 2022–2023 Courses:
 Browse by Course Number
 Browse by Term

ASTR 110: Introduction to Astronomy
An introduction to current astronomy with an emphasis on how we know what we know. Topics include the solar system; the life cycles of stars; pulsars, quasars, and black holes; and the history and future fate of the universe. No mathematics background beyond high school algebra and trigonometry is assumed. 6 credits; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Science with Lab; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · Ryan Terrien, Cindy Blaha 
ASTR 113: Observational and Laboratory Astronomy
Theory and practice of basic techniques in observational and laboratory astronomy. Certain problems involve the use of the 16inch and 8inch telescopes. Prerequisites: Astronomy 100, 110, 127, 232, 233, Physics 226, 228, 232, 233 or instructor permission 3 credits; S/CR/NC; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022, Spring 2023 · Valerie Fox 
PHYS 123: What Physicists Do
A program of five lectures by invited speakers that is intended to give students some perspective on the kinds of work done by people with a physics background. Visitors from industry, government, business, and research and educational institutions will discuss their work and workrelated experiences. The abstracts for the talks can be found at https://www.carleton.edu/physicsastronomy/phys123speakerseries/.
Prerequisites: Physics 131, 143, 144, 145, 151, 152, or 165. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Arjendu Pattanayak 
PHYS 131: Introduction to Physics: Newtonian Mechanics and Lab
A traditional introduction to classical mechanics using the Newtonian worldview. The kinematics and dynamics of some simple systems are investigated using Newton’s laws, vector analysis, and the conservation laws of momentum and energy. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 101 or 111, not open to students who have completed Physics 143, 144 or 145 at Carleton 3 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Evan Rich, Valerie Fox 
PHYS 143: Physical Systems: Mechanics and Relativity and Lab
This course begins with an introduction to classical mechanics using the Newtonian worldview. The kinematics and dynamics of some simple systems are investigated using Newton’s laws, vector analysis, and the conservation laws of momentum and energy. The course moves beyond the Newtonian framework to address topics including special relativity and also selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Previous completion or concurrent registration in Mathematics 120 or 121. Not open to students who have completed Physics 131, 144, 145 or 151 at Carleton. 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Evan Rich, Valerie Fox 
PHYS 144: Astrophysical Systems: Mechanics and Relativity and Lab
This course begins by considering basic principles of physics in the realm of planetary systems, black holes and dark matter in the universe. Conservation of energy and momentum will be used to explore largescale phenomena in the cosmos. The course moves beyond the Newtonian framework to address topics including special relativity and also selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Previous completion or concurrent registration in Mathematics 120 or 121. Not open to students who have completed Physics 131, 143, 145 or 151 at Carleton. 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2023 · Ryan Terrien 
PHYS 145: Mechanics and Waves and Lab
This course begins with an introduction to classical mechanics using the Newtonian worldview. The kinematics and dynamics of some simple systems are investigated using Newton’s laws, vector analysis, and the conservation laws of momentum and energy. The course moves on to a study of the properties of fluids (both static and dynamic) and the principles of waves and wave motion (including both sound and light). Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 101 or 111. Not open to students who have completed Physics 131, 143, or 144 at Carleton. 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Jay Tasson 
PHYS 151: Introduction to Physics: Relativity and Particles and Lab
An introduction to principles of physics in the domain of the very small and very fast. Topics include the special theory of relativity, and selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 120 or 121 (completion or concurrent registration) and Physics 131 (completion or concurrent registration). Not open to students who have completed Physics 143 or 144 at Carleton. 3 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Valerie Fox 
PHYS 152: Introduction to Physics: Environmental Physics and Lab
An introduction to principles of physics and their application to the environment. Topics include energy and its flows, engines, energy efficiency, energy usage and conservation in vehicles and buildings, the atmosphere, and climate change. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. Weekly laboratory work or field trips.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 101, 111 (completion or concurrent registration) and Physics 131 (completion or concurrent registration), 143, 144 or 145 3 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Evan Rich 
PHYS 165: Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics and Lab
A study of the principles of electricity, magnetism, and optics with an emphasis on realworld applications including electronics, laser physics, astronomy, and medicine. Topics include electric and magnetic fields, electric potentials, DC and AC circuits, geometric and wave optics, and relevant properties of matter. Designed for science majors who want additional background in physics. Comfort with algebra and the integration and differentiation of elementary functions is assumed. One laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 131, 143, 144, or 145. Mathematics 120 or 121 suggested 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2023 · Melissa EblenZayas, Valerie Fox 
PHYS 226: Atomic and Nuclear Physics Theory
An elementary but analytical introduction to the physics of atoms and nuclei. Topics include the particle aspects of electromagnetic radiation, an introduction to quantum mechanics, the wave aspects of material particles, and applications of these concepts to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics. This course covers the theory portion of PHYS228 without the lab component that will be a separate course, allowing students to proceed through theory courses in the physics major.
Prerequisites: Physics 143, 144 or 151 4 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 227: Atomic and Nuclear Physics Lab
This lab course covers applications of quantum mechanics to Xray and optical spectra and instruments of nuclear and particle physics. The course meets for one laboratory session per week and covers the lab portion of Physics 228 that is required for upperlevel physics lab classes.
Prerequisites: Physics 143, 144 or 151; Physics 226 2 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 228: Atomic and Nuclear Physics and Lab
An elementary but analytical introduction to the physics of atoms and nuclei. Topics include the particle aspects of electromagnetic radiation, an introduction to quantum mechanics, the wave aspects of material particles, the structure of atoms, Xray and optical spectra, instruments of nuclear and particle physics, nuclear structure and elementary particles. One laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 143, 144 or 151 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Jay Tasson, Marty Baylor 
PHYS 231: Analytical and Computational Mechanics
An analytical and computational treatment of classical mechanics using Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms. A variety of systems, including some whose equations of motion cannot be solved analytically, will be explored. Possible examples include harmonic oscillators, centralforce problems, chaotic dynamics, astrophysical systems, and medieval siege engines.
Prerequisites: Physics 131, 143 or 144 and Mathematics 210 or 211 or instructor permission 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2023 · Arjendu Pattanayak 
ASTR 232: Astrophysics I
A study of stellar structure and evolution with an emphasis on the physical principles underlying the observed phenomena. Topics include the birth, evolution, and death of stars, pulsars, black holes, and white dwarfs.
Prerequisites: Physics 226, 228, 231 or instructor permission 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 232: Astrophysics I
A study of stellar structure and evolution with an emphasis on the physical principles underlying the observed phenomena. Topics include the birth, evolution, and death of stars, pulsars, black holes, and white dwarfs.
Prerequisites: Physics 226, 228 or 231 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
ASTR 233: Astrophysics II
A study of galactic and extragalactic astronomy with an emphasis on the physical principles underlying the observed phenomena. Topics include the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies, the interstellar medium, quasars and active galaxies, clusters and superclusters, and cosmology. Prerequisites: Physics 228 or 231 or instructor permission 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Cindy Blaha 
PHYS 233: Astrophysics II
A study of galactic and extragalactic astronomy with an emphasis on the physical principles underlying the observed phenomena. Topics include the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way Galaxy and other galaxies, the interstellar medium, quasars and active galaxies, clusters and superclusters, and cosmology.
Prerequisites: Physics 228 or 231 6 credits; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Cindy Blaha 
PHYS 234: Computer Simulations in Complex Physical Systems
The development of techniques to study complex physical systems from a probabilistic and numerical standpoint using Mathematica. Subject material is applicable to all the sciences and mathematics. Some topics considered are random walks, percolation clusters, avalanches, traffic flow, the spread of forest fires and diseases, and a brief introduction to Bayesian statistics. No Mathematica skills are assumed. Prerequisites: Physics 131, 143, or 144, or instructor permission 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 235: Electricity and Magnetism and Lab
Electric and magnetic fields in free space, and their interactions with charges and currents. Topics include DC and AC circuits, Maxwell’s equations, and electromagnetic waves. Weekly laboratory work.
Prerequisites: Physics 165, 226, 228 or Physics 231; Mathematics 210 or Mathematics 211; or instructor permission 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Evan Rich 
PHYS 238: Physics of Soft Matter
An introduction to topics in the interdisciplinary field of soft matter–materials which fall in the liminal space between solids and liquids–studied using a physics perspective. Possible topics include colloids, polymers, viscoelasticity, liquid crystals, biological and natural materials, selfassembly, and surface forces.
Prerequisites: Physics 131, 143, 144 or 145 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 251: Theory and Applications of Remote Sensing
Remote sensing – interpreting information about physical systems at a distance using the electromagnetic spectrum – enables scientists to monitor climate change, detect material resources, track urban develoment, or map the surface of other planets, among a host of other applications. This course will explore key satellite remote sensing methods, such as visible and thermal imagery, visible through midinfrared spectroscopy, radar, gamma ray and neutron spectroscopy, and laser altimetry, introducing both the physical theory and practical data analysis techniques.
Prerequisites: 100level PHYS (151, 152, 143, 144, 145, 165), Astronomy 110, ENTS 120, or Geology 110. Math 120 or 121 also required 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2023 · Valerie Fox 
PHYS 297: Assessment and Communication of External Physics Activity
An independent study course intended for students who have completed an external activity related to the physics major (for example, an internship or an externship) to communicate (both in written and oral forms) and assess their physics learning from that activity.
Prerequisites: Permission of department chair and homework in advance of the external physics activity 1 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 311: Nonlinear Optoelectronic Dynamics
The course will start from basic electromagnetism and model the dynamics of laser light interfering via modulated optoelectronics, including feedback with timedelays. Techniques from nonlinear timeseries data analysis will be used to characterize the various different kinds of dynamics. Basic concepts of information theory, network dynamics, and machine learning based on reservoir computing will be introduced. There will be significant handson work, with an exploration of applications to signal processing, optical communication, and random number generation.
Prerequisites: Physics 228 and 235 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 312: Astronomical Detection and Measurement
A study of astronomical detection and measurement across the electromagnetic spectrum, encompassing both the underlying physical principles and their application. Building on a foundation of radiometry, optics, and measurement statistics, this course will explore the design and function of modern electromagnetic measurement systems. Possible topics include highdispersion spectroscopy, spatial interferometry, and the analysis of sensitivity and noise in electromagnetic detection for coherent and incoherent detectors.
Prerequisites: Physics 228 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Ryan Terrien 
PHYS 333: Survey of Particle and Nuclear Physics
A detailed survey of selected topics in particle and nuclear physics. Particle physics topics might include the Standard Model interactions and mediators, Feynman diagrams , symmetries and tests of conservation laws, Dirac equation and possibly QED Feynman rules. Nuclear physics topics might include the Liquid Drop, Fermi Gas, and Shell models of the nucleus, discussion of radiation, energy deposition in media, and discussion of quantum chromodynamics. Fluency in multivariable calculus is expected.
Prerequisites: Physics 228 and Physics 235. Math 232 recommended. 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 335: Quantum Mechanics
An examination of the structure of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics and how this theory differs from those of classical physics. Topics include the mathematics of Hilbert space, the postulates of quantum mechanics, the motion of a particle in one dimension (including the free particle and the simple harmonic oscillator), the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and spin. Multidimensional applications will include the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom. Approximation techniques and applications will be presented.
Prerequisites: Physics 226 or 228, and Physics 231 and Mathematics 232. Familiarity with matrix algebra is assumed 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Jay Tasson 
PHYS 341: Waves
The analysis of wave phenomena, including normal mode expansions, the wave equation and boundary value problems, and interference, diffraction, and polarization. Applications are made to mechanical, sound, water and electromagnetic waves with particular emphasis on electromagnetism and optics. Prerequisites: Physics 231 and 235, and Mathematics 232 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 342: Contemporary Experimental Physics and Lab
A study of experimental techniques and apparatus basic to the measurements which underlie and validate contemporary theories in physics. Topics include electrical measurements, data analysis and statistics, optical and laser techniques, particle detectors, and time coincidence techniques. Applications are made to experiments such as magnetic resonance, Mossbauer and nuclear spectroscopy and laser optics. Class time is devoted to studying the measurement techniques and considering phenomenological models of the effects observed in the laboratory. One laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: (Physics 227 or 228) and 235 and (Physics 335 or Physic 346) or instructor permission 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Melissa EblenZayas, Marty Baylor 
PHYS 343: Electronics and Lab
A study of the electrical circuits and electronics underlying modern physics instrumentation. Includes an introduction to microprocessor and microcomputer design. Approximately equal emphasis on analog and digital electronics. One laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 235 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 344: Classical and Quantum Optics
A junior/senior level course in classical and quantum optics. Includes the phenomena of interference, diffraction and coherence and quantum optical applications, such as unique statistical states of light or the operation of a laser. Modern applications of these areas are studied through such topics as fiber optics telecommunication, optical data storage, or manipulation of atoms by light. Prerequisites: Physics 235 and Mathematics 232 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Marty Baylor 
PHYS 345: Advanced Optics
This is a laboratory course that will serve as a followup to Physics 344, Classical and Quantum Optics. Students will conduct a number of experiments pertaining to optical phenomena. The experiments will display effects pertaining to classical, quantum, and nonlinear optics. The lab will take place once a week for four hours each session. Prerequisites: Corequisite Physics 344 or permission of the instructor 2 credits; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Science with Lab; offered Fall 2022 · Marty Baylor 
PHYS 346: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
The fundamentals of classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Topics include the laws of thermodynamics; heat engines and refrigerators; the MaxwellBoltzmann distribution; the various canonical distributions; the statistical concepts of temperature and entropy; FermiDirac, and BoseEinstein distributions with applications to blackbody radiation, phonons, and electrons in solids; the Ising model; and an introduction to critical phenomena. Prerequisites: Physics 226 or 228 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Arjendu Pattanayak 
PHYS 347: General Relativity
Einstein’s theory of general relativity is developed from basic physical principles. Also presented is the mathematics of curved space time. Astrophysical applications of general relativity, including spherically symmetric objects, black holes, cosmology and the creation and detection of gravitational waves are given. Prerequisites: Physics 235 and Physic 231 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Jay Tasson 
PHYS 352: Advanced Electricity and Magnetism
The classical theory of fields and waves. Electromagnetic theory including Maxwell’s equations, radiation and relativity. Prerequisites: Physics 235, Mathematics 341 strongly recommended 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Arjendu Pattanayak 
PHYS 354: Solid State Physics
An introduction to the physics of solids. Particular attention is paid to the properties exhibited by atoms and molecules because of their association and regular periodic arrangement in crystals. Topics include crystal structure and diffraction, the reciprocal lattice, phonons and lattice vibrations, thermal properties, freeelectron theory and band structure. Prerequisites: Physics 335 or 346 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023 
PHYS 355: Topics in Advanced Classical Mechanics
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods including central force motion, coupled harmonic oscillators, and the study of continuous systems. Additional subjects may include fluid dynamics, classical field theory or other specialized topics. Prerequisites: Physics 231 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023 
ASTR 356: Special Project
Individual projects in observational, theoretical, or computational astronomy. Available projects are often related to faculty research interests or to the development of coursesupport materials, such as new laboratory exercises. Prerequisites: Instructor Permission 2 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Ryan Terrien, Cindy Blaha 
PHYS 356: Special Project
Individual projects in experimental, theoretical, or computational physics. Available projects are often related to faculty research interests or to the development of coursesupport materials, such as new laboratory exercises. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023 · Helen Minsky, Arjendu Pattanayak, Jay Tasson, Ryan Terrien, Marty Baylor, Melissa EblenZayas, Evan Rich 
PHYS 400: Integrative Exercise
An extensive study of a specific topic in physics, culminating in a 60minute presentation during winter or spring term and a 7500 word paper. Students may arrange to complete the bulk of their work during winter or spring term (Physics 400, 6 credits), or divide their effort between terms (Physics 400, winter, 3 credits; Physics 400, spring, 3 credits).
3 credits; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 · Marty Baylor, Cindy Blaha, Barry Costanzi, Ryan Terrien, Melissa EblenZayas, Arjendu Pattanayak, Jay Tasson, Helen Minsky