Program Planning


Physics (PHYS)

Physics (PHYS)
Faculty of Arts and Science

Physics 1000

Introduction to Physics I
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
Other hours: 0-0-6
Calculus-based introduction to mechanics and modern physics. Concepts and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Material studied: kinematics and mechanics, and a brief introduction to nuclear physics and particle physics.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 30;
One of Pure Mathematics 30, Mathematics 30, Mathematics 0500, or [Applied Mathematics 30 and at least 75 percent standing in Athabasca University’s Mathematics 101]
Substantially Similar:
Physics 1050

Physics 1050

Introduction to Biophysics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
A non-calculus based introduction to biophysics, which emphasizes the application of physical principles to problems of biological significance. Material studied: animal mechanics, acoustics, radiation biophysics, and fluid properties.
Prerequisite(s):
One of Pure Mathematics 30, Mathematics 30, Mathematics 0500, or [Applied Mathematics 30 and at least 75 percent standing in Athabasca University’s Mathematics 101]
Recommended Background:
One course in the physical sciences at the 20 level or above
Substantially Similar:
Physics 1000

Physics 2000

Introduction to Physics II
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
Other hours: 0-0-6
The second introductory calculus-based physics course. Concepts and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Material studied: electricity, magnetism, electromagnetism, and circuits.
Prerequisite(s):
Mathematics 1560;
One of Physics 1000 (preferred), Physics 1050, or [Physics 2130 and Engineering 2000]

Physics 2020

The Physics of Everyday Life
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Investigation of the connection between science and the world in which we live. Exploration of the fundamental science behind ordinary objects, devices, and technologies upon which we all depend in our everyday lives.
Note:
No mathematical or science background is required for this course.

Physics 2120

Introduction to Physics III
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
The third introductory calculus-based physics course. Concepts and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Material studied: rotational physics, thermodynamics, gravitation, relativity, photons, and matter waves.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2000;
Mathematics 2560

Physics 2130

Waves, Optics and Sound
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-1.5-0
An introductory-level, calculus-based course in waves, optics and sound. The course will cover fluids; oscillations; mechanical and sound waves; superposition and standing waves; geometric optics including refraction, reflection and optical instruments; physical optics including interference, diffraction and polarization.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 30;
One of Pure Mathematics 30, Mathematics 30, Mathematics 0500, or [Applied Mathematics 30 and at least 75 percent standing in Athabasca University’s Mathematics 101]
Corequisite(s):
Mathematics 1560

Physics 2150

Quantum Mechanics I
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
An introductory course in quantum mechanics. Topics include the origin of quantum mechanics, wave properties of particles, and the Schrödinger equation and solutions in one and three dimensions.

Physics 2800

Methods in Mathematical Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
A course which provides the tools and develops the skills required to solve physical problems typical of those encountered at the second-year level and above. Areas studied include: matrix theory and applications, ordinary differential equations, series solutions, Laplace transforms, and vector analysis.
Recommended Background:

Mathematics 2570

Physics 2900

Studies in Experimental Physics (Series)
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
Experiments are selected from areas such as analog electronics, digital electronics, mechanics, acoustics, X-ray crystallography, solid state physics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermometry, and nuclear physics.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2120;
Physics 2130

Physics 3150

Quantum Mechanics II
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
The fundamentals of quantum mechanics, starting with the wave-mechanical description of Schrödinger. Material studied: quantum states and amplitudes, simple harmonic oscillator, superposition and packet states, scattering and barrier penetration, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, identical particles, and atomic radiation.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2150;
Mathematics 2580
Recommended Background:
Physics 3175

Physics 3175

Electricity and Magnetism
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
The basic elements of electromagnetic theory. Material studied: electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady currents, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell’s equations in both differential and integral forms, and electric and magnetic fields in matter.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2000;
Mathematics 2580
Equivalent:
Physics 2600 (prior to 2004/2005)

Physics 3200

Mechanics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Intermediate-level classical mechanics. Material studied: Newton’s laws of motion and their applications, conservation laws, collisions, oscillators, rigid body dynamics, central forces, relativistic dynamics, introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2000;
Mathematics 2580

Physics 3400

Thermal and Statistical Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Phenomena of heat and properties of matter from a statistical point of view. Material studied: thermal equilibrium, processes and their reversibility, laws of thermodynamics and their microscopic basis, thermodynamic measurements; classical and quantum properties of matter and radiation, statistical ensembles, and distributions.

Physics 3650

Optics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
Classical electromagnetic waves. Physical optics. Quantum optics. Experimental work includes: constructing optical systems, use of lasers in optical measurements, holography.
Recommended Background:
Physics 3175

Physics 3750

Contemporary Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-1
A survey of current developments in physics. The focus will be to highlight current research interests and recent applications of physics in industry and academia. Specific topics will be presented each week in seminars given by invited speakers and staff. Pre-seminar literature will be made available, and there will be class discussions, written reports, and student presentations associated with the seminars.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2120;
Physics 2130

Physics 3800

Methods of Theoretical Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Mathematical tools essential for advanced-level courses in classical and quantum mechanics. Topics may include: complex analysis, Fourier series and integral transforms, solution of partial differential equations, special and generalized functions, Green’s functions, tensors, and group theory.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2800;
Mathematics 2580

Physics 3840

Introduction to Computational Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
An introduction to numerical techniques and their application in experimental and theoretical physics. Material studied: symbolic and numeric computation, numerical analysis, and introductory programming and applications.
Prerequisite(s):
Mathematics 2580 or equivalent
Note:
Prior knowledge of physics and programming is preferred but is NOT required.

Physics 3850

Topics in Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Specific offerings will be announced prior to the semester.
Prerequisite(s):
Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Physics 3900

Intermediate Experimental Physics (Series)
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-3-0
Emphasis on techniques in experimental research such as experimental design and precise measurements. Experiments may include topics from: EM waves; solid state physics; semiconductor physics; NMR, NQR, MRI, and ESR; spectroscopy; and digital electronics.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 2150;
Physics 2900

Physics 4000

Advanced Studies in Physics (Series)
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Subject material is chosen from advanced topics in contemporary physics.
Prerequisite(s):
Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Physics 4100

Nuclear and Particle Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
An introductory survey of nuclear and modern particle physics. Topics range from the structure of nuclei and radioactivity to elementary particles such as quarks, gluons, and neutrinos, and their Feynman diagrams.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 3150;
Physics 3200

Physics 4150

Quantum Mechanics III
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Mathematical and conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics at an advanced level. Material studied: general formalism, quantum dynamics, angular momentum, symmetries, approximate methods, scattering theory, path integrals, and interpretation.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 3150;
Physics 3200

Physics 4175

The Electromagnetic Interaction
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Fundamental concepts of electromagnetic theory at an advanced level and some of their applications. Unity of electric and magnetic phenomena emphasized. Material studied: boundary value problems; energy density and energy flow; electromagnetism in relativistic notation; radiation; resonant cavities and waveguides.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 3175;
Mathematics 2580
Equivalent:
Physics 3600 (prior to 2004/2005)

Physics 4200

Advanced Mechanics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Hamilton’s equations, canonical transformations, Lagrange and Poisson brackets, Hamilton-Jacobi equations, separation of variables, action angle variables, constants of motion, integrability, simple non-linear Hamiltonian systems, chaotic motion.
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 3200

Physics 4250

Solid State Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
An introductory study of the physical properties of solids. Material studied: crystalline structures; the formation of solids (different types of bonding); diffraction; energy bands in solids; and physical properties such as electrical, thermal, optical, and magnetic.
Recommended Background:
Physics 3150;
Physics 3400
Equivalent:
Physics 3300 (prior to 2004/2005)

Physics 4650

Physics of Remote Sensing
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Theoretical and applied treatment of the physical principles of remote sensing. Composition and structure of the earth’s atmosphere, radiative transfer principles and their application to remote sensing, radiometric processing, calibration and validation, hyperspectral image processing, absorption line formation and lineshapes, instrumentation for measuring radiation fields, microwave and radar remote sensing, and the retrieval of physical parameters. Selected topics in earth observation and astronomy.
Prerequisite(s):
One of Physics 2000 or Physics 2130;
Mathematics 2570

Physics 4850

Topics in Physics
Credit hours: 3.0
Contact hours per week: 3-0-0
Specific offerings will be announced prior to the semester.
Prerequisite(s):
Will be specified (including any recommended background) for individual offerings

Physics 4995

Undergraduate Thesis
Credit hours: 6.0
Contact hours per week: Variable
This is a challenging, work-intensive, research-oriented course in which the student will conduct research under the supervision of a faculty member, give a public presentation on their work, and submit an undergraduate thesis which will be made publicly available.
Prerequisite(s):
Fourth-year standing (a minimum of 90.0 credit hours);
A cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher;
A minimum of 13 courses (39.0 credit hours) in Physics
Corequisite(s):
A minimum of two further courses (6.0 credit hours) in Physics
Note:
Contact hours will vary. Students should be aware that this course involves regular contact with the Thesis Supervisor as well as considerable independent work.
See Part 7 - Arts and Science, Sections 5.c. (p. 98), 6.c. (p. 100), and 7.c. (p. 101).