Course Descriptions Physics Furman University

101 Survey of Physics for Non-Science Majors
GER: NW (Empirical Study of the Natural World)
A philosophic and conceptual examination of selected fundamental principles of physics. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed. Some historical and biographical material is included. 4 credits.

104 Energy—of Man, Creation and Calories
GER: NW (Empirical Study of the Natural World), and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
The concept of energy treated from the broadest possible perspective. Emphasis on the four laws of thermodynamics and the four black-hole analogs. With this foundation the various thermodynamic aspects of energy are treated as they relate to a variety of areas, including the impact of energy on environmental aspects of human life. 4 credits.

105 Descriptive Astronomy
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory)
Prerequisite: high school algebra
Apparent motion of the Sun, Moon, and planets; the birth of modern astronomy; properties of light and its detection; the Sun and the Solar System; the structure, properties, and evolution of stars; galaxies and cosmology. 4 credits.

111 General Physics I
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory)
Prerequisite: high school calculus. MTH-150 or (140 and 141) strongly recommended
The basic concepts and laws of classical mechanics. Measurement and units, vectors, kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, work and energy, systems of particles, collisions, rotational kinematics, torque and angular momentum, rigid body statics and dynamics, simple harmonic motion, gravitation, and mechanics of solids and fluids. 4 credits.

112 General Physics II
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory)
Prerequisite: PHY-111 and MTH-141 or 150; MTH-151 strongly recommended.
The basic concepts and laws of classical electricity and magnetism. Electrostatic and magnetostatic forces and fields. Gauss' law, electric circuits, Amperee's law, Faraday's law, electric and magnetic properties of matter, time-varying fields, Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves, and geometrical optics. 4 credits.

113 General Physics III
Prerequisite: PHY-111
Introduction to thermodynamics and wave motion. Temperature, The First Law, kinetic theory, The Second Law, sound, electromagnetic waves, super-position, interference, diffraction, and polarization. 4 credits.

119 Physics of Music
Prerequisite: PHY-111
Fundamentals of simple harmonic motion and waves. Physics of strings and vibrating air columns will be studied in detail. Lab activities will include the study of wave motion and the Fourier analysis of sound. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

241 Introduction to Modern Physics
Prerequisite: PHY-112
Special theory of relativity, particle nature of electromagnetic radiation, waves and wave nature of matter, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, historical models of the atom, Schroedinger's equation and its application to one-dimensional systems, quantum theory of the hydrogen atom, electron spin, many-electron atoms, and introduction to nuclear physics. Must be enrolled with MTH-160. 4 credits.

311 Classical Mechanics I
Prerequisite: PHY-112. MTH-255 is recommended.
Kinematics and dynamics of particles and systems of particles, oscillations, introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, central force motion, motion in non-inertial reference frames, and dynamics of rigid bodies. 4 credits.

312 Classical Mechanics II
Prerequisite: PHY-311
An advanced treatment of topics studied in the first classical mechanics course, plus gravitation, coupled oscillations, mechanics of continuous media, the one-dimensional wave equation, and relativistic kinematics and dynamics. 4 credits.

321 Electromagnetic Theory I
Prerequisite: PHY-112. MTH-255 is recommended.
Development of the Maxwell equations. Electrostatic forces and fields, potential theory, magnetostatic forces and fields, time-varying fields. 4 credits.

322 Electromagnetic Theory II
Prerequisite: PHY-321
A continuation of the first course on electromagnetic theory. Application of Maxwell's equations to radiating systems, systems and properties of electromagnetic waves in vacuum and matter. Radiation theory and relativistic electrodynamics. 4 credits.

331 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHY-241 is recommended.
Laws of heat and thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, introduction to statistical mechanics. 4 credits.

421 Optics
Prerequisite: PHY-321
Geometrical optics, image formation by lenses and mirrors, optical instruments and aberrations, Fresnel equations, optical properties of materials, nonlinear optics and the modulation of light, interference and diffraction, Fourier optics, laser operation and properties. Laboratory activities include numerical simulations of lens aberrations, Brewster angle experiment, electro-optic effect, magneto-optic effect and the spatial light modulation. 4 credits.

431 Electronics
Prerequisite: PHY-112
Theory and applications of active and passive circuits containing resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors and integrated circuits. Course is laboratory-oriented. Students build and analyze circuits involving these components in various applications, including active and passive filters, transistor amplifiers, operational amplifiers, power supplies and digital circuits. 4 credits.

432 Experimental Methods in Physics
Prerequisite: PHY-241
Introduction to modern sensors, optical devices an instruments and their applications in the field of experimential science. Experiments designed to give practice in the art of making precise measurements and the processing of experimental data. Hands-on experience in instrumentation and experimentation in optics, electronics and a number of other areas in applied physics and engineering. 4 credits.

433 Introduction ro Embedded Systems
Prerequisite: PHY-111 and 112 or instructor permission
An exploration of the fundamentals of embedded systems for applications of physical computing. Using the Arduino open source microcontroller platform, students will learn how to connect sensors, actuators and indicators to create devices that interact with the physical world. Topics include digital and analog inputs and outputs, sensors, actuators, motors, serial communication, and control of external devices. Students will learn technical skills in electronics, programming and serial communication. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

441 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHY-241
Introduction to quantum formalism, the simple harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, spin and indistinguishable particles, and applications. Should be enrolled with MTH-255. 4 credits.

442 Quantum Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHY-441
Duality of matter and radiation, state functions, linear momentum, the Schroedinger equation, systems of particles, angular momentum and spin. 4 credits.

451 Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics
Prerequisite: PHY-241, 311, and 321. PHY- 441 is recommended.
Survey course in introductory astronomy and astrophysics for science majors. Gravitation and orbital motion; evolution and structure of the solar system, galaxy, and universe; stellar classes, structure and evolution. Laboratory activities include numerical simulations of various cosmological and stellar models, the study of spectrographic data, and astronomical observations. 4 credits.

452 Atomic and Nuclear Physics
Prerequisite: PHY-241
Atomic physics topics include solutions to the Schroedinger equation for the hydrogen atom, one dimensional square well, spin orbit coupling and the periodic table. Nuclear physics topics include stable nuclei, nuclear decay, the radial square well and a model for the deuteron, as well as the simple harmonic oscillator and the nuclear shell model. An introduction to elementary particles and accelerators is also included. 4 credits.

461 Teaching Methods and Materials in Physics
Prerequisite: department permission. 4 credits.

502 Research
Guided experimentation or theoretical research on selected topics. Potential for publication of results or presentation of findings at professional meetings. Variable credit.

504 Directed Independent Study
Study of selected topics designed to instill deeper understanding of areas of physics beyond formal course work. A formal paper resulting from this study is expected. Variable credit.

Connect with Admission

Furman University is one of the nation's premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We offer outstanding academics, opportunities for a broad range of talented students with a passion for learning, a robust arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • 50th Anniversary of Desegregation at Furman
  • Furman University