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|This page was last updated: 07/04/01 04:00:14 AM|
In the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Chair, Associate Professor Robert Bluhm
Professor Murray Campbell; Associate Professors Bluhm, Charles Conover, and Duncan Tate; Assistant Professor Virginia Long; Fellow in Physics Andrew Kortyna; Faculty without Rank Charles Lane
The department seeks to train students to think analytically in terms of the fundamental principles of physics. Subject matter in introductory courses is selected to illustrate basic laws with wide applicability and to help prepare students to enter professions such as medicine, law, teaching, and business. Advanced course offerings provide excellent background for graduate study in physics, astronomy, engineering, and interdisciplinary fields such as biophysics, medical physics, and bioengineering. Special emphasis is placed upon independent work and cooperative research with the faculty in atomic and molecular physics, semiconductor physics, theoretical physics, and infrared astronomy. Research projects make use of the department's laser and semiconductor laboratories, workstations, and supporting machine, electronic, and technical shops.
The Physics 141, 142 course sequence provides a solid basis for further work in physics as well as preparation for medical school and advanced study in the other physical sciences. Physics 141, 142, 241, and 242 form a full introduction to classical and 20th-century physics. Physics 254 provides training in electronics for scientific applications. For students with a previous background in physics and calculus from high school, Physics 143 may be taken instead of Physics 141.
Requirements for the Physics Major
No requirements for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Honors Program in Physics
Requirements for the Honors Major:
Students considering graduate school in physics or astronomy are strongly encouraged to take all of the following courses: Mathematics 253, 262, 311, Physics 254, 311, 321, 332, and 431.
Students seeking a career in engineering may consider exchange programs in which both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in engineering can be earned upon successful completion of three years at Colby and two years at Dartmouth College, Case Western Reserve University, or the University of Rochester. Students should consult with the engineering advisor before selecting their first-semester courses.
Requirements for the Minor in Physics
111s From Galileo to Einstein How has our understanding of the physical universe evolved over the ages? This question forms the central theme of a physics course intended for non-science majors. The physical theories of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, including their revolutionary impact on our understanding of the universe, are examined. The focus is on the concepts of motion, space, time, matter, and energy. A working knowledge of high school algebra is required. Lecture only. Three credit hours. N. BLUHM
113j The Elements A historical, cultural, and scientific discussion of the development of ideas concerning the structure of matter, with emphasis on modern theories of physics. The experimental basis for the idea that all matter is made up of fundamental building blocks (atoms, quarks, leptons), and the development of quantum physics and relativity as theories of how such particles behave. Intended as a course for non-science majors. A working knowledge of high school algebra is required. Lecture and laboratory. Three credit hours. N. KORTYNA
 The Physics of Everything An introduction to the physics of everyday life. The course motivates thinking about the concepts of physics by tying them to students' experience. Topics include electricity, fluids, heat, and mechanics as applied to plumbing, appliances, vehicles, musical instruments, and toys. Three credit hours. N.
 The Shadow of the Bomb More than 50 years ago the United States tested and then used nuclear weapons. The bombs resulted from the leaps we made during the 20th century in understanding the laws of nature. The creation of nuclear weapons and the accompanying technology has shaped both the scientific and political worlds since that time. Topics include the physics of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the creation of the first nuclear bomb during World War II and the effects of its use (physical, moral, political, and environmental), the post-war, Cold-War, and present eras, including a study of the development of hydrogen bombs, nuclear power, nuclear waste, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A working knowledge of high school algebra is required, but no previous study of physics is assumed. Three credit hours. N.
141f, 142s Foundations of Physics I A calculus-based survey of mechanics of solids, momentum, work and energy, gravitation, waves, electromagnetism, and optics. Lecture, laboratory, and discussion. Prerequisite: A working knowledge of high school or college calculus, or concurrent enrollment in Mathematics 121 or 161. Physics 141 or 143 is prerequisite for 142. Four credit hours. N. TATE
143f Honors Physics Motion, forces, conservation laws, waves, gravity, Einstein's special relativity, and nuclear physics. A course for students who have had substantial physics and calculus courses in high school. May not be taken for credit if the student has earned credit for Physics 141. Lecture and laboratory. Four credit hours. N. BLUHM
231s Introduction to Astrophysics Listed as Astronomy 231 (q.v.). Four credit hours. N. CAMPBELL
241f Modern Physics I Special relativity, Planck blackbody radiation, the basis of quantum mechanics, and the Schroedinger equation. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Physics 142 and Mathematics 122 or 162. Four credit hours. LONG
242s Modern Physics II An intermediate treatment of the quantum physics, including the hydrogen atom, atomic models, Schroedinger theory, atomic spectra, and electron spin. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Physics 241. Four credit hours. TATE
 Essential Electronics An introduction to modern scientific electronics, emphasizing laboratory work and including theory, problem solving, and circuit design. From simple, direct-current devices to digital integrated circuits, microcomputer instrumentation, and analog signal processing. Normally offered every other year. Prerequisite: Physics 142. Four credit hours.
311f Classical Mechanics Newton's laws, oscillatory motion, noninertial reference systems, classical gravitation, motion of rigid bodies, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Lecture and discussion. Prerequisite: Physics 142 and Mathematics 122 or 162. Four credit hours. KORTYNA
321f Electricity and Magnetism A theoretical treatment of electrostatics and magnetostatics in vacuum and material media through Maxwell's equations. Lecture and discussion. Prerequisite: Physics 142 and Mathematics 262. Four credit hours. LANE
 Thermodynamics Concepts of temperature, energy, entropy, heat, and work and their thermodynamic relations as developed from a microscopic point of view. Single and multicomponent systems are discussed, using both classical and quantum statistics. Lecture and discussion. Normally offered every other year. Prerequisite: Physics 241 and Mathematics 122 (or 162). Four credit hours.
333s Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Investigations of topics in condensed matter physics using modern experimental techniques and equipment. Topics include semiconductor physics and processing, scanning tunneling microscopy, and superconductivity. Prerequisite: Physics 242, 254. Physics 336 is strongly recommended but not required. Three credit hours. LONG
 Experimental Atomic Physics Laboratory projects in modern atomic, molecular, and optical physics. Projects include diode laser spectroscopy, the Zeeman effect in mercury, and absorption spectroscopy of molecular iodine. Laboratory and tutorial. Prequisite: Physics 242, 254. Three credit hours.
335s General Relativity and Cosmology An introduction to Einstein's general theory of relativity, including a treatment of tensor analysis, Einstein's equations, Schwarzschild metric, black holes, expansion of the universe, and cosmology. Prerequisite: Physics 241. Four credit hours. BLUHM
 Solid-State Physics An introduction to solid-state physics, beginning with a study of crystal forms and diffraction of x-rays. Thermal, optical, acoustical, and electrical properties of solids; the energy-band theory of semiconductors as applied to simple solid-state devices; superconductivity. Prerequisite: Physics 242. Three credit hours.
 Nuclear and Particle Physics Nuclear physics, including nuclear reactions and nuclear models; followed by elementary particle physics, including the quark model, leptons, and the strong and weak interactions. Lecture and discussion. Prerequisite: Physics 242. Four credit hours.
415f, 416js Physics and Astronomy Research Each senior physics major will conduct a guided research project on a topic in physics, astronomy, or a related area. Students may choose from a range of approaches, including literature searches, analytical and computational analyses, experimental data collection and analysis, and theoretical investigation. Some project components can be conducted off campus. Required for all senior physics majors. Two credit hours.
431f Quantum Mechanics Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including Schroedinger theory, operator algebra, angular momentum, and applications to simple atomic systems. Lecture and discussion. Prerequisite: Physics 242 and Mathematics 253. Four credit hours. BLUHM
432s Advanced Quantum Physics Quantum mechanics of atoms in external fields, including time-independent and time-dependent perturbation theory, treatment of identical particles, angular momentum addition, and a quantum description of light. Lecture and discussion. Prerequisite: Physics 321 and 431. Four credit hours. LANE
483f, 484s Independent Honors Project Research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of an honors thesis. One to three credit hours. FACULTY
491f, 492s Independent Study Individual topics or research in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to five credit hours. FACULTY
493s Physics and Astronomy Seminar Discussion of topics of current interest in physics and/or astronomy. One credit hour. BLUHM
Every effort is made to ensure that this information is correct. If you received conflicting information, have questions, or would like clarification, please contact the Registrar's Office at 207-872-3000.
Colby is a four-year, residential, liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. Colby offers undergraduate courses during fall and spring semesters and grants bachelors of arts degrees.