Undergraduate Courses


Our programs are designed to give you, in addition to the fundamentals of physics, a broad range of skills in laboratory techniques, critical thinking, computer use, and teamwork, which will serve you well in your chosen career. As a physics major, you are strongly encouraged to participate in physics research projects directed by faculty members.
101   Basic Physical Science
102   Physical Science
107   How Things Work
110   Awesome Ideas in Physics
111   Variational Calculus
117   General Physics I
118   General Physics II
125   Solar System Astronomy
126   Stars, Galaxies & Cosmology
141   Selected Topics in Physics I
142   Selected Topics in Physics II
171   Physics and Society
197   Physics I
198   Physics II
210   Life, Earth & the Cosmos
211   General Physics I
212   General Physics II
216   Intro to Relativity: Special Theory
217   Intro to Quantum Physics I
219   Energy and the Environment
241   Special Topics in Physics II
242   Selected Topics in Physics II
303   Intro to Modern Physics
304   Physics & Controversy
312   Intro Astrophysics
314   Physics of the Heart
316   Optics & Wave Physics Lab
318   Intro to Quantum Physics II
321   Electronics Laboratory
322   Physical Measurements Lab
341   Selected Topics in Physics III
342   Selected Topics in Physics III
344   Energy and Environmental Physics
350   Physics of the Brain
351   Intro to Biomedical Physics
352   Physics of Biomolecules
354   Physics of Living Systems
355   Physics of Vision
360   Biophysics Laboratory
400   Physical Science in 12 Problems
411   Mechanics
421   Electricity & Magnetism I
422   Electricity & Magnetism II
427   Intro to Computational Physics
435   Nuclear and Radiochemistry Lab
436   Intro to the Atomic Nucleus
441   Selected Topics in Physics IV
442   Selected Topics in Physics IV
444   Energy and Environmental Physics
446   Galactic Astrophysics
450   Physics of the Brain
452   Advanced Laboratory II
454   Physics of Living Systems
455   Physics of Vision
456   Stellar Astrophysics
460   X-ray & Gamma-ray Astrophysics
463   Stat Mech & Thermo
464   Mechanics of Continuous Media
471   Quantum Mechanics I
472   Solid State Physics
473   Quantum Mechanics II
474   Intro Nuclear&Particle Physics
476   Astrophysics
477   Nuclear Physics
478   From Black Holes to Big Bang
482   Research Seminar
499   Honors Program
500   Independent Work

Physics 101:   Basic Physical Science
Introduction to the concepts and modes of thought involved in understanding the physical world around us. Verbal reasoning is emphasized. Some of the questions to be answered using the laws of physics are: What holds an airplane up? What causes the strange sensations we feel on a roller coaster? Why will a leaky boat sink? What causes the tide? What makes a structure unstable? Why are astronauts "weightless" when in orbit? What are boiling and melting?
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 102:   Physical Science
Introduction to the concepts and modes of thought involved in understanding the physical world around us. Verbal reasoning will be emphasized. Some of the questions we will answer using the laws of physics are: What is the "sound barrier," and what happens when it is broken? What is the safest place to be in a lightning storm? How do electric generators and electric motors work? What are radio waves? What produces the changing colors of soap bubbles? Could one twin become younger than the other by taking a trip at nearly the speed of light? What is a black hole?
Prerequisite: Does not require Physics 101
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 107:   How Things Work
Why is the sky blue? How can a baseball curve? Natural and human-made phenomena can be understood by simple and basic ideas of physics. This course illustrates these underlying principles by using examples from everyday life as well as from physics and other fields. Because the phenomena are many and the principles are few, very different events sometimes have similar explanations; the class comes to understand how the changing pitch of an ambulance siren as it moves by is related to the expansion of the universe, and how the blue of the sky is related to the red of the sunset.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 110:   Awesome Ideas in Physics
The ideas of physics that have revolutionized our perception of the world and reality. Emphasis is on understanding a selected set of crucial concepts without losing track of the numbers. Using the writings of Hawking, Feynman, and Lightman, a study is made of such topics as energy and conservation laws, the relativity of time, the wave-particle duality, the modern microscopic picture of matter at the smallest and the largest distance scales, and the history of the universe.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 111:   Variational Calculus-A Mathematical Blade for Cutting Edge
Variational calculus, a fancy generalization of ordinary calculus, is the study of functionals, which are functions of functions. In ordinary calculus, which is the study of functions of numbers, one tries to find the number that extremizes (maximizes or minimizes) a function. In variational calculus one tries to find the special function that extremizes a functional. Variational calculus dates back to the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when it was invented to solve the famous brachistochrone problem. The brachistochrone is the name given to the special path that a particle must follow to minimize its time of flight if it is falling from one point to another point not directly beneath it. Galileo incorrectly stated in 1638 that this path was an arc of a circle. The correct path was discovered independently by Newton, Leibniz, l'Hopital, and the brothers Johann and Jakob Bernoulli. (Newton and Leibniz argued for years about whose solution was the earliest!) The applications of variational calculus are ubiquitous in modern science. Variational calculus is the mathematical setting for describing the physical world. In all areas of classical and quantum physics, the physical world is expressed in terms of functions that extremize specific functionals. In this seminar variational calculus will be explained at an elementary level and many of its applications in science will be examined. A good understanding of elementary first-year calculus is required to take this seminar.
Prerequisite: Math 131 (Calculus I)
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 117:   General Physics I
Calculus-based introduction to the concepts, laws, and structure of physics. The course is taught in a lecture-based style and requires students to complete weekly homework assignments. Topics include kinematics, Newton's laws, energy, linear momentum, angular momentum, the conservation laws, gravitational force, harmonic motion, wave motion and interference, sound, and special relativity. Concurrent registration in a Physics 117A lab section is required (Architecture students who do not need lab should enroll in lab section Z). Two evening exams, at which attendance is required, are given throughout the semester, followed by a required final exam at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Previous or concurrent enrollment in Calculus I (Math 131) or permission of instructor. Credit may not be obtained for both Physics 117A and Physics 197 and students may not simultaneously enroll in both courses.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 118:   General Physics II
Continuation of Physics 117A. Calculus-based introduction to the concepts, laws, and structure of physics. The course is taught in a lecture-based style and requires students to complete weekly homework assignments. Topics include electromagnetic forces and fields, direct current circuits, capacitance and inductance, electromagnetic radiation, light, geometrical and physical optics, interference and diffraction, early quantum theory, and nuclear physics. Concurrent registration in a Physics 118A lab section is required. Two evening exams, at which attendance is required, are given throughout the semester, followed by a required final exam at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Physics 117A, Physics 197, or permission of instructor. Previous or concurrent enrollment in Calculus II (Math 132) is strongly recommended. Credit may not be obtained for both Physics 118A and Physics 198.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 125:   Solar System Astronomy
Designed for the nonscience major, his course deals with the planets, their moons and rings, comets, meteorites, and interplanetary dust particles. To understand both classical astronomy and the results obtained from modern telescopes and the space program, basic scientific ideas (including optics and the laws of motion) are reviewed first. There is also some discussion of astronomical history to show how we have arrived at our present ideas of the structure and evolution of the solar system.
Prerequisite: High school algebra and trigonometry, or concurrent enrollment in Math 131
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 126:   Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
Intended as a general survey for the nonscience major. Topics include the structure and evolution of stars, such as red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes. Features of galaxies and quasars, cosmology and the big bang theory.
Prerequisite: High school algebra and trigonometry, or concurrent enrollment in Math 131
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 141:   Selected Topics in Physics I
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 142:   Selected Topics in Physics II
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 171:   Physics and Society
Introduction to physics: its goals, methods, and relevance for society. Topics include energy as a unifying principle of physics and society's use of energy: resources and costs. Nuclear energy: history, technology, radiation, waste, weapons. Global climate change: the greenhouse effect, the hole in the ozone layer. Science and government. Bad science, pseudoscience, and antiscience.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 197:   Physics I
Calculus-based introduction to the central concepts, laws, and structure of physics, presented in an active learning environment. The course is structured around three themes that are treated in depth: conservation laws, Newtonian physics, and special relativity. A daily regimen of homework and reading, as well as weekly homework assignments, small group problem-solving exercises, and active class participation are integral parts of this course. Concurrent registration in a Physics 197 lab section is required. Two evening exams, at which attendance is required, are given throughout the semester, followed by a required final exam at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Co-requisite: Calculus II (Math 132). Credit may not be obtained for both Physics 117A and Physics 197 and students may not simultaneously enroll in both courses.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 198:   Physics II
Continuation of Physics 197. Calculus-based introduction to the central concepts, laws, and structure of physics, presented in an active learning environment. The course is structured around three themes that are treated in depth: electricity and magnetism, quantum physics, and statistical and thermal physics. A daily regimen of homework and reading, as well as weekly homework assignments, small group problem-solving exercises, and active class participation are integral parts of this course. Concurrent registration in a Physics 198 lab section is required. Two evening exams, at which attendance is required, are given throughout the semester, followed by a required final exam at the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Physics 197 and Calculus II. Students who have not taken Physics 197 may not register for Physics 198 (no exceptions to this requirement will be made). Credit may not be obtained for both Physics 118A and Physics 198.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 210:   Epic of Evolution: Life, Earth & the Cosmos
The evolution of the universe, the Earth, and life, woven together. Themes of complexity, scale, chaos and entropy applied to the Big Bang, origin of matter, formation of the Earth, geological history, origin of life and evolution of species. The discussions are designed to deepen your scientific understanding as well as to explore the implications of the scientific epic upon philosophy, religion, literature, history, art, and ethics.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 211:   General Physics I
Introduction to the concepts, laws, and structure of physics. Mechanics, including Newton's laws, energy, linear momentum, angular momentum, the conservation laws, gravitational force, harmonic motion, wave motion, interference of waves, sound, heat, the first and second laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases. Three class hours and a 2.5 hour laboratory session each week.
Prerequisite: Previous or concurrent enrollment in Math 131 (Calculus I), or permission of instructor.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 212:   General Physics II
Continuation of Physics 211. Introduction to the concepts, laws, and structure of physics: electricity and magnetism, electromagnetic forces, direct current circuits, capacitance and inductance, electromagnetic radiation, light, geometrical and physical optics, interference and diffraction, the structure of matter. Three class hours and a 2.5 hour laboratory session each week.
Prerequisite: Physics 211, or permission of instructor.
Credit: 4 units.     (top)

Physics 216:   Introduction to Relativity: The Special Theory
Introduction to the special and general theories of relativity. Simple kinematics and dynamics, the twin paradox, the derivation and use of E=mc2. Curved space-time, black holes, gravitational waves.
Prerequisite: Physics 117 or 197, or permission of instructor
Credit: 1 units.     (top)

Physics 217:   Introduction to Quantum Physics I
Theoretical and experimental basis for quantum mechanics, following the historical development of 20th-century physics. Failure of classical physics; the Bohr theory of the atom; the Heisenberg uncertainty principle; the Schroedinger equation; atomic and molecular structure.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198, and Math 233 (may be taken concurrently)
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 219:   Energy and the Environment
Examination of the topic of energy from many human-relevant perspectives. Humans use an enormous amount of energy, at the rate of 18 terawatts. Where does this energy come from? How long will it last? What are the consequences? Examination of energy resources and consumption from scientific, social, economic, and political viewpoints. Relationship of energy to concepts such as heat, work, and power. Energy use by society. Energy sources, pros and cons of use, availability now and in the future. Types, abundance, advantages, challenges of renewable energy sources.
Prerequisite: 1 year of high-school physics or chemistry
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 241:   Special Topics in Physics II
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. Students hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the Department Chair.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 242:   Selected Topics in Physics II
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 303:   Introduction to Modern Physics
Designed specifically for students who are not physics majors. This is a course emphasizing a variety of topics in modern physics such as the special and general theories of relativity, the big-bang theory, quantum physics, the wave-particle duality for light and matter, lasers and superconductivity, and elementary particle physics. This course does not count toward a major in physics.
Prerequisite: High school algebra and trigonometry and sophomore standing
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 304:   Physics & Controversy: Galileo, Newton, & Oppenheimer
A focus on the controversies surrounding these scientists, as their effects on society became apparent. For each, there is an introduction to the basic science so that the social implications of the work can be understood in context. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed.
Prerequisite: High school algebra and sophomore standing. Must be taken for a letter grade.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 312:   Introduction to Astrophysics
Introduction to modern astronomy and astrophysics: stellar structure and evolution, nucleosynthesis, galactic structure, cosmology.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 314:   Physics of the Heart
Lecture and demonstration course of particular interest to premedical and life-sciences students. Physics of the human cardiovascular system. Energetics of the circulation. Electrocardiograms, phonocardiograms, echocardiograms (ultrasound).
Prerequisite: Previous or concurrent registration in Physics 118 or 198, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 316:   Optics and Wave Physics Laboratory
Introduction to optics and to treatment of experimental data. Experiments and lectures on refraction, interference, diffraction, polarization, and coherence properties of waves with emphasis on light. Data analysis using statistical methods. Two 4-hour lab sessions a week.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 318:   Introduction to Quantum Physics II
Application of elementary quantum principles to atomic and molecular physics, solid-state physics, and nuclear and particle physics.
Prerequisite: Physics 217
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 321:   Electronics Laboratory
Elements of linear and nonlinear circuits, amplifiers, feedback, with applications in experimental physics. Two 1-hour lectures and two 3-hour lab sessions a week.
Prerequisite: Physics 118 or 198, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 322:   Physical Measurements Laboratory
A variety of classical and modern experiments in physics, including five experiments in nuclear radiation. Use of computers in experiment control, data acquisition, and data analysis. Development of skills in writing lab notebooks and formal reports and giving short oral presentations on experiments. Two laboratory periods each week.
Prerequisite: Physics 217 or permission of instructor; junior or senior level standing
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 341:   Selected Topics in Physics III
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 342:   Selected Topics in Physics III
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 344:   Energy and Environmental Physics
This intermediate-level course applies basic physics principles to this increasingly important area. It is designed for all science and engineering majors with an interest in energy and environmental issues. Topics to be covered include population trends, fossil fuel use, renewable energy sources, energy storage strategies and climate change. Particular emphasis will be given to the use of the fundamental laws of physics, such as energy conservation, as well as more general concepts such as local and global stability, chaotic behavior, probability and risk. The aim of the course is the development of analytical skills and familiarity with important concepts, in order to enable an independent and informed view of environmental problems and possible solutions.
Prerequisite: A one-year introductory physics class on the level of Physics 117-118 or 197-198 is required.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 350:   Physics of the Brain
Concepts and techniques of physics are applied to study the functioning of neurons and neuronal circuits in the brain. Neurons and neural systems are modeled at two levels: (1) at the physical level, in terms of the electrical and chemical signals that are generated and transmitted and (2) at the information-processing level, in terms of the computational tasks performed. Specific topics include: neuronal electrophysiology, neural codes, neural plasticity, sensory processing, neural network architectures and learning algorithms, and neural networks as dynamical and statistical systems.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 351:   Introduction to Biomedical Physics
Principles and application of key physical methods used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and in biomedical research. Topics include interaction of radiation with living systems; electrical properties of organs and cells; imaging via X-rays, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance (MRI), and ultrasound; computed tomography (CT); positron emission tomography (PET).
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197,198
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 352:   Physics of Biomolecules
This course emphasizes the application of physical laws and concepts in understanding biomolecules and their interactions, and in developing tools to investigate their biological properties and functionalities. Topics include (1) a general introduction to biomolecules and cells, (2) physics of biopolymers as modeled by stochastic analyses, (3) transport processes in biological systems including diffusion, reaction kinetics, and "Life at low Reynolds number," and (4) the physics of fluorescence and its contemporary applications to dynamics of biomolecules, such as optical tweezers.
Prerequisite: Physics 117-118, or 197-198. Some familiarity with thermodynamics; chemistry 111A recommended.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 354:   Physics of Living Systems
Physical principles applied to key phenomena of life. Topics include, but not limited to sensing and responding to the external environment, motion of bacteria, and the spontaneous development of biological rhythms. The course proceeds by explication of key research papers, with background filled in as needed.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 and Chem 111 and 112
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 355:   Physics of Vision
How do the eyes capture an image and convert it to neural messages that ultimately result in visual experience? This lecture and demonstration course will cover the physics of how we see. The course is addressed to physics, premedical, and life-science students with an interest in biophysics. Topics include physical properties of light, evolution of the eyes, image formation in the eyes, image sampling with an array of photoreceptors, transducing light into electrical signals, color coding, retinal organization, computing with nerve cells, compressing the 3-D world into optic nerve signals, inferring the 3-D world from optic nerve signals, biomechanics of eye movement, and engineered vision in machines. The functional impact of biophysical mechanisms for visual experience will be illustrated with psychophysical demonstrations.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 360:   Biophysics Laboratory
This laboratory course consists of table-top experiments in biological physics that are designed to introduce the student to concepts, methods, and biological model systems in biophysics. Most experiments combine experimentation with computer simulations. The list of available experiments includes electrophysiology, human bioelectricity, optical tweezers, ultrasonic imaging, mass spectrometer, and viscosity measurements.
Prerequisite: Prior completion of Physics 117A and 118A OR 197 and 198 OR permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 400:   Physical Science in 12 Problems
Exercises related to general chemistry, classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, and kinetics, will be solved with numerical software. Each exercise will be accompanied by a lecture, a software template solving a problem and a related take-home problem. The software will allow us to focus on, and treat in a transparent fashion, physical problems without the unworldly idealizations and contrivances found in textbooks. A computer-assisted help session, at which attendance is encouraged, will take place on Th from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Lab Sciences 460. Students should try to schedule their classes to have at least one hour in the 12-3 p.m. window available for computer help.
Prerequisite: General Chemistry or General Physics and Calculus III
Credit: 1 units.     (top)

Physics 411:   Mechanics
Motion of a point particle, rotational motion, oscillation, gravitation and central forces, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 and Math 217, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 421:   Electricity and Magnetism I
Starting from Coulomb's law, the Blot-Savart law, and Faraday's law, the electric and magnetic fields are defined and applied. Maxwell's equations are derived and their consequences, such as electromagnetic waves and relativity, are explored.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 and Math 217, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 422:   Electricity and Magnetism II
Applications of Maxwell's equations: dielectric and magnetic materials, potential theory, generation and propagation of electromagnetic waves, reflection, refraction, waveguides, antennas.
Prerequisite: Physics 421 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 427:   Introduction to Computational Physics
Lectures and hands-on experience in computational physics combining topics in numerical analysis, algorithms, statistics, visualization, and computer algebra with projects in contemporary areas of physics.
Prerequisite: Physics 217 or equivalent and familiarity with a programming language such as BASIC
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 435:   Nuclear and Radiochemistry Lab
Application of radiochemical techniques to problems in chemistry, physics, and nuclear medicine. One lecture hour and five hours of laboratory a week.
Prerequisite: 3 Units of physical chemistry or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 436:   Introduction to the Atomic Nucleus
This course is an introduction to the atomic nucleus, radioactivity and the interaction of radiation with matter. Basic models for nuclear stability and structure are presented. All nuclear decay modes are thoroughly discussed as are how all forms of ionizing radiation interact with matter. Selected applications in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and medicine are discussed. Some of the technical issues and problems with nuclear power and nuclear waste are also presented.
Prerequisite: Calculus, and general chemistry or physics.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 441:   Selected Topics in Physics IV
Topics of special interest (e.g., superconductivity, quasicrystals, neural networks, chaos, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. A student hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 442:   Selected Topics in Physics IV
Topics of special interest (e.g., holography, relativity, nuclear power, computer applications in physics, etc.) may be studied under the supervision of a faculty member, variously by lectures, seminars, or individual study or research. Students hoping to arrange such a course must prepare a proposal and secure the instructor´s consent to undertake direction of the course from a faculty member and finally secure approval of the Department Chair.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 3 units a semester units.     (top)

Physics 444:   Energy and Environmental Physics
Same as Physics 344 except an independent project is also required.
Prerequisite: A one-year introductory physics class on the level of Physics 117-118 or 197-198 is required.
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 446:   Galactic Astrophysics
A critical survey of the astrophysical information derivable from investigations of the cosmic radiation detectable at the Earth; electromagnetic and nuclear interactions and their role in radiation detectors and in cosmic-ray physics; properties of the primary particle radiation; primary x- and gamma rays; theory of origin, acceleration, and propagation; radioastronomy as related to cosmic ray phenomena; the sun as a source of cosmic rays.
Prerequisite: Physics 312 and 411, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 450:   Physics of the Brain
Concepts and techniques of physics are applied to study the functioning of neurons and neuronal circuits in the brain. Neurons and neural systems are modeled at two levels: (1) at the physical level, in terms of the electrical and chemical signals that are generated and transmitted and (2) at the information-processing level, in terms of the computational tasks performed. Specific topics include: neuronal electrophysiology, neural codes, neural plasticity, sensory processing, neural network architectures and learning algorithms, and neural networks as dynamical and statistical systems.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 452:   Advanced Laboratory II
A number of relatively difficult experiments in classical and modern physics, including five experiments in nuclear radiation. Use of computers in experiment control, data acquisition, and data analysis. Development of skills in writing lab notebooks and formal reports and giving short oral presentations on experiments. Two lab periods per week.
Prerequisite: Physics 322
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 454:   Physics of Living Systems
Contents are the same as Physics 354. Also intended for graduate students. Includes a more sophisticated term project than Physics 354.
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 and Chem 111A and 112A
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 455:   Physics of Vision
Contents are the same as Phys 355. Also intended for graduate students. Includes a more sophisticated project than Physics. 355
Prerequisite: Physics 117, 118 or 197, 198 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 456:   Stellar Astrophysics
A quantitative study of physical processes in stars; stellar populations; birth, evolution, and death of stars; internal stellar structure and dynamics; energy generation; nucleosynthesis; variable stars and standard candles; supernovae; collapsed stars; compact binary sources.
Prerequisite: Physics 117/118 or 197/198 and Physics 312 and 318
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 460:   X-ray & Gamma-ray Astrophysics
The goal of this course is to provide an up to date coverage of X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy and astrophysics. Generation and observational techniques of energetic radiations from accreting neutron stars and black holes, supernova and supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei, interstellar and intergalactic matter, as well as related physics and model building will be discussed. The course will thus explore the most energetic phenomena in the universe and will also provide insight into diverse topics ranging from planetary exploration to dark matter and cosmology.
Prerequisite: Physics 117/118 or 197/198 and Physics 312 and 318
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 463:   Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
Basic methods of classical and quantum statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, and transport theory.
Prerequisite: Physics 217, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 464:   Mechanics of Continuous Media
Fundamentals of fluid dynamics. Generation, propagation, and detection of acoustic waves in fluids and solids. Elastic, thermal, and piezoelectric properties of isotropic and anisotropic solids.
Prerequisite: Vector calculus and intermediate thermodynamics, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 471:   Quantum Mechanics I
Origins of quantum theory, wave packets and uncertainty relations, Schroedinger's equation in one dimension, step potentials and harmonic oscillators, eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, Schroedinger's equation in three dimensions, the hydrogen atom, symmetry, spin and the periodic table, approximation methods for time-independent problems, quantum statistics.
Prerequisite: Physics 217 and 421, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 472:   Solid State Physics
Crystal structures, binding energies, thermal properties, dielectrics, magnetism, free electron theory of metals, band theory, semiconductors, defects in solids.
Prerequisite: Physics 471
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 473:   Quantum Mechanics II
Fundamental ideas of quantum mechanics, two-state systems and spin, angular momentum and the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, time-dependent perturbation theory, interaction of quantum systems with radiation, identical particles, atomic and molecular structure, quantum collision theory.
Prerequisite: Physics 471 and 421, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 474:   Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics
Introduction to the standard model of particle physics, including symmetries, conservation laws, the weak interaction, the strong interaction, quark confinement, and basic nuclear physics.
Prerequisite: Physics 471
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 476:   Astrophysics
Physical processes in stars; stellar populations; birth, evolution, and death of stars; energy generation; nucleosynthesis; variable stars; supernovae; collapsed objects; selected topics in galactic astrophysics, cosmology, and exobiology.
Prerequisite: Physics 411, 421, and 463, or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 477:   Nuclear Physics
Topics at the forefront of both experimental and theoretical research in nuclear physics. Background survey of classic topics includes independent particle models, collective motion in nuclei, nucleon interaction, RPA and Hartree-Fock methods, pairing phenomena, giant resonances, and statistical models for the decay of excited nuclei.
Prerequisite: Physics 318 or Phys 471 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 478:   From Black Holes to Big Bang
An introduction to general relativity. The goal will be to illustrate important features of general relativity without the full-blown mathematics of Einstein's equations, by restricting attention to spherically symmetric spacetimes. Topics will include: principle of equivalence; curved spacetime; spherical stars and black holes; the Big Bang model, observational cosmology.
Prerequisite: Physics 411 or permission of instructor
Credit: 3 units.     (top)

Physics 482:   Research Seminar
Designed to introduce students to current developments in physics and to research carried out by faculty. Topics vary each year. Each member of the department addresses research issues in their particular specialty.
Credit: 1 units.     (top)

Physics 499:   Honors Program
Program and credits to be determined.
Prerequisite: Junior standing, an average grade of B or better, and permission of the chair of the department.
Credit: Credit variable, maximum 6 units units.     (top)

Physics 500:   Independent Work
Program and credit to be determined
Prerequisite: Senior standing and permission of the chair of the department
Credit: Credit variables maximum 6 units units.     (top)