Sam Houston State University Undergraduate Catalog 2006-2008
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Physics Course Descriptions

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PHY 133 Introductory Astronomy. [PHYS 1311] The development of astronomy, the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology are studied. Emphasis is placed on discovering astronomical phenomena through individual observational activities. The Sam Houston planetarium and observatory are also used in laboratory activities. No mathematics or physics prerequisites. Credit 3.

PHY 113 Introductory Astronomy Laboratory. [PHYS 1111] Credit 1

PHY 134 Stars and Galaxies. The study of the universe beyond the solar system. Topics include the nature of stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, quasars, cosmology, the universe as a whole, and theories about the origin and fate of the universe. Along the way, students will be introduced to tools astronomers use to determine such properties as temperatures, compositions, motions, masses, and evolution of astronomical objects. Credit 3.

PHY 114 Laboratory – Stars and Galaxies. This laboratory will introduce students to the tools and techniques used by ancient and modern astronomers to determine the nature of stars, galaxies, the interstellar medium, and the universe as a whole. This is a companion course to PHY 134. Credit 1.

PHY 135, 136 General Physics for Non-Science Majors. These courses are for liberal arts students. They are NOT open to students majoring in programs offered by Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences, Geology, or Mathematics. Concepts and principles are stressed. No Mathematics or Physics prerequisites.

PHY 135 Fundamentals Of Physics I. [PHYS 1305] This is an elementary course covering the fundamentals of motion, forces and heat. Credit 3.

PHY 115 Fundamentals of Physics I Laboratory. [PHYS 1105] Credit 1.

PHY 136 Fundamentals of Physics II. [PHYS 1307] The course is a continuation of PHY 135. Fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, sound, light, and modern physics are included. Credit 3.

PHY 116 Fundamentals of Physics II Laboratory. [PHYS 1107] Credit 1.

PHY 138, 139 General Physics. These courses are designed for students majoring in biological sciences and their related pre-professional programs.

PHY 138 General Physics — Mechanics and Heat. [PHYS 1301] A modern treatment is made of the laws and principles of mechanics and heat. Derivations are carefully done using a non-calculus approach and considerable problem work is required. The laboratory work consists of quantitative experiments. Prerequisite: Credit or registration for MTH 163 or equivalent. Credit 3.

PHY 118 General Physics Laboratory I. [PHYS 1101] Credit 1.

PHY 139 General Physics — Sound, Light, Electricity and Magnetism. [PHYS 1302] The course is a continuation of PHY 138, covering the subjects of sound, light, electricity and magnetism. The same emphasis is placed on derivations and problem solving as in PHY 138. The laboratory work consists of quantitative experiments. Prerequisites: PHY 138, MTH 163. Credit 3.

PHY 119 General Physics Laboratory II. [PHYS 1102] Credit 1.

PHY 141,142, 245 Introduction to Physics.These are comprehensive courses for students majoring or minoring in physics, pre-engineering, mathematics, and programs requiring calculus level mathematics.

PHY 141 Introduction to Physics I. [PHYS 2425] A thorough introduction to the more general topics in mechanics. Considerable attention is given to the solution of problems with the emphasis placed on fundamental concepts. A laboratory/problem session is an integral part of the course. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites MTH 142. If high school physics or calculus has been taken, then MTH 142 may be taken concurrently. Credit 4.

PHY 142 Introduction to Physics III. [PHYS 2427] An introduction to the general topics of electricity and magnetism, and basic electrical circuits. The emphasis continues to be on problem solving with the laboratory/problem session an integral part of the course. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: PHY 141 and MTH 143.

PHY 245 Introduction to Physics II. [PHYS 2426] An introduction to topics in heat and wave motion including sound and light. The quantitative description of phenomena is emphasized. The laboratory continues as an integral part of the course. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: PHY 141 and MTH 142. Credit 4. Credit 4.

PHY 360 Statics and Dynamics. Study of equilibrium of particles and rigid bodies, forces, friction, center of gravity, and moments of inertia. Vector algebra and calculus are used. Prerequisites: PHY 141 and MTH 244. Credit 3.

PHY 370 Introduction to Theoretical Physics. This course covers the relationship between theoretical physics and mathematics. It will help the student apply mathematical tools to problems in physics with emphasis on the theoretical aspects of classical mechanics, electromagnetism, wave mechanics, and computational physics. Prerequisites Phy 142, 245, Mth 244. Credit 3.

PHY 391 Modern Physics I. Relativity is introduced, quantum theory of light, Compton effect, photoelectric effect, Bohr atom, particles as waves, quantum mechanics in one dimension, tunneling, and atomic structure are covered. Prerequisites: PHY 243 and MTH 244. PHY 311 must be taken concurrently. Credit 3.

PHY 311 Modern Physics Laboratory I. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 393 Modern Physics II. Statistical physics, lasers, molecular structure, solid state, superconductivity, low energy nuclear physics, nuclear physics applications, and elementary particles are covered. Prerequisite: PHY 391. PHY 313 must be taken concurrently. Credit 3.

PHY 313 Modern Physics Laboratory II. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 395 Electronics and Circuit Analysis. Active circuit analysis, analog and digital integrated circuits, selected discrete components, and application to certain digital and analog systems are studied. PHY 315 must be taken concurrently. Credit 3.

PHY 315 Electronics and Circuit Analysis Laboratory. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 397 Astronomy. A study is made of the solar system, sun, stars, and stellar systems, their motions, structure, energy sources and evolution, star clusters, interstellar matter, galaxies, and cosmology. PHY 317 must be taken concurrently. Credit 3.

PHY 317 Astronomy Laboratory. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 410 Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory I. This laboratory course provides additional, in-depth laboratory experience for physics majors and minors and transfer students. It will emphasize measurement and data handling. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 431 Physics for the Forensic Sciences. Forensic science makes use of a number of physical techniques. This course is designed to provide a student with an understanding of the physics used in forensic science that enhances the standard introductory physics course. Topics covered include interior and exterior ballistics, optics, stress and strain, elementary fluid mechanics. Credit 3.

PHY 433 Light and Optics. The wave theory of light is emphasized. The phenomena of interference, diffraction and polarization are treated both theoretically and in selected laboratory experiments. The theory and applications of lasers are discussed and investigated in the laboratory. PHY 413 must be taken concurrently. Credit 3.

PHY 413 Light and Optics Laboratory. Writing Enhanced. Credit 1.

PHY 466 Introductory Quantum Mechanics. This course includes introductory quantum mechanics, application of quantum theory to the harmonic oscillator, potential barriers, the hydrogen atom, theory of atomic spectra, the free electron, and elementary band theory of solids. Prerequisite: PHY 391. Credit 3.

PHY 467 Introduction to Solid State Physics. This course introduces the concepts of crystal structure, crystal diffraction, reciprocal lattices, crystal binding, phonons, free electron Fermi gas, semi-conductors, energy bands, Fermi surfaces, point defects, and optical properties of crystals. Credit 3.

PHY 468 Electricity and Magnetism. Properties of dielectrics and magnetic materials, electromagnetic fields, and Maxwell’s equations are studied. Prerequisite: MTH 376. Credit 3.

PHY 470 Classical Mechanics. The dynamics of rigid bodies, vibrating systems and normal coordinates, and other selected topics of advanced mechanics are stressed. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian concepts are introduced. Prerequisite: MTH 376. Credit 3.

PHY 471 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Basic concepts of classical thermodynamics, including the first and second laws, properties of gases, entropy, thermodynamic functions, and introductory statistical mechanics are studied. Prerequisites: PHY 391 and MTH 376. Credit 3.

PHY 495 Undergraduate Research. This course consists of special projects or topics in experimental or theoretical physics for individual physics students. Each student pursues an approved project of interest to him, or he may participate in one of the organized research programs conducted by the physics faculty. The projects are supervised by the physics faculty, but each student is expected to demonstrate individual initiative in planning and conducting the research program or topic. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisite: consent of Department Chair. The course may be repeated for an additional three semester hours credit with consent of Department Chair. This course should be taken in addition to hours required for physics major or minor and may be taken for Academic Distinction credit. See Academic Distinction Program in this catalog. Credit 3.

PHY 496 Selected Topics in Physics. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. May be repeated for additional credit. Credit 3.

PHY 498 Senior Thesis. This is a directed elective for senior students majoring in physics seeking additional experience in a sophisticated research project. This research will be conducted under the supervision of a member of the physics faculty and the results will be presented in the form of a thesis. Writing Enhanced.

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