Course Descriptions

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Physics Discipline Courses Details

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PHYS 101 : Conceptual Physics

Prerequisites: High school algebra and score of 50 or above on entry level mathematics (ELM) examination, which must be taken prior to enrollment.
Description: Basic concepts of force, motion, heat, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, and atoms. Suitable as preparation for PHYS 111 and 121.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 102 : Conceptual Physics Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 101.
Description: Laboratory exercises in basic physics. Extra fee required.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
  • Laboratory or fieldwork (L/F)
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 111 : General Physics I

Prerequisites: MATH 199 [formerly MATH 109] or equivalent. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 112. Score of 50 or above on entry level mathematics (ELM) examination, which must be taken prior to enrollment. Acceptable score on the physics readiness test (to be administered during first week of class).
Description: Mechanics, heat, and sound using algebra and trigonometry.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 112 : General Physics I Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 111.
Description: Mechanics, heat, and sound. Extra fee required.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
  • Laboratory or fieldwork (L/F)
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 121 : General Physics II

Prerequisites: PHYS 111. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 122.
Description: Light, electricity, magnetism, atoms, and modern physics.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 122 : General Physics II Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 121.
Description: Light, electricity, magnetism, atoms, and modern physics. Extra fee required.
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 220 : General Physics with Calculus I

Prerequisites: High school physics or equivalent, MATH 226 with a grade of C or better, and satisfactory score on physics placement examination. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 222 and MATH 227.
Description: Basic mechanics. Calculus is used in examples and problems. Optional tutorial discussion.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 222 : General Physics with Calculus I Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 220 or 221.
Description: Experiments in mechanics. Extra fee required.
General Education:
  • Segment II Area - Physical and Biological Sciences Area (PBS) Category A Physical Sciences
  • Laboratory or fieldwork (L/F)
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 230 : General Physics with Calculus II

Prerequisites: PHYS 220 and MATH 227, both with grades of C or better.; MATH 228 recommended. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 232.
Description: Introduction to electricity and magnetism. Calculus is used in examples and problems.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 232 : General Physics with Calculus II Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 230 or 231.
Description: Experiments in electricity and magnetism. Extra fee required.
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 240 : General Physics with Calculus III

Prerequisites: PHYS 220 and MATH 227, both with grades of C or better; MATH 228 recommended. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 242.
Description: Recommended for physics majors. Wave motion, optics, and thermodynamics.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 242 : General Physics with Calculus III Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 240 or 241.
Description: Experiments in wave motion, optics, and thermodynamics.
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 320 : Modern Physics I

Prerequisites: PHYS 230 or 231, PHYS 240 or 241, and MATH 228, all with grades of C or better.
Description: Theory of relativity, quantum phenomena, the Bohr model, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear structure.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 321 : Modern Physics Laboratory

Prerequisites: Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 320.
Description: Experiments on quantum physics and other phenomena of modern physics. Methods of data and error analysis. Classwork, 1 unit; laboratory, 1 unit.
Units: 2
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 325 : Modern Physics II

Prerequisites: PHYS 320 with grade of C- or better.
Description: Molecules, crystal structure, theory of the solid state, semiconductors, the nucleus, elementary particles.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2013

PHYS 330 : Analytical Mechanics I

Prerequisites: PHYS 230 or 231 and MATH 245 or 376, with grades of C- or better.
Description: Vector analysis, fundamentals of statics, kinematics, and dynamics of rigid bodies and systems of particles.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 340 GW : The Big Bang - GWAR

Prerequisites: ENG 214 (or equivalent) with grade of C or better; PHYS 320 (or equivalent) with grade of C- or better.
Description: Cross listed with ASTR 340. For course description, see ASTR 340. (May not be repeated under alternate prefix.) (ABC/NC grading only.)
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 360 : Electricity and Magnetism I

Prerequisites: PHYS 230 or 231, PHYS 330, and MATH 374 or PHYS 385, all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Electrostatics, including boundary-value problems, fields in polarizable media, magnetostatics.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 370 : Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

Prerequisites: PHYS 240, PHYS 320, and MATH 228, all with grades of C or better.
Description: Classical thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and elementary statistical mechanics. Applications may include quantum statistics, black-body radiation, paramagnetic spin systems, and low-temperature phenomena.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 385 : Introduction to Theoretical Physics I

Prerequisites: PHYS 240/242 with grades of C- or better. Must be taken concurrently with PHYS 330.
Description: Principles of theoretical physics. Theoretical techniques applied throughout mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, quantum mechanics, etc. Applications of vector and tensor spaces, coordinate systems, and group theory.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 430 : Quantum Mechanics I

Prerequisites: PHYS 320 and PHYS 360 (may be taken concurrently), MATH 374 or PHYS 385, and either MATH 245 or MATH 376, all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Postulates of quantum mechanics, one-dimensional problems, barriers and the WKB approximation, angular momentum, and hydrogen atom.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 431 : Quantum Mechanics II

Prerequisites: PHYS 430 with grade of C- or better.
Description: Problems in three dimensions, matrix mechanics, spin, application to atomic and molecular physics, perturbation theory, and scattering.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 440 : Computational Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 320, PHYS 430 or PHYS 460, CSC 309 or CSC 210 (or equivalent by consent of instructor), all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Analysis and simulation of physical systems by computer. Differential equations, chaos theory, spin systems, Monte Carlo method, neural networks, and theory of computation. Paired with PHYS 740. Students who have completed PHYS 440 may not take PHYS 740 for credit. Classwork, 3 units; laboratory, 1 unit. (Plus-minus letter grade only.)
Units: 4
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 450 : Introduction to Solid State Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 320/321 and MATH 245 or 376, all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Physical properties of crystalline solids including dielectrics, ferroelectrics, conductivity, semiconductors and superconductors: problems in solid state physics.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 457 : Principles of Electronics

Prerequisites: PHYS 121 or 230 or 231 and MATH 226, all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Characteristics of diodes, transistors (bipolar and field effect), and analog integrated circuits and their use in amplifier, oscillator, and filter circuits and instruments. Classwork, 3 units; laboratory, 1 unit. (Formerly PHYS 357.)
Units: 4
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 460 : Electricity and Magnetism II

Prerequisites: PHYS 360 with grade of C- or better.
Description: Maxwell's equations; waves in free space and in dielectrics; reflection and refraction; radiation; special-relativistic transformation of the electromagnetic field.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 480 : Introduction to Optics & Photonics

Prerequisites: PHYS 230 and 240; PHYS 320 and 385 recommended; all with grades of C- or better.
Description: Ray optics, including optical fibers and instruments. Wave optics, including interference, diffraction, electromagnetic waves and polarization. Selected topics including beam optics, Fourier optics, photonic-crystal optics, laser basics, holography.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 490 : Physics Project Laboratory

Prerequisites: ENG 214 (or equivalent) with grade of C or better; PHYS 321 with grade of C- or better.
Description: Experiments from the fields of atomic, nuclear, solid-state, and optical physics with emphasis on electronic instrumentation and computer-assisted data acquisition. Classwork, 1 unit; laboratory, 1 unit. (Effective Fall 2010, completion of PHYS 490 and PHYS 491GW with a grade of C or better culminates in the satisfaction of GWAR.) (ABC/NC grading only.)
Units: 2
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 491 GW : Advanced Laboratory II - GWAR

Prerequisites: PHYS 490 with a grade of C or better.
Description: Advanced laboratory work in atomic, nuclear, solid state, and optical physics. Preparation of publication-quality reports and oral presentations on experiments. (Satisfies GWAR when taken Fall 2010 and thereafter, in sequence with PHYS 490 and completed with a grade of C or better.)
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 495 : Introduction to Apparatus Fabrication

Prerequisites: PHYS 490 with grade of C- or better, major standing, and consent of instructor.
Description: Laboratory work with materials, machine tools (lathe, mill, etc.), and fabrication methods for the production of experimental research apparatus. Safety considerations.
Units: 1

PHYS 695 : Culminating Experience in Physics

Prerequisites: Student must be in his/her final semester of a Physics degree program.
Description: Preparation of a portfolio of work completed in classes required for the degree. The final examination will be the ETS physics major field test.
Units: 1
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 697 : Senior Project

Prerequisites: PHYS 490 and consent of faculty adviser.
Description: Participation in experimental or theoretical project under the direction of faculty member. Written report of specific observations and calculations required. May be repeated.
Units: 1-3

PHYS 699 : Independent Study

Prerequisites: Approval of department and consent of instructor.
Description: Study in the laboratory or library under the direction of a member of the department. For students majoring or minoring in physics. Student must present a detailed written report of the work accomplished to the department. May be repeated for a total of 12 units.
Units: 1-3

PHYS 701 : Classical Mechanics

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; PHYS 460 (may be taken concurrently); PHYS 785 recommended.
Description: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics; motion in arbitrary central force potentials; canonical transformation theory; Liouville's theorem; computer visualizations of phase space trajectories and topologies; collisionless Boltzmann equation applied to stellar dynamics; Jeans theorems, orbital anisotropy, and phase space distribution fuctions.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 704 : Electricity and Magnetism I

Prerequisites: PHYS 785, PHYS 460, PHYS 701 recommended.
Description: Boundary-value problems in electrostatics, magnetostatics; Maxwell's equations and the causal structure of electrodynamics; plane waves and wave propagation.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 706 : Quantum Mechanics

Prerequisites: PHYS 701and PHYS 785.
Description: Bound states, collision theory, matrix mechanics, symmetry and groups, perturbation theory.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 710 : Advanced Laboratory Techniques

Prerequisites: PHYS 490.
Description: Techniques of electronic instrumentation, computerized data acquisition, digital signal processing, and data analysis designed to prepare the student for experimental research work in academic and industrial laboratories. Classwork, 2 units; laboratory, 1 unit.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2012

PHYS 711 : Semiconductor Devices and Technology

Prerequisites: PHYS 450.
Description: Physical principles of semiconductor devices based on metal-semiconductor and bipolar junctions and field effects. Introduction to integrated circuit fabrication technology.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 712 : Physics of Plasmas

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; PHYS 460; PHYS 701 or PHYS 785 recommended.
Description: Fundamental properties of plasmas. Motion of charged particles in electromagnetic fields. Kinetic theory of plasmas, including the Boltzmann and Vlasov equations. Fluid theory of plasmas, including magnetohydrodynamics. Waves and instabilities. Applications to controlled thermonuclear fusion and space physics.
Units: 3

PHYS 714 : Low-Temperature Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 360, 430.
Description: Low temperature thermal and electrical behavior of materials. Phenomena and theories of low and high temperature superconductivity. Superfluidity. Superconductive devices, including Josephson junctions, quantum interference devices, phonon detectors, and computing circuits.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2013

PHYS 715 : Lasers and Quantum Optics

Prerequisites: PHYS 430, 460.
Description: Atom-field interaction, stimulated emission, dipole oscillations, the ammonia maser, semi-classical laser theory, coherent states, quantum laser theory, Fourier optics, and holographic interferometry.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2013

PHYS 725 : Special and General Relativity

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; PHYS 701 (may be taken concurrently); PHYS 785 recommended.
Description: Tensor formulation of special relativity with astrophysical applications. Riemannian geometry. The Einstein field equations applied to Mercury's orbit, black holes, gravitational lensing, cosmology, and interstellar travel. Computer visualizations of spacetimes and orbits.
Units: 3

PHYS 726 : Quantum Field Theory

Prerequisites: PHYS 430, 431, 706.
Description: Relativistic wave equations; quantization of the scalar, Dirac, and Maxwell fields. The LSZ reduction formula for S-matrix elements. Path-Integral evaluation of time-ordered products. Tree-level Feynman diagrams in quantum electrodynamics, and an introduction to non-abelian gauge theory.
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2010

PHYS 730 : Seminar

Prerequisites: graduate status or consent of instructor. Topic to be specified in Class Schedule.
Description: A maximum of 4 units may be applied to a degree. May be repeated for a total of 6 units when topics vary.
Units: 1-3

PHYS 730 : Photonics and Nano Materials

Prerequisites: PHYS 230, 240, 320, 360, or graduate standing.
Description: Physical principles and cutting-edge research on photonics, nano materials, and soft condensed matter physics. Plus-minus letter grade only.
Units: 2
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 740 : Computational Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 320, PHYS 430 or PHYS 460, CSC 210 or CSC 309 (or equivalent by consent of instructor), all with grades of C- or better.
Description: For course description, see PHYS 440; PHYS 740 requires additional simulation and investigation projects. Paired with PHYS 440. Students who have completed PHYS 440 may not take PHYS 740 for credit. Classwork, 3 units; laboratory, 1 unit. (Plus-minus letter grade only.)
Units: 4
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 775 : Statistical Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 370, MATH 376, and PHYS 385.
Description: Statistical methods in physics: probability, phase space, distribution functions, partition functions. Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac, and Bose-Einstein statistics. Phase transitions, Monte Carlo method, transport theory. (Plus-minus letter grade only.)
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 785 : Theoretical Physics

Prerequisites: PHYS 360 and concurrent enrollment with PHYS 460.
Description: Advanced concepts and techniques in mathematics applied to problems in physics. Applications in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and fluids. (Plus-minus letter grade only.)
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Fall 2013

PHYS 832 : Instructional Methods in Physics

Prerequisites: Graduate status or consent of instructor. Must have concurrent GTA appointment.
Description: Instructional methods for the teaching of physics laboratories: the introductory lecture, laboratory safety procedures, supervision of laboratory students, proper handling of equipment and demonstrations, best practices in maintaining lab logbooks and writing lab reports. Maybe repeated for a total of 4 units for degree credit. (CR/NC grading only.)
Units: 2
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 885 : Projects in Teaching Physics/Astronomy

Prerequisites: graduate standing.
Description: Learning experience and pedagogical strategies and principles of teaching and learning physics and/or astronomy. One unit is required of students in their first GTA position. May be repeated for a total of 3 units. (CR/NC grading only.)
Units: 1-3

PHYS 890 : Introduction to Physics Research

Prerequisites: Graduate standing.
Description: Introduction to methods of physics research. May be repeated for a total of 5 units. (CR/NC grading only.)
Units: 1-3

PHYS 891 : Physics Research Design

Prerequisites: must have passed Level 1 Written English Proficiency Requirement, and have research project approved.
Description: Elements of PHYS/ASTR research proposals: literature review, project significance, and feasibility, materials and methods, budget, data analysis and presentation, statistical significance, reference notation. (May be repeated for a total of 4 units.)
Units: 1-3

PHYS 896 : Directed Reading in Physics

Prerequisites: graduate standing.
Description: Readings/tutorials to achieve better understanding of specific topics based on individual student need. Focus on review and integration of core concepts in preparation for the comprehensive oral examination. (Does not count toward MS degree requirements.) (CR/NC grading only)
Units: 1-3

PHYS 897 : Research

Prerequisites: completed undergraduate major in physics.
Description: Independent and original laboratory investigation under supervision of a staff member. May be repeated.
Units: 1-3

PHYS 898 : Master's Thesis

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and approval of Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) and Culminating Experience (CE) forms by Graduate Studies.
Description: Advancement to Candidacy and Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement forms must be approved by the Graduate Division before registration. (CR/NC grading only.)
Units: 3
Latest Offering: Spring 2014

PHYS 899 : Independent Study

Prerequisites: Approval of department and consent of instructor.
Description: Study in the laboratory or library under the direction of a member of the department. For graduate students in physics. The student must present a detailed written report of the work accomplished to the department. May be repeated.
Units: 1-3
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