Physics Courses

General Course Listings

Sub CRSE Title
CSC 200 Computational Physics (= PHY 200)
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 120 or 130 at Davidson, or permission of the instructor.  (Spring)

Instructor
Kuchera

(Cross-listed as Physics 200.) PHY/CSC 200 is an introduction to computer programming and computational physics using Python. No prior programming experience is necessary. This course will provide students with the skills required to write code to solve physics problems in areas including quantum physics, electromagnetism, and mechanics. Structured programming methods will be covered as well as algorithms for numerical integration, solving differential equations, and more.

CSC 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= PHY 397)
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Staff

(Cross-listed as Physics 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.

PHY 103 Physics of the Environment
Prerequisites & Notes

Designed for non-science majors. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Cain

A study of the physical laws and processes that underlie environmental phenomena with a special focus on energy. 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. 

Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.
Satisfies depth or breadth course requirement in Natural Science Track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.

PHY 106 Introductory Astronomy with Lab
Prerequisites & Notes

Not open to students with credit in PHY 105. (Fall)

Instructor
Thompson

A survey of the current scientific view of the Universe. Emphasis on the physical and mathematical principles necessary to understand how astronomers observe and interpret phenomena. Topics include the historical development of major astronomical theories, the interaction of light and matter, the life cycle of stars, and the structure and evolution of the Universe. One laboratory period per week which will include daytime laboratories and evening observing and astrophotography sessions.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 110 The Physics Around You
Prerequisites & Notes

Designed for non-science majors. Not open to students with credit for Physics 120, 220, 130 or 230. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Cain

A descriptive course, intended primarily for non-science majors, concerning the laws of mechanics, heat, electricity, light, magnetism, the atom, and the nucleus as applied to the devices and technology used and the natural occurrences observed in everyday experience.  No laboratory. 

Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.
 

PHY 116 Sights and Sounds
Prerequisites & Notes

Not open to student with credit in PHY 115. (Spring)

Instructor
Boye

An examination of the production, propagation, storage, detection and perception of sound and light. Applications will focus on current practices in live performance and the means of high fidelity sound and high definition image storage and production. The level will be geared toward a non-technical audience. One laboratory period per week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.
Fulfills the lab science requirement.

PHY 118 Advanced Placement Credit: Mechanics
Prerequisites & Notes

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. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

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 distribution requirement unless significant evidence of laboratory work (in the form of a laboratory notebook or reports) is presented to the Physics Department chair. 

AP credit for Physics 118 does not satisfy the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 119 Advanced Placement Credit: Electricity and Magnetism
Prerequisites & Notes

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. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Course credit for appropriate scores on the AP Physics C (Electricity and Magnetism) exam. The course does not satisfy the lab science distribution requirement unless significant evidence of laboratory work (in the form of a laboratory notebook or reports) is presented to the Physics Department chair.

AP credit for Physics 119 does not satisfy the Natural Science distribution requirement. 

PHY 120 General Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

(Fall)

Instructors
Belloni, Boye, Yukich

Mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. One laboratory period each week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 130 General Physics with Calculus
Prerequisites & Notes

Corequisite: Math 111 or 112. (Fall/Spring)

Instructors 
Belloni, Cain, Kuchera

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 who follow the dual-degree (3-2) Engineering track.  One laboratory each week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 200 Computational Physics (= CSC 200)
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 120 or 130 at Davidson or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Kuchera

(Cross-listed as CSC 200) PHY/CSC 200 is an introduction to computer programming and computational physics using Python. No prior programming experience is necessary. This course will provide students with the skills required to write code to solve physics problems in areas including quantum physics, electromagnetism, and mechanics. Structured programming methods will be covered as well as algorithms for numerical integration, solving differential equations, and more.

 

Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.

PHY 201 Mathematical Methods for Scientists
Prerequisites & Notes

Mathematics 113 or 140. (Spring)

Instructor
Belloni

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, Fourier analysis, 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.  May not be taken for major credit in the senior year.

Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.

PHY 220 General Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 120 or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Instructors
Belloni, Kuchera, Yukich

Mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. One laboratory period each week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 230 General Physics with Calculus
Prerequisites & Notes

PHY 130 or permission of the instructor. (Fall/Spring)

Instructors 
Kuchera, Thomspon, 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 who follow the dual-degree (3-2) Engineering track.  One laboratory each week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 310 Electronics and Instrumentation
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 220 or 230. (Fall)

Instructor
Yukich

Theoretical and laboratory investigations of analog and digital circuits including diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, and logic gates.  Incorporation of these components in power supplies, oscillators, amplifiers, microcomputer systems, computers and other instruments.  Introduction to assembly language and LabVIEW programming provided.  Two laboratory periods each week.

Students entering 2012 and after: satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.
Students entering before 2012: counted toward the fulfillment of the Natural Science and Mathematics distribution requirement.

PHY 320 Introduction to Modern Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 220 or 230. (Fall)

Instructor
Gfroerer

A survey of 20th- and 21st-century physics.  Topics include relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, elementary particles and cosmology.  One laboratory period each week.

Satisfies the Natural Science distribution requirement.

PHY 330 Intermediate Mechanics
Prerequisites & Notes

Corequisite:  Mathematics 113 or 140.  Prerequisite:  Physics 220 or 230 or permission of the instructor. (Fall)

Instructor
Belloni, Kharel

Newtonian principles are used with differential, integral, and vector calculus to analyze classical dynamics.  Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics are also developed and applied.  Topics may include:  linear and non-linear oscillations, gravitational systems, the calculus of variations, many-particle systems, non-inertial reference frames, rigid-body dynamics, normal modes, and wave theory.

PHY 335 Advanced Laboratory
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 320 and Physics 310. Physics 330 is recommended. (Spring)

 

Instructor
Gfroerer

Senior-level capstone physics course.  Students conduct advanced experiments in classical mechanics, optics, quantum mechanics, and statistical and thermal physics.  Theoretical analysis, computational modeling, and scientific presentation skills are employed.  Lecture and laboratory.

PHY 350 Electricity and Magnetism
Prerequisites & Notes

Corequisite:  Mathematics 160 or Physics 201.  Prerequisite:  Physics 330 or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Belloni, Cain

Electrostatics, magnetostatics, and electromagnetic waves, with emphasis on the application of Maxwell's equations.

PHY 360 Quantum Mechanics I
Prerequisites & Notes

Mathematics 150 or Physics 201, Physics 330, and 350, or permission of the instructor. (Fall)

Instructor
Belloni

Quantum mechanics with applications to exactly-solvable systems.

PHY 391 Special Topics in Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Staff

Open to qualified students with permission of instructor. Topics announced in advance of registration.

PHY 392 Special Topics in Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
Staff

Open to qualified students with permission of instructor. Topics announced in advance of registration.

PHY 395 Independent Study
Prerequisites & Notes

Instructor
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 paper and/or an oral presentation.

PHY 397 Independent Study in Advanced Software Development in Science (= CSC 397)
Prerequisites & Notes

CSC/PHY 200 or CSC 121 and one of PHY 310, CSC 231 or CSC 325, or permission of the instructor. (Fall/Spring)

Instructor
Kuchera

(Cross-listed as 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.

PHY 400 Statistical and Thermal Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 330 or permission of the instructor. (Fall)

Instructor
Gfroerer

An introduction to thermal physics using a statistical approach to describe systems composed of very many particles. The conclusions of classical thermodynamics are derived from statistical results.

PHY 410 Intermediate Astrophysics
Prerequisites & Notes

Two or more of Physics 330, 350, 360, and 400, or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
Thompson

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.

PHY 415 Optics and Lasers
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 350 or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Instructor
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.

PHY 420 Solid State Physics
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 330 or permission of the instructor. Physics 350, 360, and 400 are recommended. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructor
Cain

An examination of the properties of solids and their device applications. Topics will include: crystal structure and diffraction; phonons and lattice vibrations; free electron theory and band structure; semiconductors; magnetic properties; electrical properties; and superconductivity.

Satisfies a major requirement in Physics.

PHY 430 Advanced Mechanics
Prerequisites & Notes

Physics 330. (Not offered 2016-2017.)

Instructors
Belloni, Boye

Continuation of Physics 330 including computer modeling.  Topics include motion in non-inertial reference frames, rigid-body motion, Hamiltonian formalism, coupled oscillations and other selected topics such as special and general relativity.

PHY 495 Independent Research
Prerequisites & Notes

(Physics 495, Fall; Physics 496, Spring.)

Instructor
Staff


Open to students with substantial backgrounds in physics with written permission of the supervising professor who reviews and approves the research topic. Satisfactory completion of a research project includes a presentation at a departmental seminar.

PHY 496 Independent Research
Prerequisites & Notes

 

 

(Physics 495, Fall; Physics 496, Spring.)

Instructor
Staff


Open to students with substantial backgrounds in physics with written permission of the supervising professor who reviews and approves the research topic. Satisfactory completion of a research project includes a presentation at a departmental seminar.