Physical Science (PS)


PS 102  Explorations in Physics  3 Credits (3,0)

Survey course in elementary physics. Stress will be placed on basic concepts, principles and history of the development of physics. Presentation will include selected topics in mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics. Cannot be used for credit in physics toward degrees in Aerospace or Electrical Engineering, Space Physics, Astronomy, Aircraft Engineering Technology, Aeronautical Science, or Avionics Technology.
Prerequisites: MA 111.

PS 107  Elements of Biological Science  3 Credits (3,0)

An introductory science course in general biology. Emphasis is placed on human anatomy, and on the chemical and biological foundations of human physiology. Provides background material that supports life science applications courses.

PS 113  Introductory Physics I  3 Credits (3,0)

Survey course in elementary physics.Stress will be placed on basic physics principles. Problem solving and problem solving logic will be an important, integral part of this course. Topics will include Newton's Laws, projectile motion, circular motion, work, energy, conservation laws, and momentum. (Cannot be used for credit in physics toward degrees in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, space Physics Astronomy or Aircraft Engineering Technology.)
Prerequisites: MA 111 or MA 120 or MA 140 Corequisites: MA 112 or MA 220 or MA 241.

PS 113L  Introduction Physics I Laboratory  1 Credit (0,3)

Introductory Physics I Lab is comprised of experiments to give students hands-on experience with topics in mechanics: force, energy, momentum, torques and angular momentum. This lab is not required for PS 113; however, it is designed to complement the PS 113 course.

PS 114  Introductory Physics II  4 Credits (3,2.5)

Application of basics physics principles discussed in PS 113. Other areas will include fluids, properties of matter, thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, simple harmonic motion, kinetic theory, basic electromagnetic theory and elementary circuits. Laboratory includes both descriptive and quantitative work. (Cannot be used for credit in physics toward degree in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Space Physics Astronomy or Aircraft Engineering Technology.)
Prerequisites: PS 113 and (MA 112 or MA 220 or MA 241)

PS 150  Physics for Engineers I  3 Credits (3,0)

This course explores vectors and scalar quantities; kinematics; Newton's Law of Motion; work; work-energy; conversion of energy; conversion of momentum; center of mass and its motion, torque, equilibrium; and orbital motion.
Corequisites: MA 241.

PS 160  Physics for Engineers II  3 Credits (3,0)

This is a calculus-based study of the fundamental principles of classical mechanics. Topics include rotational motion, simple harmonic motion, waves, fluid, heat, kinetic energy, and thermodynamics.
Prerequisites: PS 150 or PS 215 Corequisites: MA 242.

PS 199  Special Topics in Physical Science  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed study of topics in the fields of the physical sciences.

PS 204  General Astronomy  3 Credits (3,0)

An introductory course in astronomy, primarily intended for Space Physics and Astronomy majors. Topics include the history of astronomy, celestial mechanics, light and spectra, telescopes, the solar system, and exoplanets. Includes night observing sessions.
Corequisites: PS 160 or PS 208.

PS 208  Physics II  3 Credits (3,0)

Fluids, temperature, heat, first and second laws of thermodynamics, wave motion, and acoustics.
Prerequisites: PS 215 and PS 150 Corequisites: MA 242.

PS 215  Physics I  3 Credits (3,0)

Estimations, order of magnitude analysis, Newton's Law, gravitation, kinematics, work and energy, momentum, rotation, and harmonic motion.
Corequisites: MA 241.

PS 216  Physics I Laboratory  1 Credit (0,3)

One three-hour laboratory session per week, with experiments chosen primarily from mechanics.
Corequisites: PS 150.

PS 219  Physics III  3 Credits (3,0)

Static electricity, Gauss's law, potential, Ohm's law, direct current circuits, magnetic fields, induced electromotive force, induction, EM waves, the nature of light, alternating circuits.
Prerequisites: PS 208 or PS 160 Corequisites: MA 243.

PS 221  Intermediate Physics Laboratory  2 Credits (0,6)

Two three-hour laboratory sessions per week with experiments chosen primarily from wave motion, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, and geometric optics.
Prerequisites: PS 216 Corequisites: MA 242 and (PS 160 or PS 208)

PS 222  Intermediate Astronomy  3 Credits

An introduction to the sun, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. Overview of the observational properties of these objects, as well as the application of introductory physics for a basic understanding of the objects.
Prerequisites: PS 204 Corequisites: PS 219 or PS 250.

PS 232  Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences  3 Credits (3,0)

This course is designed to teach students the computational methods used in physics and the physical sciences. Students will learn the techniques required to solve complex problems in physics and display their graphical representations using both structured and symbolic math programming languages. Students will also learn data reduction and error analysis techniques, fitting linear and non-linear functions, minimizing chi-square, and interpreting error matrices.
Corequisites: MA 243 and (PS 219 or PS 250)

PS 250  Physics for Engineers III  3 Credits (3,0)

This course is a calculus-based study of the fundamental principles of classical mechanics. It is the third course of a three-semester sequence, intended for students of science and engineering and is designed to provide the student with an appropriate background for more advanced physics and engineering course work. Topics of discussion include electric forces; electric field; Gauss's law; Ohm's law; Ampere's law; Faraday's law; Lenz's law; Kirchhoff's law and Maxwell's equations; electric potential and electrostatic potential energy; capacitance; simple DC circuit theory; magnetic force, magnetic field; inductance; electromagnetic oscillations and wave propagation; linear accelerators; and cyclotrons.
Prerequisites: PS 160 or PS 208 Corequisites: MA 243.

PS 253  Physics Laboratory for Engineers  1 Credit (0,3)

One three-hour laboratory session per week, with experiments complementing the material of PS 250. Primarily lab report writing workshop, error analysis, damped harmonic oscillations, spectrometers, optics, atomic physics, thermodynamics and circuit theory.
Corequisites: PS 250.

PS 271  Techniques of Observational Astronomy  3 Credits

An introduction to the concepts and practice of astronomical observing. Planning of astronomical observations. Operation and understanding of telescopes and associated instruments that detect light from astronomical objects. Analysis of astronomical data.
Prerequisites: PS 222 and PS 232 and ( PS 219 or PS 250)

PS 299  Special Topics in Physical Science  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed study of topics in the fields of the physical sciences.

PS 301  Astronomy  3 Credits (3,0)

A descriptive course dealing with the structure and evolution of the physical universe. Topics include the solar system (Earth, Moon, Sun, and planets), stars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, cosmology, and exobiology. Planetarium trips and night-observing sessions optional.
Prerequisites: PS 102 or PS 103 or PS 150 or PS 215.

PS 302  Evolution of Scientific Thought  3 Credits (3,0)

This course traces the development of science from the earliest times through the modern period, with particular emphasis given to our changing concepts of nature and of science itself. Students will receive either social science elective credit or physical science elective credit, but not both.
Prerequisites: HU 140 or HU 141 or HU 142 and PS 102 or PS 103 or PS 150 or PS 215.

PS 303  Modern Physics  3 Credits (3,0)

This is an introductory course in non-classical (modern) physics; it introduces students to the modern concepts in physics. Topics discussed include scattering of electromagnetic radiation; special relativity; wave-particle duality; the uncertainty principle and quantum theory of atomic structure; x-rays; lasers; and nuclear reactions.
Prerequisites: PS 219 or PS 250.

PS 315  Modern Physics Laboratory  2 Credits (0,6)

Experiments in atomic and nuclear physics, including spectroscopy, nuclear particle analysis, X-ray analysis, and laser applications.
Prerequisites: PS 221 Corequisites: PS 303.

PS 321  Classical Mechanics I  3 Credits (3,0)

Fundamentals of mechanics, oscillatory motion, systems of particles, varying mass, motion under central forces, motion in three dimensions, gyroscopic motion, generalized coordinates, normal coordinates, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations. Students will write some simple computer programs.
Prerequisites: MA 345 and PS 303 Corequisites: PS 232 and MA 441.

PS 322  Classical Mechanics II  3 Credits (3,0)

Advanced mechanics; celestial/orbital mechanics; dynamics of rigid bodies and systems of particles; non-inertial motion and gyroscopic motion; coupled oscillations; dynamics of continuous media and wave phenomena. Special theory of relativity. Students will write some simple computer programs.
Prerequisites: PS 321.

PS 330  Electricity and Magnetism I  3 Credits (3,0)

Solutions of electrostatics problems using Poissons equation and Laplaces equation, electrostatic energy, electric current, magnetic field, electromagnetic induction, physics of plasmas, Maxwells equations, and application of Maxwells equations (reflection, refraction, waveguides, antenna radiation). Students will write some simple computer programs.
Prerequisites: MA 345 and PS 303 Corequisites: MA 441.

PS 331  Electricity and Magnetism II  3 Credits (3,0)

An advanced undergraduate course in electromagnetism emphasizing electromagnetic radiation and culminating with the relativistic formulation of electrodynamics. Topics covered include electromagnetic waves, waveguides, scalar and vector potentials, retarded potentials, the fields of a moving charge, dipole radiation, radiation reaction, and relativistic electrodynamics.
Prerequisites: PS 330 Corequisites: MA 442.

PS 340  Astrophysics I  3 Credits (3,0)

Study of the basic physical processes operating in the astronomical environment, stellar structure and evolution, the interstellar medium, galaxies, and cosmology. Astrophysical concepts are emphasized, thus underlining the common features operating in many astronomical systems.
Prerequisites: PS 222 and PS 303 and MA 345.

PS 350  Quantum Mechanics I  3 Credits (3,0)

The Schrodinger equation in one and three dimensions and its solutions for step potentials, the harmonic oscillator, and the hydrogen atom. Operators and their matrix representations: Dirac bracket formalism, angular momentum and spin, spin-orbit interaction. Identical particles and exchange symmetries. Time-independent and time-dependent perturbation theory and approximation methods: transition rates, Fermis rule, scattering theory. Classical and quantum statistical distributions.
Prerequisites: MA 441 and PS 303 Corequisites: MA 442.

PS 375  Planetary Science  3 Credits (3,0)

Study of the planetary system: origin, evolution, composition, present configuration, dynamics, interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, and magnetospheres of the planets and, where appropriate, similar aspects of the satellites, asteroids, and comets. Interpretations of existing data and definition of future experiments to aid in determination of the origin and evolution of the solar system are stressed.
Prerequisites: PS 303 and PS 330.

PS 380  Optics Laboratory  3 Credits (1,5)

Study of geometrical and physical optics including plane waves, mirrors, lenses, emission and absorption line spectroscopy, diffraction gratings, lasers, and interferometers.
Prerequisites: PS 315.

PS 399  Special Topic in Physical Science  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed study of topics in the fields of the physical sciences.

PS 405  Atomic Nuclear Physics  3 Credits (3,0)

This course is a study of multi-electron atoms, x-rays and gamma rays, and radiative transitions in the atom and the nucleus. Topics include time-independent and time-dependent perturbation theory, scattering and the Born approximation, basic properties of nuclei, systematics of nuclear stability, dynamics of nuclear reactions, nuclear models, and nuclear forces.
Prerequisites: PS 350.

PS 408  Astrophysics II  3 Credits (3,0)

Study of the basic physical processes operating in the Galaxy and extragalactic astronomical environments: galactic structure and evolution, the expanding universe, and cosmology. Astrophysical concepts are emphasized, thus underlining the common features appearing within many astronomical systems.
Prerequisites: PS 340.

PS 412  Particle Physics and Cosmology  3 Credits (3,0)

Study of modern particle physics and the foundations of general relativity including special relativity and Minkowski space-time, particle collisions and conservation laws, the Standard Model of particle physics, and introduction to classical and quantum scattering theory.
Prerequisites: PS 350 and MA 442.

PS 413  Particle Physics and Cosmology II  3 Credits (3,0)

Study of the theory of general relativity and modern cosmology including the Einstein field equations and special solutions, Big Bang cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, and inflation.
Prerequisites: PS 412.

PS 420  Remote Sensing  3 Credits (3,0)

This course investigates the current technologies used in remote sensing. It emphasizes the scientific principles used in look-down satellite technologies, the same principles used in deep-space probes and non-invasive medical imaging. This course uses a physics-based approach to designing and developing remote sensing methodologies using the visible, infrared, and microwave spectrum. Students will learn to characterize target phenomenology from sensor system specifications to data modeling, collection, and analysis.
Prerequisites: MA 441 and PS 303.

PS 422  Space Propulsion  3 Credits (3,0)

The course provides the student with an introduction to the basic principles of liquid and solid propulsion systems. Flight performance parameters are presented for single and multistage vehicles. The thermo-chemistry of the combustion process will also be discussed. Performance enhancements of nuclear rockets and electric propulsion will be covered.
Prerequisites: CHM 105 and PS 303.

PS 430  Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics  3 Credits (3,0)

Basic thermodynamics, entropy, kinetic theory, distribution of molecular velocities, Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, Bose-Einstein statistics, Fermi-Dirac statistics, microcanonical ensemble, canonical ensemble
Prerequisites: PS 303.

PS 451  Quantum Mechanics II  3 Credits

Multiparticle wave functions, second quantization, creation and annihilation operators, commutation relations, representations of one and two-body operators, simple applications, Wicks Theorem, and Hartree-Fock theory
Prerequisites: PS 350.

PS 490  Senior Research Thesis, Part I  3 Credits (2,3)

First semester optional capstone course for senior Space Physics students. Students will begin their senior research project in an area of interest that overlaps the interest of the supervising faculty.
Prerequisites: PS 350 and MA 442 and min CGPA of 3.5 or min B grade in PS 321 330 350 and 380.

PS 491  Senior Research Thesis, Part II  3 Credits (1,6)

Second semester optional capstone course for senior Space Physics students. Students will complete their senior research project culminating in a research paper that follows an accepted scientific publishing format.
Prerequisites: PS 490.

PS 499  Special Topic in Physical Science  1-6 Credit

Individual independent or directed study of topics in the fields of the physical sciences.