Courses

The department of Physics and Astronomy offers a wide range of courses for Majors, non-majors and to fulfill the Scientific Literacy requirement of the Drake Curriculum.

Astronomy

Physics

Physical Sciences


Astronomy

ASTR 001: DESCRIPTIVE ASTRONOMY, 3 credit hrs.
A one-semester course, primarily for nonmajors, focusing on the highlights of results obtained from a study of the universe, including the solar system, stellar evolution, galaxies, black holes and cosmology. Emphasis on physical principles, the deductive process and the impact of the developing knowledge on society. Three hours lecture per week. No prereq.

ASTR 001L: INTRODUCTORY ASTRONOMY LABORATORY, 1 credit hr.
Optional laboratory program that complements ASTR 001. Rooftop night observations, laboratory bench experiments and observations at the Drake Municipal Observatory. Formal reports including numerical computations required. Three hours one evening per week.Coreq.: ASTR 001.

ASTR 041: ATRONOMICAL TECHNIQUES, 3 credit hrs.
A survey of the solar system, planetary motions, the sun as a star, evolution of stars, galaxies and modern cosmology. Emphasis on mathematical descriptions and model development. Three hours lecture per week. Prereq.: ASTR 001, PHY 001, and MATH 050 or consent of instructor.

ASTR 071: PROBLEMS IN POSITIONAL ASTRONOMY, 2 credit hrs.
The celestial sphere in relation to the earth.Latitude, longitude, time, positions and motions of celestial bodies.Occasional observations at the Drake Municipal Observatory. Prereq.or coreq.: Plane trigonometry and consent of instructor.

ASTR 150-151: SPECIAL TOPICS IN ASTRONOMY, 1-3 credit hrs.
Study of a selected field in astronomy or astrophysis, according to student's interests, such as practical astronomy, astrophysics, binary stars, celestial mechanics, etc. Prereq.: Consent of instructor.

PHY 159: ADVANCED LAB III: CCD ASTRONOMY LAB, 2 credit hrs
A hands-on laboratory which illustrates the use electronic imaging devices (CCDs) in modern astronomical photometry. Work is performed at the Drake Municipal Observatory and the 24" telescope at Fick Observatory (Iowa State University). Experiments include basic image processing techniques, differential photometry, color-magnitude diagrams, extinction coefficients, surface photometry and narrow-band imaging of nebulae and galaxies. Six hours of laboratory per week. Prereq.: ASTR 001L.

ASTR 180: DIRECTED INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ASTRONOMY, 1-3 credit hrs.
Directed individual study or projects in special topics in Astronomy or Astrophysics, according to student's interests. A maximum of six hours may be taken by any one student in these courses. Prereq.: Consent of instructor.

ASTR 185/PHY 185: INTRODUCTION TO ASTROPHYSICS I: STARS, 3 credit hrs.
A survey of stellar astrophysics, including stellar structure, stellar evolution, variable stars, stellar populations, interstellar material. Three hours lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

ASTR 195/PHY 195: INTRODUCTION TO ASTROPHYSICS II: GALAXIES AND COSMOLOGY,
A survey of extragalactic astrophysics, including the structure of the Milky Way, large scale structure and kinematics of galaxies, galactic dynamics, active galaxies, quasars, galaxy clusters and Big Bang cosmologies. Three hours lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 and MATH 120 or consent of instructor.

PHY 001 and PHY 002: INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS I AND II, 4 credit hrs. 
An introduction to the fundamental concepts in physics from classical mechanics through electrodynamics.Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week.  Prereq.: High school algebra and trigonometry. PHY 001 or equivalent is prerequisite for PHY 002. Pre/Coreq.: MATH 50 (Calculus I).

PHY 003: CONTEMPORARY TOPICS IN PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY SEMINAR, 1 credit hr.    
A seminar course introducing students to contemporary developments and problems in Physics and Astronomy presented by the faculty. The purpose of the course is to share the fascination and excitement of Physics and Astronomy, learn what to anticipate in their studies of these fields and become informed on the professional opportunities. The course also serves as an introduction to scientific presentation and writing.

PHY 005: INTRO TO TOPICS IN PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
An introductory course that can be taken by Physics, Astronomy and Pre-Engineering majors as well as Secondary Education majors. Topics covered include Optics, Inteference, Special Relativity, Introductory Cosmology and/or Introduction to Particle Physics. Calculus is not required for this course but students should take MATH 50 (Calculus I) simultaneously.Prereq.: High school algebra and trigonometry.

PHY 011 and PHY 012: GENERAL PHYSICS I AND II, 4 credit hrs.
Mechanics, properties of matter, heat and sound, light magnetism, electricity and modern physics. Emphasis is placed on applications to the medical sciences. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. PHY 11 is a prerequisite for PHY 12. This course is designed primarily for biology majors, premedical majors and other pre-professional biology.Prereq.: High school algebra and trigonometry.

PHY 050: MODERN PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
Historical development of modern physics; wave and particle theories of matter; discussion of origin of quantum theory and development of Schroedinger equation; atomic and nuclear structure. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 002 and MATH 100.

PHY 059: ADVANCED LABORATORY I, 2 credit hrs.
Experiments in modern physics. Six hours of laboratory per week. Coreq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 061: ERROR THEORY, 1 credit hrs.
The theory of errors applied to physics and astronomy. Statistical and systematic errors, Error propagation and correlations, probability distributions, chi-square fitting, central limit theorem, non-gaussian errors, confidence levels. This course is taken together with PHY 002. Prereq.:  MATH 50.

PHY 121: THEORETICAL MECHANICS, 4 credit hrs.
Conservation laws and conservative systems; the harmonic oscillator, central forces, rotating coordinates, angular momentum, rigid body dynamics and relativity; methods of Lagrange. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 001 or equivalent.

PHY 122: ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY, 4 credit hrs.
Theory of the electric potential, fields and currents; magnetic effects of currents, electromagnetic induction, electric and magnetic fields in matter; Maxwell's equations, applications and solutions.Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 002 or equivalent.

PHY 132: MEDICAL BIOPHYSICS, 3 credit hrs.
This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental concepts and methods in biophysics, a transdisciplinary field at the interface of physics, biology, chemistry and medicine. The course will explore the physical mechanisms underlying the behavior of biological systems. Characteristics of living cells and biological polymers essential for life (in particular proteins) are discussed. Concepts from mechanics, thermodynamics and other branches of physics are introduced in the context of living organisms. Finally, modern methods from molecular biophysics and medical physics (such as radiation biophysics, nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging) are discussed. The emphasis is on the applications of physics in biology and medicine. Prereq.: PHY 001 or PHY 011.

PHY 133: ELECTRONICS, 4 credit hrs.
Intended for students who desire a comprehensive course in electronic circuits and instrumentation.Two hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Prereq.: PHY 002 or equivalent.

PHY 149: ADVANCED LABORATORY II, 2 credit hrs.
Advanced experiments in physics. Six hours of laboratory per week. Prereq.: PHY 059 or equivalent.

PHY 159/ASTR 159: ADVANCED LABORATORY III: CCD ASTRONOMY LAB, 2 credit hrs.
A hands-on laboratory which illustrates the use electronic imaging devices (CCDs) in modern astronomical photometry. Work is performed at the Drake Municipal Observatory and the 24" telescope at Fick Observatory (Iowa State University). Experiments include basic image processing techniques, differential photometry, color-magnitude diagrams, extinction coefficients, surface photometry and narrow-band imaging of nebulae and galaxies. Six hours of laboratory per week. Prereq.: ASTR 001L

PHY 170: DIRECTED INDEPENDENT STUDY IN PHYSICS, 1-3 credit hrs.
Directed individual study or projects in special topics in Physics, according to student's interests. A maximum of six hours may be taken by any one student in these courses. Prereq.: Consent of instructor

PHY 180: ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
Atomic spectra, spectra of one and two electron systems, structure of diatomic molecules, atomic and molecular processes. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 181: QUANTUM THEORY, 4 credit hrs.
The solution of Schrodinger's equation for harmonic oscillator and hydrogen atoms; eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, potential well problems; scattering theory and matrix formulation. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent and MATH 120 or consent of instructor.

PHY 182: THERMODYNAMICS AND STATISTICAL PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
Thermodynamics properties of matter; kinetic theory of gases; introduction to classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 183: NUCLEAR AND PARTICLE PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
Properties of nuclei, the nuclear force, the two nucleon problem, complex nuclei, nuclear models, radioactive decay and selection rules, elementary particle production and decay, symmetries and conservation laws, the Standard Model, Quark-Gluon Plasma. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 184: MODERN OPTICS, 3 credit hrs.
Wave theory; interference and diffraction; polarization; interaction of radiation and matter; coherent radiation. Three hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 185/ASTR 185: ASTROPHYSICS I, 3 credit hrs.
A survey of astrophysics, including stellar structure, stellar evolution, variable stars, stellar populations, interstellar material, large scale structure and kinematics of galaxies, and galactic rotation. Three hours lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 186: PLASMA PHYSICS, 3 credit hrs.
Atomic collisions and kinetic theory; motion of charged particles; continuum magnetohydrodynamics and elementary stability theory; transport processes; waves, oscillations and radiation in plasma. Three hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 or equivalent.

PHY 187: SOLID STATE PHYSICS, 3 credit hrs.
Lattice dynamics and thermodynamics of solids; free electron theory of metals and band structure of solids; electronic structure of conductors, insulators and semiconductors. Three hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 50 or equivalent.

PHY 188: ADVANCED CLASSICAL PHYSICS, 4 credit hrs.
Calculus of variations, Langrangian and Hamiltonian methods; Hamilton-Jacobi theory, continuum mechanics; Laplace's equation, relativistic electrodynamics, radiation fields and applications. Four hours of lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 121 and 122; MATH 120 or consent of instructor.

PHY 189-190: SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS, 1-4 credit hrs.
In-depth study of a special topic or topics in physics. Prereq.: Consent of the department.

PHY 191, PHY 192: PHYSICS SEMINAR I AND II, 1 credit hr. Students make presentations on current topics of interest in Physics or Astronomy. Critiques are also made of presentations as students learn how to make a "good" presentation.

PHY 195/ASTR 195: ASTROPHYSICS II, 3 credit hrs.
A survey of extragalactic astrophysics, including the structure of the Milky Way, large scale structure and kinematics of galaxies, galactic dynamics, active galaxies, quasars, galaxy clusters and Big Bang cosmologies. Three hours lecture per week. Prereq.: PHY 050 and MATH 120 or consent of instructor.

PHY 197, PHY 198: RESEARCH PARTICIPATION I AND II, 1-4 credit hrs.
Students enrolled in these courses work with members of the staff in research projects.Prereq.: Consent of the department.

PHSC 001: PHYSICAL SCIENCE, 3 credit hrs.
An introduction to basic concepts of physical science and the scientific method, with discussions of their applications to technology.Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.

PHSC 051: ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, 3 credit hrs.
A study of present and future energy resources, technologies and their environmental consequences. Topics include the automobile, solar energy and electricity produced by conventional and nuclear power plants. Three hours of lecture per week.

PHSC 052: TECHNOLOGY OF COMMUNICATIONS, 3 credit hrs.
The evolution of communication technology.The basic principles, development and operation of modern communications.Trends in communication for the future. Three hours of lecture per week.

PHSC 071: SOLAR ENERGY, 3 credit hrs.
Introduction to the direct use of solar radiation as an alternative energy source for the future. Topics include the energy concept; solar heating; photovoltaics; and energy from the wind. Three hours of lecture per week.

PHSC 101: LIGHT FOR THE ARTIST, 3 credit hrs.
The macroscopic and microscopic properties of light are described and illustrated through lecture demonstrations and laboratory investigations. The laboratory includes studies of lenses, mirrors and prisms, the color quality of light sources, and the unique properties of laser light with applications in the field of 3-D photography. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.

PHSC 189 -190: SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE, 1-4 credit hrs.
In-depth study of a special topic or topics in physical science.Enrollment by department consent.

 

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