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Department of Physics
125 Smith Hall
(585) 395-2182
Chairperson: Richard V. Mancuso; Associate Professor: Mancuso; Assistant Professor: Dmitri I. Popov, Mohammed Z. Tahar.
Physics Programs
Physics is the study of the fundamental properties and interactions of matter and energy; it has applications in virtually every field of pure and applied science, such as engineering, optics, materials science, space science, and medicine. A degree in physics, engineering, or astronomy is excellent preparation for:
- Employment as an engineer or technician in industry, government, or a university laboratory.
- Graduate study in physics, engineering, astronomy, or mathematics, leading to careers in university and college teaching or leadership positions in industrial research projects.
- Professional school in law, medicine, or business.
- Teaching at the secondary (grades 7-12) level.
Mathematical Preparation
Students planning to major in physics should have completed algebra, geometry, and trigonometry in high school; pre-calculus and calculus are 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, every physics student must, as a minimum, complete courses in calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and statistics. Students who plan to go on to graduate study in physics or engineering are encouraged to take additional mathematics courses.
Specialties Within the Physics Major
Students majoring in physics may choose from one of three specialties: physics, 3+2 engineering, or teacher certification. Students in all specialties must take the physics core course as well as required supporting courses in mathematics, chemistry, and computer science; further coursework is then tailored to the individual specialty.
In addition to these specialties within the physics major, the department also offers a minor in physics.
- Physics
This specialty is intended for students who plan to enter graduate school in physics or work in industry. - Engineering 3+2
SUNY Brockport has a 3+2 physics/engineering program in cooperation with SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Buffalo, Case Western Reserve University, Clarkson University, and Syracuse University. A student enrolled in the 3+2 program spends three years in the physics program at SUNY Brockport and then two years at one of the engineering schools. At the end of the program, the student earns a bachelor's degree in physics from SUNY Brockport and a bachelor's degree in engineering from Binghamton, Buffalo, Case Western, Clarkson, or Syracuse.
Transfer to an engineering school is contingent upon satisfactory performance in the physics program at SUNY Brockport. - Certification for Secondary Teaching
Physics, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Human Development, offers a specialty that leads to provisional certification in secondary level (grades 7-12) physics teaching. The physics course requirements for this track are identical to those for physics, 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 in this catalog.
Course Requirements
Course requirements for each specialty within the physics major are listed below:
Course Number | Course Name | Credits |
---|---|---|
Physics Core: (Required of all physics specialties) | ||
PHS 201-202 | College Physics I and II with Laboratory | 8 |
PHS 300 | Classical Physics | 3 |
PHS 302 | Dynamical Systems | 3 |
PHS 303 | Classical Physics Laboratory | 1 |
PHS 317 | Modern Physics | 3 |
PHS 318 | Modern Physics Laboratory | 1 |
PHS 320 | and Magnetism | 3 |
PHS 400-401 | Physics Seminar I and II | 2 |
PHS 301 | Mathematical Methods of Physics | 3 |
Total: | 27 | |
Supporting Courses: (Required of all physics specialties) | ||
MTH 201-202-203 | Calculus I-II-III | 9 |
MTH 424 | Linear Algebra | 3 |
MTH 455 | Differential Equations | 3 |
CHM 205-206 | College Chemistry I-II | 8 |
CSC 203* | Fundamentals of Computer Science 1 | 4 |
Total: | 27 | |
*CSC 203 also fulfills the College Computer Literacy requirement. | ||
Physics Specialty: | ||
Physics Core | 27 | |
PHS 408-409 | Physical Methods Laboratory I-II | 2 |
PHS 411 | Quantum Mechanics | 3 |
300/400 | Level Physics Elective | 3 |
Total: | 35 | |
Teacher Certification Specialty: | ||
Physics Core | 27 | |
PHS 408-409 | Physical Methods Laboratory I-II | 2 |
PHS 411 | Quantum Mechanics | 3 |
300/400 | Level Physics Elective | 3 |
Total: | 35 | |
3+2 Engineering Specialty: | ||
Physics Core | 27 | |
PHS 315 | Statics | 3 |
PHS 408-409 | Physical Methods Laboratory I or II | 1 |
300/400 | Level Physics Elective | 3 |
Total: | 34 | |
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 | Dynamical Systems | 3 |
OR | ||
PHS 320 | Electricity and Magnetism | 3 |
Total: | 18 |
Physics Courses
PHS 111 General Physics I (A,N). Corequisite: MTH 121. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers the fundamental principles of mechanics and heat. Closed to anyone who has successfully completed P HS 115. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall.
PHS 112 General Physics II (A). Corequisite: PHS 111 or P HS 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 121. Algebra-based introductory physics. Covers the fundamental principles of mechanics and heat. Includes experiments in mechanics 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 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 and thermodynamics, including kinematics, Newton's laws, energy, rotational motion, kinetic theory of gases, and the first and second law of thermodynamics. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr. Fall.
PHS 202 College Physics II with Laboratory (A). Prerequisite: PHS 201 or 211; corequisite: MTH 202. Introduces the fundamentals of electricity, magnetism, optics and sound, including the electric field, electric potential, electrical circuits, the magnetic field, Maxwell's equations, and wave propagation. 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 and thermodynamics, including kinematics, Newton's laws, energy, rotational motion, kinetic theory of gases, and the first and second law of thermodynamics. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall.
PHS 212 College Physics II (A). Prerequisite: PHS 201 or 211; corequisite: MTH 202. Introduces the fundamentals of electricity, magnetism, optics and sound, including the electric field, electric potential, electrical circuits, the magnetic field, Maxwell's equations, and wave propagation. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.
PHS 300 Classical Physics (A). Prerequisite: PHS 202 or 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: the linear oscillator equation, mechanical waves, interference and diffraction, Fourier analysis, and the electromagnetic field. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall.
PHS 301 Mathematical Methods of Physics (A). Prerequisite: MTH 203. 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 Dynamical Systems (A). Prerequisites: PHS 300 and PHS 301, or CPA 404. An introduction to dynamical systems. Topics include flows in phase space, bifurcation theory, the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation of dynamics, limit cycles and chaotic systems. Chaotic dynamics will be studied in computational projects. Appropriate programming languages, such as C and C++, and software packages such as Mathematica will be used. A solid understanding of differential equations is essential. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.
PHS 303 Classical Physics Laboratory (A). Corequisite: PHS 300. Allows students to perform experiments on mechanical and electrical oscillators, Fourier analysis, and wave properties of sound and light. Methods of data analysis, such as curve fitting and error propagation, will be introduced. 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; Fourier analysis. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr.
PHS 309 Circuit Theory (A). Corequisites: 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: P HS 301. Intended especially for students in the 3 + 2 engineering program. 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. Fall.
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, the Compton Effect, and measurement of nuclear radiations. Three hours of lab per week. 1 Cr. Fall.
PHS 320 Electricity and Magnetism (A). Prerequisites: PHS 300 and 301. Covers the theory of electromagnetic fields developed using vector calculus. Includes development in electrostatic and magnetic fields in vacuum and in matter, time-varying fields, magnetic induction, Maxwell's Equations and the propagation of electromagnetic waves, with applications to superconductors, wave guides and radiation fields. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.
PHS 399 Independent Study in Physics (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement/Transcript Evaluation prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.
PHS 400 Seminar I (A). Prerequisite: Permission of departmental majors ' advisor or course instructor. Includes attendance at seminars, critique writing, and participation in career and employment work shops. One hour per week. 1 Cr. Fall.
PHS 401 Seminar II (A). Prerequisite: PHS 400. Includes preparation and presentation of a technical speech by each registrant. One hour per week. 1 Cr. Spring.
PHS 408 Physical Methods Laboratory I (A). Prerequisites: MTH 203, PHS 202, and CHM 206. The statistical treatment of data, propagation of errors, graphs, and report writing. Students conduct experiments using modern physical measurement techniques and produce written scientific reports describing and analyzing the methods and their results. 1 Cr. Fall.
PHS 409 Physical Methods Laboratory II (A). Prerequisite: P HS 408. Students conduct experiments using modern physical measurement techniques and produce written scientific reports describing and analyzing the methods and their results. 1 Cr. Spring.
PHS 411 Quantum Mechanics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 302 and 317, or CHM 405 and 406. Provides an introduction to quantum mechanics, including solution of the Schrodinger equation and development of matrix formulations. Topics include potential wells, potential barriers, hydrogen-like atoms and time-independent perturbation theory. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Spring.
PHS 413 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 302 and 317 or CHM 405 and 406. 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. 3 Cr. Fall.
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 design and performance of optical instruments, lasers, and holography. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr.
PHS 415 Condensed Matter Physics (A). Prerequisites: PHS 301. 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). Prerequisite: Senior status. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement/Transcript Evaluation prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.
Astronomy Courses
AST 201 General Astronomy with Laboratory (A,L). Corequisite: QNT 111. Studies the sun, moon, planets, stars, and other objects in heavens with particular attention given to types of evidence upon which knowledge of astronomy is based. Provides for observation, both with unaided eye and with telescope. When appropriate, utilizes the college planetarium to develop certain concepts. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. 4 Cr.
AST 211 General Astronomy (A,N). Corequisite: QNT 111. Studies the sun, moon, planets, stars, and other objects in heavens with particular attention given to types of evidence upon which knowledge of astronomy is based. Provides for observation, both with unaided eye and with telescope. When appropriate, utilizes the college planetarium to develop certain concepts. Three hours of lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall and Spring.
AST 399 Independent Study in Astronomy (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement/Transcript Evaluation prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.
AST 499 Independent Study in Astronomy (A). Prerequisite: Senior status. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement/Transcript Evaluation prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.