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Course Descriptions

Department of Physics

Physics Building
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400714
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4714
(434) 924-3781 Fax: (434) 924-4576

Overview Physics is concerned with the most basic principles that underlie phenomena in the universe. Physicists search for elementary particles, seek understanding of the behavior of collections of particles ranging from quarks in nucleons and electrons in atoms to stars in galaxies, and of the nature of space and time. On a more human scale, physicists explore the behavior of matter and energy including devices of modern electronics, complex biological molecules, the atmosphere, and forms of energy and its uses. The principles of physics are the basis for much of engineering and technology. Studying physics can prepare students to push back the boundaries of knowledge in this most fundamental of the natural sciences; it can provide invaluable training in the concepts and methods of science for application in many professional areas; it can develop one’s capacity for clear analytical thought that is crucial in many fields, or it can simply increase one’s knowledge and appreciation of the wonders of the world around us.

The department has research programs in high energy and nuclear physics, atomic and laser physics, condensed matter physics, biophysics, and gravitational physics. It currently receives approximately $6 million each year in research grants. The state-funded Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics includes a number of faculty members with research related to the electron accelerator at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia. This accelerator was originally conceived and successfully proposed by physics department faculty members who are now affiliated with this institute.

Faculty The faculty seeks to offer an outstanding undergraduate program, with opportunities for both majors and non-majors, in the context of a vigorous research department. Students have the opportunity to take a wide variety of courses with many different professors.

Among the many awards and honors the faculty has received in recent years are four Outstanding Scientist in Virginia awards, an Outstanding Faculty Award–the state’s highest honor for teaching faculty, the Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society for research in atomic physics, a Packard Foundation fellowship, six Sloan fellowships and six Young Investigator Awards (four from the National Science Foundation, two from the Office of Naval Research). The faculty has also been recognized for its teaching. One professor has received an award for innovations in continuing education, four are authors of major textbooks in physics, three have earned University Outstanding Teacher awards, and two have received the Pegram Award of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society for excellence in teaching.

Students Physics majors make up a small but outstanding, enthusiastic, and diverse group. Approximately thirty students graduate each year with bachelor’s degrees in physics. Beginning in the first year, there are special courses for physics majors. All of the courses are taught by faculty members. The third and fourth-year classes are small, and students have much interaction with the faculty. Physics majors participate in independent study projects, working on a tutorial basis with faculty members and often working with a research group. Since the department has extensive research activities, there are many opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research on the frontiers of physics.

The department has programs designed to serve students with a wide variety of objectives. More than half of those graduating with bachelor’s degrees in physics go on to graduate or professional school. Many graduates have taken positions in industry or government immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to those who go to graduate school in physics and physics-related fields, each year several go to professional schools in medicine, education, business, or law. Others graduate with physics as a concentration in a broad liberal arts program without a specific scientific career objective.

Special Resources Creating new knowledge is a primary role of a university. This process involves undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty working together at a research frontier and it can provide some of the most stimulating and rewarding educational experiences. The extensive research laboratories and computer facilities in the physics department provide opportunities for students to participate in research in nuclear and particle physics, atomic and laser physics, and condensed matter physics. In addition to the facilities in the Jesse Beams Laboratory of Physics and the High Energy Physics Building on the University Grounds, research groups from the department have active programs at various particle accelerator facilities, including the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia; the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California; the Fermi Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois; and several accelerators in Europe. Undergraduates are involved with research groups through independent study projects, informal affiliations, and working as research assistants during the academic year and in the summer.

One valued privilege for physics majors is having keys that give them access at any time day or night to the departmental library and the departmental computer laboratory as well as conference rooms in which they can meet to work together.

Requirements for Major The Department of Physics offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. In addition, there is an Astronomy/Physics B.A. offered jointly by the Astronomy and Physics departments. The basic B.A. is designed for students interested in physics and planning to enter other fields including medicine, education, business, and law, and for liberal arts students seeking a strong background in physics. Students planning graduate study in physics or physics-related areas should elect the B.S., the B.A. with a Distinguished Major course sequence, or the Astronomy/Physics B.A. Two special concentrations can be pursued by students in either the B.A. or the B.S. programs: A Computational Physics Concentration (PHYS 553 & 554 Computational Physics I & II); An Optics Concentration (PHYS 531-533 Optics & Optics Laboratory and PHYS 532-534 Fundamentals of Photonics & Photonics Laboratory). Students are urged to contact a physics undergraduate advisor as early as possible to design a program to fit their specific needs.

There are several course sequences leading to the physics major. For all of them it is highly desirable to complete MATH 131, 132 or equivalent courses in calculus by the end of the first year. However, it is possible to begin calculus in the second year and complete the requirements for the B.A.

Requirements for the B.A. in Physics There are two options leading to the B.A. in physics, each having three components:

Option I

  1. Prerequisites - MATH 131, 132 and PHYS 151, 152
  2. MATH 231 and PHYS 221, 222, 251, 252
  3. Three courses chosen from PHYS 254 and/or 300-level physics courses

Option II

  1. Prerequisites - MATH 131, 132
  2. MATH 231 and PHYS 231, 232, 201L, 202L, 252
  3. Four courses chosen from PHYS 254 and/or 300-level physics courses

For either of the options, a year of chemistry may be substituted for one of the 300-level physics courses in component (3). MATH 325 is not required for the B.A. degree, however, it is a prerequisite for many of the courses at 300 level and above. Students choosing Option II who want more extensive preparation in basic physics and those planning to take physics courses numbered 315 and higher should replace PHYS 201L, 202L in component (2) with the higher level laboratory sequence, PHYS 221, 222, to be taken after completing PHYS 231, 232. It is also possible to enter the physics sequence through PHYS 142E. Students wishing to use this route should consult one of the physics undergraduate advisors.

Bachelor of Arts with Distinguished Major Course Sequence This sequence may be entered using components (1) and (2) of either option I or II above. Component (3) is replaced by the following requirements: MATH 325, PHYS 254, 317, 321, 331, 342, 355, 356, 393 and one 300-500-level physics elective.

Requirements for the B.S. in Physics The requirements for the B.S. in Physics are the completion of the Distinguished Major course sequence plus Math 521, 522 (or equivalent APMA courses) and PHYS 343. Except for Echols scholars, the requirements for the B.S. in Physics include completion of the standard College of Arts and Sciences competency and area requirements.

A minimum cumulative 2.000 GPA in all required courses must be achieved for graduation as a physics major.

Distinguished Major Program The Distinguished Major Program provides recognition of outstanding academic performance in a challenging sequence of physics courses including an independent study project. Students who complete the distinguished majors course sequence or the B.S. requirements with final grade point averages exceeding 3.400, 3.600, or 3.800, are given departmental recommendation to receive their degrees (B.A. or B.S.) with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction, respectively.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy-Physics This program is offered jointly by the Astronomy and Physics departments and prepares students for graduate study in astronomy, physics, computer science, and related fields. The students take MATH 131, 132, 231, 325, 521, 522; PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252, 254, 221, 222, 321, 331, 342, 343, 355; and ASTR 211, 212, 313, 395, 498 (Senior Thesis), and six additional credits of 300-500 level astronomy courses. Prospective astronomy-physics major are strongly urged to consult with a physics undergraduate advisor during registration week of their first semester. Students in this program have advisors in both departments.

Requirements for Minor A minor in physics can be earned through one of the following course sequences: (1) PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 and either 221 or any 300-level physics course; (2) PHYS 231, 232, 201L, 202L, 252 and any 300-level physics course; (3) PHYS 142E and 142W, 241E and & 241W, 252 and any 300-level physics course.

Additional Information For more information, contact Bascom Deaver, Chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee, Physics Department Office, Jesse W. Beams Laboratory of Physics, P.O. Box 400714, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4714, (434) 924-3781; bsd@virginia.edu; www.phys.virginia.edu. A detailed departmental brochure is available.

Course Descriptions


Overview of Courses in Introductory Physics

The Physics Department offers a wide range of courses and course sequences in introductory physics available to students with no previous preparation in physics. Some satisfy specific requirements for science, engineering and premedical students, while others are intended primarily for liberal arts students. They should be considered in the following three categories:

Courses for Non-Science Majors PHYS 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 111, and 115 are intended primarily for students desiring an introduction to some important topics in physics but whose primary interests are in areas other than science. All of them satisfy the College science requirement and all use only high school-level mathematics.

Introductory Physics without Calculus The two-semester sequence PHYS 201, 202 provides a comprehensive introduction to physics requiring only algebra and trigonometry. Taken together with the associated laboratory courses PHYS 201L and 202L, they satisfy the requirements for medical and dental schools. This sequence is not sufficient preparation for more advanced courses in physics, except for PHYS 304.

Introductory Physics with Calculus There are three course sequences that provide the basis for taking more advanced courses in physics and for entering a physics major or minor:

PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252: Introductory Physics This four-semester calculus-based sequence is designed to provide a broad background in introductory physics for potential physics and other science majors. This sequence is particularly appropriate for students ready to begin the study of physics during their first semester. Calculus (MATH 131, 132) is taken concurrently with Physics 151, 152. The associated laboratory courses, PHYS 221, 222 and MATH 231, 325P are normally taken concurrently with PHYS 251, 252 during the second year.

PHYS 231, 232: Classical and Modern Physics This is a two-semester, calculus-based introductory sequence for science majors. A year of calculus (usually MATH 131, 132) is a prerequisite. These courses taken with the laboratory courses, PHYS 201L, 202L satisfy the physics requirements of medical and dental schools. They are normally taken in the second year. Students desiring more extensive preparation in basic physics, and particularly those planning to take physics courses numbered 315 and higher should replace PHYS 201L, 202L with the higher level laboratory sequence PHYS 221, 222 to be taken after completing PHYS 231, 232.

PHYS 142E, 241E: General Physics This is a two-semester calculus-based introductory sequence primarily for engineering students. One semester of calculus is prerequisite for PHYS 142E, which is offered in the spring semester; the second semester of calculus is usually taken concurrently with PHYS 142E. These courses include workshops, PHYS 142W and 241W respectively, that include experiments and group problem solving. Students completing the PHYS 142E, 241E sequence who need an introduction to modern physics topics (relativity, quantum physics, atomic structure, nuclear and elementary particle physics, solid state physics and cosmology) should enroll in PHYS 252.

Students may offer for degree credit only one of PHYS 142E, 151, and 231; only one of PHYS 232, 241E and 251.

PHYS 101, 102 - (3) (Y)
Concepts of Physics
For non-science majors. Topics vary from year to year. 101 covers classical physics, such as Newton’s laws, science fiction, weight room physics, and weather. 102 covers modern physics, such as relativity, atomic structure, quantum physics, and the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Premedical and pre-dental students should take PHYS 201, 202 rather than 101, 102. They may be taken in either order.

PHYS 105, 106 - (3) (Y)
How Things Work
For non-science majors. Introduces physics and science in everyday life, considering objects from our daily environment and focusing on their principles of operation, histories, and relationships to one another. 105 is concerned primarily with mechanical and thermal objects, while 106 emphasizes objects involving electromagnetism, light, special materials, and nuclear energy. They may be taken in either order.

PHYS 109 - (3) (Y)
Galileo and Einstein
For non-science majors. Examines how new understandings of the natural world develop, starting with the ancient world and emphasizing two famous scientists as case studies. Galileo was the first to make subtle use of experiment, while Einstein was the first to realize time is not absolute and that mass can be converted to energy.

PHYS 111 - (3) (Y)
Energy on this World and Elsewhere
Prerequisite: Physics and math at high school level.
The subject of energy will be considered from the perspective of a physicist. Students will learn to use quantitative reasoning and the recognition of simple physics restraints to examine issues related to energy that are of relevance to society and the future evolution of our civilization.

PHYS 115 - (4) (Y)
Powerful Ideas in Physical Science
Covers several main ideas in physical science including matter, sound, heat and energy, force and motion, electricity and magnetism, and light and optics, using a hands-on conceptual learning approach. Students work in cooperative learning groups throughout the course. The course includes experiments and examples suitable for teachers of elementary students.

PHYS 121 - (3) (IR)
The Science of Sound and Music
Studies the basic physical concepts needed to understand sound. Aspects of perception, the human voice, the measurement of sound, and the acoustics of musical instruments are developed and illustrated.

PHYS 142E - (3) (Y)
General Physics
Prerequisite: APMA 109 or MATH 131; corequisite: PHYS 142W.
First semester of introductory physics for engineers. Analyzes classical mechanics, including vector algebra, particle kinematics and dynamics, energy and momentum, conservation laws, rotational dynamics, oscillatory motion, gravitation, thermodynamics, and kinetic theory of gases. Three lecture hours.

PHYS 142W - (1) (Y)
General Physics I Workshop
Corequisite: PHYS 142E.
A required two-hour workshop accompanying PHYS 142E, including laboratory and tutorial activities.

PHYS 151 - (4) (Y)
Introductory Physics I
Corequisite: MATH 131.
First semester of a four-semester sequence for prospective physics and other science majors. Topics include kinematics and Newton’s laws with vector calculus; frames of reference; energy and momentum conservation; rotational motion; special relativity. Three lecture hours, one problem hour.

PHYS 152 - (4) (Y)
Introductory Physics II
Prerequisite: PHYS 151; corequisite: MATH 132.
Second semester of a four-semester sequence for prospective physics and other science majors. Topics include gravitation and Kepler’s laws; harmonic motion; thermodynamics; wave motion; sound; optics. Three lecture hours, one problem hour.

PHYS 201, 202 - (4) (Y, SS)
Principles of Physics I, II
A terminal course covering the principles of mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics, atomic, solid state, nuclear, and particle physics. A working knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and trigonometry is essential. PHYS 201, 202 does not normally serve as prerequisite for the courses numbered 315 and above. Students who plan to take more physics should elect PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252, 221, 222 instead. PHYS 201, 202, in conjunction with the laboratory, PHYS 201L, 202L, satisfies the physics requirement of medical and dental schools. PHYS 201 is prerequisite for 202. Three lecture hours; two hours of recitation and problem work.

PHYS 201L, 202L - (1.5) (Y, SS)
Basic Physics Laboratory I, II
Prerequisite: for 202L: 201L; corequisite: PHYS 201, 202 or 231, 232. Premedical and pre-dental students should elect this course along with PHYS 201, 202; it is an option for others.
Selected experiments in the different branches of physics are carried out and written up by the student. One three-hour exercise per week.

PHYS 221, 222 - (3) (Y)
Elementary Laboratory I, II
Prerequisite: PHYS 151, 152; corequisite: PHYS 251 and PHYS 252, respectively or prerequisite: PHYS 231, 232; corequisite: PHYS 252 for PHYS 222.
Selected experiments in mechanics, heat, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. One lecture hour and four laboratory hours per week.

PHYS 231, 232 - (4) (Y)
Classical and Modern Physics I, II
Prerequisite: MATH 132 or instructor permission.
A two-semester introduction to classical and modern physics for science majors. A calculus-based treatment of the principles of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, physical optics, elementary quantum theory, and atomic and nuclear physics. This sequence can be used by prospective physics majors and by other students planning to take physics courses numbered 300 and higher; however, the four-semester sequence PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 is recommended. PHYS 231, 232 in conjunction with the laboratory, PHYS 201L, 202L satisfies the requirements for the B.S. in Chemistry, and can be used in place of PHYS 201, 202, 201L, 202L to satisfy the requirements of medical and dental schools. PHYS 231 is prerequisite for 232. Three lecture hours and one problem session per week.

PHYS 241E - (3) (Y)
General Physics II
Prerequisite: PHYS 142E and APMA 111 or MATH 132.
Second semester of introductory physics for engineers. Analyzes electrostatics, including conductors and insulators; DC circuits; magnetic forces and fields; magnetic effects of moving charges and currents; electromagnetic induction; Maxwell’s equations; electromagnetic oscillations and waves. Introduces geometrical and physical optics. Three lecture hours.

PHYS 242W - (1) (Y)
General Physics II Workshop
Corequisite: PHYS 241E.
A required two-hour workshop accompanying PHYS 241E, including laboratory and tutorial activities.

PHYS 251 - (4) (Y)
Introductory Physics III
Prerequisite: PHYS, 152, 231 or 142E; corequisite: MATH 231.
Third semester of a four-semester sequence for prospective physics and other science majors. Topics include electrostatics, circuits, electric and magnetic fields; electromagnetic waves. Three lecture hours, one problem hour.

PHYS 252 - (4) (Y)
Introductory Physics IV
Prerequisite: PHYS 232, 251, or 241E; corequisite: MATH 325P or instructor permission.
Fourth semester of a four-semester sequence for prospective physics and other science majors. Review of relativity; Introduction to quantum physics, atomic structure, nuclear and elementary particle physics, solid state physics and cosmology. Three lecture hours, one problem hour.

PHYS 254 - (3) (Y)
Fundamentals of Scientific Computing
Prerequisite: One semester of calculus and one semester of introductory physics (PHYS 151, 231, 142E or 201) or instructor permission.
Applications of computers to solving basic problems in physical science. Introduction to programming, use of external libraries, and implementation of basic algorithms with focus on numerical methods, error analysis and data fitting. No previous computer experience is required. One lecture and 2 two-hour lab sessions each week.

PHYS 304 - (3) (IR)
Physics of the Human Body
Prerequisite: PHYS 201, MATH 122; corequisite: PHYS 202 or instructor permission.
Application of basic physical principles to functions of the human body; studies selected aspects of hearing, vision, cardiovascular system, biomechanics, urinary system, and information handling.

PHYS 311, 312 - (4) (Y)
Widely Applied Physics I, II
Prerequisite: PHYS 151, 152, 251, 252 or PHYS 231, 232, and MATH 131, 132, 231.
Applications of physical principles to a diverse set of phenomena. Topics include materials science and engineering, computers and electronics, nuclear physics and energy, astrophysics, aeronautics and space flight, communications technology, meteorology, and medical physics and imaging. Emphasis on conceptual issues, order of magnitude estimates, and dimensional analysis. PHYS 311 is not a prerequisite for PHYS 312. Three lecture hours and a discussion session each week.

PHYS 315 - (3) (Y)
Electronics Laboratory
Prerequisite: PHYS 222 or 201L.
Analogue and digital electronics for scientific applications, including the use of transistors, FET’s, operational amplifiers, TTL, and CMOS integrated circuits. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 317 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Laboratory I
Prerequisite: PHYS 222 or instructor permission.
Approximately five experiments drawn from the major fields of physics. Introduces precision apparatus, experimental techniques, and methods of evaluating experimental results. Outside report preparation is required. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 318 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Laboratory II
Prerequisite: PHYS 222 or instructor permission.
Approximately three to five experiments, selected in consultation with the instructor, emphasizing modern aspects. Outside library research and report preparation are required. Six laboratory hours.

PHYS 319 - (3) (Y)
Advanced Laboratory
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Normally a single, semester-long experiment chosen in consultation with the instructor.

PHYS 321 - (3) (Y)
Classical Mechanics
Prerequisite: MATH 325 and PHYS 152 or 231 or instructor permission.
Statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies treated with extensive use of vector calculus; includes the Lagrangian formulation of mechanics.

PHYS 331 - (3) (Y)
Statistical Physics
Prerequisite: PHYS 252 and MATH 325, or instructor permission.
Includes temperature and the laws of thermodynamics; introductory treatments of kinetic theory and statistical mechanics; and applications of Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac distributions.

PHYS 342 - (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism I
Prerequisite: MATH 325 and PHYS 251 or 232 or instructor permission.
Systematic treatment of electromagnetic phenomena with extensive use of vector calculus, including Maxwell’s equations.

PHYS 343 - (3) (Y)
Electricity and Magnetism II
Prerequisite: PHYS 342.
Includes Maxwell’s equations; electromagnetic waves and their interaction with matter; interference, diffraction, polarization; waveguides; and antennas.

PHYS 355 - (3) (Y)
Quantum Physics I
Prerequisite: MATH 325, PHYS 252; corequisite: PHYS 321 or instructor permission.
Includes quantum phenomena and an introduction to wave mechanics; the hydrogen atom and atomic spectra.

PHYS 356 - (3) (Y)
Quantum Physics II
Prerequisite: PHYS 355.
Continuation of PHYS 355. Intermediate quantum mechanics including perturbation theory; application to systems of current interest.

PHYS 381, 382 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Physics-Related Research Areas
Applies the principles and techniques of physics to related areas of physical or life sciences or technology with an emphasis on current research problems. (PHYS 381 is not prerequisite to PHYS 382.)

PHYS 393 - (3) (S-SS)
Independent Study
Prerequisite: PHYS 342 and 355, or instructor permission.
For physics majors in their final year of candidacy. A program of independent study carried out under the supervision of a faculty member and culminating in a written report or essay. May be taken more than once.

PHYS 519 - (3) (Y)
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Practical electronics for scientists, from resistors to microprocessors.

PHYS 521 - (3) (Y)
Theoretical Mechanics
Studies the statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Discusses the methods of generalized coordinates, the Langrangian, Hamilton-Jacobi equations, action-angle variables, and the relation to quantum theory.

PHYS 524 - (3) (SI)
Introduction to the Theory of General Relativity
Prerequisite: Advanced calculus through partial differentiation and multiple integration; vector analysis in three dimensions.
Reviews special relativity and coordinate transformations. Includes the principle of equivalence; effects of gravitation on other systems and fields; general tensor analysis in curved spaces and gravitational field equations; Mach’s principle; tests of gravitational theories; Perihelion precession, red shift, bending of light, gyroscopic precession, radar echo delay; gravitational radiation; relativistic stellar structure and cosmography; and a short survey of cosmological models.

PHYS 531 - (3) (Y)
Prerequisite: PHYS 232, 241E, 251, or an equivalent college-level electromagnetism course.
Includes reflection and refraction at interfaces, geometrical optics, interference phenomena, diffraction, Gaussian optics, and polarization.

PHYS 532 - (3) (Y)
Fundamentals of Photonics
Prerequisite: PHYS 531 or instructor permission.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the physics that underlies technologies such as lasers, optical time/frequency standards, laser gyros, and optical telecommunication. Covers the basic physics of lasers and laser beams, nonlinear optics, optical fibers, modulators and optical signal processing, detectors and measurements systems, and optical networks.

PHYS 533 - (2) (Y)
Optics Laboratory
Corequisite: PHYS 531 or instructor permission.
Experiments include ray optics, aberrations, Hanbury Brown Twiss experiment, diffraction gratings and atomic spectroscopy. Michelson interferometer and coherence, diffraction, polarization and interference. One four-hour lab per week.

PHYS 534 - (2) (Y)
Photonics Laboratory
Corequisite: PHYS 532 or instructor permission.
Experimental topics include lasers, laser beams, diode lasers, frequency modulation, acousto-optic modulation, electrooptic modulation, and second harmonic generation. One four-hour lab per week.

PHYS 547 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Molecular Biophysics
Prerequisite: PHYS 331 or CHEM 361, PHYS 355 or CHEM 362, MATH 521, or instructor permission.
Quantitative introduction to the physics of molecular structures and processes in living systems. Includes molecular structure analysis by X-ray (and neutron) diffraction; electronic configuration of atoms, groups, and small molecules of critical importance in biology; physical methods of macromolecular structure determination in solution and in the solid state; thermodynamic and electronic factors underlying group interactions, proton dissociation, and charge distribution in macromolecules; solvent-macromolecule interactions; action spectroscopy; and rate processes in series and parallel.

PHYS 551, 552 - (3) (IR)
Special Topics in Classical and Modern Physics
Prerequisite: PHYS 342, or instructor permission.
Lectures on topics of current interest in physics research and pedagogy. May be taken more than once.

PHYS 553 - (3) (Y)
Computational Physics I
Prerequisite: PHYS 254; pre- or corequisite: PHYS 321 and PHYS 355, or instructor permission.
A review of computational methods for differentiation, integration, interpolation, finding zeroes, extrema, etc. proceeding to a concentration on numerical solutions of differential equations, basic spectral analysis, numerical methods for matrices and Monte Carlo simulation applied to problems in classical and modern physics.

PHYS 554 - (3) (Y)
Computational Physics II
Prerequisite: PHYS 553, or instructor permission.
Advanced topics in computational physics including numerical methods for partial differential equations, Monte Carlo modeling, advanced methods for linear systems, and special topics in computational physics.

PHYS 562 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Studies crystal structures, lattice vibrations and electronic properties of insulators, metals, and semiconductors; and superconductivity.

PHYS 572 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics
Studies subatomic structure; basic constituents and their mutual interactions.

PHYS 577 - (3) (O)
Introduction to High Energy Physics
Prerequisite: MATH 231 and PHYS 355, or instructor permission.
Studies the experimental basis of high energy principles. Topics include the behavior of strong, electromagnetic, and weak forces and their symmetries; electroweak standard model; interactions of particles; and present and planned high energy accelerators.

PHYS 593 - (1-3) (S)
Independent Study
A program of independent study carried out under the supervision of a faculty member, culminating in a written report, essay, or examination. May be taken more than once.

Advanced graduate courses in the Department of Physics are described in the Graduate Record.

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