 Physics Home
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 Program Info
 Department Info
 College of Natural Sciences
 Vesta Holt Hall 285
 (530)8986121
 (530)8984363 (fax)
 email: naturalsciences@csuchico.edu
 Dean: David M. Hassenzahl
 Physics Department
 (530)8986259
 email: phys@csuchico.edu
 Chair: Eric J. Ayars
 Faculty
 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.
Physics Course Offerings
SUBJ NUM  Title  Sustainable  Units  Semester Offered  Course Flags 

PHYS 100  Concepts in Physics  3.0  FS  GE  
A nonmathematical General Education lecture, laboratoryactivity 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 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This is an approved General Education course.
(007392)
 
PHYS 100H  Concepts in PhysicsModern CosmologyHonors  3.0  FS  GE  
This is a conceptual General Education lecture/activity course with much opportunity for discussion. The course provides an overview of modern physical theory, emphasizing the approach of science in understanding our place in the universe. The student discovers how simple, fundamental physical principles enable us to understand key features in diverse physical systems: from the radiometric dating of early hominid ancestors to the measurement of the expansion rate of the Universe. The course emphasizes our current understanding of solar system formation, stellar evolution, and cosmic evolution. This in turns leads us to investigate the physical conditions salient to life on Earth, and ways in which these conditions are 'rare'. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This is an approved General Education course.
(021079)
 
PHYS 102  Thinking Like a Physicist  1.0  FS  
Prerequisite: Algebra and Trigonometry.
In this course, students develop their scientific inquiry skills, and their physical intuition for the core physical concepts of force and energy. The course emphasizes handson activities with guided inquiry to maximize student learning. Our pedagogical approach is evidencebased and consists of a series of increasingly abstract representations, helping students move from the sense data toward the abstract general abstract law. 2 hours activity. Credit/no credit grading.
(021291)
 
PHYS 202A  General Physics  4.0  FS  
Prerequisites: High school physics or faculty permission. High school trigonometry and secondyear 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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007394)
 
PHYS 202B  General Physics  4.0  FS  
Prerequisites: PHYS 202A with a grade of C or higher.
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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007395)
 
PHYS 202X  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
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 problemsolving abilities. 2 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. Formerly PHYS 202W.
(007398)
 
PHYS 202Y  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
Prerequisites: PHYS 202A. Corequsites: PHYS 202B.
Designed to supplement PHYS 202B with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problemsolving abilities. 2 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007399)
 
PHYS 204A  Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Mechanics  4.0  FS  GE  
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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. This is an approved General Education course.
(007401)
 
PHYS 204B  Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Electricity and Magnetism  4.0  FS  
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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007402)
 
PHYS 204C  Physics for Students of Science and Engineering: Heat, Wave Motion, Sound, Light, and Modern Topics  4.0  FS  
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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007403)
 
PHYS 204X  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
Corequisites: PHYS 204A.
Designed to supplement PHYS 204A with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problemsolving abilities. 2 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading. Formerly PHYS 204W.
(007406)
 
PHYS 204Y  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
Prerequisites: PHYS 204A. Corequisites: PHYS 204B.
Designed to supplement PHYS 204B with additional applications of introductory physics. Provides the student with the opportunity for additional assistance in developing problemsolving abilities. 2 hours activity. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007407)
 
PHYS 298  Special Topics  1.0 3.0  FS  
Prerequisites: Department permission.
This course is for special topics offered for 1.03.0 units. Typically the topic is offered on a onetimeonly basis and may vary from term to term and be different for different sections. See the Class Schedule for the specific topic being offered. 3 hours supervision.
(007412)
 
PHYS 300A  Relativity and Quantum Theory (Modern Physics I)  3.0  FA  
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. 3 hours discussion.
(007417)
 
PHYS 300B  Atomic and Nuclear Physics (Modern Physics II)  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 300A.
Application of quantum mechanics to atomic, nuclear, molecular, and solid state physics. Introduction to classical and quantum statistical mechanics. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007418)
 
PHYS 301A  Analytical Mechanics  3.0  F1  
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. 3 hours discussion.
(007419)
 
PHYS 301B  Analytical Mechanics  3.0  S2  
Prerequisites: PHYS 301A.
Many body systems, rotational motion, rigid body dynamics, Euler's equations, Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulations, oscillating systems and waves. 3 hours discussion.
(007421)
 
PHYS 302A  Electricity and Magnetism  3.0  F2  
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. 3 hours discussion.
(007422)
 
PHYS 302B  Electricity and Magnetism  3.0  S1  
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. 3 hours discussion.
(007425)
 
PHYS 309  Physics Associates Program  2.0  FS  
Prerequisites: Faculty permission.
See description below. 6 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007429)
 
PHYS 312  ComputerAssisted Physics ProblemSolving  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 300A. No previous computer experience necessary.
This course prepares physics majors to be selfsufficient 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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(007411)
 
PHYS 327  Electronics for Scientists  3.0  SP  
Prerequisite: PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C.
This course is an introduction to basic laboratory electronics for scientists. Topics include fundamentals of linear and nonlinear circuit elements, operational amplifiers, simple digital circuits, A/D and D/A conversion, noise reduction, introductorylevel LabVIEW programming, and an introduction to microcontroller systems. A weekly three hour lab gives students experience in designing, building, and debugging circuitry for laboratory/control tasks. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(021423)
 
PHYS 341  Advanced Inquiry into Physics  3.0  FS  
Prerequisites: NSCI 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. 1 hour discussion, 4 hours activity.
(020986)
 
PHYS 360  Sound in the Environment  3.0  FS  
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. 3 hours lecture.
(007350)
 
PHYS 376  War and Peace in the Nuclear Age  3.0  FS  GE  
This course explores the fundamentals of nuclear physics, and how these fundamentals give rise to energy release in both bombs and power plants. The course also focuses on how the nature of nuclear physics has influenced international relations. One main goal for students is to understand the scientific issues sufficient to make intelligent choices as citizens. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course.
(021364)
 
PHYS 376Z  War and Peace in the Nuclear Age  Capstone  3.0  FS  GE WI C  
This course explores the fundamentals of nuclear physics, and how these fundamentals give rise to energy release in both bombs and power plants. The course also focuses on how the nature of nuclear physics has influenced international relations. One main goal for students is to understand the scientific issues sufficient to make intelligent choices as citizens. 3 hours lecture.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education Capstone course. Formerly PHYS 376I.
(007363)
 
PHYS 398  Special Topics  1.0 3.0  SP  
This course is for special topics offered for 1.03.0 units. Typically the topic is offered on a onetimeonly basis and may vary from term to term and be different for different sections. See the Class Schedule for the specific topic being offered. 1 hour lecture.
(007415)
 
PHYS 399  Special Problems  1.0 3.0  FS  
This course is an independent study of special problems offered for 1.03.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007416)
 
PHYS 415  Thermal Physics  3.0  S2  
Prerequisites: MATH 361, PHYS 300A.
Statistical mechanics, the laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory, states of matter. 3 hours discussion.
(007434)
 
PHYS 427  Advanced Laboratory  3.0  FA  GW  
Prerequisites: ENGL 130 or JOUR 130 (or equivalent) with a grade of C or higher, PHYS 300B.
Experiments involving xrays, 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 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. This is an approved Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement course; a grade of C or higher certifies writing proficiency for majors.
(007437)
 
PHYS 435A  Quantum Mechanics  3.0  FA  
Prerequisites: MATH 361, PHYS 300A.
Plane waves, wave packets, De Broglie waves, Schrodinger's equation, probability, simple harmonic oscillator, angular momentum, and hydrogen atom. 3 hours discussion.
(007441)
 
PHYS 435B  Quantum Mechanics  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 435A.
Operator methods, matrix mechanics, approximation methods, multielectron atoms, and scattering theory. 3 hours discussion.
(007444)
 
PHYS 450  Optics  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 204A, PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C. This course is also offered as EECE 450.
Geometrical and physical optics, interference, diffraction, reflection, dispersion, resolution, polarization, fiber optics, laser optics, and holography. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(002549)
 
PHYS 451  Lasers and Their Applications  3.0  FA  
Prerequisites: PHYS 204C. Recommended: EECE 450 or PHYS 450. This course is also offered as EECE 451.
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. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory.
(002550)
 
PHYS 489P  Internship in Professional Physics  3.0  FS  
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. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007447)
 
PHYS 489T  Internship in Physics Teaching  3.0  FS  
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. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007448)
 
PHYS 491  Physics Seminar  1.0  SP  
Prerequisites: Upperdivision standing in physics.
Presentation and discussion of reports based on current physics literature and/or special studies of students and faculty. 1 hour seminar. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units.
(007449)
 
PHYS 498  Special Topics  1.0 3.0  INQ  
Prerequisites: Upperdivision standing in physics, faculty permission.
This course is for special topics offered for 1.03.0 units. Typically the topic is offered on a onetimeonly basis and may vary from term to term and be different for different sections. See the Class Schedule for the specific topic being offered. 1 hour seminar.
(007450)
 
PHYS 499  Special Problems  1.0 3.0  FS  
This course is an independent study of special problems and is offered for 1.03.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. 3 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007451)
 
PHYS 697  Independent Study  1.0 4.0  FS  
This course is a graduatelevel independent study offered for 1.04.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units.
(007456)
 
PHYS 699T  Master's Thesis  1.0 6.0  FS  
This course is offered for 1.06.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. 9 hours supervision. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 6.0 units. Credit/no credit grading.
(007461)
