 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
 Physical Science 106A
 (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  Introduction to Astronomy: Survey of the Cosmos  3.0  FS  GE  
This 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 astronomy, solar system formation, stellar evolution, and cosmic evolution. This in turn 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.
(007392)
 
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 109  Paths to Success in Physics  1.0  FA  
A university success course for physics majors new to California State University, Chico. Appropriate for all incoming freshman and transfer students. This course explores academic and career opportunities in physics and related fields, introduces current topics in physics, acquaints students with resources available on campus and provides an introduction to physics research. 1 hour discussion.
(021671)
 
PHYS 202A  General Physics I  4.0  FS  GE  
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. This is an approved General Education course.
(007394)
 
PHYS 202B  General Physics II  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.
(007398)
 
PHYS 202Y  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
Corequsite: 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.
(007406)
 
PHYS 204Y  Physics Problem Session  1.0  FS  
Corequisite: 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 300  Introduction to Modern Physics: Relativity and Quantum Theory  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 and 21st centuries. 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 introduction of quantum theory. The last section introduces particle physics, general relativity, and cosmology. 3 hours discussion.
(007417)
 
PHYS 301  Analytical Mechanics  3.0  FA  
Prerequisites: PHYS 204B, PHYS 204C, PHYS 314 (may be taken concurrently).
Newton's laws of motion, particle dynamics, accelerated reference systems, central force problems, conservation laws, celestial mechanics, many body systems, rotational motion, rigid body dynamics, Euler's equations, Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulations, oscillating systems, and waves. 3 hours discussion. Formerly PHYS 301A.
(007419)
 
PHYS 302  Electricity and Magnetism  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 204C, PHYS 314.
Vector analysis; electrostatic fields and potentials: Poisson's equation, boundary value problems and multipole expansions; dielectrics, magnetostatics, 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. Formerly PHYS 302A.
(007422)
 
PHYS 307  Physics of Music  3.0  FS  GE  
Prerequisites: GE Physical Sciences (B1), GE Life Sciences (B2).
This course is intended for nonscience majors and explores the deep connection between physics and music. Basic principles of physics and scientific reasoning are taught in the context of the production and perception of music, emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music. No previous knowledge of physics or music is assumed. Through learning the physical concepts used to describe music, students are able to extend their understanding to additional examples of physical phenomena. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course.
(021877)
 
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  Computational Physics  3.0  SP  
Prerequisite: PHYS 204B. Corequisite: PHYS 204C.
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 314  Methods of Theoretical Physics  3.0  FA  
Prerequisites: MATH 220, MATH 260, PHYS 204B.
This course provides students with the skills needed to apply advanced topics in mathematics to upperdivision physics problems. It focuses on applications of calculus, multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, Fourier techniques, partial differential equations, and boundaryvalue problems to physics problems in classical mechanics, E&M, and other advanced physics courses. 3 hours lecture.
(022045)
 
PHYS 315  Thermal Physics  3.0  SP  
Prerequisite: PHYS 300. Recommended: MATH 361.
This course develops the laws of macroscopic equilibrium thermodynamics along with applications to representative physical problems. The course concludes with an investigation of the microscopic statistical properties underlying these laws. 3 hours discussion.
(021447)
 
PHYS 327  Electronics for Scientists  4.0  SP  
Prerequisites: 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. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory.
(021423)
 
PHYS 341  Advanced Inquiry into Physics  3.0  FS  
Prerequisites: SCED 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 376W  War and Peace in the Nuclear Age (W)  3.0  FS  GE W  
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 Course. This is an approved General Education course.
(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 427W  Advanced Laboratory (W)  3.0  FA  GW W  
Prerequisites: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement, PHYS 300, PHYS 327.
Experiments involving atomic and nuclear physics, measurement of physical constants, chaos, solidstate physics, and generalpurpose laboratory skills techniques including computerized data collection and analysis. 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. This is an approved Writing Course.
(007437)
 
PHYS 435A  Quantum Mechanics I  3.0  FA  
Prerequisites: PHYS 300, PHYS 314.
A survey of onedimensional and threedimensional solutions to Schrodinger's equation designed to build an understanding of commutator algebra and Hilbert space. Formalisms associated with angular momentum and spin are included. 3 hours discussion.
(007441)
 
PHYS 435B  Quantum Mechanics II  3.0  SP  
Prerequisites: PHYS 435A.
This course extends the use of Schrodinger's equation with a variety of approximation methods to study physical systems including atomic physics, nuclear structure, and scattering problems. 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 300 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 327 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 492W  Communicating Physics (W)  3.0  SP  W  
Prerequisites: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement, junior standing, open to Physics majors only.
Presentation and discussion of current physics literature and/or special studies of students and faculty, in professional journal form, other written forms, and in seminar presentation. 2 hours discussion, 1 hour seminar. This is an approved Writing Course. Formerly PHYS 492.
(022057)
 
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)
