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Physics Course Offerings


PHY 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 Cooperative Education Program [variable]

This course is intended for students in the Cooperative Education program. The program is designed to provide the students with an exposure to problems at commercial laboratory facilities where they can use the skills and concepts they have learned. This course carries from 1 to 3 credits. The actual number of credits awarded is decided by the faculty coordinator and is based on the level of the student’s involvement. Cooperative education courses may be repeated for a total of up to 15 credits. All courses must be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing and 2.5 GPA.

PHY 101 Mechanics, Heat, and the Body [4]

This course will deal with basic physical principles and illustrate their application to the function of various systems of the human body. Emphasis will be placed on force, work, temperature, and heat within the context of skeletal/muscular and temperature regulatory systems. Prerequisite: High school algebra. Laboratory fee.

PHY 102 Electricity and the Body [4]

This course is intended to satisfy the needs of students majoring in allied health programs and students needing a laboratory science course for the general education requirements. The topics include electric charge, current, voltage, capacitance, instruments, circuits, and electromagnetism. Specific examples include nerve conduction and electric shock. Prerequisite: Ability to use algebra on a high school level. Laboratory fee.

PHY 103 Physics for Radiologic Technology [4]

This is a one-semester course designed to meet the needs of students in the radiologic technology major. Basic principles of mechanics, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism will be covered with an emphasis on application to the human body and the bases of medical imaging. Prerequisite: Ability to use algebra on a high school level. Laboratory fee.

PHY 112 Calculus-Based Physics I [4]

This is the first part of a three-semester course in introductory physics intended for students majoring in the physical sciences or in engineering. The subject matter is the study of Newtonian mechanics. Prerequisite: M 144 (may be taken concurrently). Laboratory fee.

PHY 113 Calculus-Based Physics II [4]

This is the second part of the three-semester sequence described in PHY 112. The subject matter includes the study of fluids, heat, mechanical waves, and optics. Prerequisites: PHY 112 and M 144. Laboratory fee.

PHY 120 Algebra-Based Physics I [4]

This is the first semester of a two-semester course in introductory physics intended for students majoring in the life sciences, technology programs, or preparing for professional schools. The topics include Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics, and heat. Prerequisites: Two years of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Laboratory fee.

PHY 121 Algebra-Based Physics II [4]

This is the sequel to PHY 120. The topics include wave motion, acoustics, optics, electricity, magnetism, physics of the atom, and physics of the nucleus. Prerequisite: PHY 120. Laboratory fee.

PHY 130 Astronomy [4]

An introduction to our current understanding of the universe, including topics such as formation of our solar system, tides, eclipses, nature of light, birth and death of stars, black holes, and fate of our sun and universe. Laboratory sessions are of two types: observational experiments dealing with the nighttime sky and quantitative experiments involving the collection and analysis of data. Laboratory fee.

PHY 135 Descriptive Geology [4]

Surface features of the earth, their origin; vulcanism, earthquakes; metamorphoses; mountains, origin, types, and distribution of mineral deposits; Connecticut geology. Two Saturday field trips scheduled. Laboratory fee.

PHY 210 Thermal Physics [3]

The fundamental ideas of heat and temperature are introduced, leading to concepts of thermodynamic systems, work-energy equations, the laws of thermodynamics, ideal gas, reversibility and irreversibility, and entropy. An introduction to the kinetic theory of gases and statistical mechanics. Prerequisites: PHY 112, 113, M 144, M 145, and CH 110.

PHY 214 Calculus-Based Physics III [4]

This is the third part of the three-semester sequence described in PHY 112 and PHY 113. The subject matter is the study of electricity and magnetism. Prerequisites: PHY 112 and M 240 (may be taken concurrently). Laboratory fee.

PHY 220 Digital Electronics and Microcomputer Interfacing [4]

Intended for students with academic or industrial backgrounds who want to acquire the basic understanding needed for advanced microcomputer applications. Lecture material and laboratory exercises concentrate on gates, flip-flops, displays, timers, counters, and the basics of microcomputer interfacing. Prerequisite: DC circuit theory at the level of PHY 121 or PHY 214. Laboratory fee.

PHY 240 Special Theory of Relativity [3]

Concentrates on the development and applications of the Special Theory of Relativity. Emphasis on the inadequacies of the Newtonian Theory and on the innovations in concepts presented by the new theory. Topics will include Einstein-Lorentz transformations, time dilation, length contraction, the variation of mass with velocity, and the addition of velocities. Prerequisites: PHY 112-113 or PHY 120-121.

PHY 250 Materials Science [3]

An introductory course in materials science for engineering and physical science students. The mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal, and chemical properties of all types of materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, glasses, and composites. Why and how the properties of these materials can be altered by adjusting the internal structure. Prerequisites: PHY 112-113, M 144, 145, and CH 110.

PHY 260 Optics [4]

This is a course in modern optics. There will be a review of geometric optics with an emphasis on image-forming devices, such as the telescope and the microscope. Most of the emphasis of the course will be on physical optics. Topics that include coherence, interference, Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction, and application, such as lasers and holography, will be covered. Prerequisites: PHY 113-114 and M 240. Laboratory fee.

PHY 310 Modern Physics I [3]

This course is an introduction to the physics of the atom and of the nucleus. Emphasis will be placed on the experimental bases of the quantum theory and of nuclear physics (e.g., blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, and Rutherford scattering). Quantum mechanics will be introduced through the one-dimensional Schroedinger Equation. Radioactivity and nuclear reactions will also be discussed. Prerequisites: PHY 112-113-114 or permission of instructor.

PHY 320 Modern Physics II [3]

A continuation of the study of 20th-century physics. Emphasis is placed on an introduction of quantum mechanics with a detailed study of the three-dimensional Schroedinger Equation as applied to the hydrogen atom; an introduction to physics of the nucleus through a study of nuclear models and elementary particles. Prerequisites: PHY 310 and M 240.

PHY 330 Mechanics [3]

Review of Newtonian mechanics using vector and matrix methods. Oscillating systems, free and forced, linear and nonlinear. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics. Motion in non-inertial frames. Prerequisites: PHY 112, M 240, and 242.

PHY 340 Physical Theory and Its Cultural Implications [3]

Concentrates on a small number of concepts in physics recognized as revolutionary turning points in the development of physical theory: the development of the scientific method in the 16th and 17th centuries, the development of the concept of energy in the 19th century; and that of relativity and quantum physics in the 20th century. The interaction between physical theory, religion, philosophy, and literature is emphasized.

PHY 405 Electromagnetic Theory [3]

The development and application of electromagnetic field theory. Maxwell’s equations are discussed and applied in the solution of problems in electromagnetics and optics. Prerequisites: PHY 214, M 240, and M 242.

PHY 410 Solid-State Physics [3]

Survey of fundamentals of atomic physics, statistics, and crystal structure. Specific heats of solids, theory of semiconductors and semiconductor devices, electron emission, magnetic and dielectric properties of materials. Prerequisites: PHY 310 and M 242.

PHY 420 Introductory Quantum Optics [3]

This course investigates the physical nature of light, and deals with the coherence properties of light, its wave and particle aspects and its interaction with matter. The processes of absorption, emission, and stimulated emission of light are treated, along with other recent developments, such as quantum beat phenomena. The approach is pedagogical, and no prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is assumed. Prerequisite: PHY 260.

PHY 430 Modern Physics Laboratory [3]

A laboratory course involving experiments and measurement illustrating the quantum theory. Two laboratory periods per week. Prerequisite: PHY 310. Laboratory fee.

PHY 460 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics [3]

The elementary principles and formalism of quantum mechanics; applications to electrons, atoms, molecules, nuclei, elementary particles, and condensed matter. Prerequisites: PHY 112-113, PHY 310, M 144, M 145, and M 242.

PHY 480, 481 Independent Study in Physics [1–3, 1–3]

Provides an opportunity for the student to carry through a project extending over one or two semesters under the direction of a member of the department. Projects are selected by the student and may include areas such as theoretical physics, experimental physics, topical reviews in physics, and topics in the history of science. Emphasis is placed on individual study of the literature and, when appropriate, laboratory work. Prerequisites: Advanced standing. The signature of the department chairman is required to register for these courses. Laboratory fee.

PHY 190, 191, 290, 291, 390, 391, 490, 491 Special Topics in Physics [1–4]

These are lecture or laboratory courses in various branches of physics designed to provide in-depth investigation in some special area of physics. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.