Students may complete a major or minor in Physics. Within the major, students may complete a minor in educational studies or complete the requirements for secondary education certification. Students may complete an M.A. in the combined A.B./M.A. program.

**Faculty**

James Battat, Assistant Professor

Peter Beckmann, Professor

Xuemei Cheng, Assistant Professor (on leave semesters I and II)

Mark Matlin, Senior Lecturer

**Elizabeth McCormack, Professor and Chair**

Michael Noel, Professor

Michael Schulz, Assistant Professor

The courses in Physics emphasize the concepts and techniques that have led to our present way of modeling the physical world. They are designed both to relate the individual parts of physics to the whole and to treat the various subjects in depth. Opportunities exist for interdisciplinary work and for participation by qualified majors in research with members of the faculty and their graduate students. In addition, qualified seniors may take graduate courses.

**Required Introductory Courses for the Major and Minor
**

The introductory courses required for the physics major and minor are PHYS 121 and PHYS 122 (or PHYS 101 and 102) and MATH 101 and MATH 102. Students are encouraged to place out of MATH 101 and 102 if that is appropriate. Although College credit is given for a score of 4 or 5 on the AP tests and for a score of 5 or above on the IB examination, the AP and IB courses are not equivalent to PHYS 121 and PHYS 122 and advanced placement will not, in general, be given. However, students with a particularly strong background in physics are encouraged to take the departmental advanced placement examination either during the summer before entering Bryn Mawr or just prior to, or during, the first week of classes. Then, the department can place students in the appropriate course. Students are not given credit for courses they place out of as a result of taking this placement exam. It is best for a student considering a physics major to complete the introductory requirements in the first year. However, the major sequence is designed so that a student who completes the introductory sequence by the end of the sophomore year can major in physics.

**Major Requirements
**

The physics major provides depth in the discipline through a series of required courses, as well as the flexibility to choose from a range of electives in physics and related fields. This allows students to follow various paths through the major and thus tailor their program of study to best meet their career goals and scientific interests.

Beyond the two introductory physics courses and the two introductory mathematics courses, ten additional courses are required for the major. (Haverford courses may be substituted for Bryn Mawr courses where appropriate.) Five of the ten courses must be PHYS 201, 214, 306, and MATH 201, 203. In addition, either PHYS 331 or 305 is required as well as the year-long, one-credit Senior Seminar, PHYS 398 and 399. The remaining three courses must be chosen from among the other 300-level physics courses, one of which may be substituted with any one course from among ASTR 342, 343, and 344, or any 300-level math course. Other substitutions from related disciplines such as chemistry, geology, and engineering) may be possible. Please consult with the major’s advisor to discuss such options.

**Four-Year Plan meeting the minimum requirements for the major: **

1st Year

PHYS 121, 122

MATH 101, 102

2nd Year

PHYS 201, 214

MATH 201, 203

3rd Year

PHYS 306, 331 or 305, and one other 300-level physics course

4th Year

Two 300-level physics courses, plus 398 and 399

The physics program at Bryn Mawr allows for a student to major in physics even if the introductory courses are not completed until the end of the sophomore year.

**Three-Year Plan meeting the minimum requirements for the major: **

1st Year

MATH 101, 102

2nd Year

PHYS 121, 122

MATH 201, 203

3rd Year

PHYS 201, 214, 306, 331 or 305

4th Year

Three 300-level physics courses, plus 398 and 399

**Honors
**

The degree of Bachelor of Arts is awarded with honors in physics in recognition of academic excellence. The award, which is made upon the recommendation of the department, is based on the quality of a Senior Thesis and on an achievement of a GPA of at least 3.4 in 200-level courses and above in physics, astronomy, and mathematics at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges and an overall GPA of at least 3.0.

**Study Abroad
**

Many physics majors participate in the college’s junior year study abroad program. Undergraduate physics courses are surprisingly standardized throughout the world. The Majors Adviser will work with you to design an appropriate set of courses to take wherever you go.

**Minor Requirements
**

The requirements for the minor, beyond the introductory sequence, are PHYS 201, 214, and 306; PHYS 331 or 305; MATH 201 and 203; and one additional 300-level physics course. The astronomy and mathematics courses described under “Major Requirements” may not be substituted for the one additional 300-level physics course.

**Preparation for Graduate School
**

The department has been very successful in preparing students for graduate school in physics, physical chemistry, materials science, engineering, and related fields. To be well prepared for graduate school, students should take, at a minimum, these upper-level courses: PHYS 302, 303, 308, and 309. Students should also take any additional courses in physics and allied fields that reflect their interests, and should engage in research with a member of the faculty by taking PHYS 403. (Note that PHYS 403 does not count towards the 14 courses required for the major.) Seniors can take graduate courses, usually PHYS 501: Quantum Mechanics or PHYS 503: Electromagnetism, to get a head start on graduate school.

**Minor in Educational Studies or Secondary-School Teacher Certification
**

Students majoring in physics can pursue a minor in educational studies or state certification to teach at the secondary-school level. Students seeking the minor need to complete six education courses including a two-semester senior seminar, which requires five to eight hours per week of fieldwork. To earn secondary-school certification (grades 7-12) in physics, students must: complete the physics major plus two semesters of chemistry and one semester as a teaching assistant in a laboratory for introductory or intermediate physics courses; complete six education courses; and student teach full-time (for two course credits) second semester of their senior year. For additional information, see the “Education” section of the catalog.

**Pre-Health Professions
**

A major in physics can be excellent preparation for a career in the health professions. A recent (2010) study by the American Institute of Physics finds that “…as a group, physics bachelor’s degree recipients achieve among the highest scores of any college major on the entrance exams for medical school…” In addition to one year of physics, most medical and dental schools require one year of English, one year of biology, one year of general chemistry, and one year of organic chemistry. Students wishing to pursue this path should consult the physics major’s advisor early in their studies as well as the Health Professions Advising Office to develop an appropriate major plan. For additional information, see the “Academic Opportunities” section of the catalog.

**Engineering Options
**

Although Bryn Mawr does not offer engineering courses, several options are available to students with an interest in this field.

**A Physics Major with an Engineering Focus**

A path through the physics major can be developed that provides a solid preparation for further studies at the masters or doctoral level in engineering. This path can include coursework in engineering taken at Swarthmore College or the University of Pennsylvania.

**3-2 Program in Engineering and Applied Science with Cal Tech**

Students can pursue engineering through the 3-2 Program in Engineering and Applied Science, offered in cooperation with the California Institute of Technology, earning both an A.B. at Bryn Mawr and a B.S. at Caltech. For additional information, visit www.brynmawr.edu/catalog/2012-13/program/opportunities/32engineering.html.

**4+1 Program in Engineering at UPenn
**

The University of Pennsylvania 4+1 engineering program allows students to earn an A.B. at Bryn Mawr and an M.S. in Engineering (M.S.E) at UPenn. Students apply between the beginning of the sophomore year and end of the junior year. For additional information, visit www.brynmawr.edu/catalog/2012-13/program/opportunities/41penn_engineering.html.

**A.B./M.A. Program
**

To earn an M.A. degree in physics in the College’s A.B./M.A. program, a student must complete the requirements for an undergraduate physics major and also must complete six units of graduate level work in physics. Of these six units, as many as two units may be undergraduate courses at the 300 level taken for graduate credit (these same two courses may be used to fulfill the major requirements for the A.B. degree), at least two units must be graduate seminars at the 500 level, and two units must be graduate research at the 700 level leading to the submission and oral defense of an acceptable M.A. thesis.

**Courses at Haverford College
**

Many upper-level physics courses are taught at Haverford and Bryn Mawr in alternate years as indicated in the listings of the specific courses below. These courses (numbered 302, 303, 308, 309, and 322) may be taken at either institution to satisfy major requirements. Haverford 335 and Bryn Mawr 325 are both topics in advanced theoretical physics and they also tend to alternate. In addition, 100- and 200-level courses at Haverford can be used to replace 100- and 200-level courses at Bryn Mawr but these courses are not identical and careful planning is required.

**Introductory Physics Sequences
**

Students on a pre-health professions track wanting to take one year of physics should take PHYS 101 and PHYS 102. Some students on a physical sciences major track could take PHYS 121 and PHYS 122 and others might take PHYS 122 and PHYS 201. See your major adviser and carefully note the math pre- and co-requisites for these courses. PHYS121/122/201/214 is a coordinated, four-semester sequence in physics. Students are encouraged to place out of MATH 101 and 102 if that is appropriate.

**COURSES**

**PHYS B101 Introductory Physics
**

PHYS 101/102 is an introductory sequence intended primarily for students on the pre-health professions track. Emphasis is on developing an understanding of how we study the universe, the ideas that have arisen from that study, and on problem solving. Topics are taken from among Newtonian kinematics and dynamics, relativity, gravitation, fluid mechanics, waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, electrical circuits, light and optics, quantum mechanics, and atomic and nuclear physics. An effective and usable understanding of algebra and trigonometry is assumed. First year students who will take or place out of MATH 101 should take PHYS 121. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

**PHYS B102 Introductory Physics
**

PHYS 101/102 is an introductory sequence intended primarily for students on the pre-health professions track. Emphasis is on developing an understanding of how we study the universe, the ideas that have arisen from that study, and on problem solving. Topics are taken from among Newtonian kinematics and dynamics, relativity, gravitation, fluid mechanics, waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, electrical circuits, light and optics, quantum mechanics, and atomic and nuclear physics. An effective and usable understanding of algebra and trigonometry is assumed. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B121 Modeling the Physical World
**

This course presents current conceptual understandings and mathematical formulations of fundamental ideas used in physics. Students will develop physical intuition and problem-solving skills by exploring key concepts in physics such as conservation laws, symmetries and relativistic space-time, as well as topics in modern physics taken from the following: fundamental forces, nuclear physics, particle physics, and cosmology. This course can serve as a stand-alone survey of physics or as the first of a four-semester sequence designed for those majoring in the physical sciences. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Co-requisite: MATH 101.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

The lecture material covers Newtonian Mechanics of single particles, systems of particles, rigid bodies, and continuous media with applications, one-dimensional systems including forced oscillators, scattering and orbit problems. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. Prerequisites: PHYS 121 and MATH 101. Corequisite: MATH 102.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B142 The Search for Life in the Universe
**

This course will investigate the biological, chemical, and astrophysical factors believed to be necessary for extraterrestrial life to exist, and perhaps to communicate with us. It also will explore possible homes to such life in both our solar system and the greater Milky Way galaxy. Also, see PHYS B172 which is PHYS B142 without the laboratory. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B172 The Search for Life in the Universe
**

This course will investigate the biological, chemical, and astrophysical factors believed to be necessary for extraterrestrial life to exist, and perhaps to communicate with us. It also will explore possible homes to such life in both our solar system and the greater Milky Way galaxy. Also see PHYS B142 for the lecture/laboratory course.

Requirement(s): Division II and Quantitive

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

The lecture material covers electro- and magneto-statics, electric and magnetic fields, induction, Maxwell’s equations, and electromagnetic radiation. Scalar and vector fields and vector calculus are developed as needed. The laboratory involves passive and active circuits and projects in analog and digital electronics. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 102 or 122. Corequisite: MATH 201.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

**PHYS B214 An Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
**

An introduction to the principles governing systems at the atomic scale and below. Topics include the experimental basis of quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, Schrödinger’s equation and its solutions, and the time dependence of quantum states. Recent developments, such as paradoxes calling attention to the counter-intuitive aspects of quantum physics, will be discussed. Additional topics may be included at the discretion of the instructor. The laboratory involves quantum mechanics, solid state physics, and optics experiments. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisite: PHYS 121 and 122, or permission of instructor. Corequisite: MATH 203.

Requirement(s): Division II w/Lab and Quant

Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Scientific Investigation (SI)

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B302 Advanced Quantum Mechanics and Applications
**

This course presents nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, including Schrodinger’s equation, the eigenvalue problem, the measurement process, the hydrogen atom, the harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, spin, the periodic table, perturbation theory, and the relationship between quantum and Newtonian mechanics. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Alternates between Bryn Mawr and Haverford; 2012-13 at Haverford. Prerequisites: PHYS 214 and PHYS 306.

Units: 1.0

**PHYS B303 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
**

This course presents the statistical description of the macroscopic states of classical and quantum systems, including conditions for equilibrium, the microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles, and Bose-Einstein, Fermi-Dirac, and Maxwell Boltzmann statistics. The statistical basis of classical thermodynamics is investigated. Examples and applications are drawn from among solid state physics, low temperature physics, atomic and molecular physics, electromagnetic waves, and cosmology. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Alternates between Bryn Mawr and Haverford; 2012-13 at Bryn Mawr. Prerequisite: PHYS 214. Corequisite: PHYS 306.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

**PHYS B305 Advanced Electronics Lab
**

This laboratory course is a survey of electronic principles and circuits useful to experimental physicists and engineers. Topics include the design and analysis of circuits using transistors, operational amplifiers, feedback and analog-to-digital conversion. Also covered is the use of electronics for automated control and measurement in experiments, and the interfacing of computers and other data acquisition instruments to experiments. Laboratory eight hours a week. Prerequisite: PHYS 201.

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

**PHYS B306 Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences
**

This course presents topics in applied mathematics useful to students, including physicists, engineers, physical chemists, geologists, and computer scientists studying the natural sciences. Topics are taken from Fourier series, integral transforms, advanced ordinary and partial differential equations, special functions, boundary-value problems, functions of complex variables, and numerical methods. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Prerequisites: MATH 201 and 203.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

**PHYS B308 Advanced Classical Mechanics
**

This course presents kinematics and dynamics of particles and macroscopic systems using Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian mechanics. Topics include oscillations, normal mode analysis, inverse square laws, nonlinear dynamics, rotating rigid bodies, and motion in noninertial reference frames. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Alternates between Bryn Mawr and Haverford; 2012-13 at Haverford. Prerequisite: PHYS 201 or PHYS 214. Corequisite: PHYS 306.

Units: 1.0

**PHYS B309 Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
**

This course presents electrostatics and magnetostatics, dielectrics, magnetic materials, electrodynamics, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves, and special relativity. Some examples and applications may come from superconductivity, plasma physics, and radiation theory. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Alternates between Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and 306.

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

This course presents the physics of solids. Topics include crystal structure and diffraction, the reciprocal lattice and Brillouin zones, crystal binding, lattice vibrations and normal modes, phonon dispersion, Einstein and Debye models for the specific heat, the free electron model, the Fermi surface, electrons in periodic structures, the Bloch theorem and band structure. Additional topics are taken from semiclassical electron dynamics, semiconductors, superconductivity, 0-D (quantum dots), 1-D (quantum wires) and 2-D (graphene) structures and the microscopies used to investigate them. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and PHYS 214 and 306.

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

This course covers principles of geometrical and physical optics. Topics include electromagnetic waves and their propagation in both isotropic and anisotropic media; interference, diffraction, and Fourier optics; coherence theory; ray optics and image formation; and, as time permits, an introduction to the quantum nature of light. Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and 306.

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B325 Advanced Theoretical Physics
**

This course presents one or more of several subjects, depending on instructor availability and student interest. The possible subjects are (1) special relativity, general relativity, and gravitation, (2) the standard model of particle physics, (3) particle astrophysics and cosmology, (4) relativistic quantum mechanics, (5) grand unified theories, (6) string theory, loop quantum gravity, and causal set theory. Lecture three hours and additional recitation sessions as needed. Prerequisites: PHYS 306 and 308. Corequisite: PHYS 302.

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

**PHYS B331 Advanced Experimental Physics
**

This laboratory course consists of set-piece experiments as well as directed experimental projects to study a variety of phenomena in atomic, molecular, optical, nuclear, and solid state physics. The experiments and projects serve as an introduction to contemporary instrumentation and the experimental techniques used in physics research laboratories in industry and in universities. Students write papers in a format appropriate for research publications and make a presentation to the class. Laboratory eight hours a week. Corequisite: PHYS 214.

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

Students work with a faculty member as assistant teachers in a college course in physics, or as assistants to a faculty member developing new teaching materials. Students will be involved in some combination of the following: directed study of the literature on teaching and learning pedagogy, construction and design of parts of a course, and actual teaching in a lecture course or laboratory. Corequisite: PHYS 201 or 214.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

At the discretion of the department, juniors or seniors may supplement their work in physics with the study of topics not covered in regular course offerings.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

Required for senior Physics majors. Students meet weekly with faculty to discuss recent research findings in physics as well as career paths open to students with a major in Physics. Students are required to attend all colloquia and student research presentations hosted by the Bryn Mawr College Physics department. Prerequisites: Senior Standing.

Units: 0.5

(Fall 2012)

Required for senior Physics majors. Students meet weekly with faculty to discuss recent research findings in physics as well as career paths open to students with a major in Physics. Students are required to attend all colloquia and student research presentations hosted by the Bryn Mawr College Physics department. Prerequisites: Senior Standing.

Units: 0.5

(Spring 2013)

At the discretion of the department, juniors and seniors may supplement their work in physics with research in one of the faculty research groups. Students provide a written paper and give an oral presentation at the end of the semester or year. Students are encouraged to contact individual faculty members and the departmental Web pages for further information.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

This course is the first semester of a year-long standard sequence on quantum mechanics. The year-long course will cover: the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, quantum dynamics, the theory of angular momentum, symmetry in quantum mechanics, approximation methods, identical particles, scattering theory, relativistic quantum mechanics. This course is taught in a seminar format, in which students are responsible for presenting much of the course material in class meetings.

This course is the second semester of a year-long standard sequence on quantum mechanics. The year-long course will cover: the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, quantum dynamics, the theory of angular momentum, symmetry in quantum mechanics, approximation methods, identical particles, scattering theory, relativistic quantum mechanics. This course is taught in a seminar format, in which students are responsible for presenting much of the course material in class meetings.** **

**PHYS B503 Electromagnetic Theory I
**

This course is the first semester of a year-long standard sequence on electromagnetism. This semester begins with topics in electrostatics, including Coulomb’s and Gauss’s Laws, Green functions, the method of images, expansions in orthogonal functions, boundary-value problems, and dielectric materials. The focus then shifts to magnetic phenomena, including the magnetic fields of localized currents, boundary-value problems in magnetostatics, and the interactions of fields and magnetic materials. The last portion of the course treats Maxwell’s equations, transformation properties of electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic waves and their propagation and, time permitting, the basics of waveguides. This course is taught in a seminar format, in which students are responsible for presenting much of the course material in class meetings.

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012)

**PHYS B504 Electromagnetic Theory II
**

This course is the second semester of a two semester graduate level sequence on electromagnetic theory. Topics include electromagnetic radiation, multiple fields, scattering and diffraction theory, special relativity, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian descriptions, radiation from point particle motion, Lienard-Wiechert potentials, classical electron theory and radiation reaction. Additional topics may be included at the discretion of the instructor. This course is taught in a seminar format, in which students are responsible for presenting much of the course material in class meetings. Prerequisite: PHYS 503

Units: 1.0

(Spring 2013)

**PHYS B505 Classical Mechanics I
**

This course will cover mechanics topics familiar from the undergraduate curriculum, but from deeper theoretical and mathematical perspectives. Topics will include Lagrange and Hamilton methods, the central force problem, rigid body motion, oscillations, and canonical transformations. Time permitting, other topics that might be explored include chaos theory, special relativity, and the application of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods to continuous systems. This course is taught in a seminar format, in which students are responsible for presenting much of the course material in class meetings.

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

**PHYS B506 Classical Mechanics II
**

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

**PHYS B507 Statistical Mechanics I
**

Review of Thermodynamics; Equilibrium statistical mechanics -- microcanonical and canonical ensembles; Ideal gases, photons, electrons in metals; Phase transitions; Monte Carlo techniques; Classical fluids, Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics.

Units: 1.0

(Not Offered 2012-13)

Units: 1.0

(Fall 2012, Spring 2013)

- Definitions
- Africana Studies
- Anthropology
- Arabic
- Arts Program
- Astronomy
- Biology
- Chemistry
- Child and Family Studies
- Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
- Comparative Literature
- Computer Science
- East Asian Studies
- Economics
- Education
- English
- Environmental Studies
- Film Studies
- Fine Arts
- French and Francophone Studies
- Gender and Sexuality
- General Studies
- Geology
- German and German Studies
- Greek, Latin and Classical Studies
- Growth and Structure of Cities
- Hebrew and Judaic Studies
- History
- History of Art
- International Studies
- Italian
- Latin American, Latin, and Iberian Peoples and Cultures
- Linguistics
- Mathematics
- Middle Eastern Studies
- Music
- Neuroscience
- Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies
- Philosophy
- Physics
- Political Science
- Psychology
- Religion
- Romance Languages
- Russian
- Sociology
- Spanish