# Physics

**Faculty **

**David G. Seely, **chair and associate professor.

B.A., 1981, Gustavus Adolphus College; M.S., 1983, Ph.D., 1990, University of Missouri, Rolla. Appointed 1991.

**Aaron J. Miller**, assistant professor.

B.A., 1995, Albion College; Ph.D., 2001, Stanford University. Appointed 2005.

**Charles E. Moreau, **assistant professor.

B.S., 1994, Alma College; M.S., 1996, Ph.D., 2001, Michigan State University. Appointed 2002.

**Nicolle E. B. Zellner**, assistant professor.

B.S., 1993, University of Wisconsin; M.S., 1998, Ph.D., 2001, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Appointed 2005.

**Introduction**

Physics involves the determination of the basic laws which allow one to predict natural behavior; indeed, *physics *originates from the Greek word for nature. These basic laws form the foundation for all the sciences. The department offers a program for physics majors, pre-engineering students, students who require a physics cognate and non-science students. The faculty have backgrounds in atomic, nuclear and solid state physics and in electronics. Students have the opportunity to participate in faculty research projects such as neutron activation analysis, environmental radiation monitoring, photodetachment of negative ions, mesoscopic patterned magnetic thin films and computational physics. Facilities include computer-aided laboratories, an x-ray diffraction system, a 50 kV negative ion accelerator, a low-level nuclear gamma ray counting system, a 14-inch Celestron telescope with a CCD camera, and a historically significant Alvan Clark telescope in the observatory.

Students have participated in summer research programs at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Notre Dame, Stanford and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Recent graduates have attended graduate schools at MIT, Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, California Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley and Stanford, among others.

**Career Opportunities**

Majors in physics are prepared to do graduate work in many areas of engineering and physical science, leading to careers in teaching and re-search at the college level or research in industrial or government laboratories. Because of the strong science background acquired by majors, they

have good possibilities for entering medical school or dental school. Direct employment opportunities are also available in industry, government and in secondary school teaching.

**Special Features**

Opportunities are available for off-campus study during the school year, particularly participation in the Great Lakes Colleges Association's Oak Ridge Science Semester conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The curriculum in physics can be adjusted to accommodate participation in other off-campus study programs as well. An active Society of Physics Students chapter sponsors seminars, field trips, tutoring and social events from a clubroom. A prize established by Nobel Laureate E.T.S. Walton is given annually to the outstanding senior physics major, and the Physics Faculty and Alumni Scholarship is given annually to an entering student.

**Requirements for Major**

- Eight and one-quarter units in physics, including: 167, 168, 169, 191, 242, 321, 325, 336 and one of the following: 245, 308, 322, 380, 384 or 387. A student contemplating study at the graduate level should include 380.
- Students majoring in physics are required to attend all departmental colloquia.
- All courses for the major must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

**Note: **Students whose major requires a physics cognate generally cannot satisfy this requirement with Physics 101, 102 or 105.

**Requirements for Minor**

- Five and one-quarter units in physics, including: 167, 168, 169, 191, 242 and one of the following: 245, 308, 321, 322, 325, 336, 384, 387.
- Four cognate courses: Mathematics 141, 143, 219, 245.
- Students pursuing the mathematics/physics interdepartmental major may not count those courses toward the physics minor.

**Requirements for Combined Engineering Program**

- A minimum of four units toward a major and at least four units of physics, four units of mathematics, one unit of chemistry as well as one unit of computing. Additional chemistry courses are required for chemical engineering. The specific course requirements of each engineering school differ; a complete list is available in the Physics Department.
- Physics 191.
- Pre-engineering students are required to attend all departmental colloquia.
- Pre-engineering students are encouraged to get a minor in physics or chemistry.

**Requirements for Major with** **Secondary Education Certification**

- A minimum of eight units in physics, including: 167, 168, 169, 242, 325, 336, plus two units selected from any 300- or 400-level physics courses or 105.
- In addition to the mathematics courses that are prerequisites for the required physics courses, one cognate course chosen from: Biology 195; Chemistry 121; Geology 101, 103, 104.
- Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

**Requirements for Minor with** **Secondary Education Certification**

- Physics 167, 168, 169, 242, plus one unit selected from any 300-or 400-level physics courses or 105.
- In addition to the mathematics courses that are prerequisites for the required physics courses, one cognate course chosen from: Biology 195; Chemistry 121; Geology 101, 103, 104.
- Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

**Courses**

**101** **Basic Concepts of Physics** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisite: High school algebra.

The basic ideas of physics in a historical and philosophical framework to give the student insight and appreciation of physics of this century and how physics relates to our contemporary society. Not intended for science majors. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. *Staff*

**102** **The Physics of Urban and Environmental Problems** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisite: High school algebra.

The physics of modern urban and environmental problems with respect to their causes, effects and possible cures. Topics include transportation, energy generation and transmission, pollution and resources. Not intended for science majors. Offered in alternate years. *Seely.*

**105** **Introductory Astronomy** **(1)** **Fall, Spring**

Prerequisite: High school algebra.

The techniques of modern astronomy and the perspective on our place in the universe that has been obtained with these techniques. Lecture and laboratory.* Staff.*

**115, 116** **General Physics** **(1 each)** **Fall, Spring**

Prerequisite: High school algebra. Freshmen need permission of instructor. Physics 115 is a prerequisite for 116.

Various forms of energy and their interactions: mechanics, sound, heat, light, electricity, magnetism and atomic and nuclear physics. Includes analytical, historical and philosophical aspects. Lecture and laboratory. *Seely.*

**167, 168, 169** **Analytical Physics I, II, III** **(1 each)** **Spring, Fall, Spring**

Corequisite for 167: Mathematics 141 or permission of instructor.

Prerequisite for 168: Physics 167

Corequisite for 168: Mathematics 143 or permission of instructor.

Prerequisite for 169: Physics 168.

A calculus-based survey of general physics. Topics include kinematics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, electricity and magnetism, light and optics, relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic physics and nuclear physics. Lecture and laboratory. *Staff.*

**191 Physics and Astronomy Seminar (1/4) Fall, Spring**

Discussion of selected topics in physics and astronomy as determined by student and staff interest. Led by departmental faculty, visiting speakers and students. Students submit written summaries of each presentation. Offered on a credit/no credit basis. *Staff.*

**206 Astronomy and Astrophysics (1) Spring**

Prerequisites: Mathematics 141 and previous physics course, or permission of instructor.

Covers topics related to cosmology, including our expanding universe. Provides an understanding of stars and how they work, and examines our solar system. Intended for mathematics and science majors and minors and for students pursuing teacher certification in science. Students who take Physics 105 cannot take Physics 206; students who take Physics 206 cannot take Physics 105. *Zellner.*

**242** **Introduction to Theoretical Physics** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisite: Mathematics 245 and 247 or permission of instructor.

An introduction to the mathematical methods of physics using spreadsheets and symbolic mathematics computer programs. Topics include numerical and power series solutions, vector calculus, complex analysis, Fourier analysis, statistics and data interpretation. *Seely.*

**245** **Electronics** **(1)** **Fall**

Prerequisite: Physics 168, or Physics 116 with Mathematics 141 and 143, or permission of instructor.

The use of linear and integrated circuits, discrete devices, amplifiers, power supplies, oscillators and digital logic in experimental design and data acquisition. Applications of measurement instrumentation. *Miller.*

**308** **Optics** **(1)** **Fall**

Prerequisite: Physics 169, 242, or permission of instructor.

An introduction to geometrical and physical optics which includes paraxial theory, polarization, interference and diffraction phenomena, and optical instruments. Topics in contemporary optics, including lasers, holography and Fourier optics will also be discussed. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. *Seely.*

**321** **Modern Physics** **(1)** **Fall**

Prerequisite: Physics 169.

An introduction to special relativity, early experiments in modern physics, one-dimensional quantum mechanics, and the physics of one-and many-electron atoms. *Staff.*

**322** **Solid State and Nuclear Physics** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisites: Physics 169, 242.

An introduction to the modern quantum mechanical description of solids and the atomic nucleus. Lecture. Offered in alternate years. *Moreau.*

**325** **Theoretical Mechanics** **(1)** **Fall**

Prerequisite: Physics 242.

Review of elementary mechanics, one-dimensional motion, harmonic oscillator, motion in two and three dimensions, central force motion and orbital mechanics, many-particle systems, rotational motion, gravitation, moving coordinate systems and Lagrangian mechanics. *Seely.*

**336** **Electricity and Magnetism** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisites: Physics 242, Mathematics 247, or permission of instructor.

A thorough discussion of Maxwell's electromagnetic field equations in differential form. Major topics are electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetic induction and electromagnetic waves.

*Moreau, Seely.*

**380** **Mathematical Physics** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisites: Physics 242, Mathematics 247, or permission of instructor.

Mathematical methods in physics including vector calculus, transform calculus, tensor analysis and special functions (viz. Fourier series, Gamma functions, Hermite polynomials, Bessel functions, spherical harmonics and Laguerre polynomials). Offered in alternate years. Same as Mathematics 380. *Staff.*

**384** **Thermodynamics** **(1)** **Spring**

Prerequisites: Physics 242.

Classical thermodynamics, including kinetic theory and an introduction to statistical mechanics.

*Moreau.*

**387** **Quantum Mechanics** **(1)** **Fall**

Prerequisites: Physics 321, 325, 336, or permission of instructor.

Non-relativistic quantum interpretation of matter and energy, employing both the wave mechanics of Schroedinger and the matrix mechanics of Heisenberg. *Staff.*

**388, 389** **Selected Topics** **(1/2, 1)** **Fall, Spring**

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

The course content will vary depending on student and faculty interests.

**391, 392** **Internship** **(1/2, 1)** **Fall, Spring**

Offered on a credit/no credit basis. *Staff.*

**401, 402** **Seminar** **(1/2, 1)Fall, Spring**

*Staff.*

**411, 412 Directed Study** **(1/2, 1) Fall, Spring**

*Staff.*