Skip to content

DEPARTMENT of

 

CHEMISTRY | GEOSCIENCE | PHYSICS

 

Physics Courses



PHYS 110 1V SOCIETY'S GRAND CHALLENGES (3.00 credits)
This course will introduce engineering as a field concerned with solving the challenges facing modern society. These challenges include finding clean water resources, improving solar power, developing medical technology, and rebuilding aging infrastructure, among others. The focus will be on the intersection of science, technology, and society (STS), and explore how scientists and engineers can work to build a more just and compassionate world. Students will engage in the engineering design process, evaluate various solutions to society's challenges, and meet engineers who work in the Madison community. Prerequisites: Placement into MATH 114A or higher. (F)
PHYS 130 S GENERAL PHYSICS I (4.00 credits)
This semester includes principles of classic mechanics, including kinematics, Newton’s Laws, and energy. Emphasis is placed on applications in the real world (including biological and environmental applications). Students follow a guided inquiry approach to build on the concepts learned through hands-on activities involving exploration, modeling, and calculations. This course is an integrated lecture/laboratory that meets in three two-hour sessions per week. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 114A; or placement into MATH 114B, 122, or 231; or consent of instructor. (F/S)
PHYS 131 S GENERAL PHYSICS II (4.00 credits)
This semester includes principles of electricity, magnetism, optics and modern physics. Emphasis is placed on applications in the real world (including biological and environmental applications). Students follow a guided inquiry approach to build on concepts learned through hands-on activities involving exploration, modeling, and calculations. This course is an integrated lecture/laboratory that meets in three two-hour sessions per week. Prerequisites: C or better in PHYS 130 or consent of instructor. (F/S)
PHYS 201 SU COLLEGE PHYSICS I (4.00 credits)
This course is the first of the two-semester calculus-based introductory physics sequence designed for physics, mathematics, and other science majors. It includes principles of mechanics and their applications and is taught in an integrated lecture-lab format that meets in three two-hour sessions per week. The core of the curriculum is the study of motion with various levels of complexity. Some specific topics include: kinematics in one and two dimensions, dynamics, and Newton’s laws of motion, work, energy, and conservation of energy, linear momentum and collisions, and rotational kinematics and dynamics. Prerequisites: Prior completion of or concurrent enrollment in MATH 231. (S)
PHYS 202 S COLLEGE PHYSICS II (4.00 credits)
This course is second of the two-semester calculus-based introductory physics sequence designed for physics, mathematics, and other science majors. It is taught in three two-hour sessions per week in integrated lecture-lab format. This course includes principles of waves, electricity, magnetism and their applications. Prerequisites: C or better in PHYS 201 and MATH 231 or consent of instructor (F)
PHYS 220 V INTRO HUMAN BIOMECHANICS (3.00 credits)
Biomechanics is a field which uses mechanical analyses to investigate biological problems. Biomechanics involves combining what we know about the anatomy and physiology of the body, and physics to investigate problems. It is an increasingly popular field of study, as it has applications in health, prosthetic design, ergonomics, athletics, and computer gaming. Students who complete this course will study the methods that are currently used in investigating human biomechanical problems. Topics covered will include: mechanical and structural properties of living tissues, loads applied to joints, common sports injuries and treatments, linear and angular kinematics, linear and angular kinetics, equilibrium and torque. Course cross-listed with BIO 220. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 114A; or placement into MATH 114B, 122, or 231; or consent of instructor. (F)
PHYS 231 PROBLEM SOLVING IN PHYSICS 1 (1.00 credits)
The focus on this course is on mathematical modeling and problem solving in physics. The first semester will explore topics in kinematics, force, energy, and momentum by using calculus to derive and interpret results. This seminar is designed to be taken concurrently with PHYS 130. The combination of PHYS 130 and PHYS 230 is equivalent to the first semester of a calculus-based physics course (PHYS 201). Prerequisite: Completion of or concurrent registration in MATH 231.
PHYS 232 PROBLEM SOLVING IN PHYSICS 2 (1.00 credits)
The focus on this course is on mathematical modeling and problem solving in physics. The second semester will explore topics in electricity, magnetism, optics, and circuits by using calculus to derive and interpret results. This seminar is designed to be taken concurrently with PHYS 131. The combination of PHYS 132 and PHYS 232 is equivalent to the second semester of a calculus-based physics course (PHYS 202). Prerequisite: Completion of or concurrent registration in MATH 232.
PHYS 250 V SURVEY OF ASTRONOMY (4.00 credits)
Modern exploration of the physical universe. Topics include the sky and celestial motions, our solar system, nebulae, galaxies, and cosmology with emphasis on origin and evolution. Cross-listed with NATS 260. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 114A; or placement into MATH 114B, 122, or 231; or consent of instructor.
PHYS 300 MATHEMATICAL METHODS OF PHYSICS (3.00 credits)
The physics content of the general physics sequence will be examined in greater detail using the tools of calculus to examine physical problems from classical mechanics, waves, electricity, and magnetism. Focus will be an interpretation of graphs, basic differential equations, and vector analysis of physical problems. Students will use the tools and language of mathematics to understand physics. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 232 - AND- C or better in PHYS 202 or PHYS 131.
PHYS 310 PRINCIPLES OF MECHANICS (3.00 credits)
Origin and development of classical mechanics; mathematical techniques, especially vector analysis; conservation laws and their relation to symmetry principles; brief introduction to orbit theory and harmonic oscillators. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 232, and C or better in PHYS 202 or PHYS 131.
PHYS 320 ELECTROMAGNETISM (3.00 credits)
Electrostatic fields, capacitance and dielectrics, magneto statics; electromagnetic induction; Maxwell’s equations. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 232, and C or better in PHYS 202 or PHYS 131.
PHYS 350 I SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING (3.00 credits)
Introduces computing tools useful in solving scientific problems. Considers a variety of techniques of tackling scientific calculations such as spreadsheets, symbolic packages (or other suitable programming languages). Additional emphasis is placed on the acquisition of scientific information in an ethical and legal manner, including an exploration of the primary literature. Examples will be drawn from such diverse fields as astronomy, physics, chemistry, earth science, biology and mathematics. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 231 and completion of one semester physics, or consent of instructor. (F)
PHYS 360 X RELATIVITY & QUANTUM MECHANICS (4.00 credits)
An introduction to relativity and quantum mechanics, and applications to atomic, solid state, and nuclear physics and chemistry. The laboratory component will explore these applications in more detail and also emphasize various forms of writing in the sciences. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 232 -AND- C or better in PHYS 202 or PHYS 131.
PHYS 361 THERMODYNAMICS & KINETICS (3.00 credits)
Investigates the law of thermodynamics, properties of the states of matter and dynamics. Three lectures per week. Cross-listed with CHEM 361. Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 232, and C or better in PHYS 202 or PHYS 131, and CHEM 121. (F)
PHYS 379 INDEPENDENT STUDY - PHYSICS (1.00 - 4.00 credits)
Independent study of selected topics in physics conducted by the student with the approval and supervision of the instructor. Prerequisite: consent of instructor
PHYS 469 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS (1.00 - 3.00 credits)
Advanced study of topics of special current interest in physics and related fields. Seminar/discussion format.
PHYS 479 INDEPENDENT STUDY - PHYSICS (1.00 - 4.00 credits)
Independent Study of selected topics in physics conducted by the student with the approval and supervision of the instructor. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
PHYS 480 K PHYSICS SEMINAR (1.00 credits)
A seminar for upper-level physics majors to practice scientific communication skills and participate in discussion of topics in current research with fellow students and faculty. Students present a topic from the primary physics literature. One seminar-format meeting per week. Prerequisites: Four semesters of physics coursework (16 credits). (F)
PHYS 489 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH (1.00 - 3.00 credits)
Opportunities are available for students to engage in physics research, in conjunction with collaborative student-faculty research projects of with projects done with researchers from various governmental agencies. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.
PHYS 670 WORKSHOP IN PHYSICS (1.00 - 3.00 credits)
Physics Teaching Resources Workshops, plus development of either a Physics Teaching Resource Conference or a course implementation plan for building a teaching unit. Prerequisites: None.