Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Course Descriptions

    Department of Physic
   McPheeters-Dennis Hall, Room 102
   (404) 880-8797


Course Descriptions

PHY 102/102L. Physical Science
3 credits
Basic course in physical science which satisfies the core science requirement for all non-science majors. Topics include concepts of measurements, motion, astronomy, chemical processes, conservation of energy, and properties of heat, electricity and light. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) two-hour laboratory per week.

PHY 104/104L. Introduction to Earth System Science
4 credits
Course provides a scientific understanding of the physical earth system - lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and solar system. Topics include: common landforms, identification of mineral and rock specimens, major types of earth movements, dating of rock strata, fundamentals of the hydrologic cycle, introduction to oceanography, properties and processes in the earth's atmosphere, and elementary concepts of astronomy. Students are also required to attend one (1) two-hour laboratory each week. This course can be used to satisfy the core science requirements for all non-science majors.

PHY 105. Orientation to Earth System Science
1 credit
An introduction to the opportunities, career choices, problems and curricula in the Earth System Science Program.

PHY 106/106L. Introduction to Earth System Science II
4 credits
A more quantitative discussion of topics covered in PHY 104. Topics include: isostasy, origin of magma, plate tectonics, aerial photographs, map projections, geologic maps, water balance, and observational astronomy. Environmental hazards will be studied: volcanic, flood, dryland, coastal, earthquake, and groundwater risks. This course fulfills the requirement for middle-school education majors who have a concentration in science. Prerequisite: PHY 104.

PHY 111/111L. General and Modern Physics

4 credits
Lecture and laboratory course for students who desire a basic background in physics. Required for Biology and Chemistry majors. Topics include introduction to basic physics concepts of mechanics, heat, and sound, with emphasis on applications in broad areas such as chemistry and biology. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: three (3) units of high school mathematics, including algebra and trigonometry.

PHY 112/112L. General and Modern Physics
4 credits
Continuation of PHY 111. Introduces students to basic principles in the physics of electricity, magnetism, optics, and atomic physics. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: PHY 111.

PHY 121/PHY 121L. Physics I: Mechanics
3 credits (Lecture) + 1 credit (Laboratory)
An introductory physics course for students with a background in basic calculus. Topics include kinematics, dynamics, laws of conservation of momentum and energy, rational motion, oscillatory motion. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) three-hour laboratory per week. Pre- or Co-requisite: MAT 111.

PHY 122/PHY 122L. Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism
3 credits (Lecture) + 1 credit (Laboratory)
Continuation of Physics 121. Students explore electromagnetic forces, induction, static and time-dependent electromagnetic fields, electric circuits, fields and potentials, and electromagnetic waves. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: PHY 121. Pre- or Co-requisite: MAT 112.

PHY 123/PHY 123L. Physics III: Waves, Light, and Heat
3 credits (Lecture) + 1 credit (Laboratory)
A continuation of PHY 121 and 122. Topics include wave propagation, sound, heat, and principles of thermodynamics, geometric optics, physical optics, atomic physics, and nuclear physics. Three (3) lecture hours and one (1) three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: PHY 122.

PHY 211. Modern Physics
3 credits
Basic study of atomic and nuclear physics, with emphasis on the experimental foundation of these subjects. Topics include introduction to the theory of relativity, atomic theory of matter, Rutherford scattering, photoelectric effect, production and characteristics of x-rays, lasers, introductory quantum physics, atomic spectra, radio-activity, elementary particles, and particle accelerators. Three (3) one-hour lectures per week. Prerequisites: PHY 123 or PHY 112.

PHY 301. Co-op Program
3 credits
Academic credit for physics majors working during the academic year in approved industry positions. To receive credit for cooperative experiences, students must secure approval from the Department chairperson, who will arrange internships with project monitors at specific work sites. Students who do not follow this procedure will not receive cooperative academic credit.

PHY 312. Optics
4 credits
Study of the electromagnetic theory of light and the interactions of light and matter. Topics include geometrical optics and optical instrumentation, physical optics (diffraction and interference effects), spectroscopy and interferometry. Certain topics in modern optics, such as holography and lasers, also are discussed. Three (3) one-hour lectures and one (1) four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: PHY 123.

PHY 321. Mathematical Physics I
3 credits
Application of mathematical techniques to physical systems. A review of basic concepts of differential and integral calculus. Topics include infinite sequences and series, systems of linear determinants and matrices, and special functions. The course emphasizes numerical methods and application to physics and chemistry. Three (3) one-hour discussion and problem sessions per week. Prerequisites: PHY 123 or PHY 112.

PHY 322. Mathematical Physics II
3 credits
Continuation of PHY 321. Topics includes partial differentiation, multiple integral, first- and second-order ordinary differential equations, numerical methods of solving differential equations, vector algebra, vector analysis, probability, and statistics. Prerequisite: PHY 321.

PHY 331. Classical Mechanics
3 credits
A rigorous development of the concepts of classical physics and the mathematical techniques used therein. Study of the common mathematical formalism in vector analysis, hydrodynamics, and electromagnetism. Other topics include Galilean relativity, kinematics and dynamics of particle systems, rigid bodies, oscillations, wave motion, and Lagrangian mechanics. Three (3) one-hour lectures per week. Prerequisites: PHY 123.

PHY 332. Electromagnetic Theory
3 credits
Physical and mathematical foundations of electromagnetism. Students explore electrostatic fields and potentials, electric fields around conductors, electric current, field of moving charges, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction. Maxwell's equations, alternating current circuits, electric fields in matter, free oscillations in systems with many degrees of freedom, forced oscillations, traveling waves, modulations, pulse and wave packets, reflection, polarization, and interference and diffraction. Four (4) one-hour lectures per week. Prerequisite: PHY 123.

PHY 341. Advanced Lab 1
3 credits
Consists of introduction to classical experiments of physics such as the measurement of the charge to mass of the electron, Planck's constant, Milliken oil drop experiment, and others. Advanced laboratory techniques and data analysis are also covered. Prerequisite: PHY 123.

PHY 350. Physics of Earth Systems
3 credits
Fundamental principles of radiation, absorption and emission of radiation, solar and terrestrial radiation, radiative transfer and heating rates, surface and global energy balances, role of greenhouse gases, aerosols and clouds in climate change.

PHY 353. Weather Analysis and Prediction
4 credits
Provides an introduction to atmospheric structure and synoptic meteorology. Laboratory exercises include weather analysis and forecasting.

PHY 355. Atmospheric Thermodynamics
3 credits
Atmospheric composition, equation of state, first and second laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamics of dry and moist atmospheres, thermodynamic diagrams, static and dynamic atmospheric stability. Prerequisites: MAT 112 and PHY 121.

PHY 357. Atmospheric Aerosols
4 credits
Physical and chemical properties of aerosol particles, natural and anathropogenic sources, techniques for detecting and measuring aerosols, spatial distribution of aerosol particles, the role of particles in atmospheric chemistry, air pollution and cloud formation, as well as optical properties and their effects on atmospheric visibility. Topics also include radiative effects and implications for the earth's climate. Prerequisites: MAT 211 and PHY 121.

PHY 360. Numerical Methods in Earth System Science
3 credits
Most of today's geoscience problems can be represented in mathematical form as ordinary and partial differential equations. Course provides an opportunity for students to understand the physical aspects of geoscientific phenomena using mathematical methods as tools. Prerequisites: MAT 212, MAT 214, and CIS 103.

PHY 365. Dynamics of the Earth System
3 credits
Description and theory of atmospheric and oceanic motion: analysis of forces; accelerated reference frames; conservation equations of mass, momentum and energy; scaling; pressure coordinates; geostropic and gradient flow; thermal wind; trajectories; circulation and vorticity. Prerequisites: PHY 355.

PHY 370. Earth System Measurements
3 credits
Physical principles of seismic, hydrological and atmospheric instruments, static and dynamic performance characteristics, use of data loggers in instrumentation and in measurement systems. Prerequisites: CIS 103, MAT 211, and PHY 121.

PHY 375. Instrumentation Electronics
4 credits
Physical concepts of electronics, basic test instruments, electronics mathematics, DC and AC circuit analysis, measurement errors, linear circuits, digital electronics, systems, solid state electronics, components and transducers. Prerequisites: PHY 112 or PHY 123.

PHY 401/402. Physics and Society
0 credit
This course satisfies the University community service requirements. Students will examine how physics affects society and how society affects physics. They will examine and practice ways to address community problems and concerns using their background in physics. At least fifteen (15) hours of community service are required. This course may be repeated. Only one (1) semester is required.

PHY 411. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
3 credits
The concepts and methods of classical thermodynamics and its relation to statistical mechanics. Topics include thermodynamic laws, kinetic theory, and thermodynamic functions and their application to simple systems. Three (3) one-hour lectures per week. Prerequisite: PHY 321.

PHY 412. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
3 credits
Concepts of wave particle duality, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, and Schrödinger's Wave Equation, with applications to potential problems of the hydrogen atom and atomic spectra, first-order perturbation theory, spin orbit interaction, and particle theory. Three (3) one-hour lectures per week. Prerequisite: PHY 332.

PHY 421 and 422. Undergraduate Research I and II
3 credits each
Individual exposure to the methodology of experimental and theoretical research in physics. Experiments emphasize modern physical techniques and require considerable independent reading and investigation. Theoretical and computational research require strong math- and computer-related skills. Individual schedules are arranged at the beginning of the term, depending on the student's interest and experience. Prerequisite: permission of Department chairperson.

PHY 441/442. Internship
3 credits
Professional work experience for students during the summer months. Interns may work in Atlanta, or in other locations. To receive academic credit for internship, students must secure approval from the Department chairperson, who will arrange internships with project monitors at specific work sites. Students who do not follow this procedure will not receive internship academic credit.

PHY 445. Introduction to Micrometeorology
4 credits
Energy budget and radiation balance near the surface; air temperature, humidity and wind distribution in the atmospheric boundary layer; viscous flows and turbulence; neutral boundary layers, momentum and heat exchanges with homogeneous surfaces; nonhomogeneous, boundary layers, agricultural and forest meteorology. Prerequisite: PHY 375.

PHY 450. Radiative Transfer and Passive Remote Sensing
4 credits
Fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation. Emphasis on solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere, scattering and absorption of solar radiation in the atmosphere, infrared transfer in the atmosphere. Measurement of scattered sunlight or radiation emitted by the atmosphere using ultraviolet, visible, infrared or microwave sensors. Prerequisite: PHY 123.

PHY 452. Active Remote Sensing
4 credits
Principles of meteorological sensors; radar principles, radar equation, radar applications and accuracy; sodar and lidar equations, applications and accuracy; interpretation of data from active and passive remote sensing systems. Prerequisite: PHY 375.

PHY 460. Atmospheric Chemistry
4 credits
Basic structure of the planet; detailed structure of the atmosphere; how the present atmosphere evolved from the primordial atmosphere; what happens to solar radiation as it passes through the atmosphere; the presence of oxygen and its relation to ozone and living systems; chemical equilibrium and rates of reactions; differences between reactions with rates that depend primarily upon temperature versus sunlight; Chapman's theory of ozone formation in the stratosphere; improvements to the simple model; the role of aerosols on chemical change; the role of chlorofluorocarbons on the "ozone hole"; cycles in the lower atmosphere; urban photochemical smog and acid-rain; chemistry on other planets. Prerequisites: MAT 111 and CHE 112.

PHY 470. Earth System Modeling
4 credits
Application of numerical modeling techniques to the earth system; use of computer modules representative of earth system components presented as hands-on laboratory exercises, including impact of basic energy exchange processes on temperature and evolution of horizontal motions in the atmosphere; satellite data. Prerequisite: PHY 360.

PHY 501: Classical Mechanics.
3 credits
Dynamics of particles and rigid bodies; the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation; Poisson brackets, Hamilton-Jacobi Theory, classical scattering theory, theory of small oscillation.

PHY 503: Electrodynamics.
3 credits
Maxwell's equations and applications; electrostatics, dielectrics, magnetostatics, scalar and vector potentials; conservation laws; multiple moments and multiple radiation; dispersion; special relativity.

PHY 504: Modern Optics.
3 credits
Concepts of Modern Optics starting with Maxwell's equations including topics such as reflection and refraction, wave propagation in anisotropic media, diffraction, interference, lasers, holography, and the theory of optical wave guides. Prerequisite: PHY 322 (Electromagnetic theory).

PHY 515-516: Quantum Mechanics I and II.
3 credits each
Nonrelativisitic quantum mechanics; representation of dynamical variables as operators or matrices; theory of angular momentum; motion in a centrally symmetric field; perturbation theory; identical particles and spin; theory of classical collisions; semi-classical treatment of radiation.

PHY 520: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics.
3 credits
Review of first, second and third laws; irreversible processes; microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles; the density matrix; Bose and Fermi systems. Kinetic theory and the Boltzmann transport equation.

PHY 531-532: Mathematical Methods I and II.
3 credits each
Vector analysis, orthogonal curvilinear coordinates; the calculus of variations; functions of a complex variable; ordinary and partial differential equations, hypergeometric functions; orthogonal functions; integral transform methods; Green's functions and integral equations.

PHY 540: Solid State Physics.
3 credits
Brillouin zone treatment of metals, semi-conductors and insulators; approximation methods of determining properties of real solids; comparison between theory and experiment for selected solid state phenomena.

PHY 545: Atomic and Nuclear Physics.
3 credits
Quantum theory of atomic and nuclear processes. Hartee-Fock approximation, fine and hyperfine structure, atomic collision; nucleon-nucleon potentials and scattering, shell and collective models, correlation in nuclear matter.

PHY 550: Physics of Fluids.
3 credits
Basic processes in liquids, gases, magneto-fluids and plasmas; Navier-Stokes equation, non-Newtonian fluids, compressible and incompressible flow, shock structure, kinetic theory, classical transport, turbulence.

PHY 565: Physics of Surfaces.
3 credits
Fundamentals of physical methods for studying the structures, composition, vibrational and electronic properties of solid surfaces including the verification of principles in laboratory experiments.

PHY 570: Radiation Physics.
3 credits
Radioactivity, interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter, radiation quantities and units; x-rays, gamma rays, neutron activation, interaction of charged particles with matter, stopping power, range-energy relations, counting statistics shielding, dosimetry, waste disposal, criticality prevention, radiation biology and ecology.

PHY 585-586: Applied Quantum Mechanics I and II.
3 credits each
Application of quantum mechanical principles to the solution of selected problems in atomic, molecular, nuclear and solid-state physics.

PHY 595-596: Laboratory I and II.
3 credits each
Provides an opportunity for the student to master the theory and operation of typical research grade physical measurement instruments and instrumentation systems: mechanical transducers, electronic data recording and processing devices, optical and particle spectrometers, computer interfacing; in the second course, experimental techniques particular to an on-going experimental research effort under supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Admission by consent of the faculty member in the research area.

PHY 601-602: Departmental Seminar.
0 credit
Required of all graduate students in the Department.

PHY 603: Thesis or Non-Thesis Research.
Variable Credits
Designed to assist students in the development and writing of the thesis or the non-thesis research project.

PHY 604: Thesis or Non-Thesis Research Project Consultation
1 credits
Designed for students who are in the final stage of thesis writing or non-thesis research project writing, which requires minimal supervision and assistance.

PHY 605: Optical Fiber Measurements I.
3 credits
Introduction to the hands-on experience needed to master the basic concepts and laboratory techniques of optical fiber technology; includes a wide range of applications in both optical communications and sensors using both multimode and single-mode fibers.

PHY 606: Modern Optical Measurements II.
3 credits
Continuation of Optical Fiber Measurements I with emphasis on more complex measurements and calibration on topics such as polarization-maintaining fibers, communication sources and detectors and communication systems.

PHY 607: Advanced Optics.
3 credits
Surveys topics in advanced optics such as electromagnetic wave scattering and propagation in unperturbed, perturbed and non-linear dielectric media. Prerequisite: PHY 504 (Modern Optics).

PHY 608: Quantum Optics.
3 credits
Surveys topics in quantum optics such as quantum mechanics, quantum coherence theory, coherent states, squeezed states and simple laser systems. Prerequisite: PHY 504 (Modern Optics).

PHY 610: Philosophy of Science.
3 credits
Treatment of ontological, epistemological, and methodological presuppositions underlying physical theory and experiment; problems of demarcation, verification and evolution of scientific knowledge; social implications of scientific research.

PHY 615: Special Topics in Physics.
3 credits
Special topics of current interest such as general relativity, quantum field theory, scattering theory, elementary particle theory, astrophysics, etc.

PHY 620: Introduction to Atmospheric Science.
3 credits
Dynamics of atmospheric processes; spectroscopy of atomic and molecular species; photodynamics and photokinetics of photochemical processes; instrumental techniques, including infrared, atomic emissions, atomic absorption, etc.