Location: Bowdoin / Physics and Astronomy / courses / Spring 2011

Physics and Astronomy

Spring 2011

063. Physics of the Twentieth Century
Roberto Salgado M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Explores the growth of twentieth-century physics, including theoretical developments like relativity, quantum mechanics, and symmetry-based thinking, and the rise of new subdisciplines such as atomic physics, condensed-matter physics, nuclear physics, and particle physics. Some attention is given to the societal context of physics, the institutions of the discipline, and the relations between 'pure' and 'applied' physics. Students who have taken or are concurrently taking any physics course numbered over 100 will not receive credit for this course. Familiarity with standard secondary school mathematics is required.

103. Introductory Physics I
Roberto Salgado M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
An introduction to the conservation laws, forces, and interactions that govern the dynamics of particles and systems. Shows how a small set of fundamental principles and interactions allow us to model a wide variety of physical situations, using both classical and modern concepts. A prime goal of the course is to have the participants learn to actively connect the concepts with the modeling process. Three hours of laboratory work per week. To ensure proper placement, students are expected to have taken the physics placement examination prior to registering for Physics 103.

104. Introductory Physics II
Karen Topp M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
An introduction to the interactions of matter and radiation. Topics include the classical and quantum physics of electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter, quantum properties of atoms, and atomic and nuclear spectra. Three hours of laboratory work per week will include an introduction to the use of electronic instrumentation.

162. Stars and Galaxies
Thomas Baumgarte M 11:30 - 12:25, W 11:30 - 12:25, F 11:30 - 12:25
A quantitative introduction to astronomy, with emphasis on stars, stellar dynamics, and the structures they form, from binary stars to galaxies. Topics include the night sky, stellar structure and evolution, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, quasars, and the expansion of the universe. Several nighttime observing sessions are required. Intended for both science majors and non-majors who are secure in their mathematical skills. A working familiarity with algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus is expected. Does not satisfy pre-med or other science departments’ requirements for a second course in physics.

224. Quantum Physics and Relativity
Stephen Naculich M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
An introduction to two cornerstones of twentieth-century physics, quantum mechanics, and special relativity. The introduction to wave mechanics includes solutions to the time-independent Schrödinger equation in one and three dimensions with applications. Topics in relativity include the Galilean and Einsteinian principles of relativity, the “paradoxes” of special relativity, Lorentz transformations, space-time invariants, and the relativistic dynamics of particles. Not open to students who have credit for or are concurrently taking Physics 275, 310, or 375.

229. Statistical Physics
Madeleine Msall M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
Develops a framework capable of predicting the properties of systems with many particles. This framework, combined with simple atomic and molecular models, leads to an understanding of such concepts as entropy, temperature, and chemical potential. Some probability theory is developed as a mathematical tool.

240. Modern Electronics
Dale Syphers T 9:00 - 11:25, TH 9:00 - 11:25
A brief introduction to the physics of semiconductors and semiconductor devices, culminating in an understanding of the structure of integrated circuits. Topics include a description of currently available integrated circuits for analog and digital applications and their use in modern electronic instrumentation. Weekly laboratory exercises with integrated circuits.

280. Nuclear and Particle Physics
Stephen Naculich M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
An introduction to the physics of subatomic systems, with a particular emphasis on the standard model of elementary particles and their interactions. Basic concepts in quantum mechanics and special relativity are introduced as needed.

301. Methods of Experimental Physics
Madeleine Msall T 1:00 - 3:55, TH 1:00 - 3:55
Intended to provide advanced students with experience in the design, execution, and analysis of laboratory experiments. Projects in optical holography, nuclear physics, cryogenics, and materials physics are developed by the students.

370. Advanced Mechanics
Dale Syphers M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
A thorough review of particle dynamics, followed by the development of Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations and their applications to rigid body motion and the oscillations of coupled systems.

375. General Relativity
Thomas Baumgarte M 1:30 - 2:25, W 1:30 - 2:25, F 1:30 - 2:25
First discusses special relativity, introducing the concept of four-dimensional spacetime. Then develops the mathematical tools to describe spacetime curvature, leading to the formulation of Einstein’s equations of general relativity. Finishes by studying some of the most important astrophysical consequences of general relativity, including black holes, neutron stars, and gravitational radiation.