac, and Bose-Einstein statistics and their applications in solid state, nuclear and molecular physics.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Physics 251 & Mathematics 203.

1 unit —

PC353 Electromagnetic Theory

The theory of electricity and magnetism: electric charges, forces, fields and potentials; electric currents, magnetic forces, fields and potentials. Electromagnetic induction. Maxwell's equations, plane waves in vacuum.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Physics 251, 311.

1 unit —

PC354 Electromagnetic Waves and Optics

The continuation of 353. Electromagnetic fields in matter: conduction, polarization, magnetization; a brief introduction to condensed matter physics. Plane waves in linear media, boundary conditions, interference, diffraction. Radiation from simple sources, coherence.

Prerequisite: Physics 353.

1 unit —

PC357 Astrophysics

An introduction to stellar structure and evolution with an emphasis on the physics underlying the observed phenomena. Topics include the birth, evolution, and death of stars, pulsars, black holes, and white dwarfs.

Prerequisite: Physics 251.

1 unit —

PC358 Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology

A study of the large scale structure of the universe and evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the present epoch. Topics include expansion of the universe, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic background radiation and the formation and evolution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251.

1 unit

PC361 Techniques of Experimental Physics

The design, execution, and analysis of experiments in physics. Data analysis, probability and statistics. One or more laboratory projects to be completed.

Prerequisite: Physics 251, 261 or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC362 Observational Astronomy

The design and execution of observations of astronomical objects. Reduction and analysis of astronomical data. Probability and statistics. Includes original astronomical observations using both the Phipps Observatory and the 0.8-m National Undergraduate Research Observatory telescope at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251, 261.

1 unit

PC370 Readings in Physics:

Directed readings in selected areas of physics with discussions and written reports.

1 unit —

PC391 Investigations in Physics:

Independent experimental and/or theoretical practice-research in areas such as nuclear magnetic resonance, geophysics, atomic physics, non-linear dynamics, and astrophysics. Affiliation with a staff member for work as an apprentice researcher in the area of his or her interest. As many as four units of Investigations may be taken for credit.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor & Physics 251, 261.

1 unit —

PC392 Investigations in Physics:

Independent experimental and/or theoretical practice-research in areas such as nuclear magnetic resonance, geophysics, atomic physics, non-linear dynamics, and astrophysics. Affiliation with a staff member for work as an apprentice researcher in the area of his or her interest. As many as four units of Investigations may be taken for credit.

1 unit —

PC420 Advanced Topics in Physics:

An advanced course in a topic of current interest in physics. Examples: special and general relativity; quantum mechanics of atoms, molecules, and solids; elementary particle physics, relativistic quantum mechanics. Topics vary from year to year. (Not offered 2013-14).

1 unit

PC431 Air: Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry

Introduction to atmospheric circulation, radiation transfer, thermodynamics and radiation balance as they determine the vertical structure of the atmosphere and regulate the surface temperature. Kinetics, modeling, and reaction systems as they relate to air pollution and ozone chemistry in the stratosphere and troposphere. Course includes a student-designed laboratory/field project related to local air pollution issues. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Environmental Science 212 or Chemistry 108 and Physics 241 or Physics 251.

1 unit

PC441 Quantum Mechanics I

General formulation of quantum mechanics: hermitian operators, eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, physical content of the wave function, indeterminacy relations and simultaneous observables, angular momentum and spin. Solutions of the Schrodinger equation in one and several dimensions, the hydrogen atom.

Prerequisite: PC311,341, Mathematics 220 or consent of instructor.

1 unit —

PC442 Quantum Mechanics and Relativity II

Applications of quantum mechanics. Perturbation theory, scattering theory, and interpretations of quantum mechanics. A short introduction to relativistic quantum theory.

Prerequisite: Physics 441.

1 unit —

PC450 Senior Seminar

A course emphasizing research and presentation of physics. Students will prepare and deliver a series of presentations on a variety of topics, and will learn to research a topic in the physics literature. The presentations will increase in length and complexity throughout the block. The last part of the course will be devoted to preparing a full-length seminar on a suitable topic. This seminar will be presented later in the semester, and a major part of the student's evaluation will be based upon it. Successful completion of this course is required of all physics majors.

1 unit —

PC461 Field Research in Physics

The design, execution, and evaluation of field research in physics. Use of instrumentation including computerized data acquisition, construction and testing of equipment for fieldwork, planning a field program and carrying out field research, analyzing and reporting results. PC 461 is a 1/2 unit extended format course, and must be completed prior to PC 462, the 1 unit block course devoted to field research. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 251, 261 or consent of instructor Must be completed prior to 462.

.25 to .5 units

PC462 Field Research in Physics

The design, execution, and evaluation of field research in physics. Use of instrumentation including computerized data acquisition, construction and testing of equipment for fieldwork, planning a field program and carrying out field research, analyzing and reporting results. PC 461 is a 1/2 unit extended format course, and must be completed prior to PC 462, the 1 unit block course devoted to field research. (Not offered 2013-14).

Prerequisite: Physics 461.

1 unit

PC470 Readings in Physics:

Directed readings in selected areas of physics with discussions and written reports.

1 unit —

PC491 Advanced Investigations in Physics

Yearlong independent experimental and/or theoretical research in areas such as nuclear magnetic resonance, geophysics, atomic physics, non-linear dynamics, and astrophysics. Affiliation with a staff member for work as an apprentice researcher in an area of the faculty member's interest. Combines an extended format course (one-half unit of credit) working with a faculty member to plan and begin research with a block of intensive work (one unit of credit) resulting in a formal written report and an oral seminar presentation before the Physics Department faculty and students.

Prerequisite: Physics 251, 261 & consent of instructor.

1 unit —