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Physics Courses

104. Physics: Concepts and Method
A study of topics selected to introduce students to basic concepts in physics and/or astronomy, and to the scientific method. Does not count toward a major in Physics nor toward science requirements for the B.S. degree.

108. Astronomy
A survey course in astronomy which includes observational astronomy, the solar system, structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, and cosmology.

121-122. General Physics
A study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics using algebra, trigonometry, and limits.

141-142. Physics for Science and Engineering
A calculus-based study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics suitable for those majoring in areas such as physics or chemistry and for those in pre-engineering. Prerequisites: MATH 181 during or prior to 141, and MATH 182 during or prior to 142.

203. Computer Organization and Interfacing
A course situated at the point where software meets hardware. From there it reaches downward to the microcode level and upward to the system level. To meet the needs of scientists and computer scientists, the logical and physical foundations on which computer systems are built are developed with enough rigor that functioning computer systems can be successfully altered for new applications during the laboratory component of the course. The algorithm design and control programming progresses during the course from the microcode and machine language level, through hand assembly, to full assembly methods. The course concludes with an analytical comparison of competing contemporary architectures.

206. Electronics
An elementary course in the principles of electronic devices, circuits, and instruments. It is intended for students of science who desire some understanding of the electronic instrumentation they use. Prerequisite: PHY 122 or 142.

211. Modern Physics
A study of the major developments in physics since 1895, with emphasis on special relativity, the atom, the nucleus, and “elementary particles.” Prerequisites: PHY 122 or 142, and MATH 182.

221. Mechanics
Classical Newtonian analytical mechanics. Newton’s laws are used together with vector analysis to analyze problems in statics and dynamics, with emphasis upon the latter. Problem-solving situations include rectilinear particle dynamics (especially oscillators), general particle dynamics, non-inertial reference frames, central forces, systems of particles, and mechanics of rigid bodies. Prerequisites: PHY 121, 122 or 141, 142; and MATH 182.

231. Thermodynamics
Development and application of basic concepts and methods useful in understanding thermal phenomena. The approach is divided into three basic branches: classical thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and statistical mechanics. Prerequisites: PHY 121-122, or 141-142; and MATH 212.

250. Introduction to Research
An opportunity to learn the elements of research in physics by participating in one of the department’s existing research projects. A maximum of four semester hours may be earned in this way. Prerequisites: PHY 211 and permission of instructor and department chair.

280. Selected Topics in Physics
An opportunity to participate in a special intermediate course offering. Students planning to take this course should consult with the instructor during the previous semester. Prerequisite: PHY 211.

311. Contemporary Physics
The general physics background of the student serves as a tool for comprehending readings taken from professional physics publications on topics with significant relationship to life outside the laboratory. The course demands substantial progress in technical writing, technical speaking, and technical literature search skills as measured against normal professional requirements in the field. Prerequisite: PHY 211.

321. Optics
The presentation and demonstration of the proper use of several alternative models of the electromagnetic spectrum, including the ray model, the wave model, and the quantum model. Prerequisites: PHY 122 or 142.

331. Electricity and Magnetism
The study of physics and mathematics of the classical description of the electromagnetic field. This includes the experimental and theoretical background for each of Maxwell’s equations, in vacuum and in matter. Prerequisites: PHY 221 and MATH 182.

341. Quantum Physics
The mathematical structure and physical meaning of quantum mechanics, as a fundamental theory of physics, are developed at the intermediate level. Problems are drawn from areas such as the structure of nuclei, atoms, molecules, and crystals. Prerequisites: PHY 211 and MATH 212.

370. Advanced Laboratory
A series of four semesters of experiments and projects that develop the basic experimental skills that a student majoring in physics should have. These include use of standard physics instrumentation, some familiarity with shop tools, laboratory recordkeeping and report-writing, and knowledge of ways in which basic physical quantities are measured. The basics for all of these skills are developed in the first semester in the series. The others may be taken in any order. Prerequisite: PHY 211.

441, 442. Theoretical Physics
Designed for students planning to attend graduate school, these courses are to be taken in the senior year at Wofford. The material is taken from the more advanced portions of mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum physics, optics, and introductory statistical mechanics. Special attention is given to the mathematical methods used in each of these areas. Prerequisites: MATH 212, 240; PHY 211, 221, 331 and 341; and senior standing.

451, 452. Research
Active participation in a research project selected from one of the department’s existing projects, or developed earlier in Physics 250 or in coordination with a faculty member. The student is expected to maintain a regular weekly schedule of lab and library work in connection with this project, keep a notebook in standard format, and write a detailed research report to be retained by the faculty member. Prerequisites: PHY 221, 331, 371, and permission of instructor.

480. Advanced Topics in Physics
An opportunity to participate in a special advanced course offering. Students planning to take this course should consult with the instructor during the previous semester. Prerequisites: PHY 221, 331, 341, and 371.