Physics

Department Information
Physics
Matthew L. Trawick, Chair
Professors Bunn, Gilfoyle
Associate Professors Helms, Lipan, Singal, Trawick
Assistant Professor de Sousa Dias
Manager of Laboratories Belk
Visiting Lecturer Cheng 
Major
The Physics Major
For the Bachelor of Arts degree
11 units, including:
AlgebraBased General Physics 1 with Lab or CalculusBased General Physics 1 with Lab
One unit, chosen from:
AlgebraBased General Physics 2 with Lab
CalculusBased General Physics 2 with Lab
One unit, chosen from:
Einstein's Relativity
Particle/Wave Duality and the Quantum Revolution
Introduction to Modern Physics
One unit, chosen from:
Intermediate Laboratory
Experimental Physics
 Junior Seminar
 Senior Seminar
Three additional units in PHYS
Calculus II
Two additional units in courses approved by the department
This degree is offered primarily for students who wish to pursue a career in education or business or wishing to earn a cultural degree.
For the Bachelor of Science degree
1314 units, including:
AlgebraBased General Physics 1 with Lab or CalculusBased General Physics 1 with Lab
One unit, chosen from:
AlgebraBased General Physics 2 with Lab
CalculusBased General Physics 2 with Lab
Mathematical Methods in Physics
Classical Mechanics
Electromagnetism
Statistical Mechanics
Quantum Mechanics I
 Junior Seminar
 Senior Seminar
Experimental work, two units chosen from:
Electronics
Intermediate Laboratory
Experimental Physics
One unit, chosen from:
Chemistry: Structure, Thermodynamics, and Kinetics
Introduction to Computing
Multivariate Calculus
Linear Algebra
Two additional units in PHYS numbered above 200, excluding
Students are expected to fulfill all prerequisites necessary for courses within the major. Prerequisites do not count toward the major unless otherwise noted.

Interdisciplinary Major
The Interdisciplinary Physics Major for the Bachelor of Science Degree
Note: Students cannot major in both physics and interdisciplinary physics.
This degree is intended for students with a broad interest in several sciences or interdisciplinary science or who wish to pursue one of the engineering options.
15 units, including:
AlgebraBased General Physics 1 with Lab or CalculusBased General Physics 1 with Lab
One unit, chosen from
AlgebraBased General Physics 2 with Lab
CalculusBased General Physics 2 with Lab
One unit, chosen from:
Einstein's Relativity
Particle/Wave Duality and the Quantum Revolution
Introduction to Modern Physics
One unit, chosen from:
Intermediate Laboratory
Experimental Physics
Mathematical Methods in Physics
 Junior Seminar
 Senior Seminar
 Calculus III
Three additional units in physics at the 200 level or above
One of the concentrations described below. All concentrations require 45 additional units beyond those listed above.
Biology Concentration
Integrated Biological Principles I
Chemistry: Structure, Thermodynamics, and Kinetics
Three additional units in biology
Biochemistry Concentration
Chemistry: Structure, Thermodynamics, and Kinetics
 Organic Chemistry
Biochemistry
Chemistry Concentration
Chemistry: Structure, Thermodynamics, and Kinetics
 Physical Chemistry and  Physical Chemistry Laboratory
One additional unit in chemistry
Computer Science Concentration
Introduction to Computing
Data Structures with Lab
Three additional units in computer science
Mathematics Concentration
Multivariate Calculus
Linear Algebra
Differential Equations
Two additional units in mathematics at the 300 level or above
Engineering Concentration: Five units of engineering courses
This concentration is intended for students participating in the 32 engineering program.
The required units will be earned at another institution.
At most two units of
may be used as elective credit for the major. 
Minor
The Physics Minor
Five units, including:
Three units numbered above 200, excluding 397398 and 497498
Two additional units in PHYS

Engineering Program
DualDegree (32) Engineering Program
Building on the strengths of majors in physics, mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and biology, the School of Arts and Sciences offers students with special career goals the ability to pursue dual degrees in a fiveyear period. Some opportunities allow a student to earn a Bachelor of Science from Richmond and also a Bachelor of Science from a cooperating engineering school, while others enable a student to complete an undergraduate degree from Richmond and an accelerated master's degree in engineering from a partner institutionall within a fiveyear period. The physics department's preengineering advisor can provide information about participating programs and requirements.

Honors
Honors Program
Specific requirements for honors in physics:
 A cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 in their physics courses, in addition to the 3.3 GPA required overall.
 At least 3.5 units of courses designated as honors courses. These courses will bedivided as follows:
(a) One unit must be independent research, typically done as research with an individual physics faculty member. These will typically be fulfilled by two semesters
for 0.5 credit units each.(b) 0.5 units must be from taking both semesters of senior seminar,
and . As a part of this course, physics honors students will be required to present at least one oral presentation on the topic of their independent research undertaken for part (a). Physics honors students will also be required to present a final written thesis describing their research. The thesis and oral presentation must be approved at an honors level by the research supervisor and at least two additional readers within the physics department, or their designees.(c) The remaining courses (2.0 units) may be any courses in physics numbered 200 or higher, including approved transfer courses, that are specifically above the current requirements for a B.S. in physics.
Courses

PHYS 121 Astronomy with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionCelestial motions, stellar structure, cosmology, and related problems including appropriate concepts of elementary physics. Not among the recommended options for science or math majors. Includes laboratory.

PHYS 123 Physics of Renewable Energy with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionPrinciples of physics applied to renewable energy technologies. Topics selected from climate, geothermal energy, solar thermal energy, solar photovoltaics, hydroelectricity, wind energy, tidal power and wave energy, and bioenergy. Includes laboratory.

PHYS 125 Elements of Physics with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionPrinciples and applications of physics. Topics selected from mechanics, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, heat, and modern physics. Not among the recommended options for science or math majors. Includes laboratory.

PHYS 127 AlgebraBased General Physics 1 with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionFirst of a two semester sequence in general physics. Topics for Physics 127 include kinematics, forces, conservation of momentum, work and energy, rotational motion, and oscillations. Includes laboratory. NOTE: Physics 127 is not a prerequisite to 128. A student may not receive credit for both Physics 131 and 127. Physics 127 and 128 are offered very rarely; students should generally plan to take 131 and 132 instead.
PrerequisitesKnowledge of algebra and trigonometry.

PHYS 128 AlgebraBased General Physics 2 with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionSecond semester of a two semester sequence in general physics. Topics for Physics 128 include electricity and magnetism, heat and thermodynamics, and wave optics. Includes laboratory. NOTE: A student may receive credit for only one of the following courses: 128, 132, 133, 134. Physics 127 and 128 are offered very rarely; students should generally plan to take 131 and 132 instead.
PrerequisitesKnowledge of algebra and trigonometry.

PHYS 131 CalculusBased General Physics 1 with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionFirst semester of a calculusbased introductory sequence. Topics for Physics 131 include kinematics, forces, conservation of momentum, work and energy, rotational motion, and oscillations. Includes laboratory. NOTE: A student may not receive credit for both Physics 127 and 131.
PrerequisitesMATH 211 (may be taken concurrently).

PHYS 132 CalculusBased General Physics 2 with Lab
Units: 1
Fulfills General Education Requirement (FSNP)
DescriptionSecond semester of a calculusbased introductory sequence. Topics for Physics 132 include electricity and magnetism, heat and thermodynamics, and wave optics. Includes laboratory. NOTE: A student may receive credit for only one of the following courses: 128, 132, 133, 134. Although Physics 127 is an acceptable prerequisite for Physics 132, a calculusbased course such as Physics 131 is recommended.
PrerequisitesMATH 212 (may be taken concurrently) and PHYS 127 or 131 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 201 Einstein's Relativity
Units: .5
DescriptionFocuses primarily on special relativity as it relates to time, space, velocity, momentum, and energy. This course is identical to the first half of PHYS 205, and meets concurrently with it for the first 7 weeks of the semester. Students may not earn credit for both PHYS 201 and PHYS 205.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132, PHYS 133, or PHYS 134.

PHYS 202 Particle/Wave Duality and the Quantum Revolution
Units: .5
DescriptionIntroduces ideas of particle/wave duality that are central to understanding quantum mechanics, a major revolution in early 20th century physics. This course is identical to the second half of PHYS 205, and meets concurrently with it for the second 7 weeks of the semester. Students may not earn credit for both PHYS 202 and PHYS 205. Students are strongly encouraged to take either PHYS 202 or PHYS 205 before taking PHYS 309.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132, PHYS 133, or PHYS 134.

PHYS 203 Systems Biology
Units: 1
DescriptionIntroduction to the fundamentals of systems biology, an emerging field that focuses on complex interactions in biological systems. Topics chosen come from the perspective of the design of biological circuits. For students in the biological sciences, physics, chemistry, and mathematics interested in quantitative biology and the interface between the biological and physical sciences. No laboratory.
PrerequisitesPHYS 131 and BIOL 199 and MATH 211, and CMSC 150.

PHYS 204 Biophysics
Units: 1
DescriptionApplication of physical law to the biological sciences. Introduces selected concepts and experiments in the field of biophysics. Topics may include but are not limited to diffusion, cell signaling, molecular binding, and computational biophysics.
PrerequisitesPHYS 131.

PHYS 205 Introduction to Modern Physics
Units: 1
DescriptionIntroduction to topics in 20thcentury physics including special relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics. The first half of this course is identical to, and meets concurrently with, PHYS 201. The second half of this course is exactly identical to, and meets concurrently with, PHYS 202. Students may not earn credit for both PHYS 205 and either PHYS 201 or PHYS 202. Students are strongly encouraged to take either PHYS 202 or PHYS 205 before taking PHYS 309.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132 or 133 or 134.

PHYS 215 Computational Methods in Physics
Units: 1
DescriptionProjectoriented: applying computers to solution of problems in physical sciences.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132 or 133 or 134 and some familiarity with at least one higherlevel computer language.

PHYS 216 Electronics
Units: 1
DescriptionLaboratory course in basic electronics and instrumentation for science majors. Study of dc and ac circuits, diodes, rectifiers, transistors, operational amplifiers, binary logic, Boolean algebra, digital circuits, analogdigital conversion, transducers, and computer interfacing.
PrerequisitesPHYS 127128 or 132.

PHYS 221 Intermediate Laboratory
Units: 1
DescriptionExperiments in classical and modern physics emphasizing independent work. Six laboratory hours per week.
Prerequisites(PHYS 127 and 128) or PHYS 132.

PHYS 231 Experimental Physics
Units: 1
DescriptionFocuses on optics. Includes the study of (1) ray optics: lenses, system of lenses, lens aberrations (2) scalar wave optics: diffraction, interference (3) polarization of light: states of polarization, polarizers, wave retarders. Emphasizes the relation between experiment and theory through handson experience. Data analysis and its theoretical interpretation is a central part of the course. Upper level laboratory course for science majors, emphasizing independent work. Consists of six laboratory hours per week. Students, working in pairs, will spend approximatley 2 weeks on each of 67 experimental projects.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132.

PHYS 250 Cosmology
Units: 1
DescriptionApplication of physics to contemporary understanding of the structure, evolution, and origin of the Universe as a whole. Topics include observational evidence for the Hot Big Bang cosmological model, dark matter, dark energy, and the physics of the early Universe, including cosmological inflation. Introduces the fundamentals of general relativity to develop models of the Universe with spacetime curvature.
PrerequisitesPHYS 201 or PHYS 205.

PHYS 301 Mathematical Methods in Physics
Units: 1
DescriptionSelected mathematical topics needed for upperlevel work in physics. Topics taken from vector calculus, matrices, calculus of variations, orthogonal functions, and complex analysis. Note: PHYS 301 is typically offered only in the fall semester. Prospective physics majors are strongly encouraged to take PHYS 301 in the fall semester of the sophomore year. PHYS 301 is a prerequisite for PHYS 303, 305, 308, 309, and some special topics courses.
PrerequisitesPHYS 132 or 133 or 134.

PHYS 303 Mechanics
Units: 1
DescriptionMathematical analysis of physical laws pertaining to dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Introduction to moving coordinate systems and Lagrange's and Hamilton's methods.
PrerequisitesPHYS 301 or permission of department.

PHYS 305 Electricity and Magnetism I
Units: 1
DescriptionElectrostatic fields and potentials, dielectrics, magnetic fields, and potentials. Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves.
PrerequisitesPHYS 301 or permission of department.

PHYS 306 Electricity and Magnetism II
Units: 1
DescriptionElectrostatic fields and potentials, dielectrics, magnetic fields, and potentials. Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves.
PrerequisitesPHYS 305.

PHYS 308 Statistical Mechanics
Units: 1
DescriptionStatistical methods applied to description of physical systems. Statistical calculation of thermodynamic quantities, laws of thermodynamics, statistical distributions, and classical and quantum statistics of ideal gases. (Same as Chemistry 308.)
PrerequisitesPHYS 301 or permission of department.

PHYS 309 Quantum Mechanics I
Units: 1
DescriptionWave mechanics and quantization; Schroedinger equation for variety of potentials; hydrogen atom in detail; perturbation methods. (Same as Chemistry 401.)
PrerequisitesCHEM 310 or PHYS 301 or permission of department.

PHYS 310 Quantum Mechanics II
Units: 1
DescriptionWave mechanics and quantization; Schroedinger equation for variety of potentials; hydrogen atom in detail; perturbation methods.
PrerequisitesPHYS 309.

PHYS 381 Research
Units: 0, .25, or .5
DescriptionLaboratory or independent study.0.5 units requires six hours per week. May be taken multiple times, up to a maximum total of 2 units of credit.
PrerequisitesPermission of department.

PHYS 397 Junior Seminar
Units: 0
DescriptionRequired of all thirdyear physics majors. Does not count in units required for minor.

PHYS 398 Junior Seminar
Units: .5
DescriptionRequired of all thirdyear physics majors. Does not count in units required for minor.
PrerequisitesPHYS 397

PHYS 406 Summer Undergraduate Research
Units: 0
DescriptionDocumentation of the work of students who receive summer fellowships to conduct research [or produce a creative arts project] in the summer. The work must take place over a minimum of 8 weeks, the student must engage in the project fulltime (at least 40 hours per week) during this period, and the student must be the recipient of a fellowship through the university. Graded S/U.
PrerequisitesApproval for summer Arts and Sciences fellowship by faculty mentor

PHYS 479 Special Topics
Units: .51
DescriptionTopics include particle and nuclear physics, solid state, modern optics, relativity, field theory.
PrerequisitesPermission of department.

PHYS 497 Senior Seminar
Units: 0
DescriptionRequired of all senior physics majors. Does not count in units required for minor.

PHYS 498 Senior Seminar
Units: .5
DescriptionRequired of all senior physics majors. Does not count in units required for minor.
PrerequisitesPHYS 497