Physics and Astronomy Courses
Introduction to Astronomy
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6)(LER -NS)
Astronomy is a detective game: Because we can’t visit, touch, or sample even the nearest stars, our only means to understand the Universe is to observe its light and radiation from afar and analyze it using creativity, inspiration, and the laws of physics. This course is a qualitative (i.e., non-mathematical) and inquiry-based exploration of how our observations of the universe have led to our understanding of it, from the motion of the stars across our sky to the Big Bang and beyond. Topics include the methods and history of scientific discovery, the basic laws of physics, our solar system, the life and death of stars, galaxies, and a brief history of the universe. Three hours lecture plus three hours lab. Fall semester, repeated spring semester.Sugerman.
Intermediate Reading in Spanish and Astronomy in Granada
(8 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #3 and #6) (LER - SA)
Regularly scheduled every odd year in the spring semester at Goucher, in combination with a three-week intensive course in Spain during the month of May. This course will encourage a great deal of interdisciplinary study among our students by studying sciences and Spanish in a Spanish city that is known for its astronomical observations, such as IRAM, and its multi-ethnic environment. Credits will be distributed as follows: 2.5 Astronomy and 1 Spanish credit in the spring and 1.5 Astronomy and 3 Spanish credits in the summer. Students will receive credit for SP 299 or for independent work in Spanish (1-3 credits, the equivalent to SP 299). Prerequisite: SP 130 or SP 130G or SP 130S or SP 130V or placement. Spring semester. Offered 2014-15 and alternate years. Miranda-Aldaco and Sugerman.
As amazingly vast as space and time are, it is even more amazing that we have been able to understand them using only observations of light and basic laws of physics. This intermediate level course is for the dedicated enthusiast seeking to continue AST 110 or physics students seeking a rigorous introduction, with an emphasis on how our observations have been translated into physical understanding. Topics include an introduction to the physics of astronomy, how we have unveiled the nature of stars, the composition and evolution of galaxies, the cosmological distance ladder, and observational cosmology. Three hours lecture. Prerequisites: AST 110 or permission of instructor. High-school calculus or MA 117 recommended. Fall semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Sugerman.
A quantitative exploration of the universe, emphasizing how the fusion of classical and modern physics is used to explain and elucidate the phenomena presented in previous courses. Topics include the interaction of light and matter; stellar structure and evolution, including supernovae and compact objects; detailed processes in the interstellar medium; the structure and evolution of galaxies, including star-forming regions, active-galactic nuclei, and dark matter; and large-scale structure. Three hours lecture. Prerequisites: AST 210 and PHY 220. Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Sugerman.
Relativity and Cosmology
An in-depth exploration of the theories of special and general relativity. Topics will include relativistic mechanics, dynamics, and radiative processes; tensor algebra, the general relativistic field equations, and their application to space-time, including black holes; and application of general relativity to understand theoretical and observational cosmology, i.e., the history (and future) of the universe. Three hours lecture. Prerequisites: PHY 220 and permission of the department. Variable semester.Department.
Independent Work in Astronomy
(1.5-4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #7)
Independent theoretical, observational, or analysis work carried out under the supervision of a member of the department. May be one or two semesters. Graded pass/no pass only. Prerequisites: major in physics with astronomy concentration or minor in astronomy, and permission of instructor. Fall semester, repeated spring semester.Department.
Principles of Physics I
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6 ) (LER–NS)
First semester of a non-calculus-based course sequence designed for students majoring in the life sciences or non-science students interested in physics. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, kinematics and dynamics of linear and angular motions, universal gravitation, conservation of energy and momentum, elasticity, simple harmonic motion, and fluids. Recommended with PHY 116 for students majoring in the life sciences. Six hours integrated lecture/laboratory. Prerequisite: three years of high-school mathematics. Fall semester. Moerschbacher.
Principles of Physics II
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6)
Second semester of a non-calculus-based course sequence designed for students majoring in the life sciences or non-science students interested in physics. Topics include mechanical and electromagnetic waves, acoustics, resonance, nature of light and color, geometrical and physical optics, electricity and magnetism, and DC and AC circuits. Six hours integrated lecture/laboratory. Prerequisite: PHY 115. Spring semester. Moerschbacher.
General Physics I
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6) (LER–NS)
A calculus-based course where lecture and laboratory are combined and taught using an interactive teaching method employing computers and guided inquiry through hands-on experiments. The method is designed to increase problem-solving and analytical-thinking skills and to guide students toward a coherent and logical approach to understanding the world. Topics include kinematics and dynamics of linear and angular motions, universal gravitation, conservation of energy and momentum, simple harmonic motion, and fluids. Six hours integrated lecture/laboratory. Pre- or corequisite: MA 170 or permission of the instructor. Fall semester. Yoder.
General Physics II
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6)
A continuation of PHY 125. Topics include wave motion, electricity and magnetism, and physical and geometrical optics. Six hours integrated lecture/laboratory. Prerequisite: PHY 125. Pre- or corequisite: MA 180 or permission of the instructor. Spring semester. Yoder.
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #7 with PHY 280) (GEN. ED. #6 with PHY 230)
An introductory course in non-classical physics for students who have completed calculus-based general physics. It is intended to introduce students to the frontiers of physics in a simple, comprehensible manner through discussions, problem solving, interactive computer simulations, and additional readings. Topics include basic ideas of quantum mechanics with experiments that revolutionized our understanding of nature and led to the development of new fields such as atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear and elementary particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Four hours lecture. Prerequisite: PHY 126 and concurrent enrollment in PHY 230. Fall semester. Moerschbacher.
Intermediate Physics Laboratory
(2 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #6 with PHY 220)
Exploration of modern scientific methods. Measurement of several classical and modern physics constants. Experiments include measuring the specific charge of an electron, Millikan oil-drop experiment, Davisson-Germer experiment, Hall effect, Frank-Hertz, Plank’s constant, speed of light, law of radiation, muon physics, and particle-wave duality. One hour lecture, two hours laboratory. Prerequisite: concurrent enrollment in PHY 220. Fall semester. Yoder.
Energy, Physics, and the Environment
(3 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER - ENV)
Introductory course in environmental physics that emphasizes the physical principles behind the production, transport and conversion of energy. The laws of thermodynamics and classical mechanics are applied to natural ecosystems and energy resources such as fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydropower, wind, solar power, etc. These resources are analyzed in terms of the societal and environmental impacts of the associated technologies. Prerequisite: PHY 115 or PHY 125or permission of the instructor. Spring semester. Offered 2014-15 and alternate years. Dukan.
Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences
(4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #5) (GEN. ED. #7 with PHY 220)
A comprehensive, problem-solving-oriented course designed for students in the physical sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry, and the 3+2 Engineering Program). Various mathematical methods as applied to the relevant problems in physical sciences are discussed. Topics: series, complex analysis, partial differentiation, vector analysis, calculus of variation, tensors, differential equations, special functions, and integral transforms. Four hours lecture. Prerequisites: MA 222 and PHY 126 or permission of instructor. Spring semester. Moerschbacher.
Internship in Physics
Internships in research laboratories in universities and industry. Arranged on the basis of the individual interest of the student. Graded pass/no pass only. Prerequisites: PHY 126 and appropriate upper-level courses. Department.
Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics
A calculus-based course in which the basic concepts of thermodynamics are introduced from the microscopic point of view. Methods of statistical physics are used to define entropy and temperature, heat and work, and ideal gas behavior. Applications to chemical reactions, Fermi and Bose systems in condensed matter physics, and phase transformations are discussed. Prerequisite: PHY 220 or permission of instructor. Fall semester. Offered 2014-15 and alternate years. Dukan.
Intermediate Electromagnetic Theory
Intermediate-level discussion of Maxwell’s equations and their applications: electrostatics and dynamics; magnetic fields and magnetic effects; and electromagnetic waves, both in vacuum and in materials. Prerequisite: PHY 280. Spring semester. Offered 2014-15 and alternate years. Yoder.
An introduction to principles of electronic instrumentation and methods that would enable students to choose appropriate instruments for a measurement and control. Topics include: DC and AC circuits, diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, waveform shaping, gates, flip-flops, instrumentation, detection techniques, and data acquisition. Three hours integrated lecture/laboratory. Prerequisites: PHY 220 and PHY 230. Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Yoder.
Special Topics in Contemporary Physics
Topics courses in physics are offered to extend knowledge beyond foundation courses and to introduce students to more advanced topics in physics and their applications to many different areas of science and technology. Topics are determined by student interest and needs. Courses include but are not limited to: Introduction to Materials Science and Nano-Composites (Bakhshai), Condensed Matter Physics (Dukan), , Atomic and Molecular Physics (Pichler), Laser Physics (Pichler), and Relativity and Cosmology (Sugerman). Depending on a particular topic, the course will have a three-hour lecture, laboratory and/or seminar format. Students may take this course for credit more than once. Prerequisites: PHY 220 and permission of the department. Additional courses as appropriate for the particular topic will be specified by the department. Variable semester. Department.
This course presents kinematics and dynamics of particles using Newtonian, Langrangian, and Hamiltonian techniques. Topics include central force motion, oscillations and normal mode analysis, nonlinear dynamics, rotating rigid bodies, and motion in non-inertial reference frames. Three hours lecture. Prerequisite: PHY 280 or permission of the instructor. Fall semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Dukan.
The study of quantum mechanics and its applications occupies a central position in the physical sciences, forming the basis for an understanding of atomic, molecular, nuclear, particle, and condensed matter physics. The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive introduction to the principles of quantum mechanics and includes the following topics: formal development of the postulates of quantum theory, representation of states, quantum mechanics in one and three dimensions, angular momentum, spin, and perturbation theory. Prerequisite: PHY 220, PHY 340, and MA 221, or permission of the instructor. Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Moerschbacher.
Independent Work in Physics
(1.5-4 Cr.) (GEN. ED. #7)
Independent theoretical and laboratory work carried out under the supervision of a member of the department. May be one or two semesters. Graded pass/no pass only. Prerequisites: major or minor in physics and permission of instructor. Fall semester, repeated spring semester.Department.