Physics

The department aims to develop in its students a comprehensive grasp of the principles of physics, together with a productive capacity in research. The courses of study are flexible in subject matter and are conducted by means of lectures, seminars, laboratories, and colloquia. Undergraduate as well as graduate students have opportunities to carry out research in fields of current interest.

The principal research fields of the department are condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, low-temperature physics, nonlinear optics, physical acoustics, astrophysics, biological physics, and cosmology. Interdisciplinary study and research, coordinated with other departments, is encouraged for students interested in brain and neural science, semiconductor physics, geophysics, physics of solid continua, polymer physics, and computational physics, as well as other fields.

For additional information, please visit the department's website: http://www.brown.edu/academics/physics/

Course usage information

PHYS 0010. Introduction to the Meaning and Structure of Physics.

A wide-ranging introduction to physics for nonscientists that emphasizes the fundamental principles and ideas underlying the field of physics. Focuses on three "great" ideas: Newton's laws of mechanics and universal gravitation, Einstein's theory of relativity, and the development of quantum mechanics. Lecture demonstrations and nonconventional laboratory sections illustrate the concepts discussed in class. Knowledge of high school algebra is sufficient background. Not designed to satisfy medical school admission requirements.

Course usage information

PHYS 0020. From Quanta to Quarks, for the Nonscientist.

This course is aimed at students of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, who would appreciate a non-mathematical presentation of the revolutionary discoveries of fundamental Physics of the Twentieth Century. The Lectures begin with Einstein's Relativity and Planck's Quantum Hypothesis, descend into the realms of Atoms and Nuclei, and end with the current limits of our knowledge, the Quark Model of the elementary particles.

Course usage information

PHYS 0030. Basic Physics.

Survey of mechanics for concentrators in sciences other than physics-including premedical students or students without prior exposure to physics who require a less rigorous course than PHYS 0050, 0060. Employs the concepts of elementary calculus but little of its technique. Lectures, conferences, and laboratory. Six hours of attendance. Recommended: MATH 0090 or 0100.

Fall PHYS0030 S01 15853 MWF 11:00-11:50(09) (G. Landsberg)
Fall PHYS0030 S02 15874 MWF 12:00-12:50(09) (G. Landsberg)
Course usage information

PHYS 0030L. Basic Physics Lab.

Please see course description for PHYS 0030.

Fall PHYS0030L L01 16480 T 8:30-10:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L02 16481 T 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L03 16482 T 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L04 16483 W 9:00-10:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L05 16484 W 1:00-2:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L06 16485 W 3:00-4:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L07 16486 Th 8:30-10:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L08 16487 Th 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L09 16488 Th 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L10 16489 F 9:00-10:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L11 16490 F 1:00-2:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0030L L12 16491 Arranged (R. Gaitskell)
Course usage information

PHYS 0040. Basic Physics.

Survey of electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics for concentrators in sciences other than physics-including premedical students or students without prior exposure to physics who require a less rigorous course than PHYS 0050, 0060. Employs the concepts of elementary calculus but little of its technique. Lectures, conferences, and laboratory. Recommended: MATH 0090 or 0100.

Spr PHYS0040 S01 24679 MWF 11:00-11:50(18) (R. Gaitskell)
Spr PHYS0040 S02 24680 MWF 12:00-12:50(18) (R. Gaitskell)
Course usage information

PHYS 0040L. Basic Physics Lab.

Please see description for PHYS 0040.

Spr PHYS0040L L01 25472 T 8:30-10:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L02 25474 T 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L03 25475 T 2:30-4:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L04 25476 W 9:00-10:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L05 25477 W 1:00-2:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L06 25478 W 3:00-4:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L07 25479 Th 8:30-10:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L08 25480 Th 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L09 25481 Th 2:30-4:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L10 25482 F 9:00-10:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L11 25483 F 1:00-2:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0040L L12 25484 Arranged (M. Narain)
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PHYS 0050. Foundations of Mechanics.

An introduction to Newtonian mechanics that employs elementary calculus. Intended for science concentrators. Potential physics concentrators, who do not have adequate preparation for PHYS 0070, may enroll, but are urged to continue with PHYS 0160 rather than PHYS 0060. Lectures, conferences and laboratory. Six hours of attendance. Recommended: MATH 0090 or MATH 0100.

Fall PHYS0050 S01 15876 MW 8:30-9:50(01) (M. Dorca)
Fall PHYS0050 C01 15879 Th 5:00-6:20 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0050 C02 15880 F 8:30-9:50 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0050 C03 15881 F 1:00-2:20 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

PHYS 0050L. Foundations of Mechanics Lab.

Please see course description for PHYS 0050.

Fall PHYS0050L L01 16639 T 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L02 16640 T 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L03 16641 W 1:00-2:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L04 16642 W 3:00-4:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L05 16643 Th 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L06 16644 Th 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0050L L07 16645 Arranged (R. Gaitskell)
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PHYS 0060. Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics.

An introduction to the principles and phenomena of electricity, magnetism, optics, and the concepts of modern physics. Recommended for those who wish to limit their college physics to two semesters but seek a firm grounding in the subject, including but not limited to those with some previous knowledge of physics. Lectures, conferences, and laboratory. Six hours of attendance. Prerequisite: PHYS 0050. Recommended: MATH 0100.

Spr PHYS0060 S01 24681 MW 8:30-9:50(02) (M. Dorca)
Spr PHYS0060 C01 24682 Th 5:00-6:20 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS0060 C02 24683 F 8:30-9:50 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS0060 C03 24684 F 1:00-2:20 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

PHYS 0060L. Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics.

Please see description for PHYS 0060.

Spr PHYS0060L L01 25485 T 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L02 25486 T 2:30-4:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L03 25487 W 1:00-2:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L04 25488 W 3:00-4:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L05 25489 Th 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L06 25490 Th 2:30-4:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0060L L07 25491 Arranged (M. Narain)
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PHYS 0070. Analytical Mechanics.

A mathematically more rigorous introduction to Newtonian mechanics than PHYS 0050. For first-year students and sophomores who have studied physics previously and have completed a year of calculus. Lectures, conferences, and laboratory. Six hours of attendance. Prerequisites: high school physics and calculus or written permission.

Fall PHYS0070 S01 15883 MWF 9:00-9:50(01) (A. Jevicki)
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PHYS 0070L. Analytical Mechanics.

Please see course description for PHYS 0070.

Fall PHYS0070L L01 16647 T 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L02 16648 T 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L03 16649 W 1:00-2:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L04 16650 W 3:00-4:50 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L05 16651 Th 12:30-2:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L06 16652 Th 2:30-4:20 (R. Gaitskell)
Fall PHYS0070L L07 16654 Arranged (R. Gaitskell)
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PHYS 0100. Flat Earth to Quantum Uncertainty: On the Nature and Meaning of Scientific Explanation.

Physics has had a dramatic impact on our conception of the universe, our ideas concerning the nature of knowledge, and our view of ourselves. Philosophy, sometimes inspired by developments in physics, considers the impact of such developments on our lives. In this seminar, students will explore how classical and modern physical theory have affected our view of the cosmos, of ourselves as human beings, as well as our view of the relation of mathematical or physical structures to 'truth' or 'reality.' Through a study of physics as well as selected philosophical readings, we will consider how we can know anything, from seemingly simple facts to whether a machine is conscious. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT

Course usage information

PHYS 0110. Excursion to Biophysics.

This new course aims at freshmen with good preparation in high school physics, chemistry and biology, but who have not had a set mind what specific disciplines to focus on in their college study at Brown. The course will introduce important physics concepts and techniques relevant to biology and medicine, such as diffusion and transport of molecules and intracellular components, Brown motion and active swimming of microbes, motion of particles confined by a harmonic potential, Boltzmann distribution, exponential growth or decay, and statistics of single molecule behavior. The goal of the course is to cultivate interest and provide essential basics for more rigorous study of biological physics as a branch of interdisciplinary science. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT

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PHYS 0111. Are There Extra Dimensions Under Your Bed?.

Discusses some of the most exciting questions confronting contemporary physical science in a fashion suitable for both humanists and scientists. What are particles, antiparticles, superstrings, and black holes? How are space and time related? How are mass and gravity related to space and time? Do we live in a three-dimensional world, or are there extra dimensions? The seminar will address such questions with conceptual explanations based upon current research on campus, and highlight the experiments at the energy frontier, being carried out by the world's largest scientific instrument to-date, the Large Hadron Collider, located in Geneva, Switzerland. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS WRIT

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PHYS 0112. Alien Worlds: The Search for Extra-Solar Planets and Extraterrestrial Life.

The course will cover the significant developments in the detection and characterization of extra-solar planetary systems in the past 20 years. We will study the astrophysics of planetary system formation, the techniques for detecting planets, the properties of the planets discovered so far, and the prospects for future discoveries, with an emphasis on the search for "Earth-analogues" and the implications for astrobiology. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS

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PHYS 0113. Squishy Physics.

A freshman seminar to explore everyday applications of physics. It offers practical training on project based learning. The course involves hands-on experimentation, data analysis and presentation. The course is designed for students interested in any field of science with no pre-requisite. The topics covered include motion, forces, flow, elasticity, polymers, gels, electricity, energy, etc. Students will be guided to work on several projects over the semester. They are required to report their projects in both written and oral reports. There is no exam for the course. Students are required to register for one of the labs. FYS

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PHYS 0114. The Science and Technology of Energy.

Energy plays fundamental roles in society. Its use underlies improvements in the living standard; the consequences of its use are having a significant impact on the Earth’s climate; its scarcity in certain forms is a source of insecurity and political conflict. This course will introduce the fundamental laws that govern energy and its use. Physical concepts to be covered: mechanical energy, thermodynamics, the Carnot cycle, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. Technological applications include wind, hydro, and geothermal energy, engines and fuels, electrical energy transmission and storage, solar energy and photovoltaics, nuclear reactors, and biomass. Enrollment limited 20. FYS

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PHYS 0120. Adventures in Nanoworld.

Richard Feynman famously said, "There's plenty of room at the bottom," about the possibility of building molecular-size machines operating according to Quantum Mechanics. Scientists are now learning the art, and students in this course will use basic physics and simple mathematical models to understand the phenomena and materials in the nanoworld. Non-science concentrators and potential science concentrators alike will learn about important classes of nanosystems such as macromolecules, nanotubes, quantum dots, quantum wires, and films. We will learn how people make nanosystems and characterize them. We will consider existing and potential applications of nanotechnology, including molecular motors, nanoelectronics, spintronics, and quantum information. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. FYS WRIT

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PHYS 0121. Introduction to Environmental Physics: The Quantum Mechanics of Global Warming.

We will use basic physics and simple mathematical models to investigate climate change, energy and entropy, the dispersal of pollutants, solar power, and other aspects of environmental science. Lectures will be supplemented with demonstrations of key physical principles. Emphasis will be placed on quantitative reasoning.

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PHYS 0150. Brief History of Time.

An introduction to modern cosmology for nonphysicists. Topics include: the nature of space and time, the expanding universe, black holes, and the origin of structure in the universe. Attempts to bridge the gap between sciences and humanities. No mathematics other than high school algebra is assumed. Willingness to be challenged by bold new ideas and an inquisitive mind are prerequisites.

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PHYS 0160. Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics.

A mathematically rigorous introduction to special relativity and quantum mechanics. The second course in the three-semester sequence (PHYS 0470 being the third) for those seeking the strongest foundation in physics. Also suitable for students better served by an introduction to modern physics rather than electromagnetism. Lectures, conferences, and laboratory. Six hours of attendance. Prerequisite: PHYS 0070 or 0050. Recommended: MATH 0180 or 0200.

Spr PHYS0160 S01 24685 MWF 9:00-9:50(02) (C. Tan)
Course usage information

PHYS 0160L. Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics.

Please see the course description for PHYS 0160.

Spr PHYS0160L L01 25492 T 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L02 25493 T 2:30-4:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L03 25495 W 1:00-2:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L04 25496 W 3:00-4:50 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L05 25497 Th 12:30-2:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L06 25498 Th 2:30-4:20 (M. Narain)
Spr PHYS0160L L07 25499 Arranged (M. Narain)
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PHYS 0180. Physics for Non-Physicists: An Introduction to Classical and Modern Physics.

This course is an introduction to many major concepts in physics. It is intended for a general audience, and calculus is not required. Along the way, we will address the question “what goes into making a scientific theory?” using the works of Euclid, Galileo, Newton and others as examples. Concepts range historically from planetary motion (addressed at least as early as Ancient Greece) to modern physics topics that are still under debate today. These concepts include (but are not limited to) motion, forces, energy, electricity and magnetism, special relativity and quantum mechanics.

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PHYS 0210. Beginning Astronomy.

Semester I: historical and conceptual developments and the study of the solar system. Semester II: stars and their evolution, our galaxy, and the universe at large. Considers the role of pulsars, quasars, neutron stars, and black holes in modern views of the universe. Three hours of attendance. See also PHYS 0270. Either semester may be taken independently.

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PHYS 0220. Astronomy.

An introduction to basic ideas and observations in astronomy, starting with the observed sky, coordinates and astronomical calendars and cycles, the historical development of our understanding of astronomical objects. Particular emphasis is placed on the properties of stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole, including the basic ideas of cosmology. The material is covered at a more basic level than PHYS 0270. Knowledge of basic algebra and trigonometry is required, but no experience with calculus is necessary. The course includes evening laboratory sessions.

Spr PHYS0220 S01 24686 TTh 10:30-11:50(09) (G. Tucker)
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PHYS 0270. Introduction to Astronomy.

A complete survey of basic astronomy, more rigorous than is offered in PHYS 0220. Requires competence in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and vectors and also some understanding of calculus and classical mechanics. Laboratory work required. This course or an equivalent required for students concentrating in astronomy. The course includes conferences and evening laboratory sessions.

Fall PHYS0270 S01 15884 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (D. Cutts)
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PHYS 0280. Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology.

A survey of astrophysical phenomenology and the application of physical theory to its interpretation. Prerequisites: PHYS 0040, 0060, 0160 or written permission.

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PHYS 0470. Electricity and Magnetism.

Electric and magnetic fields. Motion of charged particles in fields. Electric and magnetic properties of matter. Direct and alternating currents. Maxwell's equations. Laboratory work. Prerequisites: PHYS 0040, 0060, or 0160; and MATH 0180, 0200 or 0350. Labs meet every other week.

Fall PHYS0470 S01 15885 MWF 10:00-10:50(14) (J. Tang)
Fall PHYS0470 L01 15886 T 2:30-5:30 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0470 L02 15887 W 2:00-5:00 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0470 L03 15888 Th 9:00-12:00 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0470 L04 15889 Th 2:30-5:30 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0470 L05 15890 F 2:00-5:00 'To Be Arranged'
Fall PHYS0470 L06 17492 T 9:00-11:50 'To Be Arranged'
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PHYS 0500. Advanced Classical Mechanics.

Dynamics of particles, rigid bodies, and elastic continua. Normal modes. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations. Prerequisites: PHYS 0070, 0160 or 0050, 0060 and MATH 0180 or 0200; or approved equivalents.

Spr PHYS0500 S01 24687 MWF 10:00-10:50(03) (J. Fan)
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PHYS 0560. Experiments in Modern Physics.

Introduction to experimental physics. Students perform fundamental experiments in modern quantum physics, including atomic physics, nuclear and particle physics, and condensed matter physics. Visits to research labs at Brown acquaint students with fields of current research. Emphasizes laboratory techniques, statistics, and data analysis. Three lecture/discussion hours and three laboratory hours each week. Required of all physics concentrators. Prerequisites: PHYS 0070, 0160 or 0050, 0060; 0470. WRIT

Spr PHYS0560 S01 24689 MWF 11:00-11:50(04) (D. Stein)
Spr PHYS0560 L01 25303 W 2:00-4:50 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS0560 L02 25304 Th 9:00-11:50 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS0560 L03 25305 Th 2:30-5:20 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

PHYS 0720. Methods of Mathematical Physics.

This course is designed for sophomores in physical sciences, especially those intending to take sophomore or higher level Physics courses. Topics include linear algebra (including linear vector spaces), Fourier analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations, complex analysis (including contour integration). Pre-requisites: PHYS 0060 or 0160, MATH 0180, 0200 or 0350, or consent of the instructor.

Fall PHYS0720 S01 15897 MWF 11:00-11:50(02) (C. Tan)
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PHYS 0790. Physics of Matter.

An introduction to the principles of quantum mechanics and their use in the description of the electronic, thermal, and optical properties of materials. Primarily intended as an advanced science course in the engineering curriculum. Open to others by permission. Prerequisites: ENGN 0040, APMA 0340 or equivalents.

Fall PHYS0790 S01 15899 TTh 9:00-10:20(08) (A. Korotkov)
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PHYS 1100. Introduction to General Relativity.

An introduction to Einstein's theory of gravity, including special relativity, spacetime curvature, cosmology and black holes. Prerequisites: PHYS 0500 and MATH 0520 or MATH 0540 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Recommended: PHYS 0720. Offered every other year.

Spr PHYS1100 S01 24690 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (D. Lowe)
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PHYS 1170. Introduction to Nuclear and High Energy Physics.

A study of modern nuclear and particle physics, with emphasis on the theory and interpretation of experimental results. Prerequisites: PHYS 1410, 1420 (may be taken concurrently), or instructor permission.

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PHYS 1250. Stellar Structure and the Interstellar Medium.

This class is an introduction to the physics of stars and their environment. The course covers the fundamental physics that set the physical properties of stars, such as their luminosity, size, spectral properties and how these quantities evolve with time. In addition, it includes a study of the physics that takes place in the gaseous environment surrounding stars, the InterStellar Medium (ISM). The ISM is very important because it contains a wealth of information on the evolutionary history of galaxies, their composition, formation and future. Prerequisites: PHYS 0270, PHYS 0500, or instructor permission. PHYS 1530 (perhaps taken concurrently) is strongly recommended but not required.

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PHYS 1270. Extragalactic Astronomy and High-Energy Astrophysics.

This course provides an introduction to the astrophysics of galaxies, their structure and evolution, with an emphasis on physical introduction of the observations. Underlying physics concepts such as radiative transfer, nuclear reactions and accretion physics will be introduced. Intended for students at the junior level. Prerequisites: PHYS 0270 and PHYS 0470, and either MATH 0190 or MATH 0200, or instructor permission. WRIT

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PHYS 1280. Introduction to Cosmology.

The course presents an introduction to the study of the origin, evolution and contents of the Universe. Topics include the expansion of the Universe, relativistic cosmologies, thermal evolution, primordial nucleosynthesis, structure formation and the Cosmic Microwave Background. Prerequisites: PHYS 0160, MATH 0190, MATH 0200, or MATH 0350, or instructor permission.

Fall PHYS1280 S01 15900 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (I. Dell'Antonio)
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PHYS 1410. Quantum Mechanics A.

A unified treatment of quanta, photons, electrons, atoms, molecules, matter, nuclei, and particles. Quantum mechanics developed at the start and used to link and explain both the older and newer experimental phenomena of modern physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 0500 and 0560; and MATH 0520, 0540 or PHYS 0720; or approved equivalents.

Fall PHYS1410 S01 15901 MWF 9:00-9:50(01) (J. Fan)
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PHYS 1420. Quantum Mechanics B.

See Quantum Mechanics A, (PHYS 1410) for course description.

Spr PHYS1420 S01 24691 MWF 9:00-9:50(02) (D. Feldman)
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PHYS 1510. Advanced Electromagnetic Theory.

Maxwell's laws and electromagnetic theory. Electromagnetic waves and radiation. Special relativity. Prerequisites: PHYS 0470; and MATH 0180, 0200, or 0350; or approved equivalents.

Fall PHYS1510 S01 15902 TTh 2:30-3:50(03) (J. Pober)
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PHYS 1530. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics.

The laws of thermodynamics and heat transfer. Atomic interpretation in terms of kinetic theory and elementary statistical mechanics. Applications to physical problems. Prerequisites: MATH 0180 or 0200 or 0350. Corequisite: PHYS 1410.

Fall PHYS1530 S01 15903 TTh 10:30-11:50(13) (T. Powers)
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PHYS 1560. Modern Physics Laboratory.

A sequence of intensive, advanced experiments often introducing sophisticated techniques. Prerequisites: PHYS 0470, 0500 and 0560; and MATH 0520, 0540 or PHYS 0720; or approved equivalents. WRIT

Spr PHYS1560 S01 24693 TTh 9:00-10:20(08) (U. Heintz)
Spr PHYS1560 L01 25307 TTh 2:30-5:20 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS1560 L02 25308 WF 2:00-4:20 'To Be Arranged'
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PHYS 1600. Computational Physics.

This course provides students with an introduction to scientific computation, primarily as applied to physical science problems. It will assume a basic knowledge of programming and will focus on how computational methods can be used to study physical systems complementing experimental and theoretical techniques. Prerequisites: PHYS 0070, 0160 (or 0050, 0060) and 0470 (or ENGN 0510); MATH 0180 or 0200 or 0350; the ability to write a simple computer program in Fortran, Matlab, C or C++. WRIT

Spr PHYS1600 S01 24694 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (J. Marston)
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PHYS 1610. Biological Physics.

Introduction on structures of proteins, nucleotides, and membranes; electrostatics and hydration; chemical equilibrium; binding affinity and kinetics; hydrodynamics and transport; cellular mechanics and motions; biophysical techniques including sedimentation, electrophoresis, microscopy and spectroscopy. Suitable for undergraduate science and engineering majors and graduate students with limited background in life science. Prerequisites: MATH 0180.

Fall PHYS1610 S01 15904 TTh 2:30-3:50(03) (S. Ying)
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PHYS 1970A. Stellar Physics and the Interstellar Medium.

No description available.

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PHYS 1970B. Topics in Optics.

Introduction to optical principles and techniques. Offered to students who have a foundation in physics and are especially interested in optics. The course covers the interaction of light with matter, geometric and wave optics, polarization, fluorescence, and optical instruments (e.g. interferometer, spectrometer, microscope and telescope). Recommended are one physics course (PHYS 0040, PHYS 0060, or ENGN 0040) and one calculus course (MATH 0180, MATH 0200, or MATH 0350), or per instructor's permission.

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PHYS 1970C. String Theory for Undergraduates.

This course will concentrate on String Theory. It will be given at introductory/intermediate level with some review of the background material. Topics covered will include dynamical systems, symmetries and Noether’s Theorem; nonrelativistic strings; relativistic systems (particle and string); quantization, gauge fixing, Feynman’s sum over paths; electrostatic analogy; string in curved space-time; and supersymmetry. Some advanced topics will also be addressed, i.e., D-Branes and M-Theory. Recommended prerequisites: PHYS 0470 and 0500, or 0160.

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PHYS 1970F. Quantum Information.

Quantum information is the modern study of how to encode and transmit information on the quantum scale--in many ways fundamentally different from classical information. This course will connect a standard treatment of Quantum mechanics with information theory. Some topics will overlap with phys 1410, but information will be presented from a different viewpoint and with new applications. Topics covered will include: measurement, quantum states, bits, density of states, entanglement, quantum information processing, computing, and some special topics. Students will be expected to complete an end of term project for successfull completion of the course.

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PHYS 1980. Undergraduate Research in Physics.

Designed for undergraduates to participate, individually or in small groups, in research projects mentored by the physics faculty. Students must have taken one year of college level physics. An average of 8 to 10 hours per week of guided research is required as are weekly meetings with the supervising faculty member. Students should consult with faculty to find a mutually agreeable research project and obtain permission to enroll. Section number varies by instructor (students must register for the appropriate section).

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PHYS 1990. Senior Conference Course.

Preparation of thesis project. Required of candidates for the degree of bachelor of science with a concentration in physics. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

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PHYS 2010. Techniques in Experimental Physics.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2010 S01 15911 M 2:30-3:50(17) (U. Heintz)
Spr PHYS2010 S01 24960 W 3:00-5:30(14) (V. Mitrovic)
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PHYS 2020. Mathematical Methods of Engineers and Physicists.

An introduction to methods of mathematical analysis in physical science and engineering. The first semester course includes linear algebra and tensor analysis; analytic functions of a complex variable; integration in the complex plane; potential theory. The second semester course includes probability theory; eigenvalue problems; calculus of variations and extremum principles; wave propagation; other partial differential equations of evolution.

Fall PHYS2020 S01 15912 T 4:00-6:30(09) (M. Dorca)
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PHYS 2030. Classical Theoretical Physics I.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2030 S01 15913 TTh 9:00-10:20(08) (S. Alexander)
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PHYS 2040. Classical Theoretical Physics II.

No description available.

Spr PHYS2040 S01 24699 TTh 10:30-11:50(09) (M. Spradlin)
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PHYS 2050. Quantum Mechanics.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2050 S01 15914 MWF 10:00-10:50(14) (D. Lowe)
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PHYS 2060. Quantum Mechanics.

No description available.

Spr PHYS2060 S01 24700 MWF 10:00-10:50(03) (R. Pelcovits)
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PHYS 2070. Advanced Quantum Mechanics.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2070 S01 15922 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (A. Volovich)
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PHYS 2100. General Relativity and Cosmology.

Given every other year.

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PHYS 2140. Statistical Mechanics.

No description available.

Spr PHYS2140 S01 24703 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (J. Kosterlitz)
Course usage information

PHYS 2170. Introduction to Nuclear and High Energy Physics.

No description available.

Spr PHYS2170 S01 24961 MWF 1:00-1:50(06) (G. Landsberg)
Course usage information

PHYS 2200. Elementary Particle Physics I.

Alternates with PHYS 2210.

Course usage information

PHYS 2210. Elementary Particle Physics II.

No description available.

Course usage information

PHYS 2280. Astrophysics and Cosmology.

This course serves as a graduate-level introduction to modern cosmology, including current topics of research on both observational and theoretical fronts. Topics include relativistic cosmology, inflation and the early Universe, observational cosmology, galaxy formation. Prerequisites for undergraduates: PHYS 1280 and PHYS 1530.

Spr PHYS2280 S01 24704 MWF 2:00-2:50(07) (J. Pober)
Course usage information

PHYS 2300. Quantum Theory of Fields I.

No description available.

Spr PHYS2300 S01 24706 TTh 2:30-3:50(11) (A. Volovich)
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PHYS 2320. Quantum Theory of Fields II.

No description available. Instructor permission required.

Fall PHYS2320 S01 15923 TTh 10:30-11:50(13) (M. Spradlin)
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PHYS 2340. Group Theory.

Offered every other year.

Spr PHYS2340 S01 24708 MWF 2:00-2:50(07) (A. Jevicki)
Course usage information

PHYS 2410. Solid State Physics I.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2410 S01 15924 MWF 12:00-12:50(12) (R. Pelcovits)
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PHYS 2420. Solid State Physics II.

No description available.

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PHYS 2430. Quantum Many Body Theory.

No description available.

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PHYS 2450. Exchange Scholar Program.

Fall PHYS2450 S01 14772 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS2450 S01 23860 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

PHYS 2470. Advanced Statistical Mechanics.

No description available.

Fall PHYS2470 S01 15926 TTh 9:00-10:20(08) (J. Marston)
Course usage information

PHYS 2600. Computational Physics.

This course provides students with an introduction to scientific computation at the graduate level, primarily as applied to physical science problems. It will assume a basic knowledge of programming and will focus on how computational methods can be used to study physical systems complementing experimental and theoretical techniques. Prerequisites: PHYS 2030, 2050, 2140; the ability to write a simple computer program in Fortran, Matlab, C or C++.

Spr PHYS2600 S01 24695 TTh 1:00-2:20(10) (J. Marston)
Course usage information

PHYS 2610A. Selected Topics in Modern Cosmology.

Aims to provide a working knowledge of some main topics in modern cosmology. Combines study of the basics with applications to current research.

Course usage information

PHYS 2610B. Theory of Relativity.

No description available.

Course usage information

PHYS 2610C. Selected Topics in Condensed Matter Physics.

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PHYS 2610D. Selected Topics in Condensed Matter Physics.

The objective of this course is to introduce recent development in condensed matter physics. Selected topics include: nanoscale physics, materials, and devices; spintronics and magnetism; high temperature superconductivity; strongly correlated systems; Bose-Einstein condensate; and applications of condensed matter physics. In addition to discussing physics, some experimental techniques used in current research will also be introduced. The course will help students broaden their scope of knowledge in condensed matter physics, learn how to leverage their existing background to select and conduct research, and develop a sense of how to build their professional career based on condensed matter physics.

Course usage information

PHYS 2610E. Selected Topics in Physics of Locomotion.

This special topics graduate course deals with the physical processes involved in the locomotion of organisms, with a particular focus on locomotion at small scales in fluids. Topics include mechanisms of swimming motility for microorganisms, fluid mechanics at low Reynolds number, diffusion and Brownian motion, physical actuation, hydrodynamic interactions, swimming in complex fluids, artificial swimmers, and optimization. Prerequisites: (PHYS0470 or ENGN0510) and (PHYS 0500 or ENGN0810 or ENGN1370), or permission of the instructor.

Course usage information

PHYS 2610F. Selected Topics in Collider Physics.

The course will cover basic aspects of conducting precision measurements and searches for new physics at modern high-energy colliders, with the emphasis given to physics at the Large Hadron Collider. The course will cover major aspects of conducting physics analysis from the underlying theory to experimental methods, such as optimization of the analysis, mutivariate analysis techniques, use of statistical methods to establish a signal or set the limit. There will be reading assignments, in-class student presentations, and hands-on exercises offered as the part of the course. Prerequisite: PHYS 1170 or 2170. Open to graduate students in Physics and Math.

Course usage information

PHYS 2620A. Astrophysical and Cosmological Constraints on Particle Physics.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620B. Green's Functions and Ordered Exponentials.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620C. Introduction to String Theory.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620D. Modern Cosmology.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620E. Selected Topics in Quantum Mechanics: Fuzzy Physics.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620F. Selected Topics in Molecular Biophysics.

No description available.

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PHYS 2620G. The Standard Model and Beyond.

Topics to be covered will include: Yang-Mills theory, origin of masses and couplings of particles, effective field theory, renormalization, confinement, lattice gauge theory, anomalies and instantons, grand unification, magnetic monopoles, technicolor, introduction to supersymmetry, supersymmetry breaking, the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model, and dark matter candidates. Prerequisite: PHYS 2300.

Course usage information

PHYS 2630. Biological Physics.

The course is the graduate version of Phys 1610, Biological Physics. The topics to be covered include structure of cells and biological molecules; diffusion, dissipation and random motion; flow and friction in fluids; entropy, temperature and energy; chemical reactions and self-assembly; solution electrostatics; action potential and nerve impulses. The graduate level course has additional pre-requsites of Phys 0470 and 1530, or equivalents. It requires homework assignments at the graduate level. The final grades will be assigned separately from those who take the course as Phys 1610, although the two groups may be taught in the same classroom.

Fall PHYS2630 S01 16733 TTh 2:30-3:50(03) (S. Ying)
Course usage information

PHYS 2710. Seminar in Research Topics.

Instruction via reading assignments and seminars for graduate students on research projects. Credit may vary. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

Course usage information

PHYS 2711. Seminar in Research Topics.

See Seminar In Research Topics (PHYS 2710) for course description. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

Course usage information

PHYS 2970. Preliminary Examination Preparation.

For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for a preliminary examination.

Fall PHYS2970 S01 14773 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS2970 S01 23861 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Course usage information

PHYS 2980. Research in Physics.

Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

Course usage information

PHYS 2981. Research in Physics.

Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.

Course usage information

PHYS 2990. Thesis Preparation.

For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing a thesis.

Fall PHYS2990 S01 14774 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'
Spr PHYS2990 S01 23862 Arranged 'To Be Arranged'

Chair

Gang Xiao

Professor

Stephon H. Alexander
Professor of Physics

David Cutts
Professor of Physics

Ian P. Dell'Antonio
Professor of Physics

Charles Elbaum
Professor Emeritus of Physics

Herbert M. Fried
Professor Emeritus of Physics

Richard J. Gaitskell
Hazard Professor of Physics

Ulrich Heintz
Professor of Physics

Antal Jevicki
Professor of Physics

J. Michael Kosterlitz
Harrison E. Farnsworth Professor of Physics

Greg Landsberg
Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science

Robert E. Lanou
Professor Emeritus of Physics

Frank S. Levin
Professor Emeritus of Physics

Xinsheng Sean Ling
Professor of Physics

David Lowe
Professor of Physics

Humphrey J. Maris
Professor Emeritus of Physics

John Bradley Marston
Professor of Physics

Meenakshi Narain
Professor of Physics

Arto V. Nurmikko
L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Engineering

Robert A. Pelcovits
Professor of Physics

Thomas R. Powers
Professor of Engineering; Professor of Physics

George M. Seidel
Professor Emeritus of Physics

Richard Mark Stratt
Newport Rogers Professor of Chemistry

Chung-I Tan
Professor of Physics

Jay X. Tang
Professor of Physics; Professor of Engineering

Gregory S. Tucker
Professor of Physics

James M. Valles
Professor of Physics

Anastasia Volovich
Professor of Physics

Gang Xiao
Professor of Physics; Professor of Engineering

Jingming Xu
Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. '32 University Professor of Engineering

See-Chen Ying
Professor of Physics

Alexander Zaslavsky
Professor of Engineering; Professor of Physics

Professor Research

Leon N. Cooper
Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science (Research)

Professor MBL

Rudolf Oldenbourg
Professor of Physics (MBL)

Visiting Professor

Christian Enss
Visiting Professor of Physics

Sylvester James Gates
Visiting Professor of Physics

Associate Professor

Dmitri Feldman
Associate Professor of Physics

Savvas M. Koushiappas
Associate Professor of Physics

Vesna F. Mitrovic
Associate Professor of Physics

Marcus B. Spradlin
Associate Professor of Physics

Derek M. Stein
Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering

Rashid Zia
Associate Professor of Engineering; Associate Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor

Jiji Fan
Assistant Professor of Physics

Jonathan C. Pober
Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor Research

Stefan R. Piperov
Assistant Professor of Physics (Research)

Visiting Assistant Professor

Timothy G. Raben
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

Adjunct Associate Professor

Sanjay Padhi
Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics

David Targan
Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Oludurotimi O. Adetunji
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physics

Christopher J. Morath
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physics

Visiting Lecturer

Miquel Dorca
Visiting Lecturer in Physics

Visiting Scientist

Tapio Ala-Nissila
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Santanu Banerjee
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Grandou Thierry Francois
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Yves M. Gabellini
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Enzo Granato
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Dina N. Obeid
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Yeuan-Ming Sheu
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Andre van Tonder
Visiting Scientist in Physics

Senior Research Associate

Gabriele Benelli
Senior Research Associate in Physics

Research Associate

Francine Jackson
Research Associate in Physics

Physics

Physics is the scientific study of the fundamental principles governing the behavior of matter and the interaction of matter and energy. Mathematics is used to describe fundamental physical principles, the behavior of matter, and the interactions of matter and energy. As the most fundamental of sciences, physics provides a foundation for other scientific fields as well as the underpinnings of modern technology. The Physics department is unique because of the breadth of its faculty expertise and research, and the relatively intimate size of its classes above the introductory level. Physics concentrators may choose to pursue either the A.B. or the more intensive Sc.B. degree. Course work on either path covers a broad base of topics (for example, electricity and magnetism, classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics). The Sc.B. degree requires additional advanced topics as well as a senior thesis project. 

Standard concentration for the A.B. degree

Select one of the following Series:2
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
Basic Physics
and Basic Physics
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 0560Experiments in Modern Physics1
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
One additional 1000-level course or a mathematics course beyond the introductory level. 1
Total Credits8

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

Prerequisites:
Select one of the following series:2
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
Select one of the following:1
Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Program:
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 0560Experiments in Modern Physics1
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1420Quantum Mechanics B1
PHYS 1510Advanced Electromagnetic Theory1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
PHYS 1560Modern Physics Laboratory1
PHYS 1980Undergraduate Research in Physics1
One additional 1000 or 2000 level Physics course or upper level course in related fields of science chosen by the student with agreement of his or her advisor.1
Four Mathematics courses beyond MATH 0190 or 0090, 0100 including choices from Applied Mathematics 14
PHYS 1990Senior Conference Course 21
Total Credits18
1

In addition, courses in computer programming are recommended.

2

A senior thesis is required. This is to be prepared in connection with PHYS 1990 under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The topic may be in a related department or of interdisciplinary nature. In any event, a dissertation must be submitted.

Honors

Candidates for honors in physics will be expected to pursue a more rigorous and extensive program than those merely concentrating in the subject. In addition they will be required to begin an honors thesis during the seventh semester and to complete it (as part of PHYS 1990) during the eighth semester. Honors candidates are also expected to take a special oral examination on the thesis at the end of the eighth semester. Further details about the program may be obtained from the chair of the department or the departmental honors advisor.

Astrophysics Track for the Sc.B. degree

Prerequisites:
Select one of the following Series:2
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
PHYS 0270Introduction to Astronomy1
Select one of the following Series:2
Advanced Placement Calculus
and Intermediate Calculus
Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
and Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Honors Calculus (or equivalent)
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
Program:
MATH 0520Linear Algebra1
or MATH 0540 Honors Linear Algebra
or PHYS 0720 Methods of Mathematical Physics
Select one of the following Math courses:1
Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II
Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II
Applied Ordinary Differential Equations
Applied Partial Differential Equations I
Ordinary Differential Equations
Partial Differential Equations
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 0560Experiments in Modern Physics1
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
Three of the following:3
Introduction to General Relativity
Stellar Structure and the Interstellar Medium
Extragalactic Astronomy and High-Energy Astrophysics
Introduction to Cosmology
Two additonal 1000- or 2000-level courses in physics or a related field which are not listed as requirements.2
PHYS 1990Senior Conference Course 11
Total Credits18
1

A senior thesis is required. This is to be prepared in connection with under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The topic may be in a related department or of interdisciplinary nature. In any event, a dissertation must be submitted.

Biological Physics Track for the Sc.B. degree

Foundations of Physics
PHYS 0070Analytical Mechanics1
or PHYS 0050 Foundations of Mechanics
or ENGN 0040 Dynamics and Vibrations
PHYS 0160Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics1
or PHYS 0060 Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
Select one of the following Series: 11-2
Series A
Methods of Mathematical Physics
Series B
Select one of the following:
Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II
Applied Ordinary Differential Equations
Ordinary Differential Equations
And select one of the following:
Intermediate Calculus
Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Honors Calculus
Linear Algebra
Honors Linear Algebra
Basic Biology and Chemistry
BIOL 0200The Foundation of Living Systems (or placement out of BIOL 0200)1
BIOL 0500Cell and Molecular Biology1
CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
Advanced Biophysical Topics and Techniques
PHYS 1610Biological Physics1
PHYS 1990Senior Conference Course1
Elective Courses (four chosen from the following list, with at least two 1000-level courses, or additional courses approved by the concentration advisor:4
Applied Partial Differential Equations I
Mathematical Methods in the Brain Sciences
Essential Statistics
Quantitative Models of Biological Systems
Inference in Genomics and Molecular Biology
Introductory Biochemistry
Genetics
Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell
Protein Biophysics and Structure
Advanced Biochemistry
Techniques in Pathobiology
Organic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Introductory Calculus, Part I
Advanced Placement Calculus
Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Probability
Mathematical Statistics
Experiments in Modern Physics
Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
Modern Physics Laboratory
Selected Topics in Molecular Biophysics
PHYS 1990Senior Conference Course 21
Total Credits17-18
1

Select Series A alone or two from Series B as indicated.

2

A senior thesis is required. This is to be prepared in connection with under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The topic may be in a related department or of interdisciplinary nature. In any event, a dissertation must be submitted.

Mathematical Physics Track for the A.B. degree

Prerequisites:
MATH 0090Introductory Calculus, Part I1
or MATH 0100 Introductory Calculus, Part II
or MATH 0190 Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
PHYS 0050Foundations of Mechanics1
or PHYS 0070 Analytical Mechanics
Mathematics Courses 1
MATH 0180Intermediate Calculus1
or MATH 0200 Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
or MATH 0350 Honors Calculus
MATH 0520Linear Algebra1
or MATH 0540 Honors Linear Algebra
MATH 1110Ordinary Differential Equations1
Select at least one of the following:1
Differential Geometry
Partial Differential Equations
Probability
Physics Courses 1
PHYS 0060Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics1
or PHYS 0160 Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 0560Experiments in Modern Physics1
Select at least two of the following:2
Quantum Mechanics A
Quantum Mechanics B
Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Modern Physics Laboratory
Total Credits12
1

Concentrators are required to take at least one course in mathematics and one in physics in each of their last two semesters.

Mathematical Physics Track for the Sc.B. degree

Prerequisites:
Select one of the following series:2
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
Select one of the following:1-2
Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Introductory Calculus, Part I
and Introductory Calculus, Part II
Required courses:
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
PHYS 0560Experiments in Modern Physics1
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
MATH 0180
MATH 0200
Intermediate Calculus
and Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
1-2
or MATH 0350 Honors Calculus
MATH 0520Linear Algebra1
or MATH 0540 Honors Linear Algebra
MATH 1530Abstract Algebra1
Four additional 1000 or 2000 level Physics courses4
Two additional 1000 or 2000 level Math courses2
PHYS 1990Senior Conference Course 11
Total Credits18-20
1

A senior thesis is required. This is to be prepared in connection with under the direction of a faculty supervisor.

Physics and Philosophy

The Physics and Philosophy concentration is for students with a deep interest in physics who do not need to acquire the laboratory and computational skills of a professional physicist. The concentration allows students to grapple with computational problems and deepen their investigation of conceptual and epistemological issues. By the end of the program, concentrators possess an excellent conceptual understanding of the most philosophically interesting physics, relativity and quantum mechanics.

This concentration should prepare a student either for graduate study, especially in a history and philosophy of science (HPS) program, or for employment in science education or journalism. Other professions such as law and medicine will look favorably on such concentrators for having versatile interests and being able to master difficult material. The concentration may serve as an excellent preparation for a law school since physics and philosophy both exercise a rigorous approach to problems of immediate relevance to life but at the same time assume two complimentary and sometimes competing viewpoints.

Advising

Concentration advisors from the Departments of Physics and Philosophy will guide students working towards the A.B. degree.

Curriculum

The curriculum builds around the fields of physics that have had the biggest impact on philosophy, especially Quantum Physics, and the fields of philosophy most relevant for physics, such as Epistemology, Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics. It is strongly recommended that students complete at least one relevant history course.

There are 11 required courses (5 in Physics, 5 in Philosophy or History, one course in mathematics) and a final project. The choice of the courses is dictated by the following considerations. The field of physics with both deepest philosophical implications and deepest influence on the rest of physics is Quantum Mechanics. Thus, a 1000-level course in Quantum Mechanics or a closely related field such as Statistical Mechanics is indispensable. The second field of physics most relevant for the concentration is Relativity. This field touches upon and serves as a foundation for a broad list of subjects with major philosophical implications of their own, for example: PHYS 1170PHYS 1280PHYS 1510PHYS 1100.   This requires another 1000-level physics course in the concentration. 1000-level Physics courses cannot be taken without certain preliminary work, most importantly, PHYS 0470, which serves as a prerequisite for most higher-level physics courses and which relies in turn on PHYS 0160 or PHYS 0060. Another lower-level physics course is necessary for a student to develop familiarity with the tools which have been employed in producing the physics knowledge.

A natural introduction into philosophy of physics comes from a course in Early Modern Philosophy. To a large extent, Early Modern Philosophy was shaped by scholars who combined interest in philosophy and physics (e.g., Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz). The influence of the XVII century physics revolution on other central figures such as Kant is unquestionable. Early Modern Philosophy sets an intellectual stage for many subsequent developments in the Philosophy of Physics and directly addresses some of the most perplexing issues like the connection (or lack thereof) between physics and religion. The core of the Philosophy requirement involves two courses in Epistemology, Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science. One course in this field would not be sufficient due to its very broad nature. Students are strongly advised to take a relevant History course. This requirement can be substituted by an additional philosophy course to reflect interests of those students who want a deeper background in Epistemology, Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science or have other related interests such as Ancient Natural Philosophy.

In addition to the above philosophy courses, PHIL 0210 (Science, Perception, and Reality) serves as a gateway into the concentration. It may be substituted by other relevant courses such as PHYS 0100 (Flat Earth to Quantum Uncertainty: On the Nature and Meaning of Scientific Explanation).

A course in calculus is a prerequisite for most physics and some philosophy classes.

Required courses for the A.B. degree are listed below:

Physics Courses
Select one of the following introductory courses in Modern Physics:1
Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
One course in Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory: 1
Electricity and Magnetism
Select one of the following in Methods of Experimental and Theoretical physics: 1
Advanced Classical Mechanics
Experiments in Modern Physics
Select one of the following in Quantum Mechanics and its applications1
Quantum Mechanics A
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
One more 1000-level Physics course1
Philosophy Courses
Select one of the following gateway courses:1
Science, Perception and Reality
Critical Reasoning
Modern Science and Human Values
Logic
Select one of the following courses in Early Modern Philosophy:1
Early Modern Philosophy
British Empiricists
17th Century Continental Rationalism
Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
Select two of the following courses in Epistemology, Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science:2
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics
Metaphysics
Time
Epistemology
History Courses
Select one of the following courses in History of Science: 11
Reason, Revolution and Reaction in Europe
Science at the Crossroads
The World of Isaac Newton
Calculus
Select one of the following:1
Intermediate Calculus
Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Honors Calculus
Final Project
Select one of the following:1
Independent Studies
Senior Conference Course
A course from the PHIL 0990 Senior Seminar series
Any graduate seminar in Philosophy
Total Credits12
1

Or one more Philosophy course.

Honors

Seniors wishing to earn honors by presenting a senior honors thesis should consult their concentration advisor during their sixth semester or at the start of the seventh semester concerning procedures and requirements. Students may earn honors by presenting a senior thesis judged to be of honors quality by two readers. In addition to completing the usual nonhonors requirements, the student should also have a grade point average of over 3.4 in physics, philosophy and history of science courses (of which at least five must be taken for a letter grade). Honors theses are usually prepared over a period of two semesters with an advisor from the Department of Physics or the Department of Philosophy.

Chemical Physics

Chemical Physics is an interdisciplinary field at the crossroads of chemistry and physics and is administered jointly by the two departments. The concentration provides students with a broad-based understanding in fundamental molecular sciences, as well as a background for graduate studies in physical chemistry, chemical physics, or molecular engineering. Concentrators are required to take twenty courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, although approved courses in applied mathematics, biology, computer science, geological sciences, or engineering may be substitutes. Chemical Physics concentrators are also advised to take at least six courses in the humanities and social sciences. Chemical Physics concentrators at all levels (first-year through seniors) are actively involved in research with faculty members in both departments.

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

Twenty-one semester courses1 in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, with a minimum of four semester courses in mathematics.  The expectation is that courses required for a concentration in Chemical Physics will be taken for a letter grade.   Core courses are:

CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
CHEM 0350Organic Chemistry1
CHEM 0500Inorganic Chemistry1
CHEM 1140Physical Chemistry: Quantum Chemistry1
PHYS 0070Analytical Mechanics1
PHYS 0160Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics1
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
Select one of the following laboratory courses:1
Physical Chemistry Laboratory
Experiments in Modern Physics
Modern Physics Laboratory
Select one course in statistical mechanics:1
Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
MATH 0190Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)1
MATH 0200Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)1
MATH 0520Linear Algebra1
Seven courses, primarily at the 1000 or 2000 level, in chemistry or physics.7
Select two semesters of independent study:2
Undergraduate Research
Senior Conference Course
Total Credits21
1

Other approved courses in applied mathematics, biology, computer science, geological sciences, or engineering may be substituted for some of the twenty-one.

Students are advised to take at least six courses in the humanities and social sciences.

Engineering and Physics

The Sc.B. program in Engineering and Physics is sponsored jointly by the School of Engineering and the Department of Physics. The program is designed to ensure that students take a significant portion of the usual curriculum in Engineering and in Physics, obtain substantial laboratory experience, and take several upper-level elective courses, focusing on applied science. Students may take either the standard Physics or Engineering programs during their freshman and sophomore years and then switch to this combined program. The Sc.B. degree program in Engineering and Physics is not accredited by ABET.


The following standard program assumes that a student begins mathematics courses at Brown with MATH 0170 or its equivalent. Students who begin in MATH 0200 can substitute an additional science, engineering or higher-level mathematics course for the MATH 0170 or MATH 0190 requirement. To accommodate the diverse preparation of individual students, variations of the following sequences and their prerequisites are possible with permission of the appropriate concentration advisor and the instructors involved. We recommend that each student’s degree program be submitted for prior approval (typically in semester four) and scrutinized for compliance (in semester seven) by one faculty member from the Department of Physics and one faculty member from the School of Engineering.

Select one of the following two course sequences: 2
Introduction to Engineering
and Dynamics and Vibrations
Foundations of Mechanics
and Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics
Analytical Mechanics
and Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics
MATH 0190Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)1
or MATH 0170 Advanced Placement Calculus
MATH 0200Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)1
or MATH 0180 Intermediate Calculus
or MATH 0350 Honors Calculus
Select three additional higher-level math, applied math, or mathematical physics (PHYS 0720) courses.3
CSCI 0040Introduction to Scientific Computing and Problem Solving1
or CSCI 0150 Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming and Computer Science
or CSCI 0170 Computer Science: An Integrated Introduction
or CSCI 0190 Accelerated Introduction to Computer Science
ENGN 0510Electricity and Magnetism1
or PHYS 0470 Electricity and Magnetism
ENGN 1560Applied Electromagnetics1
or PHYS 1510 Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 0500Advanced Classical Mechanics1
or ENGN 1370 Advanced Engineering Mechanics
PHYS 1410Quantum Mechanics A1
PHYS 1420Quantum Mechanics B1
PHYS 1530Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics1
or ENGN 0720 Thermodynamics
ENGN 1620Analysis and Design of Electronic Circuits1
CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
or ENGN 0310 Mechanics of Solids and Structures
or ENGN 0810 Fluid Mechanics
or PHYS 1600 Computational Physics
ENGN 0410Materials Science1
or ENGN 1690 Photonics and Applications
or PHYS 0560 Experiments in Modern Physics
PHYS 1560Modern Physics Laboratory1
or ENGN 1590 Introduction to Semiconductors and Semiconductor Electronics
or an approved 2000-level engineering or physics course.
A thesis under the supervision of a physics or engineering faculty member:1
Senior Conference Course
Independent Studies in Engineering
Independent Study in Engineering
* Students are also encouraged to take courses dealing with the philosophical, ethical, or political aspects of science and technology.
Total Credits19

Astronomy

Along with Greek, Latin, and Mathematics, Astronomy counts as one of the oldest continuously taught subjects in the Brown curriculum. It is the study of the properties of stars, galaxies, and the Universe, and as such combines elements from the disciplines of both Physics and Planetary Geology. Students pursuing this concentration complete introductory coursework in classical mechanics, relativity, and astrophysics, along with mathematics and elecromagnetism. They go on to complete courses in stellar and extragalactic astrophysics as well as cosmology. Facilities available to concentrators include the historic Ladd Observatory.

Standard concentration for the A.B. degree

Eleven or twelve courses are required (depending on the satisfaction of prerequisites).

Prerequisites
PHYS 0070Analytical Mechanics1
PHYS 0160Introduction to Relativity and Quantum Physics 11
PHYS 0270Introduction to Astronomy1
Select one of the following Series:1-2
Advanced Placement Calculus
and Intermediate Calculus
Advanced Placement Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
and Intermediate Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
Honors Calculus (or equivalent)
PHYS 0470Electricity and Magnetism1
Program
Select one of the following mathematics courses:1
Linear Algebra
Honors Linear Algebra
Methods of Mathematical Physics
Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II
Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II
Select two of the following astrophysics courses:2
Introduction to General Relativity
Stellar Structure and the Interstellar Medium
Extragalactic Astronomy and High-Energy Astrophysics
Introduction to Cosmology
Three additional 1000- or 2000-level courses in physics or a related field, suggestions:3
Statistical Analysis of Time Series
Advanced Fluid Mechanics
Planetary Geology
Remote Sensing of Earth and Planetary Surfaces
Physics of Planetary Evolution
Differential Geometry
Advanced Classical Mechanics
Experiments in Modern Physics
Quantum Mechanics A
Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Modern Physics Laboratory
Total Credits11-12
1

PHYS 0050 and PHYS 0060 can be taken in lieu of PHYS 0160

Physics

The department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (Sc.M.) degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree.

For more information on admission and program requirements, please visit the following website:

http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/programs/physics