2014-16 Academic Catalog
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Department of Physics

(College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences)

www.physics.uni.edu

The Department of Physics offers the following undergraduate and graduate programs.  Specific requirements for these programs are listed within this Department of Physics section in the following order:

  • Undergraduate Major (B.S.)
    • Physics
  • Undergraduate Major (B.A.)
    • Physics-Teaching
  • Minors
    • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
    • Physics

The Department of Physics offers major programs in two baccalaureate areas: the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts. The B.S. Physics major is recommended for students who wish to prepare for graduate study in physics, engineering, or other sciences such as geophysics, astronomy, biophysics, or medical physics. The B.A. Physics-Teaching program provides students with the best qualification to teach physics in high school.

 

Bachelor of Science Degree Program

Emphasis-B.S. Physics Major Honors Research

Emphasis-Honors Research

Students who complete a sustained research project in physics may be invited to do Honors Research. Students must first complete 4 credit hours of PHYSICS 3000 (880:180) Undergraduate Research in Physics and then 1 credit hour of PHYSICS 4990 Senior Thesis.

 

Physics Major

The B.S. Physics major requires a minimum of 126 total hours to graduate. This total includes Liberal Arts Core requirements and the following specified major requirements, plus electives to complete the minimum of 126 hours. 

Note: To graduate with a B.S. degree in Physics, a student must earn an overall grade point average of at least 2.50 in all courses applied toward the major.

Required
Mathematics:
MATH 1420 (800:060)Calculus I4
MATH 1421 (800:061)Calculus II4
MATH 2422 (800:062)Calculus III4
Physics:
PHYSICS 1100First-Year Projects in Physics1
PHYSICS 1701 (880:130)Physics I for Science and Engineering4
PHYSICS 1702 (880:131)Physics II for Science and Engineering4
PHYSICS 2300 (880:132)Physics III: Theory and Simulation3
PHYSICS 2700Mathematical Methods of Physics3
PHYSICS 3000 (880:180)Undergraduate Research in Physics2
or PHYSICS 3500 (880:184) Internship in Applied Physics
PHYSICS 3700 (880:187)Physics Seminar1
PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g)Modern Physics4
PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g)Modern Physics Laboratory2
PHYSICS 4300/5300 (880:152g)Introduction to Electronics4
PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g)Classical Mechanics4
PHYSICS 4860/5860 (880:150g)Computational Physics3
PHYSICS 4900/5900 (880:136g)Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics4
Electives
Physics, Natural Science, or Math Electives *8
Total Hours59

 

*

Students have the option to design an area of professional concentration by the appropriate choice of elective courses in Physics (or another Natural Science), or Mathematics.  Electives must be mathematics or science courses that count toward a major of the department offering the course. Electives should be selected with the advice of an academic adviser in Physics.


Bachelor of Arts Degree Program

Emphasis-B.A. Physics Major-Teaching Honors Research

Emphasis-Honors Research

Students who complete a sustained research project in physics education may be invited to do Honors Research. Students must first complete 4 credit hours of PHYSICS 3000 (880:180) Undergraduate Research in Physics and then 1 credit hour of PHYSICS 4990 Senior Thesis.

 

Physics Major-Teaching

The B.A. Physics major in teaching requires a minimum of 120 total hours to graduate. This total includes Liberal Arts Core requirements, the Professional Education Requirements, and the following specified major requirements, plus electives to complete the minimum of 120 hours.

Required
Mathematics:
MATH 1420 (800:060)Calculus I4
MATH 1421 (800:061)Calculus II4
Science and Science Education:
SCI ED 3300/5300 (820:190g)Orientation to Science Teaching3
SCI ED 4700/5700 (820:193g)Methods for Teaching Physical Science3
SCI ED 3200 (820:196)Current Technologies in Science Teaching2
Physics:
PHYSICS 1100First-Year Projects in Physics1
PHYSICS 1701 (880:130)Physics I for Science and Engineering4
PHYSICS 1702 (880:131)Physics II for Science and Engineering4
PHYSICS 2300 (880:132)Physics III: Theory and Simulation3
PHYSICS 4080/5080Resources for Teaching Physics2
PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g)Modern Physics4
PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g)Modern Physics Laboratory2
Electives
Physics: all 3000+ level courses6
Mathematics or non-physics science courses from the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences *4
Total Hours46

 

*

Excluding all 820:xxx and mathematics below MATH 1420 (800:060).

 

It is recommended that sufficient work including current curricula should be taken for licensure approval in a second area. Common teaching combinations are physics-chemistry or physics-mathematics.

Completion of this major will satisfy the requirements of the Iowa Department of Education for licensure.

 

Minors

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Minor

Required
Chemistry and Biochemistry:5-8
Select one of the following:
General Chemistry I
   and General Chemistry II
General Chemistry I-II
Physics:
PHYSICS 1511 (880:054)General Physics I4
or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130) Physics I for Science and Engineering
PHYSICS 1512 (880:056)General Physics II4
or PHYSICS 1702 (880:131) Physics II for Science and Engineering
PHYSICS 4200/5200 (880:144g)Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology3
or CHEM 4200/5200 (860:144g) Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
PHYSICS 4210/5210 (880:148g)Intermediate Nanoscience and Nanotechnology3
or CHEM 4210/5210 (860:148g) Intermediate Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Total Hours19-22

Physics Minor

Required
Physics:
Select one of the following:8
General Physics I
   and General Physics II (required)
Physics I for Science and Engineering
   and Physics II for Science and Engineering (required)
Electives:12
Physics:
100/3000-level electives in Physics, with no more than 3 hours earned in the following: *
Undergraduate Research in Physics (and/or)
Laboratory Projects
Total Hours20

*

See course descriptions to reference 4-digit numbers associated with these 100/3000-level courses.



 

 

Physics, B.S.

Freshman
FallHoursSpringHours
MATH 1420 (800:060)4MATH 1421 (800:061)4
PHYSICS 11001PHYSICS 1702 (880:131)4
PHYSICS 1701 (880:130)4COMM 1000 (48C:001)3
ENGLISH 1005 (620:005)3HUM 1021 (680:021)3
MUSIC 1100 (520:010)3University Elective3
 15 17
Sophomore
FallHoursSpringHours
MATH 2422 (800:062)4PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g)4
PHYSICS 2300 (880:132)3PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g)2
PHYSICS 4300/5300 (880:152g)4PHYSICS 27003
HUM 1022 (680:022)3GEOG 1120 (970:010)3
University Elective3University Elective3
 17 15
Junior
FallHoursSpringHours
PHYSICS 3000 (880:180)2PHYSICS 4700/5700 (880:167g)4
PHYSICS 3700 (880:187)1PHYSICS 4860/5860 (880:150g)3
PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g)4PHIL 1020 (650:021)3
HUM 3125 (680:125)3University Electives6
HPELS 1010 (440:010)3 
University Elective3 
 16 16
Senior
FallHoursSpringHours
PHYSICS 4900/5900 (880:136g)4PHYSICS 4800/5800 (880:172g)4
POL INTL 1024 (943:024)3CAP 3140 (CAP:140)2
BIOL 1012 (840:012)3ECON 1031 (920:024)3
University Electives6University Electives5
 16 14
Total credit hours: 126

 

*

 Note: To graduate with a B.S. degree in Physics, a student must earn an overall grade point average of at least 2.50 in all courses applied toward the major.

 

 

 

Physics Teaching, B.A.

Freshman
FallHoursSpringHours
ENGLISH 1005 (620:005)3COMM 1000 (48C:001)3
HUM 1021 (680:021)3BIOL 1012 (840:012)3
MATH 1420 (800:060)4HPELS 1010 (440:010)3
PHYSICS 1701 (880:130)4MATH 1421 (800:061)4
PHYSICS 11001PHYSICS 1702 (880:131)4
 15 17
Sophomore
FallHoursSpringHours
University Electives4TEACHING 31281
TEACHING 20171EDPSYCH 3148 (200:148)3
HUM 1022 (680:022)3MEASRES 3150 (250:150)2
GEOG 1120 (970:010)3ARTHIST 1004 (600:004)3
EDPSYCH 2030 (200:030)3PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g)4
PHYSICS 2300 (880:132)3PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g)2
 17 15
Junior
FallHoursSpringHours
University Electives3PHYSICS 4290/52903
SCI ED 3200 (820:196)2PHYSICS 4080/50802
SCI ED 3300/5300 (820:190g)3CAP 3140 (CAP:140)2
SPED 3150 (220:150)2ECON 1031 (920:024)3
TEACHING 4170/5170 (280:170g)3University Electives2
PHYSICS 4050/5050 (880:140g)3SOCFOUND 3119 (260:119)3
 16 15
Senior
FallHoursSpringHours
SCI ED 4700/5700 (820:193g)3TEACHING 3138 (280:138)12
EARTHSCI 1100 (870:010)4 
PHIL 1020 (650:021)3 
HUM 3124 (680:124)3 
 13 12
Total credit hours: 120

 

Courses

PHYSICS 1000 (880:012). Physics in Everyday Life — 3 hrs.

Basic laws and concepts of physics introduced and demonstrated through operation of everyday devices and systems. Emphasis on understanding physical principles behind working of modern technologies and interplay between science and technology. Students may not earn credit in both PHYSICS 1400 (880:011) and PHYSICS 1000 (880:012). Prerequisite(s): student must have satisfied university entrance requirements in English and Mathematics. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 1100. First-Year Projects in Physics — 1 hr.

An introduction to the basic elements of physics research and applications. Students will complete a series of projects designed to integrate theory, measurement and computation to create instruments and devices that interact with the physical world. In doing so, students will learn how to create and control electro-mechanical devices and gain experience in techniques used in both industry and research. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): PHYSICS 1701 (880:130), Physics I for Science and Engineering, or the consent of the department head. (Fall)

PHYSICS 1400 (880:011). Conceptual Physics — 4 hrs.

Energy; temperature and heat; waves and sound; electricity and magnetism; light and color; and atomic and nuclear structure of matter. Emphasis on observation, interpretation, and conceptual understanding of physical phenomena. Discussion, 3 periods; lab, 2 periods. Students may not earn credit in both PHYSICS 1400 (880:011) and PHYSICS 1000 (880:012). Prerequisite(s): student must have satisfied university entrance requirements in English and Mathematics. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 1511 (880:054). General Physics I — 4 hrs.

Algebra-based introductory course covering Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, and thermal physics. Emphasis on conceptual understanding of physical principles through group investigations and lab activities. Discussion/lab, 5 periods. Prerequisite(s): MATH 1130 (800:044) or MATH 1140 (800:046) or MATH 1150 (800:048) or MATH 1420 (800:060) or equivalent, or a satisfactory ALEKS score. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 1512 (880:056). General Physics II — 4 hrs.

Algebra-based introductory course covering electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Emphasis on conceptual understanding of physical principles through group investigations and lab activities. Discussion/lab, 5 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130). (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 1701 (880:130). Physics I for Science and Engineering — 4 hrs.

Calculus-based introductory course covering Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, and thermal physics. Lab activities. Discussion/lab, 5 periods. Prerequisite(s): one year of high school physics or equivalent. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): MATH 1420 (800:060). (Fall)

PHYSICS 1702 (880:131). Physics II for Science and Engineering — 4 hrs.

Calculus-based introductory course covering electricity, magnetism, and optics. Lab activities. Discussion/lab, 5 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) (minimum grade of B) or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130). Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): MATH 1421 (800:061). (Spring)

PHYSICS 1800 (880:080). Projects in Basic Robotics and Sensors — 1 hr.

Assembly of a mini-sumo robot, with motor, sensors and microprocessor. Implement line following. Explore modifications to the sumo hardware and software that will permit successful participation in a sumo robotics competition at the end of the course. Lab, 2 periods. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) and PHYSICS 1512 (880:056), or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130) and PHYSICS 1702 (880:131), or MATH 1140 (800:046) and TECH 1037 (330:037), or CS 1410 (810:041) or CS 1510 (810:051). (Spring)

PHYSICS 2300 (880:132). Physics III: Theory and Simulation — 3 hrs.

Calculus-based course covering the more advanced topics in introductory physics. Emphasis on developing analytical and computational skills needed to study physics at a more advanced level. Topics include Newtonian mechanics and applications, Maxwell's equations and applications. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1702 (880:131). (Fall)

PHYSICS 2700. Mathematical Methods of Physics — 3 hrs.

Introduction to the mathematical methods used in upper-level Physics courses, illustrated with applications from all areas of Physics. Applications will illustrate electrodynamics, thermodynamics, classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Prerequisite(s): MATH 1420 (800:060); MATH 1421 (800:061); MATH 2422 (800:062); PHYSICS 1701 (880:130); PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); PHYSICS 2300 (880:132). (Spring)

PHYSICS 3000 (880:180). Undergraduate Research in Physics — 1-6 hrs.

Research activities under direct supervision of sponsoring staff members or at a national laboratory. Should normally be taken during senior year. Successful completion of the research experience requires both a written and oral report. Prerequisite(s): minimum overall 2.50 GPA; consent of department. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 3179 (880:179). Cooperative Education.

Applied physics internship under PHYSICS 3179 (880:179) should be taken during the junior or senior year. If unable to do so, the internship may be done under PHYSICS 3500 (880:184) with consent of department. Successful completion of either PHYSICS 3179 (880:179) or PHYSICS 3500 (880:184) requires both a written and an oral report. Offered on credit/no credit basis only. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 3500 (880:184). Internship in Applied Physics — 1-3 hrs.

Departmentally approved work in applied physics (at an industrial, medical, or government laboratory) followed by oral and written reports given on completed work. Offered on credit/no credit basis only. Prerequisite(s): minimum overall 2.50 GPA; consent of department. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 3700 (880:187). Physics Seminar — 1 hr.

Seminar course covering aspects important for life after graduation. Participation in physics colloquia; oral report on research topic or internship, drafting resume/CV, interview, perform job and graduate school search. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g). (Fall)

PHYSICS 4000/5000 (880:157g). Fundamentals of Physics I — 4 hrs.

Algebra-based introductory course covering Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, and thermal physics. Emphasis on conceptual understanding of physical principles through group investigations and lab activities. Enrollment limited to graduate students other than physics majors; students with credit in PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) or equivalent may not take this course for credit. Discussion/lab, 5 periods. Prerequisite(s): high school algebra and trigonometry or equivalent; junior standing; consent of department head. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 4050/5050 (880:140g). Optical Science — 3 hrs.

An introduction to optics and applied optics. Topics include: geometric optics, wave optics, quantum optics, and introductions to lasers and optical spectroscopy. Discussion, 2 periods; lab, 2 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1512 (880:056) or PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); junior standing or consent of department head. (Fall)

PHYSICS 4080/5080. Resources for Teaching Physics — 2 hrs.

A physics course that focuses on topics recommended for high school physics programs, with an emphasis on various physics education resources in the context of science education initiatives. This course is designed for both current science teachers and science education undergraduates. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130); PHYSICS 1512 (880:056) or PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); junior standing. (Spring)

PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g). Modern Physics — 4 hrs.

Special relativity; quantum phenomena; wave-particle duality; atomic and nuclear structure; properties of solids, interaction of radiation with matter; and elementary particles. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); junior standing. (Spring)

PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g). Modern Physics Laboratory — 2 hrs.

Experiments on interactions of photons and electrons; mass and charge of electrons; atomic spectroscopy; nuclear detection and spectroscopy; spin resonance; and properties of solids. Requires detailed lab reports, including error analysis. Prerequisite(s): junior standing. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g). (Spring)

PHYSICS 4200/5200 (880:144g). Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology — 3 hrs.

Introduction to nanoscale materials and processes; types of materials; chemical bonding and nanoscale interactions; nanoscale microscopy and spectroscopic methods of investigation. Prerequisite(s): CHEM 1110 (860:044) and CHEM 1120 (860:048) (or CHEM 1130 (860:070)); PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130); PHYSICS 1512 (880:056) or PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); junior standing. (Same as CHEM 4200/5200 (860:144g)) (Fall)

PHYSICS 4210/5210 (880:148g). Intermediate Nanoscience and Nanotechnology — 3 hrs.

Study of nanoscale materials and processes, with emphasis on nanoscale microscopy and other experimental methods of investigation and control on the nanoscale. Prerequisite(s): CHEM 4200/5200 (860:144g)/PHYSICS 4200/5200 (880:144g); junior standing. (Same as CHEM 4210/5210 (860:148g)) (Odd Springs)

PHYSICS 4290/5290. Project Lead The Way: Digital Electronics — 3 hrs.

Introduction to the theory and applications of analog and digital electronics utilizing the Digital Electronics curriculum from the nationally certified Project Lead The Way (PLTW) curriculum. Especially intended for science and technology K-12 education majors to become certified PLTW teachers of this course. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) or PHYSICS 1400 (880:011) or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130); junior standing. (Same as TECH 4290/5290) (Spring)

PHYSICS 4300/5300 (880:152g). Introduction to Electronics — 4 hrs.

Introduction to DC and AC circuits; electrical measurements, circuit theory and circuit simulation; analog and digital circuits; energy generation and efficiency. Discussion, 2 periods; lab, 4 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1512 (880:056) or PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); MATH 1421 (800:061); junior standing. (Fall)

PHYSICS 4310/5310 (880:154g). Digital Electronics and Robotics — 4 hrs.

Programmable analog switching; operational amplifier applications; digital logic gates; Boolean logic; microprocessor data acquisition using sensors on digital and analog ports; motor control; programming and software control of mobile robots. Discussion, 2 periods; lab, 4 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1511 (880:054) and PHYSICS 1512 (880:056), or PHYSICS 1701 (880:130) and PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); junior standing. (Even Springs)

PHYSICS 4450/5450 (880:185g). Laboratory Projects — 1-3 hrs.

Experimental activities to meet individual needs and interests not normally included in other courses. Maximum of 3 hours may be applied to a physics major or minor. Prerequisite(s): junior standing; consent of department. (Fall and Spring)

PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g). Classical Mechanics — 4 hrs.

Vectors and kinematics; force and motion; work and energy; Lagrange's equations; gravity; oscillations; rigid-body motion; and accelerated reference frames. Prerequisite(s): MATH 1420 (800:060); MATH 1421 (800:061); PHYSICS 1701 (880:130); PHYSICS 1702 (880:131); PHYSICS 2300 (880:132); PHYSICS 2700; junior standing. Corequisite(s): MATH 2422 (800:062). (Fall)

PHYSICS 4700/5700 (880:167g). Electrodynamics — 4 hrs.

Vector calculus. Electrostatic fields and dielectrics; magnetic fields, magnetic forces, and magnetic materials; Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite(s): MATH 2422 (800:062); PHYSICS 2300 (880:132); PHYSICS 2700; PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g); junior standing. (Odd Springs)

PHYSICS 4750/5750 (880:174g). Physics of Modern Materials — 3 hrs.

Structural, thermal, and electronic properties of materials; applications to modern devices. Discussion, 2 periods; lab, 2 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g); PHYSICS 4110/5110 (880:138g); junior standing. (Even Falls)

PHYSICS 4800/5800 (880:172g). Quantum Mechanics — 4 hrs.

Solution of Schrodinger equation for several systems: spin and angular momentum; identical particles; perturbation theory; WKB approximation; and scattering. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 2700; PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g); PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g); junior standing. (Even Springs)

PHYSICS 4860/5860 (880:150g). Computational Physics — 3 hrs.

Computer simulations and numerical solutions of behaviors of important physical systems, emphasizing those that are very difficult or impossible to analyze by traditional means, for example, nonlinear oscillators or phase transitions in the Ising Model. Discussion, 2 periods; lab, 2 periods. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 2300 (880:132); PHYSICS 2700; PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g); PHYSICS 4600/5600 (880:166g); junior standing. (Spring)

PHYSICS 4900/5900 (880:136g). Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics — 4 hrs.

General principles of classical thermodynamics and applications (e.g., to first-order phase transitions); general principles of statistical mechanics and applications (e.g., to the classical ideal gas). Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 2300 (880:132); PHYSICS 2700; PHYSICS 4100/5100 (880:137g); junior standing. (Fall)

PHYSICS 4950/5950 (880:189g). Readings in Physics — 1-3 hrs.

Readings/problems in areas of physics (or related interdisciplinary areas) not normally covered in other courses. Maximum of 3 hours may be applied to a physics major or minor. Prerequisite(s): junior standing; consent of department. (Variable)

PHYSICS 4990. Senior Thesis — 1 hr.

Senior Thesis. Open only to students pursuing the B.S. Physics Honors Research Emphasis or the B.A. Physics-Teaching Honors Research Emphasis. Prerequisite(s): consent of the department head. (Fall, Spring, Summer)

PHYSICS 6100 (880:205). Modeling and Simulation of Physical Systems — 3 hrs.

Computer simulation and visualization of physical systems. Students will code, debug, and run basic simulations in C++ as well as more sophisticated simulations with other tools, including parallel computing. Prerequisite(s): CS 1160 (810:036) and PHYSICS 4860/5860 (880:150g), or MATH 3440/5440 (800:176g) and CS 1160 (810:036), or consent of instructor. (Fall)

PHYSICS 6299 (880:299). Research.

Prerequisite(s): consent of department. (Variable)

PHYSICS 6300 (880:220). Computer Interfacing and Signal Processing — 3 hrs.

Introduction to computer interfacing, instrument control, and data acquisition. Discussion of digital signal processing and utilization of industry-standard software platforms in laboratory activities. Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 2300 (880:132); PHYSICS 4300/5300 (880:152g). (Odd Springs)

PHYSICS 6500 (880:250). Special Problems in Physics — 1-6 hrs.

Credit determined at registration. Problems selected according to needs of students. Prerequisite(s): consent of department. (Variable)