# Courses

## Current Courses

Using the field emission electron microscope

- Physics 116
**Acoustics**
(Matthew Deady)
This laboratory course provides an introduction to the phenomena of acoustics, particularly aspects that are important in the production and perception of music. The physics of sound is covered in depth, and characteristics of acoustic and electronic instruments are discussed. Mathematical and laboratory techniques are introduced as needed. No specific science or mathematics background beyond algebra is assumed.

- Physics 142
**Introduction to Physics II**
(Eleni-Alexandra Kontou / Paul Cadden-Zimansky)
This is the second part of a calculus-based survey course, continuing with electricity and magnetism, light, and basic atomic and modern physics. *Prerequisites*: Physics 141 and Mathematics 141.

- Physics 145
**Astronomy**
(Eleni-Alexandra Kontou)
Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what you are seeing? Astronomy is one of the oldest of the natural sciences, dating back to prehistoric times. It studies planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole from its earliest time to the present day. This course is an introduction to astronomy including laboratory work where we will perform and interpret observations. Topics include: the solar system, telescopes, history of astronomy, the sun, galaxies, and cosmology. *Prerequisite*: passing score on Part I of the Mathematics Diagnostic.

- Physics 222
**Mathematical Methods II**
(Hal Haggard)
This is the second part of a two-part course series that introduces mathematical topics and techniques that are commonly encountered in the physical sciences, including complex numbers and analytic functions, Fourier series and orthogonal functions, standard types of partial differential equations, and special functions. Prerequisites: MATH 141 and 142, or the equivalent. *Recommended*: PHYS 221, Mathematical Methods I.

- Physics 230
**Optics**
(Hal Haggard / Paul Cadden-Zimansky)
From observing the cosmos to single cells, understanding optics is what has allowed us to visualize the unseen world. This laboratory course provides an overview of the theoretical techniques and experimental tools used to analyze light and its properties. The course will encompass three broad approaches to understanding the behavior of light, geometrical optics, wave optics, and quantum optics. Through the manipulation of light using lenses, polarizers, and single-photon detectors, students will learn the physics that underlies microscopes, spectrometers, lasers, modern telecommunication, and human vision. *Prerequisite*: Physics 142 or permission of the instructor.

- Physics 303
**Mechanics**
(Matthew Deady)
This course in particle kinematics and dynamics in one, two, and three dimensions covers -conservation laws, coordinate transformations, and problem-solving techniques in differential equations, vector calculus, and linear algebra. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations are also studied. *Prerequisites*: Physics 141-142 and Mathematics 141-142.

- Physics 321
**Quantum Mechanics**
(Joshua Cooperman)
Quantum mechanics is our most successful scientific theory: spectacularly tested, technologically paramount, conceptually revolutionary. This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to this remarkable theory. We will begin by establishing the structure of quantum mechanics in the context of its simplest case, the so-called qubit. Simultaneously, we will refresh the mathematical apparatus required to formulate quantum mechanics. To explore some of quantum mechanic’s most interesting phenomena, including contextuality, entanglement, and nonlocality, we will next study systems of qubits. After an interlude on the interpretation of quantum mechanics, we will consider a variety of applications of quantum mechanics: 1-dimensional systems, including the harmonic oscillator, 3-dimensional systems, including the hydrogen atom, and quantum statistical mechanics, including that of identical particles as well as scattering and perturbation theory. We will conclude by learning the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. Time permitting, we will touch on such topics as decoherence and quantum computation. *Prerequisites*: Physics 241, Mathematics 213.

- Science 143
**Starlight**
(Simeen Sattar)
One of our species’ most amazing achievements is that we have a pretty good idea of what stars are made of, despite our confinement to Earth. Not even a space probe has gone anywhere near any star besides the Sun. Our understanding of the composition of stars comes from close examination of starlight (by a process resembling Isaac Newton’s decomposition of sunlight into its colors) and our modern understanding of atoms and molecules. This course is about the analysis of starlight: what it tells us about the composition of stars, their temperatures and their motions. We start with inquiring into the nature of light and the structure of atoms and molecules and their energy levels. This understanding will be applied to light coming from stars and other astronomical objects. Laboratory experiments involve the use of spectrophotometers to study light emitted, absorbed and reflected by atoms and molecules. Although the course is intensive, no mathematics beyond algebra is required.

- [Big] Ideas 130
**Chernobyl: Man-Made Disaster**
(Jonathan Becker / Matthew Deady)
**6 credits**

**Cross-listed:** Human Rights; Political Studies; Science

We will employ the Chernobyl disaster as a case study of the environmental and human consequences of technology. In April 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine suffered a major technical problem leading to a meltdown in the reactor core. The radiation release and ensuing clean-up operation required the Soviet authorities to evacuate a large local region, affecting millions of people and leaving a region which is mostly uninhabited to this day. Chernobyl remains the worst civilian nuclear accident in history and its aftermath offers scientific, social, and political insights. This “big ideas” course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the meaning of Chernobyl: it will explore the issue of nuclear power, the social and technological aspects of the plant’s construction and operation, what led to the accident, the authorities’ response to it, and the environmental and social impacts on the region since that time. Laboratory sessions will focus on the physics of nuclear power and radiation, the biological effect of radiation, and the environmental impact of the Chernobyl accident. Parallel consideration will be given to its implications for Soviet governance, nuclear energy and proliferation, and the social impacts of Chernobyl and human-created nuclear and non-nuclear disasters. Examining this event in readings, lectures, and laboratory investigations will foster a deeper appreciation of the complex and interconnected contexts in which such disasters must be studied in order to be understood. The course will feature guest lectures in science, politics, human rights and literature, speaking on issues arising from the accident.

- Physics 124
**Climate Change**
(Gidon Eshel)
This lab course explores the physical principles underlying climate and anthropogenic climate change. We will start with a survey of the most compelling lines of evidence for climate change, how they are obtained/derived and some of their limitations. We will then discuss in some depth idealized one-dimensional planetary radiative and thermal balance, first in the absence of an atmosphere, and then in the presence of a radiatively active one, with variable number of layers. In this context, it will become interesting to explore atmospheric opacity with respect to various radiative types, and what natural and anthropogenic effects affect this opacity. A related topic will be natural feedbacks, such as water vapor and could feedbacks. We will next place current (modern) observations of climate change in the broader context of past climates, emphasizing the last couple millennia, hundreds of millennia, and finally the ten million-year scale geological record. We will conclude the course with some discussion about the objective of a successful policy mitigation efforts, and their implementation obstacles. While not technical per se, participation in this course does require the ability to solve a couple of linear algebraic equations (like solving x + 4 = 2y and 2x - 3y = 6 for x and y) and to perform some very basic manipulation of data and plot the results (using, e.g., Microsoft's Excel).

- Physics 141
**Introduction to Physics I**
(Matthew Deady / Antonios Kontos)
A calculus-based survey of physics. The first semester covers topics in mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, and wave motion. The course stresses ideas—the unifying principles and characteristic models of physics. Labs develop the critical ability to elicit understanding of the physical world. *Corequisite*: Mathematics 141.

- Physics 221
**Mathematical Methods I**
(Matthew Deady)
This course presents mathematical methods that are useful in the physical sciences. While some proofs and demonstrations are given, the emphasis is on the applications. Topics include: complex functions, vector spaces, matrices, coordinate transformations, power series, probability and statistics, and multi-variable differentiation and integration. *Prerequisites*: Mathematics 141-142, or equivalent, and strong preparation in physics comparable to Physics 141.

- Physics 241
**Modern Physics**
(Paul Cadden-Zimansky)
An extension of introductory physics concentrating on developments in physics that stem from the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. A major focus will be understanding classical and quantum waves, but there will also be overviews of particle physics, nuclear physics, optical and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, astronomy, and cosmology. *Prerequisites*: Physics 141-142 and Mathematics 141-142.

- Physics 314
**Thermal Physics**
(Paul Cadden-Zimansky)
This course studies the thermal behavior of physical systems, employing thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and statistical mechanics. Thermodynamical topics include equations of state, energy and entropy, and the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Both classical and quantum statistical mechanics are covered, including distribution functions, partition functions, and the quantum statistics of Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein systems. Applications include atoms, molecules, gases, liquids, solids, and phase transitions. *Prerequisites*: Physics 141-142, Mathematics 141-142.

- Science 125
**Photographic Processes**
(Simeen Sattar)
Topics covered in this course range from the chemistry of silver and non-silver photographic processes to the physics of CCD cameras. Laboratory work emphasizes the chemical transformations involved in making gum dichromate prints, cyanotypes, blueprints, salted paper prints and black-and-white silver emulsion prints. Registered students undertake to review elementary topics from high school chemistry and take an online quiz before the start of the semester to assess their understanding of these topics.