Physics - Whitman College

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PhysicsChair: Frederick G. MooreMoira Gresham (on Sabbatical, Spring 2021)Kurt R. Hoffman, Chair, Division IIIDouglas H. JuersBarbara SanbornMarc ZajacPhysics courses deal mainly with the laws governing fundamental natural phenomena and the applications ofthose laws. The major study program can provide a sound basis for students going on to graduate work in physics orengineering and for those planning to teach physics or seeking a background in physics for work in other fields.A student who enters Whitman without any prior college-level preparation in physics or calculus will have tocomplete 47 credits to fulfill the requirements for the physics major. Courses numbered 300 and above may not betaken P-D-F.Learning Goals: Upon graduation, a student will be able to: Solve problems using discipline specific knowledge and techniques.Design and conduct an experimental investigation, analyze the data, and assess theoretical models ofthe system being studied.Communicate their results through written and/or oral expression.Distribution: Some courses completed in physics apply to the science, science laboratory, and quantitative analysisdistribution areas.The Physics major: 30 credits (29 if completing Phys 347 in lieu of Phys 155) and 16 additional credits in mathematics (withno prior experience in physics)Required courseso Physics 145 or 155 or 347o Physics 156, 245, 255, 267, and 339o Four additional courses from among 300 to 480 level physics offerings and the course/labcombination of BBMB 324/334. This category’s course selection must include at least three of thefollowing: Physics 325, 347, 357, or 385 Physics 347 may not be used to satisfy multiple requirementso Mathematics 225, 244, and either 240 or 367Other noteso If students place out of 155 they must take 347o No courses may be taken PDFSenior RequirementsWritten and oral examHonorso Students submit a Honors in Major Study Application to their departmento Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project Must be submitted within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in which studentis eligibleo Accumulated at least 87 creditso Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman.o Cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 on all credits earned at Whitman Collegeo Major GPA of at least 3.500o Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of thisprogram

oooooEarn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.Pass the senior assessment with distinctionThe department will submit the Honors applications to the Registrar’s Office of students pursuingHonors by the specified deadlineThe department submit “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar’s Office nolater the Reading DayAn acceptable digital copy of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no laterthan Reading DayThe Physics minor: 18 CreditsRequired Courseso Physics 145 or 155, 156, 245, 255, 267o Three credits in physics 200-480, or BBMB 324 or 334The Mathematics-Physics combined major: 49 credits (24 credits in Physics and 25 credits in Mathematics, if starting with Physics 155 andMathematics 125)Required Mathematics courseso Mathematics 225, 240, 244, 367 or 368o 6 additional credits in Mathematic courses numbered above 200Required Physics courseso Physics 145 or 155 or 347o Physics 156, 245, 255, and 267o Three additional courses from among 300 to 480 level physics offerings and the course/labcombination of BBMB 324/334. This category’s course selection must include at least two of thefollowing: Physics 325, 339, 347, 357, or 385 Physics 347 may not be used to satisfy multiple requirementsOther noteso If students place out of Physics 155 they must take 347Senior Requirementso Senior assessment Written exam in mathematics Written exam in physics Combined oral exam Scheduled by the physics departmentHonorso Students submit a Honors in Major Study Application to their departmento Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project Must be submitted within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in which studentis eligibleo Accumulated at least 87 creditso Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman.o Cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 on all credits earned at Whitman Collegeo Major GPA of at least 3.500o Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of thisprogramo Earn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.o Pass the senior assessment with distinctiono The department will submit the Honors applications to the Registrar’s Office of students pursuingHonors by the specified deadlineo The department submit “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar’s Office nolater the Reading Day

oAn acceptable digital copy of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no laterthan Reading DayThe Physics-Astronomy combined major: 59 Credits 22 credits in astronomy 24 credits in physics 13 credits in mathematicsRequired Courses Astronomy 177, 178, 179, 310, 320 or 330 At least two credits from: Astronomy 320, 330, 350, 360, 380, 391, 392 or 490o Physics 145 or 155 or 347o Physics 156, 245, 255, and 267o Two courses from Physics 325, 339, 347, 357, 385o One physics course 300-480 or BBMB 324 and 334o Mathematics 225 and 244Other noteso If students place out of Physics 155, they must take Physics 347o Physics 347 may not be used to satisfy multiple requirementso Additional physics courses, Computer Science 167, Mathematics 240, 367, and 368 arerecommendedo No courses may be taken PDFSenior Requirements Senior assessment consisting of a Two-part comprehensive written examination One-hour oral exam conducted jointly Honorso Students submit a Honors in Major Study Application to their departmento Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project Must be submitted within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in which studentis eligibleo Accumulated at least 87 creditso Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman.o Cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 on all credits earned at Whitman Collegeo Major GPA of at least 3.500o Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of thisprogramo Earn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.o Pass the senior assessment with distinctiono The department will submit the Honors applications to the Registrar’s Office of students pursuingHonors by the specified deadlineo The department submit “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar’s Office nolater the Reading Dayo An acceptable digital copy of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no laterthan Reading DayThe Geology-Physics combined major 61-62 total credits (with no credit for prior experience) 25 credits in geology 21-22 credits in physics 13 credits in mathematics 4 credits in chemistry

Required geology courses: Introductory geology: Geology 110 and 111, or 120 and 121, or 125 and 126 Geology 227, 270, 310, 358, 405, 420, and 470Required physics courses: Physics 145 or 155 or 347 Physics 156, 245, 255, and 267 Two of the following: Physics 325, 339, 347, 357, or 385 Physics 347 may not be used to satisfy multiple requirementsRequired supporting science courses: Chemistry 125 and 135 Mathematics 225 and 244Other Notes: No courses taken PDF may be applied to the major If students place out of Physics 155, they must take Physics 347Senior requirements: Geology 470 Senior assessment: Comprehensive written exams in both geology and physics One-hour oral exam by physics and geology facultyHonorso Students submit a Honors in Major Study Application to their departmento Students must submit a proposal for their thesis or project Must be submitted within the first six weeks of the two-semester period in whichstudent is eligibleo Accumulated at least 87 creditso Completed two semesters of residency at Whitman.o Cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 on all credits earned at Whitman Collegeo Major GPA of at least 3.500o Complete a written thesis or research project prepared exclusively for the satisfaction of thisprogramo Earn a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis or project and the honors thesis course.o Pass the senior assessment with distinctiono The department will submit the Honors applications to the Registrar’s Office of studentspursuing Honors by the specified deadlineo The department submit “Senior Assessment/Major Study Certificate” to the Registrar’s Officeno later the Reading Dayo An acceptable digital copy of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library nolater than Reading DayThe Physics-Environmental Studies combined major: The requirements are fully described in theEnvironmental Studies section of the catalog.The Physics/Pre-engineering (3/2 Engineering) program: The requirements are fully described in theCombined Plans section of the catalog.Program Planning: A typical program of the required physics courses and mathematics and statisticsrequirements for students taking a physics major with no advanced placement in calculus is as follows:I. First year: Mathematics 125 (three credits); Physics 155, Mathematics 126 (seven credits).II. Second year: Physics 156, Mathematics 225 (eight credits); Physics 245, 255, Mathematics 244 (eightcredits).III. Third year: Physics 325, a 2nd 300-level Physics course, Mathematics 240 (nine credits).IV. Fourth year: Physics 385 (four credits).Note that additional physics courses must be taken during the third and fourth years to meet the minimum creditrequirement. Every effort will be made to offer courses required for the major and combined majors every year.Upper-level electives will typically be offered in alternate years. Students seriously considering graduate studies in

physics or a physics-related field are encouraged to consult with their major advisor to design a course of study thatwill be best suited to their goals.Among other electives for the physics major, Computer Science 167 is highly recommended. A year ofchemistry also is recommended. Chemistry 345, Mathematics 349, 368, or 467 can be especially useful forphysicists.In the final semester of the senior year, the student must pass a senior assessment consisting of a written examand a one-hour oral exam.Non-major Courses: Courses numbered below 110 are intended for students majoring in fields otherthan science.General Physics: There are two versions of the introductory general physics sequence. Physics 145/146 isintended for students planning no further study in physics. Physics 155/156 is intended for students planning to takeupper level physics courses, including physics majors, physics combined majors, 3-2 engineering majors and BBMBmajors.101, 102 Special Topics3 creditsCourse designed for nonscience majors to explore some basic concepts of physics and their applications throughreadings, discussion, problem-solving, and occasional laboratory activities. Possible course titles include: HowThings Work, Light and Color, and Physical Science. The topic for each course will be designated prior toregistration for the semester in which the course will be taught. Students with AP credit for physics at Whitman orwho have received credit for Whitman’s Physics 145 or higher cannot receive credit for Physics 101 or 102. Anycurrent offerings follow.103 Sound and MusicNot offered 2020-213 creditsThis course will provide students with conceptual, quantitative, and laboratory based analysis of sound, musicalinstruments, music recording and storage, and room acoustics. Through detailed analysis of musical instruments asphysical systems, students will develop an understanding of important physical concepts including sound waves,harmonic oscillators, energy, standing waves, resonance, and more. The course will culminate in student projectsthat may include building an instrument, designing and executing an experimental investigation related to acoustics,or extending course material to a new area of inquiry through a research paper. The course will meet four hours aweek with two of those hours typically devoted to laboratory based learning.104 Quantum Physics: What Gives?Not offered 2020-213 creditsQuantum physics is the most precisely tested physical theory yet produced. It can explain the behavior of elementaryparticles, atoms, lasers, electronic circuits and nuclear reactors. Quantum physics promises to yield unbreakableencryption and ultrafast computation. Yet, its predictions often defy common sense; objects can be in multipleplaces at once and they appear to influence each other instantaneously over great distances. This course will providean introduction to the concepts of quantum physics with no prerequisites beyond algebra and trigonometry. Studentswith AP credit for physics at Whitman or who have received credit for Whitman’s Physics 145 or higher cannotreceive credit for Physics 104.105 Energy and the EnvironmentNot offered 2020-213 creditsThis course examines the physical principles that govern energy transformations. It will focus on the use of energyin the world, specifically its production, transportation, consumption and the implications this use has for theenvironment. Topics addressed will range from the mechanical to electricity and magnetism and fromthermodynamics to atomic/nuclear physics. Energy resources both new and traditional (fuel cells versus oil) will beaddressed as well as environmental issues ranging from global warming to the disposal of radioactive waste. Thiscourse assumes a basic familiarity with algebra.

115, 116 Contemporary Issues in PhysicsNot offered 2020-211 creditThis course serves as an introduction to contemporary issues and topics in physics. Through readings anddiscussions, students will explore the activities of modern-day physicists. Although this course is intended forstudents planning to continue toward a physics or physics-related major, it is an excellent course for studentswanting a better understanding of what physics is “all about” and how it is done, as a profession, at the beginning ofthe 21st century. Corequisites: for Physics 115: Physics 155; for Physics 116: Physics 156; or consent ofinstructor. Physics 115 and 116 each may be taken once for a total of two credits. No examinations. Gradedcredit/no credit only. Does not fulfill science or quantitative analysis distribution.145 General Physics I – with Applications to Life and Earth SciencesFallZajac4 creditsThis course focuses on classical mechanics: kinematics, Newton's Laws, energy and momentum conservation,torques, fluids, and waves. Examples and problems will focus on applications of physical principles to life and earthscience fields to a greater extent than in Physics 155. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enrollin an associated laboratory course (Physics 145L). Three 50-minute or two 80-minute class meetings and two 90minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Pre- orcorequisite: Mathematics 125.146 General Physics II – with Applications to Life and Earth SciencesSpringZajac4 creditsThis course is a continuation of the course Physics 145. Topics studied include electricity and magnetism, circuits,optics, nuclear and atomic physics. Examples and problems will focus on applications of physical principles to lifeand earth science fields to a greater extent than in Physics 156. Not intended for students planning to take upperlevel physics or biophysics. Students enrolling in Physics 146 also will be required to enroll in an associatedlaboratory course (Physics 146L). Three 50-minute or two 80-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratorymeetings per week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Prerequisites: Physics145, 155 and Mathematics 125.155 General Physics ISpringHoffman, Juers, Moore4 creditsThis course focuses on classical mechanics: kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, energy and momentumconservation, and waves. Students enrolling in this course also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratorycourse (Physics 155L). Three 50-minute or two 80-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetingsper week. Evaluation based on homework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Pre- or corequisite: Mathematics125.156 General Physics IIFallGresham, Hoffman4 creditsThis course is a continuation of the course Physics 155. Topics studied include electricity and magnetism, circuits,optics, plus brief introductions to more contemporary topics such as special relativity or quantum physics. Studentsenrolling in Physics 156 also will be required to enroll in an associated laboratory course (Physics 156L). Three 50minute or two 80-minute class meetings and two 90-minute laboratory meetings per week. Evaluation based onhomework, laboratory reports, and examinations. Prerequisite: Physics 145 or 155. Pre- or corequisite:Mathematics 126.200-203 Special Topics1-4 creditsAny current offerings follow.

245 Twentieth Century Physics ISpringJuers3 creditsTopics include thermodynamics, special relativity, nuclear decay and radiation, wave nature of particles,introduction to the Schrodinger Equation: infinite well. Mathematical methods relevant to these areas of inquiry willbe discussed: probability theory, differential equations. Prerequisites: Physics 156; Mathematics 126.Corequisite: Mathematics 225.255 Twentieth Century Physics LaboratorySpringStaff1 creditExperimental investigations of a variety of phenomena relating to the Physics 245 course. Experimental topicsstudied include: thermodynamics, nuclear decay and radiation, photoelectric effect and standing waves. Emphasis onexperimental technique, problem-solving, data analysis, and scientific writing. No examinations. One three-hourlaboratory per week.267 Analog & Digital Electronics and InstrumentationFallMoore3 creditsThis is a semester long course/laboratory combination that serves as an in-depth introduction to the theory andpractice of analog/digital electronics and instrumentation. The course content may include: combinational logic,Boolean algebra, Karnaugh maps, sequential logic, digital circuit design, AC signals, equivalent circuits, filtertheory and implementation, transistor theory and implementation, and operational amplifier circuits. Meets for one80 minute class and one 3-hour lab per week (two sections of lab offered). Prerequisite: Physics 245.300-303 Special Topics1-4 creditsAny current offerings follow:325 Electricity and MagnetismSpringZajac3 creditsElectrostatics, electric and magnetic properties of materials, electromagnetic theory. Maxwell’s equations,electromagnetic waves, boundary value problems. Includes mathematical methods of wide use in physics. Lecturesand problems. Prerequisites: Physics 245 and Mathematics 244.339 Advanced LaboratorySpringMoore3 creditsExperimental investigations of sophisticated analog and digital circuitry and the fundamental physics underpinningtheir operation. Students will employ programming tools to automate and enhance aspects of experimentaltechniques and subsequent analysis of data. Students will design and implement extensions to experiments inclassical and modern physics with an emphasis on laboratory technique, technical and scientific writing, andanalysis. The course will be a combination of lecture and laboratory activities meeting two days a week.Prerequisite: Physics 267.347 Classical MechanicsFallSanborn3 creditsNon-inertial coordinate systems, systems of particles, rigid body motion. Lagrangian mechanics, normal modes ofvibration, and Hamiltonian mechanics. Includes mathematical methods of wide use in physics. Lectures andproblems. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite: Physics 245.348 OpticsNot offered 2020-213 creditsModern physical o

General Physics: There are two versions of the introductory general physics sequence. Physics 145/146 is intended for students planning no further study in physics. Physics 155/156 is intended for students planning to take upper level physics courses, including physics majors, physics combined majors, 3-2 engineering majors and BBMB majors.

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