Physics (PHYS)

PHYS 100  Introduction to Physical Science 4 Credits


This is a one semester physical science course with laboratory designed for those students not majoring in science areas. This course will introduce the student to the scientific method while teaching some principles of physical science and their applications. Topics include: introduction to the laws of motion, work and energy, heat, climate change, sound, light, electricity, and applications from modern technology. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 104  History of Science 3 Credits


The historical and philosophical development of science traced from the ancient Egyptians to the present. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 106  Science and Society 3 Credits


This is a one semester course for non-science majors designed to provide knowledge of some of the principles of physical science and to indicate how they are related to society. Formal laboratory is not included in the course. Topics discussed vary but may include energy and sustainability, climate change, radiation, electricity and magnetism, space exploration, and technological applications of physics. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 109  Energy and Climate Change 3 Credits


The physics of energy and climate change. The course will focus on issues such as the current energy crisis, alternative energy efforts and the scientific data indicative of climate change and global warming. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 180  Astronomy for Everyone 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 100 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite (or placement out of MATH 100). An introduction to astronomy suitable for all audiences. Traces the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang, through the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, and life. Additional topics include the nature of space and time, black holes and gravitational waves, cosmology, galaxy collisions and spiral structure, methods for observing the universe, understanding the night sky, overview of the solar system, exoplanets, and life in the universe. Labs include telescopic observations, spectroscopy, optics, and computer simulations. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 191  University Physics I 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 122 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite. MATH 111 or MATH 112 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite for PHYS majors only with departmental approval. This one-semester calculus-based course including laboratory is a study of the principles of physics and their applications. Topics covered include kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, momentum, rotational motion, gravity, and harmonic motion. Meets Gen Ed Natural Science Laboratory. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 192  University Physics II 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 191; and MATH 221 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite. MATH 122 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite for Physics majors only with departmental approval. Calculus-based course. Continuation of PHYS 191, focusing on the following topics: oscillations and waves, sound, optics, electricity and magnetism; some applications to modern physics also discussed. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 193  College Physics I 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 100. This one semester course including laboratory is a study of the principles and applications of classical physics. Topics covered include mechanics, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, momentum, rotational motion, heat and thermodynamics, as well as modern applications of physical principles. Calculus is not used, but algebra and trigonometry are required. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 194  College Physics II 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 193; and MATH 100 or MATH 111 or MATH 112. This one semester course including laboratory is a study of the principles and applications of classical physics. Topics covered include oscillations and waves, sound, optics, electricity and magnetism, an introduction to modern and nuclear physics, as well as contemporary applications of physical principles. Calculus is not used, but algebra and trigonometry are required. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 198  Introductory Physics Seminar 1 Credit


Introduction to the physics major. Intended for all new physics students. Topics include: navigating the physics major, study skills, practice with written and oral presentations; history of physics, contemporary topics in physics, physics careers, developing math and computer skills, using units and dimensional analysis, order of magnitude estimation, and problem‑solving practice. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. 1 hour seminar.

PHYS 210  Intermediate Mechanics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 192. Intermediate-level overview of classical mechanics: kinematics, Newton's laws, impulse and momentum, statics, work and energy, oscillations, central force motion, non-inertial frames, introduction to Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 220  Oscillations, Waves, and Optics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 192. Intermediate level treatment of oscillations, waves, and optics. Topics include simple harmonic oscillation including damping and resonance, coupled oscillators and normal modes, nonlinear oscillations, basic wave properties, traveling and standing waves, waves in media, dispersion relations, derivation of wave equations, geometric optics, diffraction and interference, Fourier analysis. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 230  Intermediate Physics Laboratory 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 192. Introduction to laboratory techniques. Topics include acquisition, recording, analysis, and interpretation of data; data fitting and error estimation. Labs are focused on fundamental experiments in classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and intermediate experiments in waves and optics. Students will learn basic principles of circuit design, the use of standard laboratory research equipment such as a signal generator and oscilloscope, as well as the basics of automated data acquisition. 3 hour lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 245  Fundamentals of Electronics 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 192 or PHYS 194. An introduction to the principles of electric circuits and basic components of electronics. Topics may include, Ohm’s and Kirchhoff's laws, measuring basic circuit properties, RC and RLC circuits, using waveform generators and oscilloscopes, diodes, transistors, amplifiers. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 280  Astronomy for Physicists 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 191 or PHYS 193. An introduction to astronomy for physics majors. Traces the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang, through the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, and life. Additional topics include the nature of space and time, black holes and gravitational waves, cosmology, galaxy collisions and spiral structure, methods for observing the universe, understanding the night sky, overview of the solar system, exoplanets, and life in the universe. Labs include telescopic observations, spectroscopy, optics, and computer simulations. Contains more advanced material than PHYS 180. Meets the University Writing Requirement for majors in Physics. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 300  Junior/Senior Physics Seminar 1 Credit


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220. Selected topics related to physics and physics careers. These include: preparation for graduate school, industry, or teaching; alternative career pathways. Refining writing and presentation skills. Problem solving practice including numerical computation, order of magnitude estimation, advanced mathematical tips/tricks, and special topics not ordinarily covered in other physics courses. Seminars and readings on contemporary topics in physics. Meets the University Writing Requirement for majors in Physics. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. 1 hour seminar.

PHYS 310  Advanced Mechanics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 and PHYS 220. Advanced topics in classical mechanics including: generalized motion and transformations; Lagrange's and Hamilton's equations; oscillations; rigid body motion, wave propagation; nonlinear dynamics and chaos, perturbation theory, scattering theory, continuum mechanics. Meets the University Writing Requirement for majors in Physics. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 320  Statistical and Thermal Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220. An introduction to thermodynamics and statistical physics. Topics include: laws of thermodynamics, entropy, heat engines, free energy, phase transformations, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, equipartition theorem, Fermi and Bose statistics, partition function, ideal gas law, and Ising model. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 325  Computational Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 221, PHYS 191, PHYS 192; and CSIT 111 or CSIT 104. This course applies computer techniques and numerical analysis to model physical systems. Topics include: basic programming structures, numerical error, plotting and manipulating data, finite differencing, numerical integration, numerical solution of ODEs and systems of equations, and Monte Carlo techniques. Simulation examples may include falling bodies, gravitational orbits, scattering, oscillations, electrical circuits, molecular dynamics, chaos, and quantum systems. 3 hours lecture. Previous course PHYS 430 effective through Spring 2019.

PHYS 330  Advanced Physics Laboratory 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 230. Advanced laboratory techniques. Experiments in areas of atomic and nuclear physics, advanced optics, and electronics. Prior or concurrent enrollment in Modern Physics (PHYS 360) strongly recommended. 3 hour lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 340  Electricty and Magnetism 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220; and MATH 222 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite. Basic principles of electromagnetism: Coulomb's law and general techniques in electrostatics, currents and their associated magnetic field, electromagnetic induction and magnetic properties of materials. Foundations of Maxwell's equations. 3 hours lecture. Previous course PHYS 240 effective through Spring 2019.

PHYS 341  Electronics and Digital Circuits 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 230. An introduction to fundamental principles of analog and digital circuits, semiconductor properties, operational amplifiers, circuit design and prototyping, filters, converters, power supplies, and logic devices. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 350  Modern Optics 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220. Geometrical optics and ray transfer matrix analysis, Fourier optics, coherence, interference, holography, diffraction, light and matter interaction, nonlinear optics, Gaussian beams, optical resonators, principles and applications of lasers, elements of photonics. Meets the University Writing Requirement for majors in Physics. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 360  Modern Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220. An overview of physics from the 20th century and onwards. Topics include: special relativity, quantization and elementary quantum mechanics, structure of the atom, and an introduction to particle/nuclear, condensed matter, and solid state physics.(Offered alternate years.) 3 hours lecture. Previous course PHYS 460 effective through Spring 2019.

PHYS 368  Fluid Mechanics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 222 with a grade of C- or higher. Mechanics of continuous media, liquids and gases; stress, viscosity, Navier-Stokes and Euler Equations, exact solutions, potential flow, circulation and vorticity, dimensional analysis and asymptotic models, boundary layers, stability theory and applications to industrial environmental problems. Cross listed with MATH 368. Previous course PHYS 468 effective through Spring 2014. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 377  Mathematical Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): MATH 222. Vector analysis, complex variables, ordinary and partial differential equations, matrices, Fourier analysis, special functions. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 380  Observational Astronomy 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 230 or PHYS 280. Observational techniques for the Moon, planets, satellites of other planets, asteroids, comets, stars, star clusters, and galaxies. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 399  Special Topics in Physics 1-4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 210 or PHYS 220. Study of advanced topics in Physics. Topics will vary. May include a laboratory component. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. 1 hour lab and 1 hour lecture.

PHYS 451  Radiation and Medical Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 330 or PHYS 360 may be taken as a prerequisite or corequisite. This course covers the basics of radiation physics, including ultrasound, X‑rays, and alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. It also deals with the application of concepts and methods from physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. It introduces the physical principles and basic mathematical methods underlying the various models of medical testing, imaging, and treatment. These include computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single‑photon emission tomography (SPECT), and ultrasound. Covers nuclear physics and the interaction of radiation with biological matter with application to radiation therapy. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 452  Medical Physics Seminar 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 330 or PHYS 360 may be taken as prerequisites or corequisites. This is an in‑field seminar conducted by expert practitioners at Mountainside Hospital with the supervision of an MSU faculty advisor. Examines the clinical and diagnostic applications of medical imaging methods (CT, MRI, and PET), the clinical applications of radiation therapy, and the clinical applications of ultrasound, lasers, and optical techniques. Includes on‑site shadowing of doctors and professional medical personnel at local hospitals and visits to medical instrumentation companies.

PHYS 461  Special and General Relativity 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 340 or PHYS 360 or PHYS 368 or MATH 368. An introduction to Einstein's geometric theory of gravity. Topics will include: special relativity, 4-vectors, the twin paradox, the metric tensor, non-Euclidean geometry, the equivalence principle, the gravitational redshift, geodesics, the Schwarzschild solution, and black holes. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 462  Nuclear Physics 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 360. Nuclear radiation; radioactive decay; detectors; nuclear spectroscopy and reactions; fission, fusion, reactors; and application of radioisotopes. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab.

PHYS 464  Quantum Mechanics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 360. Schrodinger’s wave equation, its application and interpretation; tunneling, quantized simple harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, the Hydrogen atom, Pauli exclusion principle; bra/ket notation, perturbation theory, and entanglement. (Offered alternate years.) 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 470  Solid State Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 360. Properties of solid state matter are developed from the quantum mechanics of atoms and molecules. (Not offered every year.) 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 480  Astrophysics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 320 or PHYS 340 or PHYS 360 or PHYS 368 or MATH 368. An introduction to gravity and stellar astrophysics. Topics include: overview of basic astrophysical concepts; solution to the gravitational-two body problem; tidal and 3-body interactions; applications to the solar system and exoplanets; radiation and radiation transport; stellar spectra and atmospheres; stellar structure, oscillation, and evolution. 3 hours lecture.

PHYS 490  Literature Research in Physics 2 Credits


Prerequisite(s): At least 16 credit hours of physics beyond PHYS 192. Student considers topics in physics and gains facility in literature research techniques: topics in pure physics or related to physics education. Students intending to enroll in laboratory research in physics should use PHYS 490 to provide the literature research related to his/her laboratory problem. (Not offered every year.) 2 hours lecture.

PHYS 495  Research or Independent Study in Physics 1-4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): Departmental approval. Student coordinates with a faculty member on an appropriate topic of study. This might include a program of independent study based on a standard physics course, a literature exploration of a physics topic not normally covered in our course catalog, or (more commonly) research on a topic of joint interest between the student and faculty member (or approved research staff at an external institution). Research may be laboratory-based, computational, or theoretical. A written report or presentation is generally required. May be repeated twice for a maximum of 12 credits. Students are expected to contact the relevant faculty member in advance to determine availability and discuss appropriate topics.

PHYS 502  Physics for Middle Grades Teaching 4 Credits


Prerequisite(s): Restricted to majors in Elementary School with Subject Matter Specialization: Science 5-8 or program coordinator approval. To provide individuals interested in teaching middle school science with knowledge of the principles and applications in physics from a unified energy-based outlook, and how to present the laws of physics to the middle grades students. Emphasis will be placed on problem solving methods and the development of critical thinking skills. 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab. Previous course SCIM 502 effective through Summer 2019.

PHYS 519  Special Topics in Physics 3 Credits


Prerequisite(s): At least 12 semester hours in physics and departmental approval. Designed to acquaint the student with recent developments in physics and applications of physics. Examples of topic areas are astrophysics, laser applications, applications of quantum theory, solid state applications, and medical physics. May co-sit with an existing physics course. This is an elective requirement for the Teaching (MAT) with Certification in Physical Science degree program. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6 credits. 3 hours lecture.