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Physics Courses

PHYS 121: Physics of Fun

This course examines how physics impacts the ways that humans have fun. A variety of artifacts, including but not limited to, toys, sports, movies, and music will be examined and the underlying physics principles will be explored.

PHYS 133: Astronomy

This course is a qualitative study of the sun, earth, planets, stars and galaxies; a survey of what is known about the universe. Astronomical observation from the University’s 16-inch telescope in the observatory of Peters Science Hall is included. Prerequisite: Completion of Liberal Studies mathematics requirement or by consent of instructor.

PHYS 165: Introduction to Data Science 

This course will offer students an introduction to Data Science including introductory programming and statistical packages for data handling, modeling, and visualization. Beyond traditional programming topics, the student will be introduced to a vast array of tools for analyzing data. This course is intended for students from any field of study where data analysis and modeling are useful.

Phys 180: Introduction to Electricity

This studio course will introduce the basic concepts of electricity, including Charge, Electric Fields, Resistors, Ohms Law, Series and Parallel Circuits, and Capacitors. It is intended to be an alternative prerequisite for PHYS 260, Circuit Analysis and Electronics for those students who have not completed either PHYS201-202 or PHYS 221-222 sequences. This course will provide non-physics students an understanding of basic concepts of electricity. Laboratory experiences will be integrated with lectures.

Phys 201: Fundamentals of Physics I

This course is an algebra-based introduction to classical mechanics. Key concepts include kinematics, Newton’s Laws, conservation of momentum and energy, rotational motion, and waves. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: MATH120 or a Math ACT score of 24 or higher. Pre-calculus is recommended.

PHYS 202: Fundamentals of Physics II

This course is an algebra-based introduction to electricity and magnetism. Key concepts include introductory electricity, circuits, magnetism, waves, sound, and optics. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: MATH120 and PHYS201. Pre-Calculus is recommended.

PHYS 221: General Physics I

This course is a calculus-based introduction to classical mechanics. Key concepts include kinematics, Newton’s Laws, conservation of momentum and energy and rotational motion. Laboratory is included. Corequisite: MATH145.

PHYS 222: General Physics II

This course is a calculus-based introduction to electricity and magnetism. Key concepts include electrostatics, electricity, magnetism, wave motion, sound, light, interference, and diffraction. Laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PHYS221 and MATH145.  

PHYS 227: Modern Physics

This course provides an introduction to modern physics. Topics include special relativity, particle-wave durability of light and matter, and an introduction to quantum mechanics. Applications in atomic, condensed matter, particle physics and cosmology will be discussed as time permits. Prerequisite: PHYS 222. Corequisites: MATH 246 and PHYS340.

 Phys 231: Statics

Studies the condition of equilibrium of rigid bodies under the action of forces. Rigid bodies include beams, trusses, frames, and machines. Considers both two-and-three-dimensional bodies. Also studies centroids, centers of gravity, and moments of inertia. Prerequisite: PHYS221 Corequisite: MATH245

Phys 232: Dynamics

A study of the kinematics and kinematics of particles and rigid bodies. Includes force-mass-acceleration, work-energy, and impulse-momentum methods. Prerequisite: PHYS231 and MATH246

PHYS 250: Physics Seminar

This is a weekly seminar course with discussions focused articles of current physics topics. Also discussed will be career options. Each student is required to present a paper on some topic covered during the semester. A minimum of four credits (or one per year of residence at KWU) in this course is required to complete a physics major.

PHYS 260: Circuit Analysis & Electronics

Circuit Analysis & Electronics covers the analysis of DC circuits containing resistors and capacitors. Analog and digital electronics are studied including diodes, transistors, flip-flops, gates, counters, and integrated circuits. AC circuits and inductors will also be covered. Students will learn to interface microcontrollers to control electrical circuits. Prerequisites: PHYS 180 or PHYS 202 or PHYS 222.

PHYS 265: Scientific Programming

This course will introduce the student to several high-level packages that are fundamental to the processes of scientific programming including Matlab, Octave, Simulink, and LabVIEW. Students will gain a basic understanding of the various languages by building on their previous programming experience. Topics to be covered include numerically solving systems of equations, interpolation, numerical integration, solving partial differential equations, and writing programs to interface with and control experimental apparatus and to collect data autonomously. Prerequisites: PHYS165 Introduction to Data Science or Instructor Approval.

PHYS 286: Special Topics

Students may experience a course in an introductory topic of physics, which is not offered in the regular schedule. This course may require some calculus.

PHYS 321: Classical Mechanics

This course is a more in-depth treatment of classical physics than the one covered in PHYS221. Topics covered include Newton’s laws for a single particle and rigid bodies, momentum and angular momentum, energy, oscillations, Euler’s equation, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, central forces and orbitis, and noninertial reference frames. Prerequisite: PHYS 227 and MATH 246. Corequisite: MATH310 (MATH310 is strongly recommended to be completed before taking this course). 

PHYS 323: Optics

Fundamental concepts of simple optical systems including lenses and mirrors, physical optics including interference, diffraction, polarization, optical spectra and lasers. This upper division course builds on the background of the physics of light and optics presented in introductory physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 222 and MATH 245. 

PHYS 325: Thermodynamics

An introduction to fundamental thermodynamics and statistical mechanics concepts including temperature, heat, work, internal energy, entropy, kinetic theory of gases, equations of state, first and second laws of thermodynamics, distribution functions, and Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics. Prerequisite: PHYS 227 and MATH 246, or equivalents.

 PHYS 335: Electromagnetic Theory

A study of the fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism. Topics normally covered include electrostatics, Laplace’s equation, method of images, multipole expansion, linear dielectrics, magnetostatics, and Maxwell’s Equations. Prerequisite: PHYS227 and MATH310 or consent of instructor.

 PHYS 340: Advanced Physics Laboratory I

An introduction to the equipment and techniques of experimental physics. Experiments are selected from a wide range of fields in physics including modern physics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics. Corequisite: PHYS227.

PHYS 386: The Wesleyan Journey

This course combines service learning with travel, either domestic or abroad, to provide students an opportunity to strengthen values and abilities, in addition to learning specific academic content. The service projects will be linked to the academic content of the class, and the course may require a co-requisite or stand alone as its own special topics course. Credit varies based on the length of the journey and may involve additional fees for travel. Prerequisite: INTD110 is recommended but not required for this course.

PHYS 410: Toolkits for Teaching Assistants

This course introduces students to active learning techniques that they will be able to use as a graduate teaching assistant in the future. This course will focus on Physics Education Research based pedagogical techniques that can be implemented in the classroom and in recitations, such as JITTS, concept questions, and think-pair-shares. Also discussed will be basics such as student learning and classroom mechanics. Students will leave the course with a toolbox of techniques that can be sued in future teaching endeavors. This course is open to students in all fields of study. Recommendation: Junior or Senior status, or instructor approval.

PHYS 425: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

This is a study of the foundations of quantum theory, which involve fundamental concepts and principles such as the Schrodinger’s equation in one and three dimensions. Also included are applications used to solve simple problems such as harmonic oscillators, hydrogen atoms, and the Zeeman Effect. Prerequisite: PHYS 227 and MATH 310.

PHYS 440: Advanced Physics Laboratory II

An advanced lab to learn skills for using equipment and techniques of experimental physics. Experiments are selected from a wide range of fields in physics including modern physics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics. This course is repeatable. Prerequisite: PHYS340 Advanced Laboratory 1.

PHYS 485: Special Topics

A focused investigation into a selected area(s) of Physics that will include such topics as lasers, special and general relativity, statistical thermodynamics, elementary particles, stars’ evolution, electronics projects, etc.

 PHYS 486: Physics Capstone I

This course is designed to prepare students to design high-quality physics capstone projects. Such projects require a significant amount of time spent on research and planning, and this course will help students manage their time in selecting potential capstone projects and evaluating the feasibility of those projects. A portion of the course will also be dedicated to preparing students for the physics departmental assessment in the subsequent Physics Capstone Project course. Prerequisite: PHYS340 Advanced Lab I

PHYS 496: Physics Capstone II

Each student will develop, present, and execute a senior level physics project. The results of the project will be presented in oral and written form. The project must utilize the integration of knowledge obtained through the department’s courses, assignments, and previous projects. Prerequisite: Seniors majoring in Physics who are in their final year of study, PHYS486 Physics Capstone I

PHYS 499: Physics Research

This course offers physics majors the opportunity to engage in physics research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students will engage in a combination of reading, laboratory work and/or theoretical calculations to explore original physics research. Repeatable.