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Physics

Courses

PHYS102AstronomyStudy of modern astronomy beyond the solar system: stars, galaxies, pulsars, quasars, black holes, and cosmology. Emphasis on fundamental physics and its application to understanding the structure and evolution of astronomical objects.
PHYS105Energy and the EnvironmentApplication of scientific concepts and analyses to the study of the production, conversion, and consumption of energy, and an understanding of the associated environmental and societal implications. Designed primarily for students not majoring in the physical sciences; especially appropriate for those in the environmental studies concentration.
PHYS150Introductory Physics I with LabConceptual and practical study of the basic conservation laws (momentum, energy, and angular momentum) and the Newtonian world view. Prerequisite: MATH-111 or MATH-112 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS152Introductory Physics II with LabStudy of the fundamental and practical concepts associated with electric and magnetic fields and their unification. Prerequisite: PHYS-150 and MATH-111 or MATH-112 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS205Applications of Physics in the BiosciencesHow can we observe nano-scale biological systems? How does the flexibility of a molecule contribute to its biological function? How can we make sense of vast amounts of complex and sometimes "messy" biological data? This course is an introduction to the advantages and limitations of using physical techniques and models to address biological questions. We will focus on molecular-scale systems and dynamics, with topics to include optics and microscopy, physical properties of biomolecules, and modeling dynamic molecules and systems. Current biophysical research and interdisciplinary communication skills will be emphasized through periodic discussion of articles from the primary literature.Prerequisite: BIOL-112 and PHYS-150 or Instructor Permission All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS210Nuclear and Medical Physics with LabEmphasis on application of physics to medicine, focusing on radioactivity, radiation therapy, and diagnostic and imaging techniques.Prerequisite: PHYS-152 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS/IDSY215Introduction to Complex SystemsStudy of how collective behavior emerges from the interaction between a system's parts and its environment. Model systems from the natural sciences and social sciences will be used as examples. Both historical and contemporary approaches will be discussed.
PHYS220Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics with LabStudy of light, special relativity, and quantum physics with applications. Prerequisite: PHYS-152 and MATH-113. (MATH-214 & 240 recommended.) All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS/COMP255Computer Programming and SimulationComputer modeling of physical phenomena. Programming skills will be developed in the context of doing physics. Topics include numerical integration of Newton's equations, cellular automata, and random walks, including Monte Carlo methods.Prerequisite: PHYS-150 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS/MATH270Nonlinear Dynamics and ChaosDynamical systems are mathematical objects used to model phenomena of natural and social phenomena whose state changes over time. Nonlinear dynamical systems are able to show complicated temporal, spatial, and spatiotemporal behavior. They include oscillatory and chaotic behaviors and spatial structures including fractals. Students will learn the basic mathematical concepts and methods used to describe dynamical systems. Applications will cover many scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, economics, and other social sciences. Appropriate for Math or Physics Majors. Either MATH 305 or this course, but not both, may be counted towards the major in mathematics.Prerequisite: MATH-113 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS340Classical Dynamics with LabStudy of classical dynamics emphasizing physical reasoning and problem solving. The Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian formulations are discussed, and applications are made to planetary motion, oscillations, stability, accelerating reference frames, and rigid body motion. Prerequisite: PHYS-152 and MATH-280 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS360Thermal Physics with LabIntroduction to thermal physics with emphasis on a statistical approach to the treatment of thermodynamic properties of bulk material. Prerequisite: PHYS-220. (MATH-280 recommended.) All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS370Electronics and Electromagnetism with LabBasic concepts of analog and digital electronics are taught along with intermediate level electrostatics and electrodynamics. Mathematical topics include introductory vector calculus and field theory. The laboratory portion emphasizes circuit analysis, measurement technique, and the skillful use of modern digital instrumentation. Prerequisite: PHYS-220 and co-enrollment in or completion of MATH-280. All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS380Semiconductors and Magnetism with LabThe relationship between electricity and magnetis is studied through the introduction of Maxwell's equations. Semiconductor material properties are studied, along with device structions for diodes, transistors, and simplle integrated circuits. The laboratory portion emphasizes circuit construction techniques, device characterization, amplifier design and feedback, and signal/noise analysis. Prerequisite: PHYS-370 and MATH-280 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS410Advanced Electricity and Magnetism with LabStudy of electromagnetic field theory, electrostatics, potential theory, dielectric and magnetic media, Maxwell's field equations, and electromagnetic waves; vector calculus developed as needed. Prerequisite: PHYS-370 and MATH-280 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS420Quantum Mechanics with LabStudy of the principles and mathematical techniques of quantum mechanics with applications to barrier problems, the harmonic oscillator, and the hydrogen atom. Prerequisite: PHYS-340 and MATH-280 All course prerequisites must be met with a minimum grade of C-.
PHYS480Special Topics TechniquesSpecial Topics offerings focus on a physics topic not addressed in the department's regular offerings. Possible topics include general relativity and cosmology, solid state physics, particle physics, soft condensed matter physics, biological physics, advanced laboratory techniques, and fluid mechanics. Check the course schedule to see when Special Topics courses are being offered.
PHYS481Special Topics: General Relativity & CosmologyGeneral relativity is a geometric theory of gravity which has significant implications upon cosmology from gravitational redshift and bending of light rays to black holes and the largescale structure of the universe. We will learn to use tensors to perform calculations and study the implications of the Einstein equation.
PHYS482/MATH 305/IDSY 305Special Topics: Dynamic Models in Social SciencesThe study of why mathematical and computational methods are important in understanding social phenomena, and how different social phenomena can be described by proper mathematical models. Specifically, applications of the theory of dynamical systems will be presented. Designed for math/science and social science students. Either MATH/PHYS 270 or this course, but not both, may be counted towards the major in mathematics.
PHYS593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.