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Department of

Physics

Course Descriptions

PHYS 101 Physics and Society
PHYS 105 Physical Sciences for K-8 Teachers
PHYS 107 Astronomy
PHYS 117 Astronomy with Laboratory
PHYS 136 General Physics I
PHYS 137 General Physics II
PHYS 136L - 137L General Physics Laboratory
PHYS 270 Introduction to Mechanics Thermodynamics and Wave Motion
PHYS 271 Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
PHYS 270L - 271L Physics Laboratory
PHYS 272 Introduction to Optics and Modern Physics
PHYS 272L Introduction to Optics and Modern Physics Laboratory
PHYS 301 Energy and the Environment
PHYS 307 Astrophysics

PHYS 314 Analytical Mechanics
PHYS 319 Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHYS 324 Electromagnetism
PHYS 330 Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 331 Advanced Topics in Quantum Physics
PHYS 340 Biological Physics
PHYS 477 Introduction to Fluids
PHYS 477L Fluids Laboratory
PHYS 480W Experimental Modern Physics
PHYS 481W Experimental Biophysics
PHYS 487 Techniques in Physics
PHYS 493 Seminar I: Craft of Scientific Presentation
PHYS 494 Special Topics
PHYS 495 Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics
PHYS 496 Research


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101  PHYSICS AND SOCIETY (3)

A discussion of the concepts which unify our experience with the physical world. Topics are presented at an introductory level for the student with little or no background in physical science. Science related topics of special interest are discussed. Examples include: alternatives for energy production and conservation; radiation, its effect and applications; and ethical decisions in the application of new scientific discoveries. Weekly lectures include demonstrations and discussions. Every semester.

105  PHYSICAL SCIENCES FOR K-8 TEACHERS (3) 

A laboratory/lecture/discussion class designed to lead students toward an understanding of selected topics in chemistry and physics. The course topics are selected to satisfy the Physical Science specifications of the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (K-12). Enrollment is limited to liberal studies majors. Two two-hour laboratory sessions per week. This course is cross-listed with Chemistry 105. Fall semester.

107  ASTRONOMY (3)

A survey of astronomy covering astronomical history, planetology, stellar birth/life/death, large-scale structures, and cosmology. No formal laboratory. No science prerequisites.

117  ASTRONOMY WITH LABORATORY (3)

A survey of astronomy covering astronomical history, descriptive astronomy, planetology, stellar birth/life/death, and cosmology. This course satisfies the core curriculum physical science requirement with laboratory. Two lectures and one laboratory weekly. No science prerequisites. Fall semester.

136  GENERAL PHYSICS I (3)

A study of the fundamental principles of mechanics and wave motion, sound, and heat. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in PHYS 136L, and MATH 130 or 150. Every semester.

137  GENERAL PHYSICS II (3)

A study of the fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism, light, and modern physics. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Prerequisite: PHYS 136, 136L, and Concurrent registration in PHYS 137L. Every semester.

136L - 137L GENERAL PHYSICS LABORATORY (1-1)

A laboratory course which introduces the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Both PHYS 136L and PHYS 137L laboratory periods meet every week. Prerequisites: concurrent registration in PHYS 136-137. Every semester.

270   INTRODUCTION TO MECHANICS, THERMODYNAMICS AND WAVE MOTION (3)

A study of the fundamental principles of mechanics, thermodynamics and wave motion. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory weekly. Prerequisite: MATH 150 and concurrent registration in PHYS 270L; concurrent registration in MATH 151 recommended. Every semester.

271  INTRODUCTION TO ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM (3)

A study of the fundamental principles of classical electricity and magnetism including optics. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory weekly. Prerequisites: PHYS 270, 270L or PHYS 136, 136L completed, MATH 151 completed or concurrent, and 271L concurrent; MATH 250 concurrent recommended. Every semester.

270L - 271L PHYSICS LABORATORY (1-1)

A laboratory course which introduces the concepts and techniques of experimental physics. Laboratory periods meet every week. Prerequisites: completion of or concurrent registration in PHYS 270-271. Every semester.

272  INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS (3)

An introduction to modern physics including special relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics. Three hours of lecture per week. Spring semester. Prerequisites: MATH 151, PHYS 271, 271L or PHYS 137, 137L.

272L INTRODUCTION TO MODERN PHYSICS LABORATORY (1)

Laboratory experiments to illustrate the topics presented in the lecture course: Introduction to Modern Physics (PHYS 272). Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 272.

301  ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT (3)

Energy is the lifeblood of civilization, but its use entails substantial environmental costs. This course examines the physics and technology of energy production, distribution and use, as well as its environmental consequences. It is suitable for students having completed lower-division introductory physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 271, 271L or PHYS 137, 137L.

307  ASTROPHYSICS (3)

A study of the fundamental principles of Astrophysics including topics such as Stellar Evolution, Special and General Relativity, Cosmology, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life. Prerequisite: PHYS 271, 271L or PHYS 137, 137L, Math 151.

314  ANALYTICAL MECHANICS (3)

Statics and dynamics are developed using vector analysis, the Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations, and normal coordinates. Prerequisites: MATH 250, PHYS 271, 271L. Alternate years.

319  THERMAL AND STATISTICAL PHYSICS (3)

This course employs techniques from statistical mechanics to explore topics in thermodynamics. Topics include ideal gases, phase transitions, chemical equilibrium, kinetic theory, and paramagnetism. Prerequisite: PHYS 272.

324  ELECTROMAGNETISM (3)

A development of Maxwell’s equations using vector calculus. The electrical and magnetic properties of matter and the solution of boundary value problems are also developed. Prerequisites: MATH 250, PHYS 271, 271L or PHYS 137, 137L. Alternate years.

330  QUANTUM MECHANICS (3)

Introduction to the fundamental properties of Quantum Mechanics, including the Schroedinger equation in 1-3 dimensions, the mathematical formalism (involving linear algebra and partial differential equations) of Quantum Theory, the solution of the Hydrogen atom, and elementary perturbation theory. Prerequisites: MATH 250, PHYS 272. Alternate years.

331  ADVANCED TOPICS IN QUANTUM PHYSICS (3)

Applications of Quantum Theory in areas such as atomic, nuclear, solid state, and elementary particle physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 330.

340    BIOLOGICAL PHYSICS (3)

Biological physics introduces the interface between the two classic sciences. Physics principles and techniques are applied to questions and problems in biology with a focus on molecular and cellular biology. The topic will be introduced systematically, starting from thermodynamics and statistical mechanics and building to current cutting edge research topics such as protein folding, molecular machines and brain function. Specific topics may include single-molecule biophysics, optical trapping, molecular and cellular self-assembly, gene regulation, biomaterials and biomedical imaging. Prerequisites: PHYS 272, 272L, MATH 250. Spring Semester. Alternate (Odd) Years

477 INTRODUCTION TO FLUIDS (3)

An introduction to the basic principles of fluids. This course will serve as an introduction to concepts used in physical oceanography, atmospheric science, and other disciplines in which fluids are studied or utilized. Examples of applications to a broad range of disciplines (physics, engineering, earth sciences, and biology) will be developed. Prerequisites: MATH 150, 151, PHYS 137, 137L or PHYS 271, 271L and consent of instructor.

477L FLUIDS LABORATORY (1)

Laboratory work to accompany PHYS 477. Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in PHYS 477.

480W  EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS (4)

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of research techniques with an emphasis on modern physics. Vacuum technology, analog and digital data acquisition instrumentation, high-resolution optical and laser technology, and radiation physics will be explored. This course is the writing intensive course in the physics curriculum and serves to introduce the student to the process of writing research papers in physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 272, 272L. Alternate years.

481W EXPERIMENTAL BIOPHYSICS (4)

A laboratory-based course focused on the introduction to principles of biophysics research techniques.at the end of the 481 W description:Prerequisites: PHYS 272, 272L, MATH 250. Spring Semester. Alternate (Even) Years. Instrumentation development and experimental research will explore topics of fluorescence and force spectroscopy, molecular diffusion, fluctuation-dissipation theory and viscoelasticity related to molecular and cellular biophysical systems. Students will also be trained in general wet-lab techniques and computational data acquisition and analysis using Labview and Matlab. This course is the primary upper-division laboratory requirement for the biophysics major and fulfills the upper-division core writing requirement. Students will write and edit research reports on their experimental results at a level suitable for journal publication. The writing process will also include literature search techniques and an introduction to the peer review process.

487 TECHNIQUES IN PHYSICS (1-3)

Training and practice in those areas of physics of practical importance to the technician, teacher, and researcher. To include, but not limited to, technical methodology, preparation and technique in the teaching laboratory, and routines supportive of research. May be repeated up to a maximum of four units of credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

493 SEMINAR I: CRAFT OF SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATION (1)

The first semester of the seminar series is devoted to instruction on scientific presentations in physics. Students will give short presentations on topics of interest, and will prepare to give a lengthy presentation on their research work. Stress is laid on the preparation, execution, and the critique of effective scientific presentations. Meets one hour per week. Fall semester. .

494 SPECIAL TOPICS (1-4)

Topics chosen by the instructor in areas such as: thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, solid state, hydrodynamics, quantum mechanics, plasma physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, and advanced physics laboratory. May be repeated for credit if the course material is different. Prerequisites: PHYS 271, 271L and consent of instructor.

495 SEMINAR II: FRONTIERS OF PHYSICS (1)

The second semester of the seminar series focuses on exposure to current physics research in the form of informal and formal presentations, lab tours, and scientific articles on a wide range of current research fields. Students will attend physics seminars at UCSD and will meet with physicists in fields related to the seminar beforehand. To prepare for the seminars and meetings, students will read journal articles on the topic. Students will learn about a wide range of cutting-edge physics research topics such as: dark matter, global warming and alternative energy sources, biomechanics, string theory, neutrinos, etc. Meets 2-4 hours every other Thursday. Spring semester.

496 RESEARCH (1-4)

An undergraduate research problem in experimental or theoretical physics. A written report is required. Problem to be selected after consultation with department faculty. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

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