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Courses

Smith College reserves the right to make changes to all announcements and course listings online, including changes in its course offerings, instructors, requirements for the majors and minors, and degree requirements.

 

Course Offerings Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

 

PHY 107 Physics of Music

Not offered Fall 2014

Spring 2014 Tuesday/Thursday 9 - 10:20 AM

PHY117 Introductory Physics I
Fall 2013 lecture & discussion MWF 9 - 10:50 AM, 1:10 - 3 PM
Fall 2013 discussion sections: Tuesday, Thursday 4 - 4:50 PM

Spring 2014 lecture & discussion MWF 9 - 10:50 AM, 1:10 - 3 PM
Spring 2014 lab sections: Tuesday, Thursday 4 - 4:50 PM

PHY118 Introductory Physics II
Fall 2013 integrated lecture & lab: MWF 1:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Fall 2013 discussion sections: Tuesday, Thursday 4:00 - 4:50 PM
lecture+lab classes to be held in Sabin-Reed 308

Spring 2014 integrated lecture & lab: MWF 1:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Spring 2014 discussion sections: Thursday 4:00 - 4:50 PM

PHY210 Math Methods
Not offered Fall 2013

Spring 2014 lecture/ discussion MWF 10:00 - 10:50 AM
Spring 2014 lab section: Tuesday 3 - 3:50PM, 4 - 4:50 PM

PHY215 Modern Physics I
Not offered Fall 2013

Spring 2014 lecture/ discussion MWF 2:40 - 4 PM

PHY240 Physical Electronics
Not offered 2013-2014

PHY315 Modern Physics II
Fall 2013 Tuesday/Thursday 9 - 10:20 AM

Not offered Spring 2014

PHY317 Classical Mechanics
Not offered 2013-2014

PHY318 Electricity and Magnetism
Fall 2013 MWF 11 AM - 12:10PM

Not offered Spring 2014

PHY319 Thermal Physics
Fall 2013 Tuesday/ Thursday 10:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Not offered Spring 2014

PHY327 Quantum Mechanics
Not offered Fall 2014

Spring 2014 MWF 1:10 - 2:30 PM

PHY350 Experimental Physics (Advanced Lab)
Not offered Fall 2014

Spring 2014 lecture: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 - 10:20 AM
Spring 2014 lab: Thursday 1:00 - 3:50 PM

PHY360 Advanced Topics: Climate Physics
prerequisites: PHY118 and either PHY210 or MTH212
Fall 2013 MWF 9 - 9:50 AM

PHY360 Advanced Topics: Cosmology (tentative)
prerequisites: TBA
to be offered Spring 2014

PHY399 Current Topics in Physics
capstone seminar for senior physics majors
Spring 2014: Tuesday 3 - 4:50 PM

PHY400 Special Studies (4 credits)
independent experimental and/or theoretical research
offered upon request

PHY432 Honors Research (12 credits)
senior year experimental and/or theoretical research
offered upon request

PHY 100 Solar Energy and Sustainability

The United States reliance on non-renewable resources to satisfy its exponentially growing energy demands comes at a severe environmental, economic, and political cost. Are there alternatives? Are they affordable? What are the scientific tradeoffs and constraints? This course offers a hands-on exploration of renewable energy technologies, with an emphasis on the underlying physical principles. Students will study and use systems that generate electrical power from the sun, wind, and the flow of water; they will investigate how to store and distribute this energy (both off-grid and on); they will experiment with the use of passive and active solar thermal collector technology to provide domestic hot water and space heating; and the will consider how to make use of these technologies and their understanding of the underlying physics to design, model, and construct a solar powered building. The course will consist of a mix of experiments, field trips, and weekly seminars. Enrollment limited to 16.

Read a news story about the PHY100 portable solar house project (4/29/200). Watch a video of students assembling the house out on Burton lawn!

PHY 106 The Cosmic Onion: From Quantum World to the Universe

Basic concepts of quantum mechanics governing the atomic and subatomic worlds. Structure of atoms, atomic nuclei and matter. The evolution of the Universe and its relation to the subatomic physics. The course is designed for non-science majors. It does not involve mathematical tools. Offered in alternate years.

PHY 109 The Big Bang and Beyond

Same as AST 109. According to modern science the universe as we know it began expanding about 14 billion years ago from an unimaginably hot, dense fireball. Why was the universe in that particular state? How did the universe get from that state to the way it is today, full of galaxies, stars, and planets? What evidence supports this "big bang model"? Throughout this course we will focus not simply on what we know about these questions, but also on how we know it and on the limitations of our knowledge. Designed for non-science majors. Enrollment limited to 16.

PHY 115 General Physics I

The concepts and relations describing motion of objects (Newtonian and relativistic). Prerequisite: one semester of introductory calculus, (MTH 111 Calculus I or equivalent). Permission of the instructor required if taken concurrently. Students cannot receive credit for both PHY 115 and 117.

PHY 117 Advanced General Physics I

A more mathematically advanced version of PHY 115. Prerequisite: one semester of introductory calculus, (MTH 111 Calculus I or equivalent). Permission of the instructor required if taken concurrently. Students cannot receive credit for both PHY 115 and 117.

PHY 118 General Physics II

A continuation of 115/117. Electromagnetism, optics, waves and elements of quantum physics. Prerequisite: 115/117 or permission of the instructor.

PHY 201 Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy: Science and Implications

Fossil fuel use is rising at an increasing rate, but stocks are finite and non-renewable. How can we meet future world demand for energy? How do we make our energy use sustainable? This course considers the scientific basis, environmental implications, and economic viability of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, including coal, petroleum, natural gas, geothermal, nuclear, water, wind, solar and biofuels. Students use this information to develop short-term and long-term energy policies.

This course counts towards the physics minor and the core science requirement for the environmental science and policy major/minor. Offered Spring 2011 and Spring 2012.

PHY 210 Mathematical Methods of Physical Sciences and Engineering I

Same as EGR 201, Mathematical Methods of Physical Sciences and Engineering I. Choosing and using mathematical tools to solve problems in physical sciences. Topics include: complex numbers, multiple integrals, vector analysis, Fourier series, ordinary differential equations, integral transforms. Prerequisite: MTH112 or MTH114 or the equivalent. PHY115/117 or permission of the instructor.

PHY 215 Modern Physics I

TBA

PHY 315 Modern Physics II

More detailed, rigorous, and extended discussion of topics covered in PHY 215 Modern Physics I. Distribution functions. Wave description of the microworld: atoms, molecules, and nuclei. Quantum statistics. Solids. High energy physics. Prerequisite: PHY 210 and PHY 315.

PHY 240 Electronics

A semester of experiments in electronics, with emphasis on designing, building and trouble shooting circuits. Discrete electronic components: diodes, transistors and their applications. Analog and digital IC circuits: logic gates, operational amplifiers, timers, counters and displays. Final individual design project. Prerequisite: 118 or permission of the instructor.

PHY 317 Classical Mechanics

Same as EGR 274, Classical Mechanics. Newtonian dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, oscillations. Prerequisite: 118 and 210, or permission of the instructor.

PHY 318 Electricity and Magnetism

Electrostatic fields, polarization, magnetostatic fields, magnetization, electrodynamics and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite: 118 and 210, or permission of the instructor.

PHY 319 Thermal Physics

Statistical mechanics and introduction to thermodynamics. Prerequisite: 218, or permission of the instructor. Offered in alternate years. Not offered 2011-2012

PHY 327 Quantum Mechanics

The formal structure of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including operator methods. Solutions for a number of potentials in one dimension, and for central potentials in three dimensions, including spin. Prerequisite: 218 and 317, or permission of the instructor.

PHY 328 Advanced Electrodynamics

A continuation of PHY 318. Electromagnetic waves in matter; the potential formulation and gauge transformations; dipole radiation; relativistic electrodynamics. Prerequisite: PHY 318.

PHY 337 Advanced Quantum Mechanics

TBA

PHY 350 Advanced Physics Laboratory

This is a laboratory course in which students perform advanced experiments covering topics of modern physics: properties of subatomic particles, atomic structure, measurements of fundamental constants (speed of light, Planck's constant), and other topics from condensed matter physics and modern optics. Students can select up to 4 modules from the pool of experiments, prepare equipment for the chosen experiment, perform measurements, analyze data and write the final report. Each module lasts three weeks. Prerequisite: 217 or the equivalent. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum number of 8 credits. Enrollment limited to 8.

PHY 360 Advanced Topics in Physics

Selected special topics that will vary from year to year, typically some subset of the following: cosmology, general relativity, nuclear and particle physics, optics, solid state physics. Prerequisites will vary with the topic of the course.

PHY 399 Current Topics in Physics

For this course we will read articles and attend talks on diverse topics in physics. The emphasis will be put on oral presentation and discussion of the new phenomena using knowledge from other physics courses. Prerequisite: PHY 215 or permission of the instructor. Open to seniors.