Course Descriptions

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100-Level Courses

PHY 100 Introduction to Physics
Credits: 1
This course covers mostly Newtonian mechanics, emphasizing problem solving and math skills useful for physics. Reviews algebra, geometry, and trigonometry as applied to physics. LEC

PHY 101 College Physics
Credits: 4
Corequisites: PHY 151
Presents non-calculus, introductory physics, including mechanics, heat, waves, and sound. This course satisfies 4 credits as required by different majors, and also 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Scientific Literacy & Inquiry Sequence general education requirements. This course is a controlled enrollment (impacted) course. Students who have previously attempted the course and received a grade other than W may only repeat the course in the winter or summer. Repeating in the fall or spring semester can be requested by petition submitted through the Dept. to CAS. LEC/REC

PHY 102 College Physics II
Credits: 4  
Prerequisites: PHY 101
Corequisites: PHY 152
Presents non-calculus, introductory physics, including electricity and magnetism, light, optics, and modern physics. This course satisfies 4 credits as required by different majors, and also 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Scientific Literacy & Inquiry Sequence general education requirements. LEC/REC

PHY 107 General Physics I
Credits: 4
Corequisites: MTH 141
A calculus-based introductory course primarily for chemistry, engineering, and physics majors. Covers kinematics, Newton's laws, energy, momentum, rotational motion, and oscillations. This course satisfies 4 credits as required by different majors and also 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Science Literacy and Inquiry general education requirement sequence. Enrollment is not allowed in PHY107 if a student has current enrollment in PHY101. LEC/REC

PHY 108 General Physics II
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: PHY 107
Corequisites: MTH 142, PHY 158
A calculus based introductory course primarily for chemistry, engineering, and physics majors. Covers the electric field, Gauss' law, electric potential, capacitance, DC circuits, RC circuits, magnetic field, Faraday's law, inductance, LR circuits, AC circuits, and Maxwell's equations. This course satisfies 4 credits as required by different majors and also 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Science Literacy and Inquiry general education requirement sequence. LEC/REC

PHY 115 Relativity Seminar for Nonspecialists
Credits: 3
Examines philosophies of space and time, Mach’s principle and the role of inertia, curved space-time, unified field theory (Faraday to Einstein), and implications of extension in all domains. SEM

PHY 116 Philosophy of Physics
Credits: 3
Studies views of space, time, and matter in the ancient world; European post-Renaissance, nineteenth-century ideas and discoveries; wave-particle dualism; wave mechanics; Copen hagen school; theory of relativity; and problems of matter, radiation, and cosmology. LEC

PHY 117 Honors Physics I
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: PHY 117 is especially appropriate for students who have taken AP Physics C in high school.
Corequisites: MTH 141
PHY 117 is a calculus based Honors physics course, which covers similar topics as PHY 107, but in greater depth. This course is intended for potential physics majors, students in the honors college, and advanced students in other majors (with permission from the instructor). The class will be taught at a level comfortable for students who would receive a B or higher in a typical PHY 107 class. Because of the higher average GPA of students in this class, grading will be adjusted to reflect this quality, rather than following the conventional curves used for PHY 107. Introductory materials, such as review of trigonometry, vectors and calculus, in PHY 107 will not be covered. This leaves room to expose students to a wider range of interesting applications of Newtonian mechanics, and recent developments in topics such as Special Relativity and Cosmology. The class size is limited, to encourage interactive learning and communications between students and the instructor. This course satisfies 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Science Literacy and Inquiry General Education requirements. Enrollment is not allowed in PHY117 if a student has current enrollment in PHY107. LEC/REC

PHY 118 Honors Physics II
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: PHY 107 or PHY 117
Corequisites: MTH 142, PHY 158
PHY 118 is a calculus based Honors physics course, which covers the same topics in electricity and magnetism as PHY 108, but in greater depth. Class size is limited. In general taken by students in the University Honors College, but other students may take it with permission of instructor. This course satisfies 4 credits as required by different majors and also 4 credits (out of the mandated 7 credits total) of UB’s Science Literacy and Inquiry sequence general education requirements. Enrollment is not allowed in PHY118 if a student has current enrollment in PHY108. LEC/REC

PHY 119 How Things Work
Credits: 3
Describes working principles of devices used in everyday life, such as the video recorder, fax machine, and television. Reviews the history of discoveries that made each device possible, as well as development of the device. Explores the consequences of particular devices in society. Suitable for non-science majors, but science and engineering majors are expected to greatly benefit from it also. LEC

PHY 121 Descriptive Astronomy I
Credits: 3 - 4
PHY 121is the first semester of a two-semester survey of astronomy. In PHY 121 we study the sky, the history of astronomy, telescopes and light, and the origin and structure of the Solar System. As part of the laboratory, each student is given a required telescope observation appointment. This course plus the second semester PHY 122 course satisfy UB’s 7-credit Science Literacy and Inquiry general education requirement. LEC/LAB

PHY 122 Descriptive Astronomy II
Credits: 3 - 4
Prerequisites: PHY 121
PHY 122 is the second semester of a two-semester survey of astronomy. In PHY 122 we study the stars and stellar evolution, the sun, neutron stars and black holes, cosmology, and life in the universe. As part of the laboratory, each student is given a required telescope observation appointment. This course plus the first semester PHY 121 course satisfy UB’s 7-credit Science Literacy and Inquiry general education requirement. LEC/LAB

PHY 151 College Physics I Lab
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 101
Corequisites: PHY 101
PHY-151 is an introductory Physics lab course. This course covers mechanics, kinematics, forces, vectors and heat. Experiments are used to demonstrate principles discussed in the lecture course PHY 101. PHY 151 satisfies the SLI General Education 1-credit laboratory requirement (out of the 7 credits total SLI Gen-Ed requirement).
Course Prerequisites: PHY 151 has the lecture course PHY-101 as either a pre-requisite or a co-requisite. (Note: PHY-101 is also a pre-requisite for the second semester lecture PHY-102.) The PHY-151 laboratory and PHY-101 lecture courses deal with related topics, however PHY 151 is separate from the lecture. Registration for lecture does not automatically register you for lab and vice versa. LAB

PHY 152 College Physics II Lab
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 102
Corequisites: PHY 102
PHY-152 is an introductory Physics lab course. This course covers electricity, magnetism and optics. Experiments are used to demonstrate principles discussed in the lecture course PHY 102. PHY-152 satisfies the SLI General Education 1-credit laboratory requirement (out of the 7 credits total SLI Gen-Ed requirement).
Course Prerequisites: PHY 152 has the lecturecourse PHY-102 as either a pre-requisite or a co-requisite (additionally,PHY-102 has PHY-101 as a pre-requisite). The PHY 152 laboratory and the PHY 102 lecture courses deal with related topics, however PHY 152 is separate from the lecture. Registration for lecture does not automatically register you for lab and vice versa. LAB

PHY 158 General Physics II Lab
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 107
Corequisites: PHY 108
PHY-158 is an introductory Physics lab course. This course covers mechanics, kinematics, forces, vectors, electricity and magnetism. Experiments are used to demonstrate principles discussed in the lecture courses PHY 107 and PHY 108. PHY-158 satisfies the SLI General Education 1-credit laboratory requirement (out of the 7 credits total SLI Gen-Ed requirement).
Course Prerequisites: PHY-158 has the lecture course PHY-108 as either a pre-requisite or a co-requisite. (Additionally, a pre-requisite for the PHY 108 lecture is PHY-107). The PHY 158 laboratory deals with related topics to those covered in the PHY 107 and PHY 108 lectures. However PHY 158 is separate from those lectures. Registration for PHY 108 lecture does not automatically register you for the PHY 158 lab and vice versa. LAB

200-Level Courses

PHY 207 General Physics III
Credits: 4
Prerequisites: PHY 107 - PHY 108
Corequisites: MTH 241
Examines sound waves, electromagnetic waves, and geometrical and physical optics. Introduces modern physics, including discovery of the electron, the photon, wave-particle duality, the Bohr model of H-atom, the Schrödinger equation, quantum numbers, the Pauli principle and periodic table, and lasers. LEC

PHY 208 General Physics IV
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 107, PHY108
Corequisites: MTH 306
Examines thermodynamics, including temperature, zeroth law, thermal expansion, specific heat, first law, second law, entropy, third law, kinetic theory, Brownian motion, and the ideal gas. Also explores special relativity, including historical background, Lorentz transformations, length contraction, time dilation, invariance of the laws of physics, relativistic dynamics and kinematics, and paradoxes. LEC

PHY 217 Honors Physics III
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 107 and PHY 108, or PHY 117 and PHY 118
Corequisites: MTH 241
Covers the same topics as PHY 207, but in greater depth. Class size is limited. In general, taken by students in the University Honors Program, but other students may take it with permission of instructor. LEC

PHY 257 General Physics III Lab
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 107 and PHY 108/PHY 158, or PHY 117 and PHY 118/PHY 158
Corequisites: PHY 207
Conducts experiments on waves, geometrical and physical optics, and modern physics. LAB

PHY 286 Maple in Physics
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 107 - PHY 108
Introduces basic syntax and capabilities of this computer calculus/algebra system as applied to obtain analytical solutions to problems in physics. Students taking PHY386 learn the same syntax as PHY 286 students, but are required to do more advanced problems such as occur in junior-senior physics courses. A student may receive academic credit for only one of the two courses. LAB

300-Level Courses

PHY 301 Intermediate Mechanics I
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 107 and MTH 306
Covers vector calculus, kinematics, studies of rigid bodies and cables, the virtual work principle, damped and forced harmonic oscillators, dynamics of systems of particles, conservation laws, and dynamics of rigid bodies in planar motion. LEC

PHY 302 Intermediate Mechanics II
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 301
Studies accelerated frames of reference, central force motion, scattering problems, D'Alembert's principle, Lagrange's equation, Hamilton's principle, eigenvalue problems, dynamics of rigid bodies, coupled harmonic oscillators, and normal modes of vibration. LEC

PHY 307 Modern Physics Lab
Credits: 2
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217; PHY 208, PHY 257
Conducts experiments in thermodynamics and modern physics. LAB

PHY 311 Applied Acoustics of Music
Credits: 3
A general, practical course. Covers the nature of sound; the ear and the hearing process; consonance and dissonance; scales and harmonic series; basic physics of musical instruments; high fidelity systems; and theatre, studio, and room acoustics. LEC

PHY 386 Maple in Physics
Credits: 1
Prerequisites: PHY 107, PHY 108, PHY 207, PHY 208, and junior standing
Introduces basic syntax and capabilities ofthe computer calculus/algebra system as applied to obtain analytical solutions to problems in physics. Students taking PHY 386 learn the same syntax as PHY 286 students, but are required to do more advanced problems such as occur in junior-senior physics courses. A student may receive academic credit for only one of the two courses. LAB

400-Level Courses

PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics I
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: MTH 306, PHY 207, PHY 208
Note: It is strongly recommended that physics majors take PHY 401 - PHY 402 in the junior year, as these courses provide the necessary background for PHY 406, PHY 407-PHY 408, PHY 410-PHY 411, PHY 412, and PHY 527-PHY 528.
Origins of quantum theory; wave function and uncertainty principle; Schrödinger equation; one-dimensional examples; formalism of quantum mechanics. LEC

PHY 402 Quantum Mechanics II
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 401
Angular momentum; three-dimensional problems; hydrogen atom; time-independent perturbation theory; electron spin and fine structure; time-dependent perturbation theory; quantum statistics. LEC

PHY 403 Electricity and Magnetism I
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: MTH 241, MTH 306, PHY 108
Examines vector calculus, Gauss’ law, scalar and vector potentials, Laplace and Poisson’s equations, dielectrics, electrostatic and magnetostatic fields, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, and Maxwell’s equations. LEC

PHY 404 Electricity and Magnetism II
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 403
Undertakes further study of Maxwell’s equations, electric and magnetic susceptibilities, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic fields from a moving charge, waveguides and transmission lines, Poynting’s vector, and Lorentz force. Also examines relativistic invariance. LEC

PHY 405 Thermal and Statistical Physics I
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: MTH 306, PHY 208, PHY 301
Explores statistics and statistical description of particles; statistical and macroscopic thermodynamics; basic results of classical statistical mechanics and connections with thermodynamics; microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles; applications to ideal gases, paramagnets, and lattice vibrations; kinetic theory; and phase equilibrium of one-component systems. LEC

PHY 406 Thermal and Statistical Physics II
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217; PHY 401, PHY 405
Critical behavior at continuous phase transitions. Quantum statistics of ideal Bose and Fermi systems, applications to electrons in metals, blackbody radiation, Bose condensation, neutron stars, in teracting systems, lattice vibrations, nonideal gases, ferromagnets, kinetic theory of transport processes, irreversible processes, and fluctuations. LEC

PHY 407 Advanced Laboratory
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217; PHY 307, PHY 401
Covers modern physics, with a choice of experiments: atomic physics, modern laser optics, solid state, magnetic resonance, X-ray diffraction, scanning probe microscopy, nuclear, or particle physics. Two four-hour labs each week. LAB

PHY 408 Advanced Laboratory
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217; PHY 307, PHY 401
Covers modern physics, with a choice of experiments: atomic physics, modern laser optics, solid state, magnetic resonance, X-ray diffraction, scanning probe microscopy, nuclear, or particle physics. Two four-hour labs each week. LAB

PHY 410 Computational Physics I
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217; PHY 401
Examines numerical solutions of problems in dynamics, electrodynamics, and quantum and statistical physics. Also examines root-finding, numerical differentiation, quadrature, matrix inversion, and ordinary differential equations. Studies structured programming in FORTRAN 90, C++, or Java; and explores Computer graphics. LEC

PHY 411 Computational Physics II
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 410
More advanced physics problems involving partial differential equations. Numerical simulation and Monte Carlo methods, data analysis and fast Fourier transforms, use of mathematical library routines and computer algebra programs. LEC

PHY 412 Nuclear and Particle Physics
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 401
Explores fundamentals of nuclear physics, including interaction of radiation with matter; properties of nuclear forces; nuclear structure described by shell and collective models; nuclear reactions; radioactive decay processes; and properties of elementary particles. LEC

PHY 413 Electronics
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 108 or permission of instructor
Introduces basic concepts of circuit design, impedance, and feedback systems; solid-state components; integrated circuits; digital circuits; and basic instrumentation. LEC/LAB

PHY 414 Experimental Techniques
Credits: 2 - 3
Prerequisites: permission of instructor
Involves individual work with faculty in a research laboratory. TUT

PHY 415 Experimental Techniques
Credits: 2 - 3
Prerequisites: permission of instructor
Involves individual work with faculty in a research laboratory. TUT

PHY 425 Intermediate Optics
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 207 or PHY 217
Examines geometrical and physical optics. Explores diffraction, interference, polarization, and other wave properties of light; and the quantum nature of light and lasers. LEC

PHY 431 Introduction to Mathematical Physics 1
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: MTH 417, 418
This course covers fundamentals of Mathematical Physics. It includes the following topics: linear algebra, multiple integrals, Fourier series and transforms, Calculus of variation, Special functions, and Partial Differential Equations. All topics are covered in the context of specific application and problem solving in Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Electrodynamics and Fluid Dynamics. LEC

PHY 434 Solid State Physics
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: PHY 401, 405
A one semester undergraduate introductory course in solid state physics that covers the following topics: crystal structures, diffraction of waves by crystals, crystal binging, phonons in crystals, thermal properties of phonons, free electron Fermi gas, energy bands in crystals, semiconductor crystals, optical properties, devices, magnetism, nanostructures. LEC

PHY 480 Special Topics in Physics
Credits: 1 - 3
From time to time courses will be offered on topics not covered in regularly offered physics courses. LEC

PHY 497 Honors
Credits: 3
For students who wish to do a senior thesis. Consult the Undergraduate Director, Professor Cerne, for details. TUT

PHY 498 Undergraduate Research
Credits: 1 - 3
This course allows students to get credit for research activities carried out under the supervision of a faculty member of the Department of Physics. TUT

PHY 499 Independent Study in Physics
Credits: 1 - 4
Involves individual study arranged between a student and a faculty member. Not restricted to students with professional goals in technical areas. TUT