Astronomy (ASTR) and Physics (PHYS)

Professor: Fisher (Chairperson)Associate Professor: Erickson, Kulp
Part-time Instructor: Doersam

The department offers three majors, astronomy, astrophysics, and physics. The major in astronomy consists of three possible concentrations, general astronomy, astrochemistry, and astrobiology. The major in physics consists of four concentrations: general physics, engineering physics, physics education, and biophysics.

ASTRONOMY (ASTR)

The B. A. Degree

The major in astronomy requires courses in astronomy, physics, chemistry and mathematics. A student majoring in astronomy needs to complete the core courses and one concentration. A student may not earn more than one concentration in astronomy. The astronomy concentrations are:

General Astronomy – The General Astronomy concentration consists of courses which cover a wide range of topics in astronomy. The General Astronomy concentration prepares the student for planetarium work and/or museum education and may serve as a basis for earning state certification as a secondary school teacher of general science. Students who wish to pursue graduate study in astronomy are strongly recommended to either double-major with physics or pursue the astrophysics major.

Astrobiology – The Astrobiology Concentration consists of courses which cover a wide range of topics in both astronomy and biology. The Astrobiology Concentration provides the student an alternate route for certification as a secondary school teacher of general science. The student would have more experience with biology than a general astronomy student, which could prove advantageous for attaining secondary school science positions. Students who wish to pursue graduate study in astrobiology are strongly recommended to double-major in Biology with the General Astronomy concentration.

Astrochemistry – The Astrochemistry Concentration consists of courses which cover a wide range of topics in both astronomy and chemistry. The Astrochemistry Concentration provides the student an alternate route for certification as a secondary school teacher of general science. The student would have more experience with chemistry than a general astronomy student, which could prove advantageous for attaining secondary school science positions. Students who wish to pursue graduate study in astrochemistry are strongly recommended to double-major in Chemistry with the General Astronomy concentration.

Astronomy Major Requirements

Core Courses: ASTR 111, 448; PHYS 225-226; two courses in chemistry to be selected from CHEM 110, 111, 330, 331, or 439; and MATH 128-129.  Astronomy majors are also required to register for four semesters of ASTR 349 and 449 (noncredit colloquia).

General Astronomy Concentration: Complete five additional astronomy courses numbered ASTR 112 or higher, four of which must be ASTR 230 or higher.

Astrobiology Concentration: ASTR 243, and 445; BIO 110, 111, 321, and 436

Note: A student may not double major in Biology and Astronomy with the Astrobiology Concentration, nor may a student major in Astronomy with the Astrobiology Concentration and minor in Biology. However, a student may double major in Biology and Astronomy with the General Astronomy Concentration. The W course requirement may be satisfied in either astronomy or biology.

Astrochemistry Concentration: ASTR 243, and 445; CHEM 220, 221, 232, 333

Note: A student may not double major in Chemistry and Astronomy with the Astrochemistry Concentration nor may a student major in Astronomy with an Astrochemistry concentration and minor in Chemistry. However, a student may double major in Chemistry and Astronomy with the General Astronomy Concentration. The W course requirement may be satisfied in either astronomy or chemistry.

The requirement for taking ASTR 448 may be satisfied by doing an individual studies or honors project where the results would be presented at a departmental colloquium. A double major in astronomy and physics need only take the course once. The project pursued for ASTR 448 must be relevant to the student’s concentration. Students who have successfully completed a summer REU, RUG, or equivalent research experience may request departmental approval to substitute off-campus experience plus an additional advanced astronomy or physics course not already required by the major in place of ASTR 448.

The following courses are recommended: PHIL 333 and PHYS 333.

The Department of Astronomy and Physics does not offer a B. S. degree in astronomy, but we do offer a B. S. Degree in astrophysics. Students interested in a B. S. degree in astronomy should consider pursuing the astrophysics major.

Students interested in teacher certification should refer to the Department of Education listing.

The following course, when scheduled as a W course, counts toward the writing intensive requirement: ASTR 230

Minor

A minor in astronomy consists of a grade of C or better in both  ASTR 111 and PHYS 225 plus any three additional courses selected from PHYS 226 or ASTR courses numbered 200 or higher.

000 
LABORATORY TEACHING METHODS
This course provides students with practical experience in laboratory teaching. Students in this course are paired with a faculty mentor and help supervise labs, deliver pre-lab lectures and assist in ordering chemicals, supplies, and equipment, and in preparing laboratory experiments. Students complete a project that integrates the physical science education literature, classroom instruction materials, laboratory safety and proper storage and disposal of materials and equipment used. In the appropriate situation, a student may substitute planetarium show preparation and presentation for laboratory exercises. Open to junior physics and/or astronomy majors pursuing certification in education, with consent of the instructor. Non-credit course. Cross-listed as PHYS 000.

101
PRINCIPLES OF ASTRONOMY
A broad summary of our current view of the universe, from our solar system to distant galaxies.  Describes the instruments and techniques used by astronomers, today and in the past, to develop our concepts about the nature of the universe and its contents. Four hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.  Credit may not be earned for both ASTR 101 and 111.

102
PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY
A broad summary of the physical nature of the Earth, including its internal structure and surface processes.  Shows how past events can be reconstructed from preserved evidence to reveal the geologic history of our planet from its origin to the present.  Four hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.  Alternate yearsCredit may not be earned for both ASTR 102 and 112.

104
FIELD GEOLOGY
A methods course introducing the field techniques needed to study the geology of an area. May or summer term only.

107
OBSERVATIONAL ASTRONOMY
A methods course providing the opportunity to make a variety of astronomical observations, both visually and photographically, with and without telescopes. The planetarium is used to familiarize the student with the sky at various times during the year and from different locations on earth. May or summer term only.

111 
FUNDAMENTALS OF ASTRONOMY
An introduction to the nature of the physical universe – its contents (from our solar system to distant galaxies), its history, and the physical processes occurring in it.  The course is quantitative, utilizing algebra, as well as trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions.  This course is designed for students considering majoring in one of the natural sciences or mathematics.  Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Corequisite: MATH 127 or consent of instructor.  Credit may not be earned for both ASTR 101 and 111.

112
FUNDAMENTALS OF GEOLOGY
An introduction to the study of the Earth – its composition, structure, history, and the processes occurring on its surface and in its interior.  The course includes some elementary geophysics and geochemistry, and thus utilizes algebra, as well as trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential functions.  This course is designed for students considering majoring in one of the natural sciences, mathematics, or archaeology.  Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Corequisite: MATH 127 or consent of instructor.  Credit may not be earned for both ASTR 102 and 112.

120
MANNED SPACE FLIGHT
Traces the development of space flight capability from Sputnik (1957) through the early Space Race to achieve a manned landing upon the surface of the Moon, the era of space stations, development of the Space Transportation System (space shuttle), to current U.S. and Russian space efforts. Examination of scientific, engineering, and political motivations. Extensive use of NASA video. May incorporate travel to NASA facilities. Offered only when possible in May Term. Not for distribution.

230
PLANETARIUM TECHNIQUES
A methods course covering major aspects of planetarium programming, operation and maintenance. Students are required to prepare and present a planetarium show. Upon successfully completing the course, students are eligible to become planetarium assistants. Three hours of lecture and demonstration and three hours of practical training per week.  Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in ASTR 101 or 111.  Alternate years.

243
PLANETARY SCIENCE
A comparative survey of the various classes of natural objects that orbit the sun, including the major planets, their satellites, the minor planets, and comets. Topics include meteorological processes in atmospheres, geological processes that shape surface features, internal structures, the role of spacecraft in the exploration of the solar system, and clues to the origin and dynamic evolution of the solar system. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in ASTR 111 or 112, or PHYS 225. Alternate years.

340
THE INVISIBLE UNIVERSE
The astrophysics of celestial objects that emit thermal and non-thermal radiation outside the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Traces the development of observational techniques at radio, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths.  Includes cosmic microwave background radiation, pulsars, quasars, gamma-ray bursters, magnetars, and active galactic nuclei. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.  Prerequisites:  ASTR 111 and PHYS 226. Cross-listed as PHYS 340.

344
RELATIVITY AND COSMOLOGY
A detailed presentation of the special theory of relativity and an introduction to the general theory. Topics include: observational and experimental tests of relativity, four-vectors, tensors, space-time curvature, alternative cosmological models, and the origin and future of the universe. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: ASTR 111 and PHYS 225. Alternate years. Cross-listed as PHYS 344.

445
STELLAR EVOLUTION
The physical principles governing the internal structure and external appearance of stars. Mechanisms of energy generation and transport within stars. The evolution of stars from initial formation to final stages. The creation of chemical elements by nucleosynthesis. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: ASTR 111 and PHYS 226. Alternate years.

446
STELLAR DYNAMICS AND GALACTIC STRUCTURE
The motion of objects in gravitational fields. Introduction to the n-body problem. The relation between stellar motions and the galactic potential. The large-scale structure of galaxies in general and of the Milky Way Galaxy in particular. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: ASTR 111 and PHYS 225. Alternate years.

448
RESEARCH TOPICS
Students participate in a research project under the guidance of a faculty member in the department. In weekly meetings, they share reports from the literature and report on their own work. Topics range from abstract theoretical to selected practical experimental investigations. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Cross-listed as PHYS 448.  May be taken a second time with departmental approval.

349 & 449
ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS COLLOQUIA
This non-credit but required course for juniors and seniors majoring in astronomy and physics offers students a chance to meet and hear active scientists in astronomy, physics, and related scientific areas talk about their own research or professional activities. In addition, majors in astronomy and physics must present two lectures, one given during the junior year and one given during the senior year, on the results of a literature survey or their individual research. Students majoring in this department are required to attend four semesters during the junior and senior years. A letter grade will be given when the student gives a lecture. Otherwise the grade will be P/F. Non-credit course. One hour per week. Cross-listed as PHYS 349 & 449.

470-479
INTERNSHIP (See index)

N80-N89
INDEPENDENT STUDY (See index)
Independent studies may be undertaken in most areas of astronomy.

490-491
INDEPENDENT STUDY FOR DEPARTMENTAL HONORS (See index)

ASTROPHYSICS 

The B.S. degree in astrophysics requires courses in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The required courses are ASTR 111, 340, 344 (cross listed as PHYS 344), 445, and 446; PHYS 225, 226, 331, 332, 336, 338, 439 (cross listed as CHEM 449) and 448; MATH 128-129, 231, and 238; and CHEM 110. Astrophysics majors are also required to register for four semesters of ASTR/PHYS 349 and 449 (noncredit colloquia).

The requirement for taking ASTR/PHYS 448 may be satisfied by completing an individual studies or honors project and presenting the results at a departmental colloquium.  Students who have successfully completed a summer NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates, or equivalent research experience may request departmental approval to substitute off-campus experience plus an additional advanced astronomy or physics course not already required by the astrophysics major in place of ASTR/PHYS 448.

PHYSICS (PHYS)

The major in physics requires courses in physics, chemistry and mathematics. A student majoring in physics needs to complete the core courses and one concentration. A student may not earn more than one concentration in physics. The physics concentrations are:

General Physics – The General Physics concentration consists of courses that cover a wide range of topics in physics. The General Physics concentration prepares the student for a variety of careers in physics, including graduate study.

Engineering Physics – The Engineering Physics concentration consists of courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science. The Engineering Physics concentration provides an emphasis on skills useful to students seeking a career in applied physics or engineering.

Biophysics – The Biophysics concentration consists of courses in physics and biology. The Biophysics concentration can be used as an alternative route for certification as a secondary school teacher of physics. Many high school physics teachers are expected to teach courses in sciences other than physics. The Biophysics Concentration can also be used as an avenue for students who are interested in biological applications of physics but, for some reason, cannot double major with biology (e.g. the student’s interest in biology develops late in their college career). Students who wish to pursue graduate study in biophysics are strongly recommended to double-major in Biology with the General Physics concentration.

Physics Education – The Physics Education concentration consists of courses that cover a wide variety of topics in physics. The Physics Education concentration prepares the student interested in pursuing secondary teaching certification in physics.

The B.A. Degree

Core Courses: PHYS 225, 226, 331, 332, and 448, two chemistry courses from CHEM 110, 111, 330, 331, or 439; and MATH 128, 129, and 238.  Physics majors are also required to register for four semesters of PHYS 349 and 449 (non-credit colloquia).

General Physics Concentration: Student must complete four additional courses numbers PHYS 333 or higher.

Engineering Physics Concentration: PHYS 229, 337, one physics courses from PHYS 335, 336, 338, 447; and CPTR 125. 
Note:  It is recommended that a student pursuing the Engineering Physics Concentration use an internship with an engineering company as their PHYS 448 Research Topics experience.

Biophysics Concentration: BIO 110, 111; two courses numbered BIO 222 or higher. The W course requirement may be satisfied in either physics or biology.
Note:  A student may not double major in Biology and physics with the Biophysics Concentration, nor may a student major in Physics with a Biophysics Concentration and minor in Biology. However a student may double major with Biology and the General Physics Concentration.

Physics Education Concentration: Student must complete three additional courses numbered PHYS 227 or higher. 

The B.S. Degree

To complete a B. S. Degree in Physics, a student must complete the requirements for the B. A. degree and additional courses in his or her concentration. Students interested in pursuing graduate studies or work in a technical position in government or industry should consider pursuing the B. S. degree in their concentration. Note that there is no B. S. degree available for the Physics Education concentration.

Additional General Physics Concentration Courses: PHYS 337, one additional course numbered PHYS 333 or higher; CHEM/PHYS 439; and one additional course from MATH 130, 214, 231, 233, 321, 332, 333,  CPTR 125, 246, CHEM 330, 331, 333, or 443.

Additional Engineering Physics Concentration Courses: one additional physics course numbered PHYS 333 or higher (other than those required for the B. A. Engineering Concentration), CPTR 246, and MATH 231.

Additional Biophysics Concentration Courses: one additional physics course numbered PHYS 333 or higher; two additional biology courses numbered BIO 222 or higher.

The requirement of PHYS 448 may be satisfied by doing an individual studies or honors project where the results would be presented at a departmental colloquium. A double major in astronomy and physics need only take the course once. The project pursued in PHYS 448 must be relevant to the student’s concentration.  Students who have successfully completed a summer REU, RUG, or equivalent research experience may request departmental approval to substitute that experience plus an additional advanced astronomy or physics course not already required by the major in place of PHYS 448. Note that if the student has already counted two astronomy courses towards a physics major, then the extra course in place of PHYS 448 must be a physics course.

Up to two courses chosen from ASTR 111, 112, 243, 445 and 446 may substitute for two physics electives in the general physics concentration only. The following courses are recommended for any concentration: MATH 231, 238; CPTR 125 (these are required or useful by many internships and graduate schools), and PHIL 333.

Students interested in teacher certification should refer to the Department of Education listing. The following course, when scheduled as W course, counts toward the writing intensive requirement: PHYS 338.

Minor

A minor in physics requires completion of the following courses with a C grade or better: PHYS 225-226, 331, 332, and one additional course selected from PHYS courses numbered 300 or higher.

000
LABORATORY TEACHING METHODS
This course provides students with practical experience in laboratory teaching. Students in this course are paired with a faculty mentor and help supervise labs, deliver pre-lab lectures and assist in ordering chemicals, supplies, and equipment, and in preparing laboratory experiments. Students complete a project that integrates the physical science education literature, classroom instruction materials, laboratory safety and proper storage and disposal of materials and equipment used. Open to junior physics and/or astronomy majors pursuing certification in education, with consent of the instructor. Non-credit course. Cross-listed as ASTR 000.

106
ENERGY ALTERNATIVES
A physicist’s definition of work, energy, and power. The various energy sources available for use, such as fossil fuels, nuclear fission and fusion, hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal. The advantages and disadvantages of each energy-conversion method, including availability, efficiency, and environmental effects. Present areas of energy research and possible future developments. Projections of possible future energy demands. Exercises and experiments in energy collection, conversion, and utilization.

108
GREAT IDEAS OF THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE
An introduction to several major concepts of physics which have developed over the past several centuries, relating them to their broad implications. The emphasis is on a descriptive rather than a mathematical discussion of topics which range from early Greek concepts of science to present day methods and techniques used to describe the physical universe. Many distinctions and similarities between science and other areas of human endeavor are studied to demonstrate the beauty, simplicity, harmony, and grandeur of some of the basic laws which govern the universe. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Alternate years.

225
FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS I
A mathematically rigorous introduction to physics designed for majors in the natural sciences and mathematics. Topics include classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and mechanical waves. Five hours of lecture and recitation and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Prerequisite or co-requisite: MATH 128.

226
FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICS II
A mathematically rigorous introduction to physics designed for majors in the natural sciences and mathematics. Topics include electromagnetism, optics, and quantum physics. Five hours of lecture and recitation and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Prerequisite: PHYS 225. Prerequisite or co-requisite: MATH 129.

331
CLASSICAL MECHANICS
An analytical approach to classical mechanics. Topics include: kinematics and dynamics of single particles and systems of particles, gravitation and other central forces, moving reference frames, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH 129 and a grade of C or better in PHYS 225.

332
ELECTROMAGNETISM
A theoretical treatment of classical electromagnetism. Topics include: electrostatics, magnetostatics, electric and magnetic potentials, electric and magnetic properties of matter, Maxwell’s equations, the electromagnetic field, and the propagation of electromagnetic radiation. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH  129 and a grade of C or better in PHYS 226.

333
OPTICS
Geometrical optics, optical systems, physical optics, interference, Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction, and coherence and lasers are covered. Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 226 and MATH 128; or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

335
NONLINEAR DYNAMICS
Students learn how to apply mathematical techniques from the field of nonlinear dynamics to problems from the physical, biological, and social sciences. Possible topics include one, two, and three dimensional systems; bifurcation theory, limit cycles, chaos, fractals, and one and two dimensional maps. The lab component of this course stresses numerical analysis. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.  Prerequisites: PHYS 225 and MATH 129 or consent of instructor.

336
MATHEMATICAL METHODS OF PHYSICS
Solution of ordinary linear differential equations using power series and Laplace transforms, nonlinear differential and coupled differential equations, Fourier analysis using both trigonometric and complex exponential functions, complex variables, eigenvalue problems, infinite dimensional vector spaces, partial differential equations, boundary value problem solutions to the wave equation, heat flow equation and Laplace’s equation. Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH 231 and 238. Alternate years.

337
THERMODYNAMICS AND STATISTICAL MECHANICS
Classical thermodynamics will be presented, showing that the macroscopic properties of a system can be specified without knowledge of the microscopic properties of the constituents of the system.  Then statistical mechanics will be developed, showing that these same macroscopic properties are determined by the microscopic properties.  Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 226 and MATH 129.  Alternate years.

338
MODERN PHYSICS
Thorough investigation of changes in the classical understanding of space and time together with those of energy and matter that led to the time development of relativistic and quantum mechanical theories. Topics include: introduction to special relativity, blackbody radiation, the postulation of the photon and quantization, atomic spectra, interactions of matter and energy, Bohr model of the atom, concepts of symmetry, and development and applications of the Schrödinger equation. Four hours of lecture and one-three hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: MATH 129 and a grade of C or better in PHYS 226.

339
CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS
Structural topics include ordinary crystalline structures, liquid crystals, quasi-crystals, and nanostructures. Property-related topics include periodic potentials, band structure, electromagnetic and thermal properties, superconductivity, superfluidity, aspects of surface physics, and aspects of polymer physics. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 332 and MATH 129, or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

340
THE INVISIBLE UNIVERSE
The astrophysics of celestial objects that emit thermal and non-thermal radiation outside the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Traces the development of observational techniques at radio, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths.  Includes cosmic microwave background radiation, pulsars, quasars, gamma-ray bursters, magnetars, and active galactic nuclei. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.  Prerequisites:  ASTR 111 and PHYS 226. Cross-listed as ASTR 340.

341
ELECTRONICS
DC and AC circuit analysis, semiconductor physics, active devices such as PN junctions,    transistors, operational amplifiers, and integrated circuits.  Basics of digital electronics and vacuum tube technologies.  Three lectures and three hours of laboratory per week.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 225 and MATH 128.

344
RELATIVITY AND COSMOLOGY
A detailed presentation of the special theory of relativity and an introduction to the general theory. Topics include: observational and experimental tests of relativity, four vectors, tensors, space-time curvature, alternative cosmological models, and the origin and future of the universe. Four hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: ASTR 111 and PHYS 225. Alternate years. Cross-listed as ASTR 344.

439
INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM MECHANICS
Introduction to the basic concepts and principles of quantum theory. Solutions to the free particle, the simple harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom, and other central force problems are presented using the Schrodinger wave equation approach. Topics also include operator formalism, eigenstates, eigenvalues, the uncertainty principles, stationary states, representation of wave functions by eigenstate expansions, and the Heisenberg matrix approach. Four hours of  lecture. Prerequisites: Either PHYS 226 or CHEM 331, and MATH 231. Cross-listed as CHEM 439.

447
NUCLEAR AND PARTICLE PHYSICS
The course considers properties of nuclei, nuclear models, radioactivity, nuclear reactions (including fission and fusion), and properties of elementary particles. The interactions of nuclear particles with matter and the detection of nuclear particles are covered. It will be shown how observed phenomena lead to theories on the nature of fundamental interactions, how these forces act at the smallest measurable distances, and what is expected to occur at even smaller distances. Four hours of lecture and recitation and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 226, MATH 129, and either PHYS 338 or CHEM 110. Alternate years.

448
RESEARCH TOPICS
Students participate in a research project under the guidance of a faculty member in the department. In weekly meetings, they share reports from the literature and report on their own work. Topics range from abstract theoretical to selected practical experimental investigations. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Cross-listed as ASTR 448. May be taken a second time with departmental approval.

349 & 449
ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS COLLOQUIA
This non-credit but required course for juniors and seniors majoring in astronomy and physics offers students a chance to meet and hear active scientists in astronomy, physics and related scientific areas talk about their own research or professional activities. In addition, majors in astronomy and physics must present two lectures, one given during the junior year and one given during the senior year, on the results of a literature survey or their individual research. Students majoring in this department are required to attend four semesters during the junior and senior years. A letter grade will be given when the student gives a lecture. Otherwise the grade will be P/F. Non-credit course. One hour per week. Cross-listed as ASTR 349 & 449. 
 
470-479
INTERNSHIP (See index)
Interns in physics work off campus under the supervision of professional physicists employed by local industries or hospitals.

N80-N89
INDEPENDENT STUDY (See index)
Independent studies may be undertaken in most areas of physics.

490-491
INDEPENDENT STUDY FOR DEPARTMENTAL HONORS (See index)