Courses

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Descriptions of course offerings are included below. For advice on course selection be sure to speak with a faculty adviser.

Course Offerings

101. Astronomy.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 3.

Degree Requirements: F7 (when taken concurrently with 101L.)

An introduction to modern astronomy, including the celestial sphere; Solar System planets and exoplanets; stellar classification and evolution; galaxies; and cosmology.

101L. Astronomy Laboratory.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 1

Degree Requirements: F7.

Observations of the Moon, planets, stars, and nebulae, using the naked eye and telescopes. Familiarity with small telescopes. Laboratory exercises (computer-based and hands-on) involving astronomical concepts when the weather is poor. Must be taken concurrently with Physics 101.

Corequisite: Physics 101.

105. Topics in Physics.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F7.

Topics, designed for the non-science major, in physics, astronomy, and interdisciplinary subjects, including modern developments in physics and closely allied fields, atmospheric processes, nanotechnology, biophysics, geophysics, and science writing.

107. Physics of Sound and Music.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F7.

An introduction for non-science majors to the physics of sound with applications to sound production by musical instruments. Topics include the physical behavior of sound, musical scales, human perception of sound, and sound production by acoustic instruments. As part of the course, students are required to fabricate and demonstrate a musical instrument of their own design. The course and its integrated laboratory are normally scheduled for two consecutive class periods.

111. Fundamentals of Physics I.

Fall. Credits: 3.

Degree Requirements: F6, F7.

Suitable for both science and non-science majors, this calculus-based course is the first in a year-long sequence covering the classical fields of physics. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, including rotational motion, and wave motion. Must be taken concurrently with Physics 111L.

Corequisites: Physics 111L; Mathematics 121 or equivalent, or Mathematics 115 with instructor approval.

112. Fundamentals of Physics II.

Spring. Credits: 3.

Degree Requirements: F6, F7.

Suitable for both science and non-science majors, this calculus-based course is the second in a year-long sequence covering the classical fields of physics. Topics include thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and optical properties of matter. Must be taken concurrently with Physics 112L.

Prerequisites: Physics 111 or equivalent, Mathematics 121 or equivalent, or Mathematics 115 with instructor approval.

Corequisites: Physics 112L; Physics majors and minors must take Mathematics 122 or equivalent.

111L-112L. Fundamentals of Physics Laboratory.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 1-1.

Basic experiments in topics covered in either Physics 111 or 112. Includes extensive use of computer-based data collection and analysis.

Corequisites: Physics 111-112.

151-152. “Memphysics”: Physics Education Outreach in the Memphis Community.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 1.

Degree Requirements: F11.

This course is designed for students interested in physics and science education outreach. Students will learn how to design and carry out science education outreach activities in the community. Successful completion of either course may be used to satisfy the F11 Foundational requirement.

Prerequisite: Physics 111 or equivalent.

211. Modern Physics.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F7 (when taken concurrently with 213.)

A survey of relativistic and quantum physics, including photons, the atom, matter waves, introductory quantum mechanics via the Schrödinger formulation, one-electron and complex atoms, nuclear properties and processes, elementary particles, molecules, and condensed matter.

Prerequisite: Physics 112.

213 Intermediate Laboratory.

Fall. Credits: 1.

The application of advanced experimental techniques to the exploration of 20th century physics concepts. Includes measurements of fundamental constants, properties of electrons, atomic energy levels, atomic and nuclear scattering, etc.

Prerequisites: Physics 111L-112L.

250. Mathematical Methods of Physics.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A survey of analytical and numerical techniques useful in physics, including multivariable calculus, optimization, ordinary and partial differential equations, complex numbers, special functions, linear algebra, Fourier series, Fourier and Laplace transforms, and numerical methods.

Prerequisite: Physics 112.

Corequisite: Mathematics 223 or equivalent.

301. Electromagnetic Theory.

Fall. Credits: 4.

A study of the fundamental properties of electric and magnetic fields in vacuum. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for Fall 2015.)

Prerequisites: Physics 112 and Physics 250.

302. Advanced Electromagnetic Theory.

Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of static and dynamic electromagnetic fields in matter, electromagnetic waves, and radiation; also, a brief introduction to relativistic electrodynamics. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 301.

304. Electronics.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

The basic concepts of analog and digital electronics with weekly laboratory exercises. AC and DC topics make use of phasor and complex algebra notation. Digital topics include diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, and integrated circuits, making use of Boolean algebra and logic. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 112.

305. Dynamics.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Basic principles of the dynamics of particles and rigid bodies presented within the framework of classical mechanics. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, oscillating systems, general motion of a particle in three dimensions, mechanics of rigid bodies, and an introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for Fall 2014.)

Prerequisites: Physics 112 and Physics 250.

306. Advanced Dynamics.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Advanced topics in the study of dynamics, including non-inertial reference systems, motion in a central force field, motion of rigid bodies in three dimensions, dynamics of oscillating systems, chaotic systems, and special relativity. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 305.

307. Topics in Intermediate Physics.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Topics for the intermediate-level physics- or natural-science student, often including but not limited to subjects such as nuclear physics, robotics, medical physics, engineering physics. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 211.

310. Astrophysics.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

An introduction to modern astrophysics. This course will normally include the following: a brief introduction to the celestial sphere and astronomy terminology; stellar structure and evolution; structure and evolution of galaxies; and cosmology. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 211.

325. Optics.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

A study of contemporary physical optics, including diffraction theory (Fraunhofer and Fresnel), polarization, coherence theory and lasers, Fourier and nonlinear optics. Two lectures and one laboratory session per week. (Course offered as interest warrants.)

Prerequisite: Physics 211.

401. Quantum Mechanics.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Introduction to topics in quantum physics, including observables and measurement, position and momentum representations, intermediate wave mechanics, the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, Hilbert space vectors and operators, the Hamiltonian, potential wells and the harmonic operator, introduction to Dirac notation, scattering theory, and applications to the study of atoms. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for Spring 2016.)

Prerequisites: Physics 211 and Physics 250.

406. Thermal Physics.

Spring. Credits: 4.

The study of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics from the unifying viewpoint of quantum theory. Topics include: Gibbs and Boltzmann factors; Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distribution functions; temperature, pressure, and the monatomic ideal gas; thermodynamic potentials. Application of theory to metals, white dwarf stars, photons, and phonons will be considered. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for Spring 2015.)

Prerequisites: Physics 211 and Physics 250.

451-452 Research in Physics.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 1 to 4.

Experimental or theoretical work of an advanced nature, carried out independently by the student with a faculty mentor. Projects can be selected from a variety of topics involving or designed by the student in consultation with the faculty mentor.

Prerequisite: Physics 211.

486. Senior Seminar.

Spring. Credits: 2.

Examination of the unifying themes, central concepts, and links between discipline areas of physics through the preparation and presentation of research seminars, discussions of ethical issues in science, and reviews of current physics literature. Open to senior physics majors only.

495-496. Honors Tutorial.

Fall, Spring. Credits: 4 to 8 per semester.

Open to candidates for Honors in Physics. A minimum of 4 credits per semester must be earned in the senior year to fulfill college honors requirements. A minimum cumulative and major gpa of 3.5 is required at the time of application for honors and upon graduation. Students should familiarize themselves with college and departmental honors procedures before enrolling.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair