Preview of Courses

The following are courses that have been offered or are usually offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. For a comprehensive list of courses, please refer to the current Schedule of Classes or Course Catalog

INTD 217. Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? This course examines this question in detail, from the possibility of fossil bacteria existing on mars to the possibility of advanced races colonizing the galaxy. Topics studied include: the detection of planets around other stars, the evolution of life and intelligence on Earth, the search for life in our Solar System, radio astronomical searches for extraterrestrial intelligence, and UFO and alien abduction phenomena.

INTD290, Nanotechnology and Society.
Nanotechnology is by its nature an interdisciplinary subject. It is where different fields of science and technology converge: physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. This exciting field will bring about profound changes in our lives: ultra-fast computers, disease-fighting nano-robots (nanobots), self-cleaning and color changing car/window surfaces, to name a few. In this course, the basic principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology, as well as the dynamic and reciprocal interaction and impact of technology (including nanotechnology) and society are covered at length by drawing on the writings and ideas of an eclectic group of scientists, technologists, and philosophers.

PHYS 150. Calculus-based Physics I (Mechanics)
This is a one-semester, calculus based introductory physics course that can serve as an entry to the major, or that can be taken to satisfy the science division breadth requirement. Topics covered include vectors, projectile motion, Newton’s laws, gravitation, momentum, and energy. This course is taught in an activity-based workshop format. Prerequisite: math 141A or math 139A (may be concurrent).

PHYS 380. Experimental Physics
Laboratory experiments taken from a wide variety of topics in physics including experiments of historical importance, atomic and nuclear physics, x-ray physics, condensed matter physics, and signal processing. Error analysis and statistical treatment of data. Prerequisites: 250, 275.