Physics (PHY)

The Department of Physics offers a major with two separate tracks and a minor.  The different major tracks are based on the student's intended career path.  The Industry Track is intended for students who plan to attend graduate school in a field other than physics and/or plan to seek immediate employment.  The Pre-Professional Track is for students who intend to enter graduate school in preparation for a future career specifically in Physics.   Either track may be augmented by the Emphasis in Computational Science

Students interested in pursuing an engineering degree can do through Wofford's dual degree program offered in conjunction with Clemson University and Columbia University.  Additional information is located in the Pre-Professional Programs section of the Catalog.   

Chair

G. Mackay Salley

Professors

Carolyn Martsberger
Daniel W. Welch
Steven B. Zides

Requirements for the Major in Physics

Both the Industry and Pre-Professional track require PHY 141/142 and the auxiliary courses listed below.

Prerequisites and Corequisites
PHY 141
PHY 142
Physics for Science & Engineering I (with lab)
and Physics for Science & Engineering II (with lab)
8
General Chemistry I (with lab)
and General Chemistry II (with lab)
Calculus I
Calculus II
Vector Calculus
Differential Equations
COSC 200-level or higher
Computer Science Requirement

Industry Track

The Industry Track is for students who plan to attend graduate school in a field other than Physics and those who plan immediate employment in areas such as industry, government, or public schools.

Course Requirements
PHY 206Electronics (with lab)4
PHY 211Modern Physics3
PHY 221Mechanics3
PHY 311Contemporary Physics3
PHY 331Electricity and Magnetism3
Select nine Physics (PHY) credit hours at the 200- level or above9
Total Hours25

Pre-Professional Track

This Pre-Professional Track is for students who plan to attend graduate school in Physics in preparation for a career in the field.

Course Requirements
PHY 211Modern Physics3
PHY 221Mechanics3
PHY 331Electricity and Magnetism3
PHY 441Theoretical Physics I3
PHY 442Theoretical Physics II3
Select twelve Physics (PHY) credit hours at the 200- level or above12
Total Hours27

Physics course prerequisites require a grade of 'C' or higher in the prerequisite unless specifically noted otherwise in the course description.

Requirements for the Minor in Physics

MATH 181Calculus I3
MATH 182Calculus II3
PHY 141Physics for Science & Engineering I (with lab)4
PHY 142Physics for Science & Engineering II (with lab)4
Select nine Physics (PHY) credit hours at the 200- level or above9
Total Hours23

PHY 104. Physics: Concepts & Methods (with lab). 4 Hours.

A study of topics selected to introduce students to basic concepts in physics and/or astronomy, and to the scientific method. Does not count toward a major in Physics nor toward science requirements for the B.S. degree.


PHY 108. Astronomy. 3 Hours.

A survey course in astronomy which includes observational astronomy, the solar system, structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, and cosmology.


PHY 121. General Physics I (with lab). 4 Hours.

A study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics using algebra, trigonometry, and limits.


PHY 122. General Physics II (with lab). 4 Hours.

A continuation of PHY 121 in the study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics using algebra, trigonometry, and limits.

Prerequisite: PHY 121 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 141. Physics for Science & Engineering I (with lab). 4 Hours.

A calculus-based study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics suitable for those majoring in areas such as physics or chemistry and for those in pre-engineering. Students may take MATH 181 concurrently.

Prerequisite: MATH 181 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 142. Physics for Science & Engineering II (with lab). 4 Hours.

A continuation of PHY 141 in a calculus-based study of mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics suitable for those majoring in areas such as physics or chemistry and for those in pre-engineering. Students may take MATH 182 concurrently.

Prerequisite: PHY 141 with a minimum grade of D and MATH 182 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 206. Electronics (with lab). 4 Hours.

An elementary course in the principles of electronic devices, circuits, and instruments. It is intended for students of science who desire some understanding of the electronic instrumentation they use.

Prerequisite: PHY 122 with a minimum grade of D or PHY 142 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 211. Modern Physics. 3 Hours.

A study of the major developments in physics since 1895, with emphasis on special relativity, the atom, the nucleus, and 'elementary particles'.

Prerequisite: PHY 142 with a minimum grade of D and MATH 182 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 221. Mechanics. 3 Hours.

Classical Newtonian analytical mechanics. Newton's laws are used together with vector analysis to analyze problems in statics and dynamics, with emphasis upon the latter. Problem-solving situations include rectilinear particle dynamics (especially oscillators), general particle dynamics, non-inertial reference frames, central forces, systems of particles, and mechanics of rigid bodies.

Prerequisite: MATH 212 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 142 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 231. Thermodynamics. 3 Hours.

Development and application of basic concepts and methods useful in understanding thermal phenomena. The approach is divided into three basic branches: classical thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and statistical mechanics.

Prerequisite: PHY 142 with a minimum grade of D and MATH 212 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 250. Introduction to Research. 1 Hour.

An opportunity to learn the elements of research in physics by participating in one of the department's existing research projects. A maximum of four semester hours may be earned in this way.

Prerequisite: PHY 211 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 280. Selected Topics in Physics. 1 to 4 Hours.

An opportunity to participate in a special intermediate course offering. Students planning to take this course should consult with the instructor during the previous semester.

Prerequisite: PHY 211 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 311. Contemporary Physics. 3 Hours.

The general physics background of the student serves as a tool for comprehending readings taken from professional physics publications on topics with significant relationship to life outside the laboratory. The course demands substantial progress in technical writing, technical speaking, and technical literature search skills as measured against normal professional requirements in the field.

Prerequisite: PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D or PHY 341 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 321. Optics. 3 Hours.

The presentation and demonstration of the proper use of several alternative models of the electromagnetic spectrum, including the ray model, the wave model, and the quantum model.

Prerequisite: MATH 212 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 142.


PHY 331. Electricity and Magnetism. 3 Hours.

The study of physics and mathematics of the classical description of the electromagnetic field. This includes the experimental and theoretical background for each of Maxwell's equations, in vacuum and in matter.

Prerequisite: MATH 212 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 221 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 341. Quantum Physics. 3 Hours.

The mathematical structure and physical meaning of quantum mechanics, as a fundamental theory of physics, are developed at the intermediate level. Problems are drawn from areas such as the structure of nuclei, atoms, molecules, and crystals.

Prerequisite: PHY 211 with a minimum grade of D and MATH 212 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 371. Advanced Laboratory I. 1 Hour.

The first in a series of four semester-long courses focused on experiments and projects that develop the basic experimental skills that a student majoring in physics should have. These include use of standard physics instrumentation, some familiarity with shop tools, laboratory record-keeping and report-writing, and knowledge of ways in which basic physical quantities are measured. This course is the pre-requisite for all advanced laboratory courses. Students may take PHY 211 concurrently.

Prerequisite: PHY 211 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 372. Advanced Laboratory II. 1 Hour.

One in a series of four semester-long courses focused on experiments and projects that develop the basic experimental skills that a student majoring in physics should have. These include use of standard physics instrumentation, some familiarity with shop tools, laboratory record-keeping and report-writing, and knowledge of ways in which basic physical quantities are measured.

Prerequisite: PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 373. Advanced Laboratory III. 1 Hour.

One in a series of four semester-long courses focused on experiments and projects that develop the basic experimental skills that a student majoring in physics should have. These include use of standard physics instrumentation, some familiarity with shop tools, laboratory record-keeping and report-writing, and knowledge of ways in which basic physical quantities are measured.

Prerequisite: PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 374. Advanced Laboratory IV. 1 Hour.

One in a series of four semester long-courses focused on experiments and projects that develop the basic experimental skills that a student majoring in physics should have. These include use of standard physics instrumentation, some familiarity with shop tools, laboratory record-keeping and report-writing, and knowledge of ways in which basic physical quantities are measured.

Prerequisite: PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 441. Theoretical Physics I. 3 Hours.

Designed for students planning to attend graduate school, this course should be taken in the senior year at Wofford. The material is taken from the more advanced portions of mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum physics, optics, and introductory statistical mechanics. Special attention is given to the mathematical methods used in each of these areas.

Prerequisite: MATH 240 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 341 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 442. Theoretical Physics II. 3 Hours.

Designed for students planning to attend graduate school, this course should be taken in the senior year at Wofford. The material is taken from the more advanced portions of mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum physics, optics, and introductory statistical mechanics. Special attention is given to the mathematical methods used in each of these areas.

Prerequisite: MATH 240 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 341 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 451. Research I. 2 Hours.

Active participation in a research project selected from one of the department's existing projects, or developed earlier in Physics 250 or in coordination with a faculty member. The student is expected to maintain a regular weekly schedule of lab and library work in connection with this project, keep a notebook in standard format, and write a detailed research report to be retained by the faculty member.

Prerequisite: PHY 221 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 452. Research II. 2 Hours.

Active participation in a research project selected from one of the department's existing projects, or developed earlier in Physics 250 or in coordination with a faculty member. The student is expected to maintain a regular weekly schedule of lab and library work in connection with this project, keep a notebook in standard format, and write a detailed research report to be retained by the faculty member.

Prerequisite: PHY 221 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.


PHY 480. Advanced Topics in Physics. 1 to 4 Hours.

An opportunity to participate in a special advanced course offering. Students planning to take this course should consult with the instructor during the previous semester.

Prerequisite: PHY 221 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 331 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 341 with a minimum grade of D and PHY 371 with a minimum grade of D.