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Undergraduate Studies Catalog 2007-2009

Department of Physics

125 Smith Hall
(585) 395-2182

Chair and Professor: Stanley F. Radford, PhD, Wayne State University; Associate Professor: Mohammed Z. Tahar, PhD, Boston University; Assistant Professor: Eric M. Monier, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; H. Trevor Johnson-Steigelman, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Physics is the study of the physical properties of the universe and of the fundamental properties and interactions of matter and energy. It has applications in every field of pure and applied science, such as engineering, ­optics, materials science, space science, and medicine. A degree in physics is excellent preparation for:

• Graduate study in physics, engineering, astronomy, or mathematics, leading to a career in university and college teaching and research, or a leadership position in industrial or government research projects;

• Teaching at the secondary level (grades 7-12) ;

• Employment as an engineer or technician in an industry, government, or university ­laboratory;

• Professional school in law, medicine, or business.

Physics Major

Students majoring in physics must take the physics core courses as well as required supporting courses in mathematics, chemistry and computer science. These courses will prepare students to attend graduate school in physics or a related field; work as technicians or engineers in academia, industry, or government; or attend law or medical school.

In addition to the physics major, the department also offers a Minor in physics.

Certification for Secondary Teaching in Physics

The Department of Physics, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Human Development, offers a program that leads to provisional certification in secondary level (grades 7-12) physics teaching. Students pursuing this option must satisfy the course requirements for the physics major; however, additional course work outside the department is needed to satisfy the requirements for certification. For a complete listing of the requirements for secondary Teacher Certification, consult the Department of Education and Human Development section – in this catalog.

Mathematical Preparation

Students planning to major in physics should have completed algebra, geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus in high school; calculus is a desirable but not necessary preparation. Students who are unable to take Calculus I (MTH 201) in their first semester will be unable to complete a degree in physics in four years without summer study.

While at SUNY Brockport, students majoring in physics must complete courses in calculus and differential equations. Students who plan to go on to graduate study in physics or engineering are advised to take additional mathematics courses.

Requirements for a Major in Physics

Physics Core:
Credits
PHS 201-202 College Physics I and II with Laboratory
8
PHS 300 Classical Physics
3
PHS 301 Mathematical Methods of Physics
3
PHS 302 Classical Mechanics
3
PHS 303 Classical Physics Laboratory
1
PHS 317 Modern Physics
3
PHS 318 Modern Physics Laboratory
1
PHS 320 Electricity and Magnetism
3
PHS 411 Quantum Mechanics
3
PHS 400-401 Physics Seminar I and II
2
PHS 408-409 Physical Methods Laboratory I-II
2
PHS 300/400 a 300/400-level Physics elective
3
 
______
Total:
35
Supporting Courses:
MTH 201-202-203 Calculus I-II-III
9
MTH 255 Ordinary Differential Equations
3
MTH 456 Partial Differential Equations
3
CHM 205-206 College Chemistry I-II
8
CSC 203 Fundamentals of Computer Science I
4
Total:
27
   
______
Total credit hours for the physics major
62

Students pursuing Teacher Certification should refer to the requirements of the Department of Education and Human Development.

Requirements for a Minor in Physics

PHS 201-202 College Physics I-II with Laboratory
8
PHS 300 Classical Physics
3
PHS 301 Mathematical Methods of Physics
3
PHS 303 Classical Physics Laboratory
1
and one of the following:
PHS 317 Modern Physics
3
OR  
PHS 302 Classical Mechanics
3
OR  
PHS 320 Electricity and Magnetism
3
   
______
Total:
18

The Physics Major can be completed in four years. To make normal progress toward this goal, students should have completed the following courses by the end of the sophomore year: PHS 201, 202, 300, 301, 303, 317, 318, MTH 201, 202, 203, CHM 205 and 206.

Transfer students with a two-year degree from a community college wishing to major in physics will most likely have to take PHS 300, 301 and 303 at SUNY Brockport, since these courses are usually not offered at community colleges. In addition, it would be beneficial for transfer students to have had a course in differential equations. The physics major can still be completed in two years. It is important that transfer students meet with a physics advisor before they register for their first semester courses. At this meeting their two-year schedule of courses can be established.

Teacher Certification can be completed in five years. Students wishing to pursue this option should have completed the courses listed above by the end of the sophomore year. Students should meet with an advisor in the first semester to plan courses for the five years, including one semester entirely devoted to practice teaching. In addition to the requirements for the physics major, Teacher Certification also requires two semesters of biology and two semesters of earth science. Students must also meet the requirements of the Department of Education and Human Development.

Transfer students pursuing Teacher Certification can expect to spend at least three years at SUNY Brockport. Students in this category should have completed the same courses as those listed above. Transfer students interested in Teacher Certification should seek advisement prior to registering for their first semester of Brockport courses.

Physics Courses

PHS 101 The Physics in Toys (A,N). Explores the theoretical bases, scientific method, general principles of classical physics, mechanics, electricity, magnetism and optics at an introductory college level. Presents important physical principles in these areas using lectures and illustrates physical principles using demonstrations with an extensive collection of machines and toys such as Glug-Glug Tug (rocket), Danseuse Magnetique (interacting magnets) and the Two-Speed Gripper (a toy car with interesting motion). Three hours of lecture/demonstration per week. 3 Cr. Every Semester

PHS 111 General Physics I (A,N). Corequisite: MTH 112. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers the fundamental principles of: mechanics including kinematics, Newton’s laws, energy, momentum and their conservation laws; and heat. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS 115. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall

PHS 112 General Physics II (A). Prerequisite: PHS 111 or PHS 115. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers sound, electricity and magnetism, light and quantum physics. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS 116. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring

PHS 115 General Physics I With Laboratory (A,L). Corequisite: MTH 112. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers the fundamental principles of mechanics and heat. Includes experiments in mechanics, [including kinematics, Newton’s Laws, energy, momentum, and their conservation laws]; and heat. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS 111. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Fall

PHS 116 General Physics II With Laboratory (A). Prerequisite: PHS 111 or PHS 115. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers sound, electricity and magnetism, light and quantum physics. Includes experiments on sound, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed PHS 112. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Spring

PHS 201 College Physics I with Laboratory (A,L). Corequisite: MTH 201. Introduces the fundamentals of mechanics from kinematics to Newton’s laws, energy, momentum and their conservation laws, rotational and harmonic motions, then statics and equilibrium. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Fall

PHS 202 College Physics II with Laboratory (A). Prerequisites: PHS 201 or PHS 211. Corequisite: MTH 202. Introduces fluids, waves and their propagation, thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, and the first and second laws of thermodynamics; and the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, including fields and potentials, electrical circuits, and Maxwell’s equations. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Spring

PHS 211 College Physics I (A,N). Corequisite: MTH 201. Introduces the fundamentals of mechanics from kinematics to Newton’s laws, energy, momentum and their conservation laws, rotational and harmonic motions, then statics and equilibrium. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall

PHS 212 College Physics II (A). Prerequisites: PHS 201 or PHS 211; corequisite: MTH 202. Introduces: fluids, waves and their propagation, thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, and the first and second laws of thermodynamics; the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, including fields and potentials, electrical circuits, and Maxwell’s equations. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring

PHS 300 Classical Physics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 202 or PHS 212; corequisite: MTH 203. The first part of a one-year transition to advanced physics. Discusses topics in classical physics with an emphasis on mathematical methods. Includes topics such as linear oscillators, mechanical waves, statistical thermodynamics, electromagnetic fields and geometrical optics. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall

PHS 301 Mathematical Methods of Physics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 300. Presents a survey of mathematical methods used in the physical sciences. Includes topics such as vector analysis, linear algebra, partial differentiation, multiple integration, Fourier series and complex analysis. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring

PHS 302 Classical Mechanics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 301. Covers the theory of mechanical systems, including Newton’s Laws, conservation principles, the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, and their applications. Additional topics may include the calculus of variations, special relativity, chaos, and the use of computer software in problem solving. 3 Cr. Fall

PHS 303 Classical Physics Laboratory (A). Corequisite: PHS 300. Students perform experiments in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Introduces methods of data analysis, such as curve fitting and error propagation. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr. Fall

PHS 306 Circuits Laboratory (A). Corequisite: PHS 309. Includes experiments such as basic DC and AC measurements, circuit theorems, transient response, frequency response, impedance measurement, and Fourier analysis. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr.

PHS 309 Circuit Theory (A). Prerequisite: PHS 301. Treats the operation of resistors, capacitors, and inductors; phasors; circuit laws; network theorems; signal wave forms; transient and steady-state circuit response; and general network analysis. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr.

PHS 310 Electronics Laboratory (A). Corequisite: PHS 311. Allows students to perform experiments including direct and alternating current circuits, power supplies, solid-state devices, amplifiers, oscillators, and elementary digital circuits. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr.

PHS 311 Electronics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 309. Treats the operation of semiconductor devices, diode circuits, single-transistor amplifier design and analysis, multistage amplifiers, feedback amplifiers, oscillators, op-amp circuits, digital circuits, noise, and transducers. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr.

PHS 315 Statics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 301. Presents a detailed study of forces in equilibrium. Applies treatment to single particles, rigid bodies and systems of particles including the analysis of trusses, frictional forces, potential energy, conditions of stability and virtual work. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr.

PHS 317 Modern Physics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 300. Provides an introduction to the theory of special relativity; kinetic molecular theory; the concept of quantization as it applies to matter, charge and energy; the postulates of quantum mechanics; and the solutions of the quantum mechanical wave equation for the simple harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring

PHS 318 Modern Physics Laboratory (A). Corequisite: PHS 317. Allows students to perform experiments, including charge-to-mass ratio of the electron, photo-electric effect, microwave diffraction, electron diffraction, atomic spectra, the Compton Effect, and measurement of nuclear radiation. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr. Spring

PHS 320 Electricity and Magnetism (A). Prerequisites: PHS 300 and PHS 301. Covers the theory of electromagnetic fields using vector calculus. Includes electrostatic and magnetic fields in vacuum and in matter, time-varying fields, magnetic induction, Maxwell’s Equations and the propagation of electromagnetic waves. May include applications to superconductors, wave guides and radiation fields. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring

PHS 399 Independent Study in Physics (A). Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

PHS 400 Seminar I (A). For juniors or seniors. Includes attendance at seminars, preparation and presentation of short technical talks and participation in career and employment workshops. One hour per week. 1 Cr. Fall

PHS 401 Seminar II (A). Prerequisite: PHS 400. Includes attendance at seminars and preparation and presentation of a technical talk by each registrant. One hour per week. 1 Cr. Spring

PHS 408 Physical Methods Laboratory I (A). Prerequisites: MTH 203, PSH 202 and CHM 206. Covers the statistical treatment of data, propagation of errors, graphs, and report writing. Requires students to conduct experiments using modern physical measurement techniques, produce written scientific reports, and make oral presentations describing and analyzing the methods and their results. Three hours lab per week. 1 Cr. Fall

PHS 409 Physical Methods Laboratory II (A). Prerequisite: PHS 408. Requires students to conduct experiments using modern physical measurement techniques, produce written scientific reports, and make oral presentations describing and analyzing the methods and their results. 1 Cr. Spring

PHS 411 Quantum Mechanics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 317 and PHS 302 or CHM 405 and CHM 406. Provides an introduction to quantum mechanics, including solutions of the Schrodinger equation and development of matrix formulations. Includes topics such as potential wells, potential barriers, hydrogen-like atoms and time-independent perturbation theory. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall

PHS 413 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 302 and PHS 317 or CHM 405 and CHM 400. Studies the laws of thermodynamics, the statistical description of systems of particles, and application of these laws to microscopic and macroscopic systems. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr.

PHS 414 Optics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 300. Covers geometrical and physical optics, including ray optics, interference, diffraction and polarization, the wave theory of light; and the interaction of light and matter. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr.

PHS 415 Condensed Matter Physics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 301 and PHS 317. Provides an introduction to the principles of condensed matter physics. Covers topics including crystal structure, the free electron model of solids, band theory, magnetism and super conductivity. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr.

PHS 499 Independent Study in Physics (A). Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

Astronomy Courses

AST 201 General Astronomy (A,L). Prerequisite/corequisite: MTH 110 or equivalent (may be taken concurrently). Introduces students to the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Explores the basic physics of gravity, matter, and light. Emphasis is on what we know and how we know it. Special topics may include black holes, relativity, dark matter, and extraterrestrial life. Lab section provides for observation, both with unaided eye and telescope, and will use the College planetarium to develop some concepts. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Every Semester

AST 211 General Astronomy (A,N). Prerequisite/corequisite: MTH 110 or equivalent (may be taken concurrently). Introduces students to the solar system, stars, galaxies, and cosmology. Explores the basic physics of gravity, matter, and light. Emphasis is on what we know and how we know it. Special topics may include black holes, relativity, dark matter, and extraterrestrial life. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Every Semester

AST 399 Independent Study in Astronomy (A). Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr. By Arrangement

AST 499 Independent Study in Astronomy (A). Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr. By Arrangement


The information in this publication was current as of June 2007 when the text was compiled. Changes, including but not restricted to, tuition and fees, course descriptions, degree and program requirements, policies, and financial aid availability may have occurred since that time. Whether or not a specific course is scheduled for a given term is contingent on enrollment, budget and staffing. The college reserves the right to make any changes it finds necessary and may announce such changes for student notification in publications other than the College catalogs. For the purpose of degree and program completion, students are bound by the requirements in effect as stated in the printed catalog at the time of their matriculation at SUNY Brockport. Inquiries on the current status of requirements can be addressed to the appropriate College department of office. Also refer to the Brockport Web site home page at www.brockport.edu for current information.

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