Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy
The department offers several general introductory sequences, as well as some nontechnical courses listed in the following section.
If there is any doubt about which sequence to take, an adviser in the physics department should be consulted. If a course is taken in one of these sequences, credit cannot also be given for a course (in another sequence) that covers substantially similar topics. Students who wish to switch from one sequence to another should consult a departmental adviser, as should students who change their major or who have advanced standing.
These courses have no prerequisites in physics or mathematics: 106, 109, 110, 140. Most are relatively non-mathematical. Physics 106 discusses fundamental concepts of physics from a historical, sociological and religious point of view. Physics 109 and 110 are descriptive courses designed for nonscientists, requiring only minimal high school mathematics. Either may be taken without taking the other. Physics 140 is concerned with the scientific aspects of global warming. It is intended for liberal arts majors and is closed to natural science majors.
The Department offers a major in physics and a major in astrophysics. Requirements for the latter are described on a separate page. For the major in physics, there are four options available. In all physics major Options, at least 15 credits of physics courses at the 300-level or higher that are applied towards the major must be completed at Rutgers New Brunswick.
In addition the department offers a five-year program in cooperation with the College of Engineering, leading to a degree in engineering and a degree in physics.
Prospective majors should consult an adviser in the physics department before choosing their courses.
Required courses and suggested curricula for honors students and other well-prepared students:
An alternate curriculum is available for students who did not begin with the Honors Physics sequence:
Students who took 01:750:203-204 (or 201-202) as their introductory physics sequence should consult a departmental adviser to plan an appropriate curriculum for the professional physics major.
A grade-point average of at least a C in the courses applied toward the major is required for graduation in the applied option.
At least a C average in the physics and mathematics courses is required for admission, retention, and graduation in the general option. Four of the six advanced physics courses must be taken at Rutgers- New Brunswick.
This is a dual degree program, providing a B.A. or B.S. in physics and a B.S. in an engineering major.
In addition to the courses taken in one of the four-year engineering programs, the following courses are required for the B.A. in physics: 01:750:385-386, 361, either 351 or 305, one advanced lab (387 or 389 or 343), and any three additional 300- or 400-level physics courses, excluding the 490-level. Students who desire a B.S. in physics should consult a departmental adviser.
The student must also satisfy the graduation requirements of the School of Arts and Sciences and complete a minor in a subject other than a natural science. All courses used for the B.A. degree may also be used for the engineering B.S. degree, where appropriate, without taking replacement credits.
The chairperson of the department will invite physics majors who have shown considerable ability by the end of their junior year to participate in the departmental honors program. Candidates for honors either (1) take 01:750:495 and 496, write a thesis and conduct a seminar on a project undertaken in the senior year, or (2) take two Physics and Astronomy graduate courses. Honors are awarded on the basis of the excellence of the honors project (if applicable), general performance in physics courses, and recommendations of the faculty.
The department offers two minors-- one in physics and one in astronomy.
The following courses are required for the physics minor:
01:750:203-204 (or any other equivalent physics sequence)
01:750:205-206 (or 229-230 or 275-276)
Twelve credits of any 300- or 400-level physics courses. Recommended courses include 01:750:301, 305, 313, 323-324, 341, 342, 397.
The grade-point average for all courses applied toward the minor must be at least 2.0. No more than one D may be applied toward the minor. Three of the four advanced physics elective courses must be taken at Rutgers- New Brunswick.
The following courses are required for the astronomy minor:
01:750:203-204 (or any other equivalent physics sequence)
01:750:205-206 (or 229-230 or 275-276)
01:750:341, 342, 343, 344
The grade-point average for all courses applied toward the minor must be at least 2.0. No more than one D may be applied toward the minor. Three of the four 300-level courses must be taken at Rutgers- New Brunswick. Physics majors or minors who also wish to minor in astronomy must complete 01:750:341, 342, 343, 344. These courses may not also be used to satisfy requirements for the major or minor in physics.
Many of the courses listed below have home pages on the Web. Links to these pages can be found at http://www.physics.rutgers.edu/homes-ugcourses.shtml.
01:750:106. CONCEPTS OF PHYSICS FOR HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE STUDENTS (3)
Not for credit towards physics major or minor.Concepts of physics and astronomy in their scientific, social, historical, and current technological context, with no mathematical problem-solving. How the physical universe works, from mechanics and the solar system to relativity, quantum behavior, and the Big Bang. Contributions of scientists from Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton through Einstein, Bohr and up to the present time.
01:750:109,110. ASTRONOMY AND COSMOLOGY (3,3)
No prerequisite. For nonscience majors. May not be taken for major credit. Courses are independent and may be taken in either order or concurrently.A predominantly descriptive introduction to current ideas concerning the nature and origin of the earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe; neutron stars and black holes; the "big-bang"; the possibility of life outside the earth. 109: Development of our understanding of the solar system from the time of the Greeks to the present day. 110: Current understanding of stars, galaxies and the universe.
01:750:115-116. EXTENDED ANALYTICAL PHYSICS I (3,3)
Lec. 2 hrs., workshop 3 hrs. Corequisites: 01:640:112 or 115 (first term), 01:640:CALC1 (second term). Sequence 01:750:115-116 is equivalent to 01:750:123-124, if both 01:750:115 and 116 are taken. Intended for engineering students who need extra help in preparing for 01:750:227-228.Together with 01:750:227-228 forms a thorough introductory sequence. First term: graphs, orders of magnitude, units, dimensions, errors and precision, review of mathematics useful to physics, kinematics, vectors, force and Newton's laws. Second term: energy, momentum, rotational motion, oscillations, liquids, and thermal physics, including the laws of thermodynamics and the kinetic theory of gases.
01:750:120. RESEARCH METHODS IN X-RAY ASTROPHYSICS (3)
Prerequisite: 01:640:112 or higher or placement.Methods for investigating stellar parameters, stellar evolutions, and x-ray sources, using NASA archives on the Internet.
Course to have a substantial online component.
01:750:123-124. ANALYTICAL PHYSICS I (2,2)
Lec. 1 hr., rec. 1 hr. Corequisite: 01:640:151-152. Primarily for engineering and physics majors. This course should be followed by 01:750:227-228 (or 204 if changing major).Forms a thorough introductory sequence together with 01:750:227-228. Kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, angular momentum, heat, and kinetic theory.
01:750:140. THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT (3)
For nonscience majors; may not be taken for major credit in science and engineering. Credit not given for both this course and 01:160:140, 01:450:140, or 01:556:140.The physical and chemical bases of the "greenhouse effect" and its global impact: biological, climatic, economic, and political. Reducing the emission of "greenhouse" gases; nuclear energy, and other alternative energy sources.
01:750:161. ELEMENTS OF PHYSICS (4)
Lec. 3 hrs., workshop/lab 3 hrs. Prerequisite: 01:640:112 or 115. Primarily for pharmacy students, but suitable for well-prepared liberal arts majors.Survey of major topics in physics, such as motion, fluids, waves, electricity, electrical circuits, radioactivity, relativity, and atomic structure, with emphasis on developing laboratory and problem-solving skills.
01:750:193-194. PHYSICS FOR THE SCIENCES (4,4)
Lec. 2 hrs., workshop 1.5 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisite: 01:640:112 or 115 or equivalent.Introduction to physics with biological, ecological, and chemical applications. Selected topics in mechanics, thermodynamics, fluids, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Integrated laboratory experiments.
01:750:201-202. EXTENDED GENERAL PHYSICS (5,5)
Two 80-min. lecs., one 80-min. workshop, lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisite: 01:640:112 or 115 (first term); Corequisite: 01:640:CALC1 (second term); or permission of instructor. Sequence 01:750:201-202 is an integrated program equivalent to 01:750:203-204 and 205-206. Intended for science, science teaching, and pre-health profession majors with a nontraditional background or who would benefit from additional support.Elementary but detailed analysis of fundamental topics. First term: review of mathematical skills useful for physics, vectors, kinematics, Newton's laws including gravitation, conservation laws, fluids, thermal physics. Second term: electricity and magnetism, geometrical and wave optics, relativity and modern physics.
01:750:203-204. GENERAL PHYSICS (3,3)
Lec. 2 hrs., rec. 1 hr. Corequisites: 01:750:205-206 and any calculus course. Primarily for students in scientific curricula other than physics.Elementary but detailed analysis of fundamental topics; motion, gravitation, momentum, energy, electromagnetism, waves, heat, kinetic theory, quantum effects, atomic and nuclear structure.
01:750:205-206. GENERAL PHYSICS LABORATORY (1,1)
Corequisites: 01:750:203-204.Laboratory to complement 01:750:203-204.
01:750:227. ANALYTICAL PHYSICS IIA (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:123-124 or 271. Students should also enroll in 01:750:229 lab. Primarily for engineering and physics majors.Electrostatics, particles in electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetism, circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation.
01:750:228. ANALYTICAL PHYSICS IIB (3)
Prerequisite: 01:750:227 or 272 or 204. Students should also enroll in 01:750:230 lab. Primarily for engineering and physics majors.Waves and optics, relativity, quantum properties of electrons and photons, wave mechanics, atomic, solid state, nuclear and elementary particle physics.
01:750:229-230. ANALYTICAL PHYSICS II LABORATORY (1,1)
Corequisites: 01:750:227 and 228.Laboratory to complement 01:750:227 and 228.
01:750:271-272. HONORS PHYSICS I,II (3,3)
Prerequisite: Enrollment in an honors program or permission of the department.Introduction to classical physics, covering mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics, waves, electricity, magnetism, and optics.
Corequisite: 01:640:CALC1 (for 271); 01:640:CALC2 (for 272).
01:750:273. HONORS PHYSICS III (3)
Prerequisite: 01:750:272 or permission of the department and 01:640:CALC2.Relativity, wave and quantum properties of photons and electrons, the structure of atoms, molecules, and solids; nuclear physics; elementary particles.
01:750:275-276. CLASSICAL PHYSICS LABORATORY (1,1)
Prerequisite: Enrollment in an honors program or permission of the department.Experiments in classical physics.
For physics majors and honors students.
01:750:301. PHYSICS OF SOUND (3)
Prerequisites: Two terms of introductory physics and two terms of calculus.The scientific basis of sound: waves, vibrating systems, normal modes, Fourier analysis and synthesis, perception and measurement of sound, noise, musical instruments, room acoustics, sound recording and reproduction, electronic synthesizers, and digital sound.
Primarily for science majors.
01:750:305. MODERN OPTICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:227-228 or 272-273 or permission of instructor; 01:640:CALC3.Geometrical optics; electromagnetic waves, the wave equation; superposition, interference, diffraction, polarization, and coherence; holography; multilayer films, Fresnel equations; blackbody radiation, Einstein coefficients, lasers; waveguides and fiber optics; optical properties of materials.
01:750:313. MODERN PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:204 or 228; 01:640:CALC2.Relativistic mechanics, wave and quantum properties of photons and electrons, Schrodinger equation and its application to the structure of atoms, molecules, and solids; nuclear physics; elementary particles.
01:750:323-324. ADVANCED GENERAL PHYSICS (3,3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:203-204 or permission of instructor; two terms of calculus.For students in the general physics program and others who wish a course beyond elementary physics. Self-paced course in which the students work independently under the guidance of the instructor. The student should normally be free to participate in at least two of the scheduled periods. Material chosen from mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, optics, quantum mechanics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics.
01:750:326. INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER-BASED EXPERIMENTATION AND PHYSICS COMPUTING (4)
Prerequisites: 01:750:203-204, 205-206; or equivalent.Experiments in mechanics, electromagnetism, and modern physics, emphasizing error analysis. Uses the computer as a laboratory tool for symbolic manipulation, data collection, data analysis, simulation, and report writing.
01:750:327. MODERN INSTRUMENTATION (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:203-204 and 205-206, or equivalent. Required for physics majors, but also suitable for psychology, biological sciences, and other physical science majors.Theory and use of integrated circuits and their interconnection to produce measuring devices, control apparatus, and interfaces for such devices to microcomputers.
01:750:341,342. PRINCIPLES OF ASTROPHYSICS (3,3)
Prerequisites: Two terms of introductory physics and two terms of calculus. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:341,342.Properties and processes of the solar system, the stars, and the galaxies; origin of the elements; evolution of the stars and the universe; neutron stars and black holes.
01:750:343. OBSERVATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY (3)
Lec. 1.5 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisites: 01:750:341,342 or permission of instructor. Lab schedule will vary through the semester. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:343.Observational study of the solar system, stars, and galaxies, using the Serin 3 meter radio telescope. Emphasizes computer techniques for data reduction and analysis. Topics may include calibrating system properties, the variability of the Sun, Jupiter, or quasars, and mapping the distribution of hydrogen in our Milky Way galaxy and measuring its rotation.
01:750:344. OBSERVATIONAL OPTICAL ASTRONOMY (3)
Lec. 1.5 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisites: 01:750:341,342 or permission of instructor. Students must have nighttime hours free for observing. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:344.Observational study of the solar system, stars, and galaxies, using the Serin 0.5 meter optical telescope. Emphasizes computer techniques for data reduction and analysis. Topics may include the dimensions of lunar features, planetary satellite orbits, color-magnitude diagrams for star clusters, and the structure and colors of galaxies.
01:750:351. THERMAL PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:227 or 272 or permission of the instructor; 01:640:CALC3.Principles of thermodynamics with physical and chemical applications: energy, entropy, and temperature, the three laws of thermodynamics, cycles, open systems, critical phenomena, chemical equilibrium, ideal gas reactions, phase rule, phase diagrams, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics.
01:750:361. QUANTUM MECHANICS AND ATOMIC PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:640:CALC4; 01:750:228 or 273 or permission of instructor.Introductory quantum mechanics: matter waves, uncertainty principle, stationary states and operators; the Schrodinger equation and its solutions for simple potentials; the hydrogen atom, quantization of angular momentum, spin; complex atoms and molecules.
01:750:368. JUNIOR SEMINAR (1)
For physics majors only.Development of communication skills needed by professionals in physics and related fields. Oral and written reports, discussions of topics of current interest, and career options.
01:750:381-382. MECHANICS (3,3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:124 or 203 or 271; Corequisite: 01:640:CALC3 or permission of instructor. A theoretical course, primarily for physics majors.Intermediate treatment of Newtonian mechanics, including particle dynamics, rigid body motion, accelerated and rotating reference frames, Lagrange's and Hamilton's equations.
01:750:385-386. ELECTROMAGNETISM (3,3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:227 or 272 or 324 or permission of instructor; 01:640:CALC3.An intermediate course for physics majors and others who wish a thorough discussion of the fundamental laws of electromagnetism; electric and magnetic fields, dielectric and magnetic materials, D.C. and A.C. circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic radiation.
01:750:387-388. EXPERIMENTAL MODERN PHYSICS (3,3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:326, 327; corequisite: 361 or 313 or permission of instructor. Credit not given for both 01:750:387 and 389.Experiments in atomic, nuclear, condensed matter, and surface physics.
01:750:389. EXPERIMENTAL APPLIED PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:326, 327; corequisite: 361 or 313 or permission of instructor. Credit not given for both 01:750:387 and 389.Experiments in classical and modern physics emphasizing techniques useful for applications.
01:750:397. PHYSICS OF MODERN DEVICES (3)
Prerequisites: Two terms of introductory physics and a course in calculus.Physical laws and principles underlying modern devices and processes; examples including motors, generators, refrigerators, vacuum tubes, transistors, radio and television receivers, computers, rockets, nuclear reactors, radiation detectors, lasers, and holograms.
01:750:406. INTRODUCTORY SOLID STATE PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:361 and 386, or permission of instructor.The fundamental properties of metals, insulators and semiconductors; dielectrics, magnetism, superconductivity.
01:750:417. INTERMEDIATE QUANTUM MECHANICS (3)
Prerequisite: 01:750:361.Vector space formulation, operators, eigenfunctions, bound states, angular momentum, central potentials, approximation methods, scattering.
01:750:418. NUCLEI AND PARTICLES (3)
Prerequisite: 01:750:361.Nuclear forces and models; classification and interactions of elementary particles.
01:750:441. STARS AND STAR FORMATION (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:361, 385-386. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:441.Observed properties of stars. Internal structure of stars, energy generation and transport, neutrinos, solar oscillations. Evolution of isolated and double stars, red giants, white dwarfs, variable stars, supernovae. Challenges presented by formation of stars, importance of magnetic fields. Pre-main sequence stellar evolution.
01:750:442. HIGH ENERGY ASTROPHYSICS AND RADIATIVE PROCESSES (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:361, 385-386. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:442.Radiation and scattering processes in plasma. Detection and X- and gamma-rays. Supernovae and remnants, pulsars. Gamma-ray bursts. Accretion disks and binary star outbursts. Quasars and active galactic nuclei. Cosmic rays.
01:750:443. GALAXIES AND THE MILKY WAY (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:381-382, 385-386. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:443.Properties of galaxies: photometry, kinematics and masses. Disk galaxies: spiral patterns, bars and warps, gas content, star formation rates, chemical evolution. Elliptical galaxies: shapes. Structure of the Milky Way. Nature of dark matter.
01:750:444. INTRODUCTION TO COSMOLOGY (3)
Prerequisites: 01:750:361, 385-386. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:444.Expansion of the universe, techniques for distance estimation. Large-scale structure of universe. Cosmological models: open, closed, flat and accelerating universes. Microwave background: observations, properties and origin. Problems of standard cosmology and preliminary concept of inflation.
01:750:451. PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY (3)
Two 80-min. lecs., one 55-min. rec. Credit not given for both this course and 11:628:451 or 16:712:501. Prerequisite: 01:750:204.Principles of ocean physics. Mass, momentum, heat, and freshwater conservation and atmospheric exchange. Influence of Earth's rotation. The ocean's role in climate. Tides, waves, and currents. Effects of ocean circulation on its biology and chemistry.
01:750:464. MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS (3)
Prerequisites: 01:640:423 or equivalent.Physical applications of linear algebra, the exterior calculus, differential forms, complexes and cohomology. Applications will include Hamiltonian dynamics, normal mode analysis, Markov processes, thermodynamics, Schroedinger's equation, special relativity, electrostatics, magnetostatics, Maxwell's equations, and wave equations.
01:750:487,488. SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHYSICS (3,3)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.Study of selected areas in physics.
01:750:491,492. RESEARCH IN PHYSICS (BA,BA)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.Independent research supervised by a member of the department.
01:750:493,494. INDEPENDENT STUDY IN PHYSICS (1-4,1-4)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.Independent study supervised by a member of the department.
01:750:495,496. HONORS IN PHYSICS (1-4,1-4)
Prerequisite: Invitation of chairperson.Supervised independent research or reading in experimental or theoretical physics culminating in a seminar conducted by the student. 01:750:497,498. HONORS IN ASTRONOMY (1-4,1-4)
Prerequisite: Invitation of chairperson. Credit not given for both this course and 01:105:497,498.Supervised independent research or reading in astronomy, culminating in a seminar conducted by the student.
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