Physics and Astronomy Courses

Courses Taught by Tennessee Tech Physics Department

Below are the the official catalog descriptions of courses currently taught by the department, broken out into five different classifications. [An asterisk (*) next to the course name means that it meets Tennessee Technological University general education requirements for the natural sciences.]

  • Freshman Orientation Courses

    MSCI 1020 / PHYS 1020 - First-Year Connections
    Rec. 2. Credit 1.
    This course is intended as a bridge course for those students enteringTennessee Tech from high school and majoring in mathematics and the various science disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences.  The course is designed to strengthen the student’s connection to Tennessee Tech, enhance skills needed for academic success, and foster appreciation for the multidisciplinary nature of addressing real-world problems.  This course emphasizes critical thinking in both academic and non-academic contexts by including significant elements of group work in problem-based learning activities.
     
    PHYS 1137 - Frontiers of Physics
    Rec. 1. Credit 1.
    An overview of topics currently at the frontiers of physics. [Note: This course is part of the B.S. program in Physics.]

  • Astronomy Courses

    Note: Completetion of these three courses plus GEOL 3310 (Planetary Geoscience) forms a minor in Astronomy.
     
    ASTR 1010 - Introduction to Modern Astronomy I*
    Fall. Lec. 3. Lab. 2. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Background knowledge of high school Algebra and Geometry. Understanding changes in the sky, including the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets. Development of astronomy from pre-history to the current day. Scale and properties of the solar system.

    ASTR 1020 - Introduction to Modern Astronomy II*
    Spring. Lec. 3. Lab. 2. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Background knowledge of high school Algebra and Geometry. Tools and techniques of astronomy. Properties and life history of stars and galaxies. Introduction to cosmology.
     
    ASTR 3100 - Observational Astronomy
    Fall. Lec. 3. Lab. 3. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: ASTR 1020 or consent of instructor. Introduction to observational and computational techniques of astronomy, including imaging, photometry, and spectroscopy.

  • Introductory Physics Courses

    PHYS 1310 - Concepts of Physics*
    Lec. 2. Lab. 3. Credit 3.
    Selected topics from classical and modern physics with applications to familiar phenomena. This course will not count as part of a physics sequence. [Note: Credit will not be given for both PHYS 1310 and any of PHYS 2010, PHYS 2020, PHYS 2109, PHYS 2110, PHYS 2111, PHYS 2119, PHYS 2120, PHYS 2121.]
     
    PHYS 2010 - Algebra-based Physics I*
    Lec. 3. Lab. 3. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Background knowledge of high school Algebra and Geometry. Basic laws of classical mechanics and waves with elementary applications to familiar phenomena. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2010 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2109, PHYS 2110.]

    PHYS 2020 - Algebra-based Physics II*
    Lec. 3. Lab. 3. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2010. Basic laws of electromagnetism and light with elementary applications and brief introduction to modern physics. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2020 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2119, PHYS 2120.]

    PHYS 2109 - Calculus-based Physics I
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: MATH 1920  (may be taken concurrently.) Introduction to classical mechanics and mechanical waves. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2109 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2010, PHYS 2110.]

    PHYS 2110 - Calculus-based Physics I w/ lab*
    Lec. 3. Lab. 3. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: MATH 1920 (may be taken concurrently.) Introduction to classical mechanics and mechanical waves, with lab. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2110 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2010, PHYS 2109, PHYS 2111.]
     
    PHYS 2111 - Calculus-based Physics Laboratory I
    Lab. 3. Credit 1. [Only offered on as-neeed basis.]
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2109 (may be taken concurrently). Experiments in classical mechanics and mechanical waves.  [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2111 and PHYS 2110.]

    PHYS 2112 - General Physics I Honors Recitation
    Rec. 1. Credit 0.
    Corequisite: PHYS 2109or PHYS 2110. Selected topics to add depth to the understanding of material in PHYS 2109/PHYS 2110. Honors students can receive honors credit for PHYS 2109/PHYS 2110 by satisfactorily completing this course and obtaining a grade of A or B in PHYS 2109/PHYS 2110.

    PHYS 2119 - Calculus-based Physics II
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2109 or PHYS 2110, MATH 2110 or MATH 2120 (MATH 2110 or MATH 2120 may be taken concurrently.) Introduction to classical electromagnetism and optics. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2119 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2020, PHYS 2120.]

    PHYS 2120 - Calculus-based Physics II w/ lab*
    Lec. 3. Lab. 3. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Either (i) PHYS 2109 and PHYS 2111 or (ii) PHYS 2110 (with lab); MATH 2110 or MATH 2120 (MATH 2110 or MATH 2120 may be taken concurrently.) Introduction to classical electromagnetism and optics, with lab. [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2120 and any of PHYS 1310, PHYS 2020, PHYS 2119, PHYS 2121.]

    PHYS 2121 - Calculus-based Physics Laboratory II
    Lab. 3. Credit 1. [Only offered on as-neeed basis.]
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2110 (with lab) or PHYS 2111, PHYS 2119.  (PHYS 2119 may be taken concurrently.) Experiments in classical electromagnetism and optics.  [Note: A student may not earn credit in both PHYS 2121 and PHYS 2120 (with lab).]

  • Courses for Physics Majors/Minors

    Note: Physics majors and minors must also take the introductory calculus-based physics classes PHYS 2110 and PHYS 2120. (PHYS 2109 and PHYS 2119 are also permissible for minors.)
     
    PHYS 2420 - Modern Physics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2119 or PHYS 2120. Introduction to modern physics. Topics include special relativity, quantum theory of light, wave nature of matter, Bohr’s theory of the atom, quantum mechanics in one dimension. Selected topics from atomic, molecular, solid state, nuclear, and particle physics.

    PHYS 2920 - Mathematical Physics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2119 or PHYS 2120, MATH 2110. (PHYS 2119 or PHYS 2120 and MATH 2110 may be taken concurrently.)  Mathematical methods for classical and modern physics. Selected topics from vector analysis, complex analysis, and vector spaces, with emphasis on applications to physical systems.

    PHYS 3120 - Statistical Thermal Physics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2420, PHYS 2920, MATH 2120 and CSC 1310. Development of the laws of thermodynamics using statistical mechanics.

    PHYS 3610 - Classical Mechanics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2920, MATH 2120 and CSC 1300. Theoretical development of classical mechanics, including Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian descriptions.

    PHYS 3810 - Quantum Mechanics I
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2420, PHYS 2920, MATH 4510 (5510), and CSC 1300. (MATH 4510 (5510) may be taken concurrently). Introduction to principles of quantum mechanics.

    PHYS 3820 - Quantum Mechanics II
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 3810. Application of quantum mechanics to simple systems.

    PHYS 4130 - Computational Physics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 3810 and CSC 1310. Computational techniques used in physics. Numerical techniques and computational algorithms. Random numbers and Monte Carlo techniques. Errors and uncertainties in computation. Applications of these techniques to classical and modern physics.
     
    PHYS 4610 - Classical Electricity and Magnetism I
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 2119 or PHYS 2120, PHYS 2920, MATH 4510 (5510) and CSC 1300. (MATH 4510 (5510) may be taken concurrently.) Theory of electrostatics, electrodynamics, Maxwell’s Equations, and boundary value problems.

    PHYS 4620 - Classical Electricity and Magnetism II
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 4610and PHYS 2420. (PHYS 2420may be taken concurrently.) Applications of Maxwell’s Equations to electromagnetic waves and other phenomena. Relativistic electrodynamics.

    PHYS 4710 - Advanced Experimental Physics
    Lab. 8. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. The student will perform selected experiments in classical and modern physics. Emphasis will be placed on computer-based data analysis and development of appropriate oral and written presentation techniques. [Note: For Option I students only.]

    PHYS 4711 - Advanced Experimental Physics
    Lab. 4. Credit 2.
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. The student will perform selected experiments in classical and modern physics.  Emphasis will be placed on computer-based data analysis and development of appropriate oral and written presentation techniques. [Note: For Option II students only.]

    PHYS 4730 - Research Planning
    Lab. 2. Credit 1.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 4710 or PHYS 4711 (may be taken concurrently). The student will prepare and submit a detailed proposal for a research project to be done in a later semester in the course PHYS 4740.  The project may be a continuation of one started ina previous research internship, in which case documentation from the mentor(s) of the internship must be provided.

    PHYS 4740 - Research
    Lab. 4. Credit 2.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 4730. The student will execute a research project, write a paper about it, and make an oral presentation.  The project may be a continuation of one started in a previous research internship, in which case documentation from the mentor(s) of the internship must be provided.  All mentors will be involved in determining the final grade.

  • Special Topics/Occasional Courses

     PHYS 1100 - Acoustics of Music
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: Background knowledge of high school Algebra and Geometry. Physical principles of sound as it relates to music, acoustics of musical instruments, auditorium acoustics and sound reinforcement, and sound recording and reproduction. This course will not count as part of a physics sequence.
     
    PHYS 1901/2/3/4 - Special Topics in Physics and Physics Education
    Lec. 0-3. Lab. 0-3. Credit 1-4.
    Prerequisite: Consent of chair and instructor. (Up to six credits may be earned under this course title.) Topics covered will be chosen on the basis of student interest and need.

    PHYS 4120 - Advanced Modern Physics
    Lec. 3. Credit 3.
    Prerequisite: PHYS 3820. Applications of quantum mechanics to selected topics from atomic physics, molecular physics, solid state physics, nuclear and particle physics, and astrophysics. [Note: Currently not part of any program of study.]
     
    PHYS 4720 - Advanced Experimental Physics
    Lab. 8. Credit 4.
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. The student will perform selected experiments in classical and modern physics. Emphasis will be placed on computer-based data analysis and development of appropriate oral and written presentation techniques.
    [Note: Currently not part of any program of study.]
     
    PHYS 4901 - Selected Topics in Physics
    Lec. 1-3. Credit 1-3.
    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Topics covered will be chosen on the basis of student interest and need.  Course may be taken for credit more than once as long as the topic is different.

    PHYS 5900 - Selected Topics in Physics
    Credit 3, 6, 9.
    Topics covered will be chosen on the basis of student interest and need.

 

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