Physics Course Offerings

Please see the section on "Course Description Symbols and Terms" in the University Catalog for an explanation of course description terminology and symbols, the course numbering system, and course credit units. All courses are lecture and discussion and employ letter grading unless otherwise stated. Some prerequisites may be waived with faculty permission. Many syllabi are available on the Chico Web.

Concepts in Physics
3.0 Fa/Spr

A non-mathematical General Education lecture, laboratory-activity course with opportunities for discussion. Topics include Newtonian Mechanics, properties of matter, heat, wave motion, sound, electricity, and light. Not intended for students who have completed high school physics. 2.0 hours discussion, 2.0 hours activity. This is an approved General Education course. (007392)

General Physics
4.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: High school physics or faculty permission. High school trigonometry and second-year high school algebra or equivalent (MATH 051 and MATH 118 at CSU, Chico).

Mechanics, properties of matter, wave motion, sound, heat. Science majors are encouraged to take PHYS 204A instead of this course. 3.0 hours laboratory, 3.0 hours discussion. This is an approved General Education course. Special fee required; see the Class Schedule. (007394)

General Physics
4.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 202A.

Light, electricity, magnetism, selected topics in modern physics. Science majors are encouraged to take PHYS 204B instead of this course. Algebra and trigonometry are used. 3.0 hours discussion, 3.0 hours laboratory. Special fee required; see the Class Schedule. (007395)

Physics Problem Session
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 202A.

Designed to supplement PHYS 202A with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problem-solving abilities. 2.0 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007398)

Physics Problem Session
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 202A. Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 202B.

Designed to supplement PHYS 202B with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problem-solving abilities. 2.0 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007399)

Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Mechanics
4.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: High school physics or faculty permission. Concurrent enrollment in or prior completion of MATH 121 (second semester of calculus) or equivalent.

Vectors, kinematics, particle dynamics, friction, work, energy, power, momentum, dynamics and statics of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation, fluids. Calculus used. A grade of C- or higher is required before progressing to either PHYS 204B or PHYS 204C. 3.0 hours laboratory, 3.0 hours discussion. This is an approved General Education course. Special fee required; see the Class Schedule. (007401)

Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Electricity and Magnetism
4.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 204A with a grade of C- or higher.

Charge and matter, electric field, Gauss' law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, magnetic field, Ampere's law, Faraday's law of induction, magnetic properties of matter, electromagnetic oscillations and waves. Calculus used. 3.0 hours laboratory, 3.0 hours discussion. Special fee required; see the Class Schedule. (007402)

Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Heat, Wave Motion, Sound, Light, and Modern Topics
4.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: MATH 121, PHYS 204A with a grade of C- or higher.

Temperature, first and second law of thermodynamics, and kinetic theory. Waves in elastic media, standing waves and resonance, and sound. Ray and wave optics, reflection, refraction, lenses, mirrors, diffraction, and polarization. Selected topics in modern physics. Calculus used. 3.0 hours discussion, 3.0 hours laboratory. Special fee required; see the Class Schedule. (007403)

Physics Problem Session
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 204A.

Designed to supplement PHYS 204A with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problem-solving abilities. 2.0 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007406)

Physics Problem Session
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 204A. Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 204B.

Designed to supplement PHYS 204B with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problem-solving abilities. 2.0 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007407)

Physics Problem Session
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 204A. Concurrent enrollment in PHYS 204C.

Designed to supplement PHYS 204C with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problem-solving abilities. 2.0 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007408)

Modern Physics I
3.0 Fall

Prerequisites: PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C, or PHYS 202A and PHYS 202B and calculus with faculty permission.

This course focuses on the radical changes in our conception of the physical world that emerged in the early 20th century. The course begins with the theory of special relativity, which altered our understanding of the nature of space, time, matter, and energy. The course's middle section is devoted to the early experimental work that spurred the birth of the first quantum theories. The last section introduces the formal quantum dynamics of Schrodinger's equation and applies it to several important physical cases. (007417)

Modern Physics II
3.0 Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 300A.

Application of quantum mechanics to atomic, nuclear, molecular, and solid state physics. Introduction to classical and quantum statistical mechanics. 3.0 hours laboratory, 2.0 hours discussion. (007418)

Analytical Mechanics
3.0 OddFa

Prerequisites: MATH 260, PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C.

Newton's laws of motion, particle dynamics, accelerated reference systems, central force problems, conservation laws, and celestial mechanics. (007419)

Analytical Mechanics
3.0 EvnSp

Prerequisites: PHYS 301A.

Many body systems, rotational motion, rigid body dynamics, Euler's equations, Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulations, oscillating systems and waves. (007421)

Electricity and Magnetism
3.0 EvnFa

Prerequisites: MATH 260, PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C.

Vector analysis; electrostatic fields and potentials: Poisson's equation, boundary value problems and multipole expansions; dielectrics and magnetostatics. (007422)

Electricity and Magnetism
3.0 OddSp

Prerequisites: PHYS 302A or faculty permission.

Magnetic fields in matter, Maxwell's equations, field energy and momentum, Fresnel equations, propagation of electromagnetic waves in dispersive media, waveguides and coaxial cables, radiating systems. (007425)

Physics Associates Program
1.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: Faculty permission.

See description below. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007428)

Physics Associates Program
2.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: Faculty permission.

See description below. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007429)

Physics Associates Program
3.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C, or PHYS 202A and PHYS 202B, with grade of C- or higher and faculty permission.

PHYS 308 - PHYS 310: Student participation in the instructional and professional activities of the Physics Department, particularly related to personalized modes of instruction. Responsibility for some assignments, consultation with students, preparation and conduction of demonstrations, tutoring and evaluation of student learning. Not a research-oriented activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007430)

Computer-Assisted Physics Problem-Solving
3.0 Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 300A. No previous computer experience necessary.

This course prepares physics majors to be self-sufficient in personal computer use to solve experimental and theoretical physics problems. Topics include, but are not limited to, analysis of experimental data, projectile motion, random processes, vector fields and potentials, vibrating systems, and electric circuits. 2.0 hours discussion, 3.0 hours laboratory. Formerly PHYS 250. (007411)

Concepts in Modern Physics
3.0 Fall

Prerequisites: Completion of lower-division Area B General Education.

An upper-division General Education Thematic course that explores concepts in relativity, quantum physics, and chaos. The course will emphasize both the conceptual essentials of these theories and the philosophical implications arising from them. Topics will include the nature of space and time, the interplay of measurement and our conception of "reality," the difference between predictability and determinism, and the tension between human understanding and mathematical description. (007414)

Advanced Inquiry into Physics
3.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: GEOS 141; or PHYS 100; or PHYS 202A and PHYS 202B; or PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, and PHYS 204C.

This course builds on concepts developed in the introductory physics course in greater mathematical and representational sophistication. There is a significant emphasis on participation in and reflection on scientific inquiry. Topics addressed include kinematics, electrostatics and electrodynamics, simple machines, and wave phenomena. (020986)

Note: The highlighted is different from what appears in the printed catalog. What is displayed is current and correct.
Relativity and Albert Einstein
3.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing.

An upper-division General Education thematic course giving an appreciation of Einstein's theory of relativity and his other contributions, including his impact on history, philosophy, politics, art, religion, etc. A 3-unit lecture-discussion course at the conceptual level, with emphasis on writing and critical thinking. (007413)

Sound in the Environment
3.0 Fa/Spr

Application of basic principles of physics to a study of acoustics. Topics include measurement of sound, acoustics of musical instruments, electric production of sound, room acoustics, and environmental noise pollution. Especially recommended for music and speech pathology majors. This is an approved General Education course. (007350)

Science and Modern Culture
3.0 Fa/Spr

An appreciation of Darwin's theory of evolution, Einstein's theory of relativity, and quantum theory as basic intellectual sources of Modernism, along with an understanding of their relationship to other foundational themes of Modernism, such as Marx's socialism, Nietzsche's perspectivism, and Freud's theory of the unconscious. (007218)

Nuclear Science
3.0 Fa/Spr

Properties of nuclei, nuclear systematics, nuclear forces, radioactivity, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, reactors, weapons, biological effects, waste disposal, nuclear medicine, and the impact of nuclear technology on society. This is an approved General Education course. (007363)

Special Topics
1.0-3.0 Spring

This course is for special topics offered for 1.0-3.0 units. Typically the topic is offered on a one-time-only basis and may vary from term to term and be different for different sections. See the Class Schedule for the specific topic being offered. (007415)

Special Problems
1.0-3.0 Fa/Spr

This course is an independent study of special problems offered for 1.0-3.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007416)

Thermal Physics
3.0 EvnSp

Prerequisites: MATH 361, PHYS 300A.

Statistical mechanics, the laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory, states of matter. (007434)

Nuclear Physics
3.0 Inquire

Prerequisites: PHYS 300B.

Nuclear forces, two-nucleon system, nuclear models, nuclear reactions, radioactive decay, nuclear spin, and magnetism. (007435)

Solid State Physics
3.0 OddFa

Prerequisites: PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C.

Crystal structure, x-ray diffraction, constants of crystals, lattice vibrations, domains, free electron models, band theory of solids, semi-conductors, transistors, superconductivity, and dislocations. (007436)

Advanced Laboratory
3.0 Fall

Prerequisites: ENGL 130 (or its equivalent) with a grade of C- or higher, PHYS 300B.

Experiments involving x-rays, radioactivity, Compton effect, photoelectric effect, velocity of light, lasers, nuclear magnetic resonance, electron spin resonance, Mossbauer effect, including data analysis by high speed computer. 2.0 hours discussion, 3.0 hours laboratory. This is a writing proficiency, WP, course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. (007437)

Fiber Optics/Telecommunications
3.0 Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 450 or PHYS 451.

Review light wave transmission in dielectric media; study the components of fiber optic communication, investigate analog and digital, and multiplexing techniques; examine the system performance criteria, measurements, and design. 2.0 hours discussion, 3.0 hours laboratory. (007440)

Quantum Mechanics
3.0 Fall

Prerequisites: MATH 361, PHYS 300A.

Plane waves, wave packets, De Broglie waves, Schrodinger's equation, probability, simple harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, and hydrogen atom. (007441)

Quantum Mechanics
3.0 Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 435A.

Operator methods, matrix mechanics, approximation methods, multielectron atoms, and scattering theory. (007444)

Optics
3.0 Spring

Prerequisites: PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C.

Geometrical and physical optics, interference, diffraction, reflection, dispersion, resolution, polarization, fiber optics, laser optics, and holography. 3.0 hours laboratory, 2.0 hours discussion. This course is also offered as EECE 450. (002549)

Lasers and Their Applications
3.0 Fall

Prerequisites: PHYS 204C. Recommended: EECE 450 or PHYS 450.

The theory and mechanism of laser action, various types of lasers and their applications and future use. Laboratory involves measurements with lasers, fiber optics, data transmission, and holography. 3.0 hours laboratory, 2.0 hours discussion. This course is also offered as EECE 451. (002550)

Electronic Physics
3.0 Inquire

Prerequisites: MATH 260, PHYS 204B.

Circuit review, solid state devices, charged particle dynamics, analog and digital integrated circuits, applications. 3.0 hours laboratory, 2.0 hours discussion. (007445)

Theoretical Physics
3.0 Inquire

Prerequisites: MATH 260, PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C, faculty permission.

Advanced topics in theoretical physics appropriate to needs of students. (007446)

Internship in Professional Physics
3.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 300B and faculty permission.

This is a supervised internship in professional physics. This internship may take place at a university, government laboratory, or private sector company. This course may be taken more than once. It cannot be used for the minor in physics. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007447)

Internship in Physics Teaching
3.0 Fa/Spr

Prerequisites: PHYS 300B and faculty permission.

This is a supervised internship in physics teaching which will take place in a local high school physics classroom. This course may be taken more than once, but a maximum of 3 units of any PHYS 289 may be counted toward the degree. This course cannot be used for the minor in physics. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007448)

Physics Seminar
1.0 Spring

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in physics.

Presentation and discussion of reports based on current physics literature and/or special studies of students and faculty. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007449)

Special Topics
1.0-3.0 Inquire

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in physics, faculty permission.

This course is for special topics offered for 1.0-3.0 units. Typically the topic is offered on a one-time-only basis and may vary from term to term and be different for different sections. See the Class Schedule for the specific topic being offered. (007450)

Independent Study
1.0-3.0 Fa/Spr

This course is an independent study of special problems and is offered for 1.0-3.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading only. (007451)

Independent Study
1.0-4.0 Fa/Spr

This course is a graduate-level independent study offered for 1.0-4.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007456)

Master's Thesis
1.0-6.0 Fa/Spr

This course is offered for 1.0-6.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. (007461)