Courses

Fall 2022 Offerings Summer 2022 Offerings Course Info on SIS Archives

Course Descriptions

The list below includes descriptions of all undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, though some courses may be taught more often than others. Descriptions for special topics seminars are updated each semester.

Visit the undergraduate and graduate pages for course requirements for specific programs. For up-to-date information on course offerings, schedules, room locations and registration, please visit the Student Information System (SIS).

Undergraduate Courses

PHY 0001 Introduction To Physics with Lab. Principles and concepts of classical mechanics; heat; fluids; thermodynamics. Lectures, recitations, laboratories. Algebra, non-calculus based. PHY 0001 and PHY 0011 cannot both be taken for credit.

PHY 0001 Physics 1 and 11 Shared Lab. Laboratory associated with Introduction to Physics I and General Physics I.

PHY 0002 Introduction To Physics II with Lab. Continuation of PHY 001. Principles and concepts of electricity and magnetism, properties of waves, light, sound, atomic physics, nuclear and particle physics. Lectures, recitations, laboratories. Algebra, non-calculus based. PHY 002 and PHY 012 cannot both be taken for credit.

Recommended: PHY 001 or 001N, 011, or 011N

PHY 0002 Physics 2 and 12 Shared Lab. Physics 2 and 12 Shared Lab

PHY 0005 Special Topics In Physics For Everyone. A topic in physics or relating to the applications of physics will be discussed in a way suitable for a broad spectrum of undergraduates, including those with minimal backgrounds in physics and mathematics. Please see departmental website for details.

PHY 0006 Physics For Humanists. Intended for those who are intellectually and emotionally curious but do not intend to specialize in the natural sciences. Facts and concepts of classical and modern physics; eminent scientists and the emotions that have impelled them; nuclear energy and nuclear bombs; the interaction, both constructive and destructive, between science and society.

PHY 0007 Cosmology for the Curious. Explores recent developments in cosmology. Big bang, cosmic inflation, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic strings, extra dimensions, anthropic reasoning and the multiverse. Questions addressed include: How did the universe begin? How will it end? Why is it expanding? Are there parallel worlds? Because of remarkable recent progress in cosmology, we now have plausible answers to some of these questions. No background in physics or college math is assumed. Basic high school math will be used.

PHY 0010 The Physics Of Music And Color. The role physics principles play in the production, transmission, and perception of sound and light; their relation to music and art. The nature of sound and light; the production of sound by musical instruments; the general characteristics of wave phenomena. Development of an appreciation of the common bases of natural phenomena. Lectures and laboratories. No background in physics or college math is assumed. Elementary high school algebra will be used.

PHY 0011 General Physics with Lab. Principles of classical mechanics, fluids, heat, thermodynamics. Lectures, recitations, laboratories. Calculus based. PHY 1 and PHY 11 can not both be taken for credit.

Recommended: Must be preceded or accompanied by MATH 32 (formerly MATH 11) or equivalent.

PHY 0012 General Physics II with Lab. Continuation of PHY 0011. Principles of electricity and magnetism, waves, sound, and light. Lectures, recitations, laboratories. Calculus based. PHY 0002 and PHY 0012 cannot both be taken for credit.

Recommended: PHY 1, 1N, 11, or 11N. Must be preceded or accompanied by MATH 34 (formerly MATH 12) or equivalent.

PHY 0013 Introduction To Modern Physics. Survey of modern physics: special relativity, quantum mechanics, and topics selected from atomic/molecular physics, solid state physics, nuclear/particle physics, and astrophysics/cosmology.

Recommended: PHY 2 or 12 and MATH 34 (formerly MATH 12).

PHY 0015 Special Topics In Physics. Topics in physics, intended for students with a background in physics and mathematics and a strong interest in physics. May be used to satisfy the concentration requirements for majors and minors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Please see departmental website for details.

PHY 0016 Special Topics In Physics. Topics in physics, intended for students with a background in physics and mathematics and a strong interest in physics. May be used to satisfy the concentration requirements for majors and minors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Please see departmental website for details.

PHY 0020 Relativity and Cosmology. Introduction to relativity and cosmology. First part discusses special relativity, including connections to electromagnetism and particle physics. Second part discusses gravity, including geodesic motion, curvedspacetime, astrophysical objects, and black hole solutions. Third part discusses cosmology, including the
expanding universe, the dark universe, and the very early universe. Calculus will be used, but more advanced mathematics is not required.

Prerequisite: PHY 13 or permission of instructor.

PHY 0025 Biophysics. (Cross-listed as BIO 119, BME 25 and 125.) Presentation at an introductory level of selected topics in physics relevant to modern medicine and biology. Development of topics to the point of application to biomedical problems. Topics drawn from acoustics, physics of fluids, diffusion, laser physics, and other subjects varying from year to year. Offered alternate years.

Recommended: PHY 1, 2, or 11, 12 or permission of instructor. Corequisite: MATH 42 (formerly MATH 13).

PHY 0031 Optics And Wave Motion. Propagation of electromagnetic waves; geometrical optics; polarization; optical properties of insulators and semiconductors; Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction; interference; Fourier optics. Lectures and laboratories. Graduate level credit requires additional work, such as the completion of a technical project paper and an oral presentation.

Recommended: PHY 2 or 2N or 12 or 12N. Corequisite: MATH 42 (formerly MATH 13)

PHY 0032 Intermediate Mechanics. A vector treatment of mechanics: forces and moments; kinematics of a particle and motion of a rigid body; particle dynamics; central force motion; work, kinetic energy, and potential energy; impulse and momentum; mechanical vibrations.

Recommended: PHY 2 or 2N, or 12 or 12N; and MATH 42 (formerly MATH 13).

PHY 0041 Electronics. Resistors, capacitors and inductors, network analysis of linear circuits, power transfer, response of linear circuits to voltage steps and to sinusoidal voltages, semiconductor diodes, bipolar and field effect transistors, transistor amplifiers, negative feedback, operational amplifiers. Two lectures, one laboratory. Physics majors may substitute EE 3 and 4.

Recommended: PHY 2 or 2N, or 12 or 12N.

PHY 0042 Electricity And Magnetism I. A field treatment of electricity and magnetism: electrostatic fields and potentials, dielectrics, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction, magnetic materials, energy in static and magnetic fields. Three lectures.

Recommended: PHY 2 or 2N, or 12 or 12N, and MATH 42 (formerly MATH 13).

PHY 0043 Electricity And Magnetism II. The laws of induction, the Maxwell equations, electromagnetic potentials, electromagnetic waves, resonant cavities, transmission lines, wave guides and waves in a dielectric; electromagnetic radiation. With two microwave experiments.

Recommended: PHY 42 and MATH 51 (formerly MATH 38), or permission of instructor.

PHY 0052 Thermal Physics. Temperature, work, heat, and the laws of thermodynamics: reversibility and irreversibility, entropy, the properties of pure substances, and changes of phase. Introduction to statistical thermodynamics. Applications to astrophysics, atmospheric physics, biophysics, chemistry, cosmology, nuclear physics, and solid-state physics.

Recommended: PHY 13 and MATH 42 (formerly MATH 13). MATH 51 (formerly MATH 38) is desirable.

PHY 0061 Quantum Theory. Fundamental theoretical basis for quantum mechanics with selected applications. Wave-particle duality, Schrodinger wave equation, energy quantization in bound state problems, wave packets and scattering, quantization of angular momentum, spin, entangled states, Pauli exclusion principle.

Recommended: PHY 13 and Linear Algebra (MATH 70). Differential Equations (MATH 51) or Applications of Advanced Calculus (MATH 151) and at least one physics course more advanced than PHY 13 are desirable but not required.

PHY 0062 Quantum Theory II. Selected topics from: perturbation theory, EPR paradox, Bell's theorem, applications of quantum theory to model solids, conductors, scattering theory, quantum cryptography and computation. May be used to satisfy the concentration requirements for majors and minors in the department of physics and astronomy. Prerequisites: Physics 0061--Quantum Theory I.

PHY 0064 Advanced Experimental Physics. An advanced laboratory course featuring six experiments performed at two-week intervals. Typical experiments are the Cavendish experiment, the Millikan oil-drop experiment, the Franck-Hertz experiment, the Compton effect, positron annihilation, and the muon lifetime. Intended primarily for juniors and seniors.

Recommended: PHY 13.

PHY 0068 Computational Physics. Project-based for developing mathematical and computational models of physical phenomena framed around professional practices. Problems from areas of physics, including classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, materials and astronomy, as well as the application of numerical methods. Prerequisites: Physics 13, Math 42 and 70, or Math 87, or Comp 11, or consent. Graduate level credit requires additional work.

PHY 0072 Introduction To Solid State. (Cross-listed w/PHY 0173) An introduction to the physics of solids, including a study of crystalline structures, theory of electrons, lattice vibrations in solids, metals, and semiconductors. Other topics may include solid-state devices, magnetic and superconducting materials, crystal growth, and alloying.

Recommended: PHY 13 and either PHY 52 or ES 7.

PHY 0082 Nuclear and Particle Physics. Nuclear properties, the deuteron, nuclear magnetic and electric moments, nuclear models, radioactivity, nuclear energy, fission and fusion processes; properties of the elementary particles; quark and leptons.

Prerequisites: PHY 13

PHY 0091 Special Topics. Guided individual study of special problems in physics and related fields. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0095 Senior Thesis A. A reading and research course open to seniors to study the experimental and theoretical aspects of a particular problem. Please see departmental website for specific details.

This is a yearlong course. Students will receive 8 credits at the completion of the second semester.

PHY 0096 Senior Thesis B. A reading and research course open to seniors to study the experimental and theoretical aspects of a particular problem. Please see departmental website for specific details.

This is a yearlong course. Each semester counts as 4 credits towards a student’s credit load. Students will earn 8 credits at the end of the second semester.

PHY 0103 Graduate Teaching Seminar. A seminar for all new physics teaching assistants to support their roles as teachers. Provides a general introduction to research in physics education relevant to their teaching. Serves as a forum for discussing their current teaching. Co-taught by a Tufts faculty member and a senior graduate student (the TA mentor).

PHY 0107 Astronomy and Physics Seminar. A weekly discussion course for seniors and first-year graduate students on topics of current interest in astronomy and physics.

PHY 0108 Astronomy and Physics Seminar. A weekly discussion course for seniors and first-year graduate students on topics of current interest in astronomy and physics.

PHY 0115 Optics and Wave Motion. Propagation of electromagnetic waves; geometrical optics; polarization; optical properties of matter; Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction; interference; Fourier optics; applications of optics in modern research. Lectures and laboratories. Meets together with PHY 0031. Students enrolled in PHY 0115 are assigned additional work. In no case may a student receive credit for both PHY 0031 and PHY 0115.

PHY 0118 Computational Physics. Project-based for developing mathematical and computational models of physical phenomena framed around professional practices. Problems from areas of physics, including classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, materials and astronomy, as well as the application of numerical methods. Prerequisites: Physics 13, Math 42 and 70, or Math 87, or Comp 11, or consent. Graduate level credit requires additional work.

PHY 0131 Advanced Classical Mechanics. Topics include variational principles, Lagrange's equations, the two-body central-force problem, rigid bodies, Hamilton's equations, canonical transformations, small oscillations, and continuous systems and fields.

Recommended: PHY 32 and MATH 51 (formerly MATH 38).

PHY 0145 Classical Electromagnetic Theory I. Electro- and magnetostatics, the Maxwell equations, electromagnetic potentials, covariant formulation of electrodynamics, energy and momentum in the electromagnetic field, electromagnetic waves, radiation, and multipole expansions.

PHY 0146 Electromagnetic Theory II. Electro- and magnetostatics, the Maxwell equations, electromagnetic potentials, covariant formulation of electrodynamics, energy and momentum in the electromagnetic field, electromagnetic waves, radiation, and multipole expansions.

PHY 0153 - Statistical Mechanics. Principles and applications of classical and quantum statistical mechanics; microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles; Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac distributions; statistical basis of thermodynamics; and applications.

Recommended: PHY 52 or ES 7.

PHY 0163 Quantum Theory I. Wave functions and the Schrödinger equation, axioms of quantum mechanics and their meaning, equivalence of wave and matrix mechanics, angular momentum and spin, central forces, approximation methods and applications, scattering theory, identical particles and the exclusion principle.

Recommended: PHY 43, 61, and MATH 151. Corequisite: MATH 158.

PHY 0164 Quantum Physics II. Wave functions and the Schrödinger equation, axioms of quantum mechanics and their meaning, equivalence of wave and matrix mechanics, angular momentum and spin, central forces, approximation methods and applications, scattering theory, identical particles and the exclusion principle.

Recommended: PHY 0163

PHY 0167 General Relativity. Review of special relativity, tensor analysis and Riemannian geometry, Einstein's equations, linearized gravity theory, gravitational waves, relativistic stars, black holes, and cosmological models.

Recommended: PHY 146 or permission of instructor.

PHY 0173 Introduction To Solid-state Physics I. (Cross-listed w/PHY 0072) Crystal structure and crystal diffraction; lattice vibrations and elastic waves; cohesion of solids, electron theory of metals and semiconductors; thermal, electric, and magnetic properties of solids; and superconductivity.

Recommended: PHY 052

Corequisites: PHY 163 or consent

PHY 0174 Introduction To Solid-state Physics II. Advanced topics in solid state physics including for example: thermal, electric, and magnetic properties of solids; and superconductivity.

Recommended: PHY 173 or consent.

PHY 0183 Particle Physics I. Accelerators and detectors; symmetries and conservation laws; properties of hadrons; the quark model; weak interactions; the Standard Model; physics of accelerator operation and of selected detection and analysis techniques.

Recommended: PHY 164 or permission of instructor.

PHY 0184 Particle Physics II. Accelerators and detectors; symmetries and conservation laws; properties of hadrons; the quark model; weak interactions; the Standard Model; physics of accelerator operation and of selected detection and analysis techniques.

Recommended: PHY 183 or permission of instructor.

PHY 0191 Physics Seminar. A weekly discussion course for seniors and first-year graduate students on topics of current interest in physics. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0192 Physics Seminar. A weekly discussion course for seniors and first-year graduate students on topics of current interest in physics. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0193 Selected Topics. Lectures on advanced problems of physics. Topics to be announced. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0194 Selected Topics. Lectures on advanced problems of physics. Topics to be announced. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0196 Special Topics: Study Abroad. No description at this time.

PHY 0197 Special Topics: Study Abroad. No description at this time.

Graduate Courses

PHY 0263 Advanced Quantum Mechanics. Relativistic quantum mechanics, systems of many identical particles, quantum field theory, quantum electrodynamics, Feynman diagrams, and renormalization.

Recommended: PHY 131, 146, and 164.

PHY 0264 Quantum Theory Of Fields. Topics vary from year to year, drawn from quantum electrodynamics, gauge theories, theory of weak interactions, many-body theory, and group theory.

Recommended: PHY 263.

PHY 0268 Cosmology. The standard (big bang) cosmological model; expanding universe; background radiation, production of helium and other elements; galaxy formation; cosmological phase transitions; inflation; monopoles, strings and walls; quantum cosmology.

Recommended: Familiarity with general relativity and statistical physics.

PHY 0283 - Special Topics In Theoretical Physics. A treatment of one or more subjects of current importance in theoretical physics. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0284 Special Topics In Theoretical Physics. A treatment of one or more subjects of current importance in theoretical physics. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0291 Graduate Seminar. Presentation of individual reports on basic topics to a seminar group for discussion and criticism. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0292 Graduate Seminar. Presentation of individual reports on basic topics to a seminar group for discussion and criticism. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0293 Special Topics. Guided individual study of an approved topic. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0294 Special Topics. Guided individual study of an approved topic. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0295 Thesis. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a master's thesis. Please see departmental website for specific details.

This is a yearlong course. Each semester counts as 3 credits towards a student’s credit load. Students will earn 6 credits at the end of the second semester.

PHY 0296 Thesis. Guided research on a topic that has been approved as a suitable subject for a master's thesis. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0297 Graduate Research. Research on a topic suitable for a doctoral dissertation. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0298 Graduate Research. Research on a topic suitable for a doctoral dissertation. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0401 Masters Degree Continuation. Part-time. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0402 Masters Degree Continuation. Full-time. Please see departmental website for specific details.

PHY 0405 Grad Teaching Assistant. No description at this time.

PHY 0406 Grad Research Assistant. No description at this time.

PHY 0501 Doctoral Degree Continuation. No description at this time.

PHY 0502 Doctoral Degree Continuation. No description at this time.