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Physics (PHYS) Courses

PHYSICS LABORATORY FEES: A $68.50 laboratory fee is charged to all students enrolling in a physics course with an associated laboratory or a physics laboratory.

Lower Division

PHYS 101 INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS (3-2-4)(F,S,SU)(FN). A broad survey of basic physics concepts and principles including motion, energy, electricity, magnetism, light, relativity, atoms, fission and fusion. Some examples will be related to social applications. A one-semester core course that uses some basic algebra.

PHYS 104 LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (3-2-4)(F,S,SU)(FN). Emphasis is on our solar system, the origin of chemical abundances, and astronomical requirements for the development of life; extra-solar planetary systems, and the search for life in the universe. Requires evening labs.

PHYS 105 STARS AND COSMOLOGY (3-2-4)(F,S,SU)(FN). An exploration of star formation and evolution, black holes, galaxies, and cosmology. Explores how the ideas of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and others form our understanding of the universe. Requires evening labs and/or planetarium visits.

PHYS 106 RADIATION PHYSICS (2-0-2)(F/S). Fundamental concepts involving electricity, magnetism, formation of electromagnetic radiation and radioactivity. Includes basic circuitry of x-ray machine and introduction to radiation dose. PREREQ: Acceptance into radiologic sciences program or PERM/INST.

PHYS 111 GENERAL PHYSICS I (3-3-4)(F,S,SU)(FN). Kinematics, forces and dynamics, conservation laws, waves, thermodynamics. Uses algebra and trigonometry, and includes one required three-hour lab per week. Recommended background: high school physics or PHYS 101. PREREQ: MATH 143 and MATH 144 or satisfactory placement score.

PHYS 112 GENERAL PHYSICS II (3-3-4)(F,S,SU)(FN). Electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Uses algebra and trigonometry, and includes one required three-hour lab per week. PREREQ: PHYS 111.

PHYS 119 LABORATORY ONLY (0-V-1)(F/S). For transfer students who need a laboratory experience to gain FN lab credit for a lecture-only PHYS course taken elsewhere but includes a weekly 2 or 3 hour lab at Boise State. PREREQ: PERM/INST.

PHYS 125 PHYSICS SYMPOSIUM (1-0-1)(F). Topics in current areas of student interest in physics and related disciplines, introduction to the physics department, degrees, and faculty, to physics degree requirements for graduation, and to jobs and graduate school. Intended for physics majors and prospective majors.

PHYS 205 STELLAR ASTRONOMY (3-3-4)(S). An exploration of the physics of star formation, stellar evolution, black holes, galaxies, large-scale structure of the universe, and cosmology. Requires evening labs. Credit cannot be given for both PHYS 105 and PHYS 205. PREREQ: PHYS 212.

PHYS 211 PHYSICS I WITH CALCULUS (4-1-4)(F,S)(FN with PHYS 211L). Kinematics, dynamics of particles, statics, energy, work, momentum, rotational motion, wave motion, and superposition. Recommended background: high school physics or PHYS 101. PREREQ: MATH 143 and MATH 144 or satisfactory placement score. COREQ: MATH 170, PHYS 211L.

PHYS 211L PHYSICS I WITH CALCULUS LAB (0-3-1)(F,S,SU)(FN with PHYS 211). Lab to be taken with PHYS 211. Basic experiments in kinematics, mechanics, and wave motion. COREQ: PHYS 211.

PHYS 212 PHYSICS II WITH CALCULUS (4-1-4)(F,S,SU). Heat and thermodynamics, electrostatics, fields, electric potential, electric current, simple circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, electromagnetic waves, polarization, Maxwell’s equations, Lorentz force law, diffraction, and geometrical optics. PREREQ: MATH 170, PHYS 211, PHYS 211L. COREQ: MATH 175, PHYS 212L.

PHYS 212L PHYSICS II WITH CALCULUS LAB (0-3-1)(F,S,SU). Lab to be taken concurrently with PHYS 212. Basic experiments in heat, electricity, magnetism, and optics. PREREQ: PHYS 211L. COREQ: PHYS 212.

PHYS 295 RESEARCH IN PHYSICS (0-4 credits)(F,S). Individual research project carried out by the student in collaboration with a supervising member of the physics faculty. Intended for freshmen or sophomores. May be repeated.

Upper Division

PHYS 301 ANALOG AND DIGITAL ELECTRONICS (3-3-4)(S). Introduction to electronic test instrumentation, discrete semiconductor devices, and their use in integrated circuits. Effective presentation and interpretation of technical data is stressed through written lab reports and oral communication projects. PREREQ: ENGL 102, PHYS 212, 212L.

PHYS 305 OBSERVATIONAL ASTRONOMY (3-0-3)(F). Principles and techniques used in descriptive astronomy and astrophysics research.  Topics include radiation transport, detector physics, photometry, spectroscopy, time-series, and statistical analysis of large data sets. PREREQ: CS 133, PHYS 205. COREQ: PHYS 212.

PHYS 307 INTRODUCTION TO BIOPHYSICS (3-0-3)(F). Application of physical principles and techniques to the study of biological systems. Stresses examples relevant to cellular and molecular biology and to biomedical research. PREREQ: MATH 160 or MATH 170, and PHYS 112 or PHYS 212 with labs.

PHYS 309 INTRODUCTORY QUANTUM PHYSICS WITH APPLICATIONS (3-0-3)(F,S). An introduction to modern physics, focused on quantum physics, with examples from atomic, molecular, and statistical physics, engineering, solid-state physics, and nanotechnology. PREREQ: MATH 175, PHYS 212. COREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 309L.

PHYS 309L INTRODUCTORY QUANTUM PHYSICS LAB (0-3-1)(F,S). Lab to be taken concurrently with PHYS 309. Hands-on experiments and computer simulations applying the principles of modern physics. PREREQ: PHYS 212L; COREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 309.

PHYS 311 INTRODUCTORY RELATIVISTIC PHYSICS WITH APPLICATIONS (3-0-3)(S). A modern physics course to follow PHYS 309, focused on introductory relativity, nuclear physics, elementary particles, and cosmology. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 309.

PHYS 325 SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING (3-3-4)(F). Methods and practices of computing and computer modeling, with an emphasis on problems in science and engineering. Topics include model building, simulation of complex systems, numerical solutions of systems of differential equations, and scientific visualization. PREREQ: CS 111 or CS 117 or CS 121 or CS 133 or MSE 150. PREREQ or COREQ: MATH 275 and PHYS 309.

PHYS 330 OPTICS (3-0-3)(S). Geometrical and physical optics, including lenses, fiber optics, Fourier optics, polarization, interference, diffraction, lasers, and special topics. PREREQ: MATH 333 and either ECE 300 or PHYS 381. COREQ: PHYS 330L.

PHYS 330L OPTICS LABORATORY (0-3-1)(S). Laboratory to be taken concurrently with PHYS 330. Experiments in optics, including optical systems, thick lenses, interference, diffraction, Fourier optics, image processing, and special topics. COREQ: PHYS 330.

PHYS 341 CLASSICAL MECHANICS (4-0-4)(S). An advanced treatment of classical mechanics using the methods of Lagrange and Hamilton, with the aid of vector calculus and differential equations. PREREQ: MATH 275, MATH 333 and PHYS 211.

PHYS 381 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY (4-0-4)(F). Electrostatic and magnetostatic fields, including potentials, Gauss’s law, solutions of Laplace’s equation, dielectrics, vector potentials, magnetization, and an introduction to Maxwell’s equations. PREREQ: MATH 275, MATH 333, PHYS 212.

PHYS 382 ELECTRODYNAMICS (4-0-4)(S). Application of Maxwell’s equations to electrodynamics, including the stress tensor, wave equation, guided waves, radiation, and special relativity. PREREQ: PHYS 381.

PHYS 395 RESEARCH IN PHYSICS (0-4 credits)(F,S). Individual research project carried out by the student in collaboration with a supervising member of the physics faculty. Intended for juniors or seniors. May be repeated.

PHYS 404 MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOPHYSICS (4-0-4)(S). Advanced introduction to biophysical concepts and methods, focused on developing an in-depth understanding of the functionality of biological systems at the molecular and cellular level. Includes biophysical properties of water and solutions, characterization of biomolecular interactions, biological relevance of the physical properties of biomolecules, role of physical interactions in driving the self-assembly and conformational changes of biomolecules, membrane transport, molecular and cellular motility, and biophysical aspects of cell function. PREREQ: BIOL 191, CHEM 112, PHYS 307, PHYS 309.

PHYS 405 ASTROPHYSICS (3-0-3)(F). Techniques and topics of modern astrophysics. Material is selected from the interaction of light with matter, solar system formation, main sequence star structure and evolution, degenerate stars and black holes, interstellar medium, galaxy formation and evolution. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 105 or PHYS 205, PHYS 309.

PHYS 406 COSMOLOGY (3-0-3)(S). An overview of the large-scale structure and evolution of normal and dark matter. The key elements of observational cosmology including cosmic expansion, the microwave background radiation, and primordial nucleosynthesis. The early universe, inflation and the formation of structure. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 105 or PHYS 205, PHYS 309, PHYS 311.

PHYS 412 INTERMEDIATE QUANTUM MECHANICS (4-0-4)(F). Fundamentals, including properties and solutions of the Schrödinger equation, operators, angular momentum, electron spin, identical particles, perturbations, and variational principle. Applications, such as tunneling, orbitals, magnetic resonance, and nanoscale effects. PREREQ: MATH 275, MATH 301, MATH 333, PHYS 309.

PHYS 415 SOLID STATE PHYSICS (3-0-3)(S). Quantum physics applied to understanding the properties of materials, including semiconductors, metals, superconductors, and magnetic systems. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 309.

PHYS 422 ADVANCED TOPICS (1-4 credits)(On Demand). Selected advanced topics from physics and applied physics, such as astrophysics, biophysics, device physics, magnetic materials, nanoscale physics, or medical physics. May be repeated for credit. PREREQ: Upper-division standing and PERM/INST.

PHYS 423 PHYSICAL METHODS OF MATERIALS CHARACTERIZATION (3-0-3)(F). Physical principles and practical methods used in determining the structural, electronic, optical, and magnetic properties of materials. Optical, electron, and scanning microscopies, diffraction, surface analysis, optical spectroscopy, electrical transport, and magnetometry. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 309 or PERM/INST.

PHYS 432 THERMAL PHYSICS (4-0-4)(F). Foundations and applications of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, including temperature, entropy, heat capacity, chemical potential, and free energies. Applications to gasses, paramagnets, chemical systems, electrons, photons, phonons, and superfluids. PREREQ: CHEM 111, MATH 275, PHYS 309.

PHYS 436 SOFT MATTER (3-0-3)(S). Introduction to the physical principles underlying the properties and behaviors of soft matter, including polymers, gels, colloids, and liquid crystals. Examples of soft matter include glues, paints, soaps, rubber, foams, gelatin, milk, and most materials of biological origin. Recommended preparation: PHYS 309. PREREQ: MATH 275, PHYS 212, and either CHEM 322 or MSE 308 or PHYS 432.

PHYS 481 ADVANCED PHYSICS LAB (1-6-3)(S). An advanced laboratory course designed to acquaint students with the concepts of modern physics, laboratory techniques, and measurements. PREREQ: PHYS 309L.

PHYS 482 SENIOR PROJECT (0-6-2)(S). 1 or 2 credits depending on the project. Elective. A sophisticated library or laboratory project in some area of physics. PREREQ: PHYS 481.

PHYS 495 RESEARCH IN PHYSICS (0-4 credits)(F,S). Individual research project carried out by the student in collaboration with a supervising member of the physics faculty. Intended for seniors. May be repeated.

PHYS 499 PHYSICS SENIOR SEMINARS (1-0-1)(S)(FF). A culminating experience for physics majors. Provides practice in the search and critical assessment of research articles and current trends in physics. Communications of results for variety of audiences is emphasized. PREREQ: FC completed, Physics Major, Senior status, PERM/INST.

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