Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Professor Neal Weiner
Office: 726 Broadway, Room 1059
Professor Frank Moscatelli
Office: 726 Broadway, Room 838
Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Office: 726 Broadway, Room 1005C
Physics is the most basic of the natural sciences. It is concerned with understanding the world on all scales of length, time, and energy. The methods of physics are diverse, but they share a common objective to develop and refine fundamental models that quantitatively explain observations and the results of experiments. The discoveries of physics, exemplified by the laws of physics, rank among the most important achievements of human inquiry, and have had an enormous impact on human culture and civilization. Members of the department carry out research in the fields of astrophysics, biophysics, cosmology, elementary particle physics, gravitation, hard and soft condensed matter physics, and statistical physics. Experimental work is carried out in state-of-the art laboratories in the department and at national and international facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and astronomical telescopes in space.
The NYU SPS chapter organizes a mentoring program that pairs first-year students with upper division Physics Majors, organizes lunches for students, and sponsors weekly sessions where faculty are invited to discuss their research. There are many opportunities for faculty-student interaction. These include the weekly colloquium and weekly events such as the CCPP (Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics) Brown Bag, in which faculty present talks on their research.
The educational programs of the Department are aimed at providing a range of courses to meet the needs of different student groups. For undergraduate physics majors, there is a rigorous core program, exposure to current frontiers, and opportunities for research. For science majors outside physics there are technical courses that emphasize the fundamental physical laws that underpin other sciences; and for non-science majors there are non-technical courses that introduce some of the most important concepts of physics and their impact on the contemporary world.
Bederson, Brown, Glassgold, Hoffert, Hohenberg, Levy, Lowenstein, Richardson, Robinson, Rosenberg, Sculli
Silver Professors; Professors of Physics:
Collegiate Professors; Professors of Physics:
Budick, Gabadadze, Grier, Grosberg, Hogg, Kent, Nemethy, Percus, Porrati, Scoccimarro, Sokal, Stein, Stroke, Weiner, Zhang, Zwanziger
Brujic, Blanton, Cranmer, Gruzinov, Kleban, MacFadyen, Mitra, Sleator
Dubovsky, Gershow, Haas, Modjaz, Pullen, Ruderman, Tinker, Wray, Zidovska
Majors: The Major programs are designed to meet a number of goals: They provide good preparation for graduate school; indeed many of the Majors go on to some of the world's best graduate programs. They develop a range of technical skills, most of which relate to the challenging intellectual problems of building quantitative theoretical models and making precise measurements of physically interesting phenomena. The Major programs are also designed to satisfy curiosity about the fundamental laws that govern every aspect of the world from the interactions of subatomic particles to the origin and behavior of the entire Universe.
The Major programs are simultaneously very deep and very broad. Course work includes both theoretical subjects and experimental activity in laboratories. The programs are designed to give students flexibility in Years 3 and 4 to pursue interdisciplinary activities, spend time abroad, or go into greater depth in a subject or into original research.
The Department is a collegial place where the faculty and the students get to know one another well; there are regular formal and informal seminars; there is a thriving Society of Physics Students; and students and faculty often collaborate on original research problems. Many of the Majors participate in original research and co-author scientific publications. For all of these reasons, and in addition to the rigor of the courses, the Majors are extremely well prepared for a wide range of activities—not just in scientific research, but also in professional and engineering pursuits—or any area where abstract thinking and quantitative modeling of real systems is necessary and rewarded.
Non-majors: For non-science majors, there are non-technical courses that introduce some of the concepts and events that are most important to understanding physics and its impact on the contemporary world. For science majors outside of physics, there are technical courses that bring breadth or ideas about fundamental laws that underpin the other sciences. The Department provides courses designed to meet the pre-professional goals of pre-health students and students in engineering disciplines.
Minors: There are Minor programs in Physics and Astrophysics for students who are interested in obtaining significant experience in the ideas of physics without committing to the Major or without obtaining a comprehensive mathematical background.
SUGGESTED PROGRAMS FOR MAJORS IN PHYSICS
Bachelor of Arts in Physics: The Major in Physics consists of the following courses:
Year 1: MATH-UA 121 Calculus I, MATH-UA 122 Calculus II, PHYS-UA 91 Physics I, PHYS-UA 71 Introductory Experimental Physics I Lab, PHYS-UA 93 Physics II, and PHYS-UA 72 Introductory Experimental Physics II Lab
Year 2: MATH-UA 123 Calculus III, PHYS-UA 95 Physics III, PHYS-UA 73 Intermediate Experimental Physics I, PHYS-UA 120 Dynamics, PHYS-UA 106 Mathematical Physics, and PHYS-UA 74 Intermediate Experimental Physics II
Years 3 and 4: PHYS-UA 112 Advanced Experimental Physics, PHYS-UA 123 Quantum Mechanics I, PHYS-UA 131 Electricity & Magnetism I, PHYS-UA 140 Thermal & Statistical Physics, and two electives from among the advanced Physics courses equal to or higher than PHYS-UA 110.
For students planning to do graduate work in physics or related areas, it is recommended that they take the following courses in year 3 or 4:
PHYS-UA 120 Dynamics, PHYS-UA 124 Quantum Mechanics II, and PHYS-UA 210 Computational Physics.
Mathematics: The calculus requirement may be satisfied by taking Honors Calculus I, II (MATH-UA 221,0222) or Calculus I, II, III (MATH-UA 121-123). Students who take the Honors Calculus sequence begin it in the fall semester of their freshman year. Students who take Calculus I, II, III are encouraged to also take Linear Algebra (MATH-UA 140) before taking Mathematical Physics, PHY-UA 106. Variations may be constructed with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. In addition, Students are advised to take advanced mathematics courses as they proceed in the Major.
Double major including physics: The Major offers flexibility to complete the requirements for a second major in the College. Students may wish to combine a major in physics with a major in a field such as mathematics, computer science, chemistry, economics, or biology. Students should consult the director of undergraduate studies in their freshman year to outline a program that is best tailored to their needs.
Bachelor of Science in Physics:
The B.S. degree involves breadth in the sciences in addition to the Physics Major. The B.S. degree in physics will be granted to students completing the following:
- The required courses for the B.A. Major, including one of the Physics electives
- Computational Physics (PHYS-UA 210)
- Two courses in chemistry at or above the level of General Chemistry I, II (CHEM-UA 125, 126) or Accelerated General Chemistry (CHEM-UA 129)
- A course in biology at or above the level of Principles of Biology (BIOL-UA 11) or in chemistry above the level of General Chemistry II (CHEM-UA 126)
Minor in Physics: Provides the student with a general survey of the field, plus specialized study. Consists of four of the following courses, or three of the following courses plus one of the courses listed under the minor in astronomy, except PHYS-UA 15: PHYS-UA 11 General Physics I, PHYS-UA 12 General Physics II, PHYS-UA 15 Introduction to Cosmology, and PHYS-UA 20 20th-Century Concepts of Space, Time, and Matter; and all courses numbered above and including PHYS-UA 91 (except for pure laboratory courses).
Minor in Astronomy: Provides a comprehensive introduction to astronomy, including modern concepts, historical ideas, and observational experience. Consists of four courses: PHYS-UA 07 The Universe: Its Nature and History, plus the following three courses (or two of the following, and one of the courses listed under the minor in physics, except PHYS-UA 15): PHYS-UA 13 Observational Astronomy, PHYS-UA 15 Introduction to Cosmology, and PHYS-UA 150 Astrophysics.
Students who have completed at least 64 points of graded work in the College may be awarded degrees with departmental honors in Physics if they complete the designated honors requirements and maintain the requisite grade point average. There are two levels: honors and high honors.
Qualifying students should be encouraged to prepare and apply for honors in Physics. Students seeking an honors degree should satisfy the requirements for the BA or BS degree in Physics.
Students seeking graduation with departmental honors are expected to have a minimum grade point average of 3.65, both overall and in the major. In rare cases where a candidate for admission to the honors program falls short of the expected minimum GPA, the director of undergraduate studies may petition the director of college honors for an exception. In all cases, once admitted to the honors program, students are expected to maintain the GPA at the stipulated level in order to graduate with departmental honors. Should there be an exceptional circumstance in which the stipulated GPA is not maintained, the director of college honors may be petitioned for an exception.
Honors programs must, minimally, be a two-term (for credit) research experience that includes a capstone research project. The capstone project, which typically culminates in a thesis, should reflect sustained original research over two semesters. A committee of three faculty members of the Department will be created for each honors student. The honors thesis must be approved by the Thesis Committee who will judge if the research is of sufficient quality. The two-term for credit research experience is completed by registering for either Independent Study PHYS-UA 997 in the fall or PHYS-UA 998. To apply for Independent Study, you must complete the Independent Study Request Form with your Faculty Supervisor and also have it signed by the DUGS of Physics. Submit it to Bill LePage, Undergraduate Program Administrator, 726 BW, 1005C. Publication in a recognized research journal of an article reporting research done primarily by the student is prima facie evidence that the research is deserving of honors. Because of inevitable delay in publication, an article submitted for publication may not be published in the time available, and the thesis committee may express its opinion that the thesis is of publishable quality. A Departmental committee, the default membership being the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, will make recommendations for graduation with high honors.
All students completing departmental honors must make public presentations of their work, which may be at the CAS Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) held at the end of the academic year, or in a departmental forum (e.g., oral defenses or presentations), or at a recognized physics conference.
Students with double majors in discrete, unrelated disciplines must complete honors programs in each major for which they seek honors. Students with double majors in interdisciplinary or related fields may, if the two departments concur, convene a joint honors committee to establish an interdisciplinary research program of course work that culminates in a single thesis. Similarly, in the case of joint majors, the relevant departments must work out an agreement on the requirements for honors and on the supervision and evaluation of students' theses or projects. To apply for the Honors Program in Physics, complete the Honors Application, have it signed by the DUGS, and return it to Bill LePage.
The following courses are lectures unless otherwise indicated.
The Universe: Its Nature and History
PHYS-UA 7 Offered every year. 4 points.
Qualitative introduction to our understanding of the nature and evolution of the universe. Topics include the creation of the cosmos; its explosive evolution, present structure, and ultimate fate; the nature of stars and galaxies; the structure and evolution of our Milky Way; the birth, life, and eventual death of the solar system; our place and role in the universe; and the relationship of modern astronomical ideas to other cultural disciplines.
Sound and Music
PHYS-UA 10 Assumes high school-level mathematics background. Offered every year. 4 points.
Explores the production of musical sound and how it is perceived by us, dealing mainly with the physical basis of sound. Covers sound waves, resonance, how musical instruments produce sound, the concepts of scales and harmony, physical acoustics, physiological factors of perception, acoustics of auditoria, and sound recording and reproduction. Develops the necessary physics for the course, as needed.
General Physics I
PHYS-UA 11 Prerequisite: Calculus I (MATH-UA 121) with a minimum grade of C or equivalent, or completion of the Mathematics for Economics I and II sequence (MATH-UA 211 and 212), or permission of the instructor. Lecture, laboratory, and recitation. Not open to students who have completed Physics I (PHYS-UA 91) with a grade of C-minus or better. Offered in the fall. 5 points.
Begins a two-semester introduction to physics intended primarily for preprofessional students and for those majoring in a science other than physics, although well-prepared students may wish to take the Physics I, II, III three-semester sequence for majors (with corequisite laboratories), below. Topics include kinematics and dynamics of particles; momentum, work, and energy; gravitation; circular, angular, and harmonic motion; mechanical and thermal properties of solids, liquids, and gases.
General Physics II
PHYS-UA 12 Prerequisite: General Physics I (PHYS-UA 11) with a grade of C-minus or better or permission of the department. Lecture, laboratory, and recitation. Offered in the spring. 5 points.
Continuation of General Physics I (PHYS-UA 11). Topics include electric charge, field, and potential; magnetic forces and fields; resistive, capacitive, and inductive circuits; electromagnetic induction; wave motion; electromagnetic waves; geometrical optics; interference, diffraction, and polarization of light; relativity; atomic and nuclear structure; elementary particle physics.
PHYS-UA 13 Prerequisite: The Universe: Its Nature and History (PHYS-UA 7) or higher, or permission of the instructor for nonscience majors and minors; no prerequisite for science majors and minors or those who have satisfied the Core Natural Science I requirement. Lecture and laboratory. Offered every year. 4 points.
Introduction to the theory and practice of technical amateur astronomy. The approach is hands-on, with weekly evening laboratory/observing sessions. Topics include astronomical coordinate systems, optics, how to use a telescope, and the phenomena that can be seen in the urban night sky. Observing sessions involve the use of eight-inch telescopes.
Introduction to Cosmology
PHYS-UA 15 Assumes high-school level mathematics background. Offered every year. Lecture. 4 points.
A technical but elementary introduction to the modern understanding of cosmology, intended for non-science majors. Covers advances in cosmology over the last 100 years, with special emphasis on more recent developments in the field. Topics range from the early universe to galaxy formation in the present day universe, through the lenses of the theories of relativity and the expanding universe. Examines the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background, dark matter, dark energy, and the associated evidence for these phenomena.
20th-Century Concepts of Space, Time, and Matter
PHYS-UA 20 Assumes high school-level geometry and intermediate algebra background. Not open to students who have completed Natural Science I: Einstein's Universe (CORE-UA 204). Offered every year. 4 points.
The 20th century witnessed two major revolutions in man's concepts of space, time, and matter. Einstein's special and general theories of relativity: implications of the special theory for our understanding of the unity of space and time, and of the general theory for our understanding of the nature of gravity. Quantum mechanics: a new picture of the basic structure and interactions of atoms, molecules, and nuclei. Topics include the uncertainty principle, wave-particle duality, and the continuing search for the fundamental constituents of matter.
Introductory Experimental Physics I
PHYS-UA 71 Typically taken with Physics I (PHYS-UA 91). Offered in the fall. 2 points.
Introduces essential experimental techniques, including setup and operation of basic laboratory equipment, elementary experimental design, statistics and inference, and computational data analysis. Experimental techniques are introduced in the context of classic physics experiments.
Introductory Experimental Physics II
PHYS-UA 72 Prerequisite: Introductory Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 71). Typically taken with Physics II (PHYS-UA 93). Offered in the spring. 2 points.
Continuation of Introductory Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 71).
Intermediate Experimental Physics I
PHYS-UA 73 Prerequisite: Introductory Experimental Physics II (PHYS-UA 72). Typically taken with Physics III (PHYS-UA 95). Offered in the fall. 2 points.
Develops further the experimental techniques introduced in Introductory Experimental Physics I, II (PHYS-UA 71, 72) in the context of more advanced experiments.
Intermediate Experimental Physics II
PHYS-UA 74 Prerequisite: Intermediate Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 73). Offered in the spring. 2 points.
Continuation of Intermediate Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 73).
PHYS-UA 91 Corequisite: Calculus I (MATH-UA 121) or Honors Calculus I: Accelerated Calculus with Linear Algebra (MATH-UA 221). Physics majors must also register for Introductory Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 71). Lecture and recitation. Offered in the fall. 3 points.
With PHYS-UA 93 and PHYS-UA 95, forms a three-semester sequence that must be taken in order, starting in the fall semester. Intended for physics majors and other interested science and mathematics majors. Topics include kinematics and dynamics of particles; energy and momentum; rotational kinematics and dynamics; harmonic oscillators; gravitational fields and potentials; special relativity.
PHYS-UA 93 Prerequisite: Physics I (PHYS-UA 91) with a grade of C or better, or permission of the department. Corequisite: Calculus II (MATH-UA 122) or Honors Calculus II: Accelerated Calculus with Linear Algebra (MATH-UA 222). Physics majors must also register for Introductory Experimental Physics II (PHYS-UA 72). Lecture and recitation. Offered in the spring. 3 points.
Continuation of Physics I (PHYS-UA 91). Topics include electrostatics; dielectrics; currents and circuits; the magnetic field and magnetic materials; induction; AC circuits; Maxwell's equations.
PHYS-UA 95 Prerequisite: Physics II (PHYS-UA 93) with a grade of C or better, or permission of the department. Corequisite: Calculus III (MATH-UA 123). Physics majors must also register for Intermediate Experimental Physics I (PHYS-UA 73). Offered in the fall. 3 points.
Continuation of Physics II (PHYS-UA 93). Topics include harmonic oscillators and resonance, coupled oscillators, normal modes, and waves; mechanical vibrations, sound and light; Fourier series and Fourier transforms; reflection, refraction, interference, and diffraction of waves; polarization. This is the third semester of a three-semester calculus-based introduction to physics and is intended for physics majors and other interested students.
Classical and Quantum Waves
PHYS-UA 105 Prerequisite: Physics III (PHYS-UA 95), and either Calculus III (MATH-UA 123) or Honors Calculus II: Accelerated Calculus with Linear Algebra (MATH-UA 222). Physics majors must also register for Intermediate Experimental Physics II (PHYS-UA 74). Lecture and recitation. 3 points.
Topics include linear and nonlinear oscillators, resonance, coupled oscillators, normal modes, mechanical waves, light, matter waves, Fourier analysis, Fourier optics (diffraction), and an introduction to numerical (computer) methods for solving differential equations.
PHYS-UA 106 Prerequisite: Physics III (PHYS-UA 95). Lecture and recitation. Offered in the spring. 3 points.
Mathematical preparation for the junior and senior courses in physics. Vector analysis, Fourier series and integrals, ordinary differential equations, matrices, partial differential equations, and boundary-value problems.
Electronics for Scientists
PHYS-UA 110 Identical to BIOL-UA 110, CHEM-UA 671. Prerequisite: General Physics II (PHYS-UA 12) or Physics II (PHYS-UA 93) or permission of the instructor. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in the fall. 5 points.
Introduction to basic analog and digital electronics used in modern experiments and computers, for students from any science discipline. Basic concepts and devices presented in lecture are studied in the laboratory. Topics include filters, power supplies, transistors, operational amplifiers, digital logic gates, and both combinatorial and sequential digital circuits. Students learn the functions of modern electronic instrumentation and measurement.
Advanced Experimental Physics
PHYS-UA 112 Prerequisites: Intermediate Experimental Physics I, II (PHYS-UA 73, 74) and Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS-UA 123), or permission of the instructor. Laboratory. Offered every year. 3 points.
Introduces the experiments and techniques of modern physics. Students choose their experiments and may use microcomputers for data analysis. Experimental areas include optical spectroscopy, the Mössbauer effect, cosmic rays, magnetic resonance, condensed matter, and relativistic mass.
Advanced Mathematical Physics
PHYS-UA 115 Prerequisite: PHYS-UA 106 or the equivalent. 3 points.
An advanced course in mathematical physics intended to prepare students for more advanced physics and engineering courses. Topics include, but are not limited to, probability theory, advanced ordinary and partial differential equations, differential geometry, complex variable theory, topology, homotopy, and group representation theory.
PHYS-UA 120 Prerequisite: Physics III (PHYS-UA 95); corequisite: Mathematical Physics (PHYS-UA 106). Offered in the spring. 3 points.
Topics include conservation laws, central force motion, Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equations, non-inertial frames, inertia tensor, rigid body dynamics, coupled oscillators and particles, eigenvalues, eigenvectors and normal modes.
Quantum Mechanics I
PHYS-UA 123 Prerequisite: Dynamics (PHYS-UA 120) and Mathematical Physics (PHYS-UA 106). Offered every year. 3 points.
Introduction to the experimental basis and formal mathematical structure of quantum mechanics. Topics include foundational experiments, wave-particle duality, wave functions, the uncertainty principle, the time-independent Schrödinger equation and its applications to one-dimensional problems and the hydrogen atom, angular momentum, and spin; Hilbert Space, operators, and observables; time-independent perturbation theory; atomic spectra.
Quantum Mechanics II
PHYS-UA 124 Prerequisite: Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS-UA 123). Offered every year. 3 points.
Continuation of Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS-UA 123). Topics include the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, the Schrödinger and Heisenberg description of quantum systems, time-dependent perturbation theory, scattering theory, quantum statistics, and applications to atomic, molecular, nuclear, and elementary particle physics.
Electricity and Magnetism I
PHYS-UA 131 Prerequisites: Dynamics (PHYS-UA 120). Offered every year. 3 points.
Introduction to electrodynamics with applications to physical problems. Topics include electrostatics, magnetostatics, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic forces, electromagnetic waves, radiation from accelerating charges and currents, and special relativity.
PHYS-UA 133 Prerequisite: Classical and Quantum Waves (PHYS-UA 105) or permission of the instructor. 3 points.
Introduction to physical and geometrical optics. Wave phenomena including diffraction, interference, first-order and higher-order coherence. Holography, phase contrast and atomic force microscopy, and limits of resolution are some of the subjects included. Topics include atomic energy levels and radiative transitions, and detectors from photon counting to bolometers for infrared radiation.
Condensed Matter Physics
PHYS-UA 135 Prerequisite: Dynamics (PHYS-UA 120) or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. 3 points.
Designed as an introduction to condensed matter physics for students with knowledge of elementary quantum mechanics. Topics include crystal structure, lattice vibrations, and the energy band theory of metals and semiconductors; the electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of solids; and some modern research topics, such as the physics of nanostructures, soft condensed matter physics, and superconductivity.
Readings in Particle Physics
PHYS-UA 136 Prerequisite: Mathematical Physics (PHYS-UA 106). Offered every other year. 3 points.
The fundamental constituents of matter and the forces between them are microscopic, but also connect to the large-scale realms of astrophysics and cosmology. Close reading of journal articles in which the most important advances in elementary particle physics were first published, with overview lectures, discussion, and student presentations. Topics include the discovery of elementary particles in cosmic rays, antimatter, symmetries found in nature, and the invention of the Quark model of elementary particles and its experimental verification.
Quantum Information and Quantum Computing
PHYS-UA 138 Prerequisite: Quantum Mechanics I (PHYS-UA 123). Offered every two years. 4 points.
Quantum mechanical systems can be thought of as information-storing, information-processing, and information-transmitting systems. The theory of quantum information contains many surprising and counter-intuitive results, and can potentially have a significant impact on our lives and society. Topics include density operators, quantum communication, teleportation, quantum cryptography, entanglement and the Bell Inequalities, quantum computing, quantum algorithms, quantum error correction, quantum circuits, and experimental developments.
Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHYS-UA 140 Prerequisites: Dynamics (PHYS-UA 120). Offered every year. 3 points.
Topics include relation of entropy to probability and energy to temperature; the laws of thermodynamics; Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac statistics; equations of state for simple gases and chemical and magnetic systems; and elementary theory of phase transitions.
PHYS-UA 150 Prerequisite: Physics III (PHYS-UA 95) or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Introduction to modern astrophysical problems with an emphasis on the physical concepts involved: radio, optical, and X-ray astronomy; stellar structure and evolution; white dwarfs, pulsars, and black holes; and galaxies, quasars, and cosmology.
Physics of Biology
PHYS-UA 160 Prerequisite: Physics III (PHYS-UA 95). Offered every other year. 3 points.
Basic biological processes at all levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismal, and population) in the light of simple ideas from physics. Topics include self-assembly, molecular motors, low Reynolds fluid dynamics, optical imaging, and single-molecule manipulation. Intended for students with a background in mathematics and the physical sciences.
PHYS-UA 170 Prerequisite: Dynamics (PHYS-UA 120) or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year in the spring. 3 points.
Provides an introduction to general relativity, stressing physical phenomena and their connection to experiments and observations. Topics include special relativity, gravity as geometry, black holes, gravitational waves, cosmology, Einstein equations.
Introduction to Fluid Dynamics
PHYS-UA 180 Identical to MATH-UA 230. Prerequisite: Calculus III (MATH-UA 123); Mathematical Physics (PHYS-UA 106) is recommended. Offered every year. 4 points.
Key concepts of fluid dynamics: the formalism of continuum mechanics, the conservation of mass, energy and momentum in a fluid, the Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, and viscosity and vorticity. Concepts are applied to such classic problems as potential flow around a cylinder, the Stokes flow, the propagation of sound and gravity waves, and the onset of instability in shear flow.
Philosophy of Physics
PHYS-UA 190 Identical to PHIL-UA 94. Offered every other year. 4 points.
We will investigate different approaches to understanding space and time, and how the account of space-time structure has evolved in physics. One of the main objectives is to have a clear and accurate understanding of the Special Theory of Relativity, detailed enough to allow the student to solve some physics problems. This will require a bit of mathematics, but not more than algebra. We will discuss the General Theory of Relativity in a more qualitative way, including an account of the structure of black holes. Philosophy students do not need any further background in physics or mathematics, and physics students will not benefit from greater mathematical sophistication. We will also study the relevant history of physics and philosophy, particularly the debate between Newton and Leibniz about the nature of space and time. There will be two lectures each week and a recitation section.
PHYS-UA 210 Prerequisites: Mathematical Physics (PHYS-UA 106) or permission of the instructor, and knowledge of a scientific programming language (such as C, C++, Fortran, or Python). Offered every year. 4 points.
Introduction to computational physics, with an emphasis on fields of current research interest in which numerical techniques provide unique physical insight. Topics are chosen from various branches of physics, including numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, eigenvalue problems, Monte Carlo methods in statistical mechanics, field theory, dynamical systems, and chaos.
Special Topics in Physics
PHYS-UA 800 Prerequisites vary with the topic. Offered occasionally. 3 points.
Covers advanced topics or recent developments in physics. Detailed course descriptions are made available when topics are announced.
PHYS-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Offered in the fall and spring respectively. 2 to 4 points per term.