Physics

Associate Professors: D. Alton, E. Wells
Assistant Professor: N. Grau

The Department of Physics provides outstanding scientific and technical instruction as well as undergraduate research opportunities, all within the context of a broad liberal arts education. Our goal is a program that prepares our students for lives of intellectual growth and service.

The Physics program is flexible and with the appropriate choice of courses can prepare students for work in industry, graduate study in physics or engineering, or teaching at the secondary level, among other options. In recent years, approximately 90% of our graduates have continued on to graduate or professional school.

The Department of Physics also supervises the dual degree program in engineering in which students attend Augustana for three or four years and then complete the program with two years at an engineering school. This enables the student to combine the advantages of a broad-based liberal arts education with their technical education. Students in this program receive a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana (in a major of their choice) and a Bachelor of Science in the chosen engineering specialty from the engineering school. Cooperative plans are in place with Columbia University (New York), Washington University (St. Louis), and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis). Students in the program are guaranteed admission to the engineering school when recommended by Augustana. The particular preparatory courses that must be completed at Augustana depend upon which engineering school and which specific engineering program students wish to enter. Students are encouraged to work with the Coordinator of the Dual Degree program in selecting their coursework. See Engineering Physics for more information.

Physics Major:

40 credit hours
Required Courses: 29 credit hours
PHYS 221 — General Physics I (4 cr)
PHYS 222 — General Physics II (4 cr)
PHYS 281 — Intermediate Laboratory (2 cr)
PHYS 321 — Computational Physics (4 cr)
PHYS 371 — Modern Physics I (3 cr)
PHYS 381 — Advanced Laboratory (3 cr)
PHYS — Elective courses 300-level or above (9 cr)

Required Supportive Courses: 11 credit hours
MATH 151 — Calculus I (4 cr)
MATH 152 — Calculus II (4 cr)
MATH 153 — Calculus III is recommended (3 cr)
MATH 310 — Differential Equations (3 cr)

Teacher Certification:
The requirement for teaching physics at the secondary level is a physics major that also includes:
PHYS 190 — Astronomy (3 cr)
PHYS 372 — Modern Physics II (3 cr)

These may be used as two of the three elective courses. For students intending a career in secondary education, only 6 of the 9 credit hours of electives need be at the 300-level.

Physics Minor:

19 credit hours
PHYS 221 — General Physics I (4 cr)
PHYS 222 — General Physics II (4 cr)
PHYS 321 — Computational Physics (4 cr)
PHYS 371 — Modern Physics I (3 cr)
MATH 151 — Calculus I (4 cr)
PHYS 190 — Astronomy is required for a Physics teaching minor. (3 cr)

Distinction in Physics:
A student may graduate with Distinction in Physics by: 1) Completing the physics major, including PHYS 341, 351, 361, 371 and 373. A major with distinction shall include completion of 24 credit hours in the department at the 300-level; 2) Maintaining a department grade point average of 3.0; 3) Completing two research credits, one of which will be PHYS 391; 4) Completing the Graduate Record Exam in Physics and 5) Completing and defending a senior thesis (PHYS 391) based on the student’s research, as described in the PHYS 391 course description.

Applications for Distinction in Physics must be received by the department chair and accepted by the third class day of the student’s last semester. Application forms are available from the department chair.

Physics Courses:

PHYS 100PL — Introduction and Principles of Engineering (Project Lead the Way course) (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
This course is a combination of two Project Lead The Way courses.  This course will satisfy the lab science general education requirement.
Intro to Engineering Design: Students use the design process and industry standard 3D modeling software to design solutions to solve proposed problems.
Principles of Engineering: Students are exposed to major concepts like mechanisms, energy, statics, materials and kinematics.

PHYS 101PL — Specialized Engineering (Project Lead the Way course) (4 credits)
Students may take one or more of the following specializations:
Aerospace Engineering: Students explore the evolution of flight, flight fundamentals, navigation and control, aerospace materials, propulsion, space travel and orbital mechanics.
Biotechnical Engineering: Hands-on projects engage students in engineering design problems related to biomechanics, cardiovascular engineering, genetic engineering, tissue engineering, biomedical devices, forensics and bioethics.
Civil Engineering and Architecture: Students design and develop residential and commercial properties using 3D architectural design software.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing: Students explore manufacturing history, individual processes, systems and careers.  The course also incorporates finance, ethics and engineering design.
Digital Electronics: Students are introduced to the process of combinational and sequential logic design, engineering standards and technical documentation.  They are also exposed to programming integrated circuit kits and microcontrollers.

PHYS 102PL — Engineering Design and Development (Project Lead the Way course) (4 credits)
Students work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a valid open-ended technical problem by applying the engineering design process.

PHYS 110 — From Atoms to Stars (Area 3.2) (3 credits)
A study, designed for non-science majors, of developments in scientific thinking from Aristotle to Einstein. The focus of the course is on the transition from Aristotelian, to Newtonian, to Modern Physics. This course does not have a lab component.
Offered Every Year.

PHYS 115 — Physical Science (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
This survey course explores concepts in physics and chemistry, implements the scientific method, develops problem-solving skills and encourages connection of physical science concepts to everyday life. Lab work includes hands-on exercises in both areas including written reports and some use of the computer for data analysis. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Students are encouraged to enroll as first or second year students. Cross-Listed with CHEM 115; Offered Every Spring Semester.

PHYS 180 — Physics of Sound (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
This laboratory course introduces students to the physics of sound: its production, transmission, and reception. Lecture and laboratory will give students the opportunity to study wave mechanics and its application to areas including but not limited to music, architecture, and human physiology. Offered Occasionally.

PHYS 190 — Astronomy (Area 3.2) (3 credits)
A survey of our current knowledge about the physical universe. Designed for the student interested in such topics as the solar system, nova, comets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, black holes, extraterrestrial life and who wants to increase his or her knowledge of our place in the cosmos. Includes observations of the night sky. This course does not have a lab component. Offered Every Year.

PHYS 201 — Physics for Life Sciences I (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
This is an introductory physics course with an emphasis on life science applications. Calculus will be used primarily for motivation of concepts and will be introduced as necessary. Topics include motion, dynamics, and force laws, conservation of momentum and energy, fluids, and thermodynamics. Offered Every Fall Semester.

PHYS 202 — Physics for Life Sciences II (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
This is an introductory physics course with an emphasis on life science applications. Calculus will be used primarily for motivation of concepts and be developed in the course as necessary. Topics include electricity, magnetism, waves, optics, light, imaging, special relativity, atomic and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 201; Offered Every Spring Semester.

PHYS 221 — General Physics I (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
Major topics include mechanics and thermodynamics. Vectors and calculus are used. Laboratory work is mainly an introduction to experimental techniques including the use of a computer. Corequisite: MATH 151; Offered Every Fall Semester.

PHYS 222 — General Physics II (Area 3.2) (4 credits)
Major topics include electricity, magnetism, optics and introductory atomic and nuclear physics. Extensive use of vectors and calculus. Laboratory work mainly emphasizes concepts and techniques. Prerequisites: MATH 151 and PHYS 221; Offered Every Spring Semester.

PHYS 235 — Computer Organization (4 credits)
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the organization and architecture of digital computer systems. Topics include number systems, binary arithmetic, Boolean algebra, combinatorial and sequential logic circuits, and computer system components and their interrelationships. This course consists of both a lecture and a lab portion of hands-on hardware manipulation. Cross-Listed with COSC 235; Prerequisite COSC 211; Offered Every Fall Semester.

PHYS 281 — Intermediate Laboratory (2 credits)
Students gain experience with basic laboratory instrumentation and techniques, written and oral technical communication, and literature searching. Prerequisite: PHYS 222; Concurrent Recommendation with PHYS 371; Offered Every Year.

PHYS 303 — Biological Physics (3 credits)
This course will introduce a series of physical principles, based on statistical mechanics, which can be used to examine biological questions, specifically questions involving how cells function. Calculus will be used without apology. Prerequisites: PHYS 222 or 202; CHEM 117 or CHEM 120. Cross listed with BIOL 303; Offered Fall Semester; Even Years.

PHYS 321 — Computational Physics (4 credits)
Designed to prepare the student for upper-level physics courses by studying such topics as vector analysis, Fourier series, Laplace and Fourier transforms, and ordinary and partial differential equations of physical systems. Emphasis is placed on the development of computer-based computation skills. Recommended as a prerequisite for all courses numbered above 340. Prerequisites: PHYS 222 and MATH 152; Offered Every Year.

PHYS 331 — Electronics for Science and Engineering (4 credits)
Theory and applications of DC and AC circuits. Theory of solid state devices such as diodes and transistors. Applications of these devices to power supplies, amplifiers, operational amplifiers, integrated circuits, analog to digital and digital to analog converters and other instrumentation. Prerequisite: PHYS 222; Offered Interim, Every Other Year as Available.

PHYS 341 — Analytical Mechanics (3 credits)
Detailed study of kinematics, Newtonian dynamics and rigid bodies. Introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations. Prerequisites: PHYS 321; Offered Every Other Year.

PHYS 351 — Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics (3 credits)
Equations of state, ideal and real gases, laws of thermodynamics, introduction to statistical mechanics. Topics developed from both macroscopic and microscopic points of view. Double majors in Chemistry and Physics not planning to pursue graduate study in physics may, with departmental approval, substitute CHEM 301 and 302 for PHYS 351 to fulfill the physics major elective requirements. Prerequisite: PHYS 321; Offered Every Other Year.

PHYS 361 — Electromagnetic Theory (3 credits)
Electrostatics, dielectrics, magnetostatics, Faraday’s induction laws, and Maxwell’s equations. Working knowledge of vector calculus is assumed. Prerequisites: PHYS 321; Offered Every Other Year.

PHYS 363 — Optics (4 credits)
This course includes: 1) an introduction to modern concepts in optics including electromagnetic waves, propagation of light through media, geometrical optics of lenses and mirrors, interference, coherence, Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffractions; and 2) a brief introduction to modern optical applications, including Fourier optics, holography, light scattering, interferometry and laser technology. Prerequisite: PHYS 321; Recommended: PHYS 361; Offered Interim, Every Other Year.

PHYS 371 — Modern Physics I (3 credits)
Historical development of the transition from classical to quantum physics, Bohr’s atomic theory, Schrödinger’s Equation and applications to atomic, nuclear, and solid state systems. Introduction to relativity and to elementary particles. Prerequisite: PHYS 222; Offered Every Year.

PHYS 372 — Modern Physics II (3 credits)
Applications of modern physics to atomic, nuclear, and solid state systems. Introduction to general relativity, elementary particles, and cosmology. Prerequisites: PHYS 371; Offered as Needed.

PHYS 373 — Quantum Mechanics (3 credits)
This course will cover the general structure and formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics will include: Schrödinger’s Equation and solutions for one-dimensional problems; Dirac notation and matrix mechanics; the harmonic oscillator; the hydrogen atom; angular momentum and spin; and approximation methods. Prerequisites: PHYS 371 or CHEM 302; PHYS 321; Offered Every Other Year.

PHYS 381 — Advanced Laboratory (W - Area 2.1B) (3 credits)
Continuation of PHYS 281. Includes an emphasis on technical writing. Taken senior year. Prerequisite: PHYS 281 Offered Every Year.

PHYS 391 — Senior Thesis (3 credits)
Directed investigations in theoretical or experimental physics for physics majors. Satisfies a requirement for graduation with distinction in physics. Students will propose, carry out, write, and defend a thesis project. Prerequisite: Consent of Department Chair Offered Every Year.

PHYS 395, 396 — Internship in Physics (2-4 credits)
See Physics Advisor.

PHYS 197, 297, 397 — Topics in Physics (2-4 credits)
Selected topics offered on sufficient demand. Topics include particle physics, atomic and molecular physics, acoustics, biophysics, and solid state physics.

PHYS 199, 299, 399 — Independent Study (2-4 credits)
Independent study of topics approved by department.