PHYS PHYSICS

PHYS PHYSICS
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PHYS
PHYSICS
Students should note that in the Science Faculty the minimum acceptable grade in a course which
is required by a particular program or is used to meet a prerequisite, is a "C". Any student who fails
to attain a "C" or better in such a course must repeat the course (at the next regular session) until
a grade of "C" or better is attained. Students will not be eligible for graduation until such
deficiencies are removed. The only exception will be granted for a single course with a “D” grade
that is a normal part of the final year of that program, and is being taken for the first time in the
final year
Note: See Courses -> Saint John or Fredericton -> Standard Course Abbreviations in the online
undergraduate calendar for an explanation of abbreviations, course numbers and coding.
Not all courses are offered every year. Consult with the Department concerning availability of
courses from year to year.
PHYS 1061, PHYS 1062, PHYS 1091, PHYS 1092 are prerequisites for second year physics courses.
PHYS 1071 may count in place of PHYS 1061 and PHYS 1072 in place of PHYS 1062. Note that credit
can only be obtained for one of PHYS 1061 and PHYS 1091, PHYS 1071 and PHYS 1091 or PHYS
1081. However, for students wishing to transfer from engineering PHYS 1081 and EE 1813 may
replace First Year Physics i.e. PHYS 1061, 1062 , 1091 , 1092 (or equivalently PHYS 1071, 1072,
1091, 1092).may count PHYS 1081 in place of PHYS 1061, PHYS 1091. In the same vein, EE 1813
may substitute for PHYS 1062, PHYS 1092.
Courses with a 5 for the first digit are advanced courses, which may be taken only with the
permission of the instructor.
PHYS 1061 Introductory Physics - I (Physical Science Interest)
3 ch (3C 1T)
This course is an introduction to the branch of physics called mechanics. Mechanics is the study
both of how objects move and why they move the way they do. Describing the motion of
objects requires understanding the basic kinematics quantities position, displacement, velocity
and acceleration, as well as the connection between them. Understanding the causes of
motion can be achieved by considering the forces acting on the object and/or by focussing on
the conserved properties of the system (momentum, energy, angular momentum). Mechanics
applies to a wide range of phenomena, essentially to anything that moves, but this course will
highlight ties to and applications in the physical sciences. Co-requisites: MATH 1003 or 1053.
NOTES: Credit can be obtained in only one of PHYS 1061, 1071 or 1081.
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PHYS 1062 Introductory Physics - II (Physical Science Interest)
3 ch (3C 1T)
This course introduces the students to wave phenomena and to electricity and magnetism.
Throughout, the concepts related to motion learned in the previous course are used to
describe and explain new phenomena. The study of waves introduces the student to
propagating, periodic disturbances. In addition to their importance in mechanical phenomena
(e.g. seismic waves), waves form the basis of both optics and acoustics. The study of electricity
and magnetism introduces the student to the concept of charge and to the effects of charges
on their surroundings (fields and forces). This course will highlight ties to and applications in
the physical sciences. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1071 or 1081, MATH 1003 or 1053. It is
recommended that students intending to take Physics courses beyond Introductory Physics
should take MATH 1013 or 1063 as a co-requisite to this course. NOTES: Credit can be obtained
in only one of PHYS 1062 or 1072.
Introductory Physics - I (Health & Life Science
3 ch (3C 1T)
Interest)
This course is an introduction to the branch of physics called mechanics. Mechanics is the study
both of how objects move and why they move the way they do. Describing the motion of
objects requires understanding the basic kinematics quantities position, displacement, velocity
and acceleration, as well as the connection between them. Understanding the causes of
motion can be achieved by considering the forces acting on the object and/or by focussing on
the conserved properties of the system (momentum, energy, angular momentum). Mechanics
applies to a wide range of phenomena, essentially to anything that moves, but this course will
highlight ties to and applications in the health and life sciences. Co-requisite: MATH 1003 or
1053. NOTES: Credit can be obtained in only one of PHYS 1061, 1071 or 1081.
PHYS 1071
PHYS 1072
Introductory Physics - II (Health & Life Science Interest)
3 ch (3C 1T)
This course introduces the students to wave phenomena and to electricity and magnetism.
Throughout, the concepts related to motion learned in the previous course are used to
describe and explain new phenomena. The study of waves introduces the student to
propagating, periodic disturbances. In addition to their importance in mechanical phenomena
(e.g.\ seismic waves), waves form the basis of both optics and acoustics. The study of electricity
and magnetism introduces the student to the concept of charge and to the effects of charges
on their surroundings (fields and forces). This course will highlight ties to and applications in
the health and life sciences. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061 or PHYS 1071, MATH 1003 or 1503. It is
recommended that students intending to take Physics courses beyond Introductory Physics
should take MATH 1013 or 1063 as a co-requisite to this course. NOTES: Credit can be obtained
in only one of PHYS 1062 or 1072.
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PHYS 1081
Foundations of Physics for Engineers
5 ch (3C 3L)
An introduction to the fundamentals of mechanics. Vector analysis and its application to the
analysis of the motion of particles and rigid bodies. Newton's three laws of motion. The
kinematics and dynamics of particle motion along straight and curved paths. Work, energy,
impulse and momentum of particles and rigid bodies. An introduction to the rotation of a rigid
body about a fixed axis, moments of inertia, angular momentum. Simple Harmonic Motion. Corequisites: (MATH 1003 or MATH 1053), (MATH 1503, or MATH 2213, or equivalent). NOTES:
Credit can be obtained in only one of PHYS 1061 and PHYS 1091, 1071 and PHYS 1091 or 1081.
PHYS 1091
Experiments in Introductory Physics – I
2 ch (3L) [W]
This course provides the student hands-on experience with concepts covered in PHYS 1061 or
1071. Co-requisite: PHYS 1061 or 1071.
PHYS 1092
Experiments in Introductory Physics - II
2 ch (3L) [W]
This course provides the student hands-on experience with concepts covered in PHYS 1062 or
1072. Prerequisite: PHYS 1091. Co-requisite: PHYS 1062 or 1072.
PHYS 2311
Mechanics I
4 ch (3C 1T)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course is an important — and
big! — first step away from the tremendously simplified problems that we have dealt with both
in introductory university physics and in high school. We introduce the integration of greater
mathematical sophistication in the treatment of physical situations, showing that comfort with
a variety of mathematical techniques will allow us to study a greater range of — and more
interesting — problems. Furthermore, this course serves to show that familiarity with the
powerful Newtonian toolchest, which we have been using since high school, allows us to
approach complicated, realistic situations with confidence. The inclusion of special relativity
challenges us to think beyond the familiar.
Content. Special relativity (including elements related to the development of the theory),
advanced Newtonian kinematics and dynamics (translational and rotational), conservation
principles, oscillatory motion, mechanics in non-inertial reference frames. Prerequisites: MATH
1003 or 1053 and 1013 or 1063 plus PHYS 1061, 1062, 1091, 1092 or equivalent. Co-requisite:
MATH 2003 or equivalent.
PHYS 2312
Mechanics II
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course introduces an entirely
new approach to mechanics, one that is more elegant and more powerful but less intuitive
than the Newtonian approach to which we have been exposed thus far. This is the last
compulsory mechanics course and, therefore, includes the classical mechanics background for
the quantum mechanics stream. Some computational exercises are included (e.g. the use of
numerical differential equation solvers).
Content. Calculus of variations, Lagrangian mechanics, two-body, central force problems
(orbital motion), rotational motion of rigid bodies, coupled oscillators and normal modes, an
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introduction to Hamiltonian mechanics. Prerequisites: PHYS 2311, MATH 2003 or equivalent.
Co-requisite: MATH 2013 or equivalent.
PHYS 2327
Circuits & Elementary Electronics
3 ch (3L)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Understanding circuits and basic
electronics is essential for any physicist who will develop or simply use measuring devices. This
course moves beyond the simple DC circuits involving resistors and capacitors seen in
introductory physics. It introduces the basic elements of the many electronic devices which we
use every day, then shows how to combine these elements when designing simple circuits. This
topic is particularly well-suited to hands-on learning. The course is experiential in design with
more time devoted to manipulations than to lecture. Through the experimental work involved
in learning about basic electronics, we are introduced to and become comfortable with
essential measurement apparati (multimeters, oscilloscopes, etc). The understanding of basic
electronics and measuring devices gained from this course will serve to enhance all future
laboratory work: the equipment will not distract us from the physical phenomena which we are
studying and we will understand how to best use the equipment and appreciate its limitations.
This course also introduces some computational techniques for circuit analysis e.g. in the
solution of simultaneous linear equations.
Content. AC circuits, operational amplifiers, diodes, transistors, etc. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061,
1062, 1091, 1092 or equivalent. Co-requisite: MATH 2013 or equivalent.
PHYS 2331
Research Skills
3 ch (3C) [W]
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course helps us to acquire skills
needed to do research. These include two different aspects: (1) how to deal with experimental
limitations (2) how to read and write scientific documents. The skills acquired in this course are
subsequently applied in other courses. In all future experimental work, we will treat
experimental limitations properly and fully. In all future courses involving reports, written work
will meet or exceed the standards established in the Research Skills course. The title of this
course emphasises the fact that the programme does more than fill us with physics facts. This
is also an opportunity to review other skills, which are developed by the programme (problem
solving strategies, approximation, presentation skills, index/abstract searching, etc.). All of
these skills are generally applicable in physics & beyond.
Content. Uncertainty analysis, Data processing and analysis, Reading and understanding
technical literature, Technical writing. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1062, 1091, 1092 or
equivalent. Co-requisite: MATH 2003 or equivalent.
PHYS 2341
Thermal Physics
3 ch (3C)
This course includes some experimental work that supports the lecture material.
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course furnishes us with
classical thermodynamics and a little about properties of materials. We have heard that
“energy is conserved” and even have an appreciation of how important this principle is, but in
first year mechanics energy is often apparently “lost” when friction does work. Here, at last ,
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we introduce a complete formulation for energy conservation, comparing the work defined in
first year with heat as a means of energy transfer. We discuss transformations of energy in a
variety of processes, then go on to explain that not all of the energy is available for doing
mechanical work. The theoretical framework of classical thermodynamics is beautifully selfcontained, but this course also emphasises the link between the microscopic world of the
kinetic theory (drawing on Newtonian mechanics as it does so) and the macroscopic world of
the everyday, in preparation for the statistical thermodynamics to follow.
Content. Gases (ideal and real) and pressure, phases and phase diagrams, the state of a system,
what is energy?, heat and work, first, second and third laws of thermodynamics, entropy,
enthalpy and free energies, heat engines, refrigerators, heat pumps and efficiency, phase
transitions, introductory kinetic theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1062, 1091, 1092 or
equivalent. Co-requisite: MATH 2003 or equivalent.
PHYS 2351
Quantum Physics
3 ch (3C)
This course includes some experimental work that supports the lecture material.
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course lays the necessary
foundations for thinking about phenomena on very small spatial scales. This course calls on
many concepts learned in introductory physics: position, momentum, energy, angular
momentum, vibrations, waves. It casts many of them in a new light, at times requiring
modification of the classical definition of these quantities. Quantum Physics serves as the
foundation for the more in–depth learning of the tools of quantum mechanics presented in the
Quantum Mechanics trio of courses and the courses which follow from these. In addition,
Quantum Physics is essential background for the study of astrophysics and atmospheric
physics.
Contents. Particle properties of waves: blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, Compton
effect; wave properties of particles: de Broglie waves, Davisson-Germer experiment, the
uncertainty principle; old atomic theory: atomic spectra, Rutherford’s model, Bohr’s model,
spontaneous and stimulated transitions, lasers; quantum mechanics: the Schrodinger equation,
mathematical tools; quantum mechanical examples: square wells and barriers, quantum
tunnelling and its applications; quantum theory of atoms. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1062,
1091, 1092 or equivalent. Co-requisite: MATH 2003 or equivalent.
PHYS 2372
Waves
3 ch (3C)
This course includes some experimental work that supports the lecture material.
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Oscillations and waves are key
elements to understanding many subfields and applications of physics. Acoustics, optics and
electromagnetism (telecommunications) are obvious examples, but waves are also essential to
understanding quantum mechanics (the Schrödinger formalism), some atmospheric
phenomena, seismic phenomena and fluid mechanics.
Content. Waves, applications to optics and acoustics. Prerequisites: PHYS 2311, MATH 2003 or
equivalent. Co-requisite: MATH 2013 or equivalent.
PHYS 2703
Physics Outreach & Education (O)
3 ch (3C) [W]
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course is meant to help us
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develop the skills needed to communicate with non- specialists concerning physics. Given that
most physics research is ultimately paid for by the public, it behooves physicists to
communicate effectively with those who are funding their work, for the benefit of both parties.
The goal of such communication is two-fold: (1) to insure that the general public is physics
literate and therefore able to enter into a discourse about the science, and (2) to insure that
the next generation of university students is exposed to physics in such a way that they can
make an informed choice about whether or not their academic and career paths should include
physics.
Content. Science journalism, science museums and exhibits, outreach to schools and other
groups. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1062, 1091, 1092 or equivalent.
PHYS 2803
Physics and Society (O)
3 ch (3C) [W]
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course aims to investigate the
two way interaction between society and physics (although the society of physics itself will also
be discussed). The ideas of physics have percolated into the collective consciousness both as
scientific knowledge and as cultural reference points and various new technologies can be
identified as originating in physics research. However, physics also has to deal with how it is
perceived as a discipline and how physicists are perceived as trustworthy authorities. This
course allows students to see how physics operates in a wider context than the university
environment. Open to students in all faculties. No mathematics beyond basic high school
algebra and geometry is needed.
Content. Introduction to the philosophy of science and the scientific method, introduction to
the major scientific ideas that have shaped our society and the world. We will emphasize the
human element of scientific discovery, with energy and the environment providing an
underlying theme.
PHYS 2902
Environmental Physics (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. With the population of the planet
increasing and the natural resources decreasing, it is more important than ever to understand
the manner in which those resources can and are being used as well as the environmental
impacts of those uses. In addition, part of understanding those impacts is understanding how
measurements of impacts are made. By focussing on applications of physics to environmental
matters, this course contributes to the synthesis of concepts and models learned in other
courses.
Content. The main focus of the course is on matters related to energy, its production,
extraction, distribution and use. Topics include hydroelectricity, solar power, nuclear power,
fossil fuels, etc. Prerequisite: PHYS 1061, 1071 or 1081.
PHYS 3322
Electromagnetism I
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course will be our first major
foray into the formalism of electromagnetic theory. A thorough examination of the nature of
vector fields and the forces they cause, and scalar fields along with their relationship to energy,
will form a connection to earlier discussions started in Mechanics I. The tools studied
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previously in Intermediate Calculus (vector operations and calculus) and Methods of
Theoretical Physics (particularly special functions like Legendre polynomials and spherical
harmonics, delta functions, and tensor analysis) will play a significant role here.
Content. Interactions between point charges, the nature and calculation of the electric and
magnetic fields, the distribution of electric and magnetic fields in space (flux, Gauss’ law,
Ampère’s law), reactions of charges and dipoles to applied fields, electrostatic scalar potential
and magnetic vector potential, elementary gauge theory, energy storage in static electric and
magnetic fields, elementary treatment of fields in materials, fields across boundaries, time
dependence of electromagnetic fields, displacement current, the final form of Maxwell’s
equations, electromagnetic waves. Prerequisites: PHYS 2311, 3331, MATH 2013 or equivalent.
PHYS 3331
Methods of Theoretical Physics.
4 ch (3C 1T*)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. In the course of an undergraduate
physics programme we employ a variety of theoretical techniques. This course exposes us to
theoretical ideas that are widely applicable in electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, classical
mechanics and relativity. Special emphasis will be placed on demonstrating the general nature
of the topics considered.
Content. Non-orthogonal, non-normalised bases, tensors, special functions (general solutions
to second order differential equations) and expansions in special functions Integral transforms
(Fourier, z-transform, Laplace transform). Prerequisite: MATH 2213 or equivalent.
PHYS 3332
Computational Physics
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses.
This is a capstone course to demonstrate the use of numerical and simulation techniques in a
range of situations taken from across the programme. For instance, numerical solutions to
differential equations might be used to look at some examples of chaotic behaviour or MonteCarlo simulations might be used to look at percolative mass transport problems. Computational
techniques have great importance in the modern physical sciences to the extent that some
have described it as of equal importance to experimental and theoretical physics (although
computational physics may also be considered to have elements of both theoretical and
experimental physics, of course). The skills acquired in this course can subsequently be applied
in other advanced courses, in particular the Advanced Research Project.
Content. Numerical techniques, modelling techniques. Prerequisites: CS 1073 or equivalent,
approved second year physics.
PHYS 3336
Experimental Physics I
3 ch (3L)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Various courses contain experiments
that are directly related to the material addressed in the lectures, however, in the interest of
promoting an understanding of connectivities (avoiding compartmentalisation) and refining
research skills, this synthesis course will contain a variety of experiments, many of which
integrate concepts learned in diverse courses.
Content. The experiments include topics in mechanics, electromagnetism , quantum physics,
thermal physics and optics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2331.
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PHYS 3338
Independent Study
3 ch (3R)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Every physics honours student will
be required to complete one independent study course, to allow the development of critical
reading and thinking skills. This course shall be taken no sooner than the beginning of his/her
third year and no later than the penultimate term of his/her degree (i.e. the student must
know a sufficient amount of physics to allow for a challenging independent study course, and
the student should complete this course before working on his/her Advanced Research Project
so that the skills developed during the independent study course are of use during the thesis
project).
Content. The student will choose among the list of topics for which supervision has been
offered or can choose some other topic of interest if s/(s)he can convince a faculty member to
supervise the course. Prerequisites: approved second year physics.
PHYS 3342
Statistical Physics
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course builds from the bottom
up (molecules → continuous phases) what Thermal Physics describes from the top down
(macroscopic properties → kinetic theory). We reinforce the idea (from Quantum Physics and
Quantum Mechanics I) that our macroscopic observations can be based on underlying
probabilities, rather than strict determinism.
Content. The ensemble basis for basic statistics, equilibrium between interacting systems, the
Laws of Thermodynamics (from a microscopic standpoint) , classical and quantum statistical
distributions, applications of Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics, kinetic theory of gases revisited,
applications of quantum statistics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2341.
PHYS 3351
Quantum Mechanics I
4 ch (3C 1T*)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The need for and qualities of
quantum mechanics have been clearly established in Quantum Physics. This course begins to
put quantum mechanics on a formal footing. The approach in QM I is expected to include both
wave and matrix techniques.
Content. Mathematical structure of quantum mechanics, Hilbert space, operator algebra;
postulates of quantum mechanics, symmetries and conservations; quantum dynamics; general
theory of angular momentum, coupling of angular momenta, irreducible tensor operators,
Wigner-Eckart theorem; analytical solution of the hydrogen atom; identical particles: spin and
statistics, the Pauli exclusion principle and many electron atoms. Prerequisites: PHYS 2351,
approved second year mathematics.
PHYS 3752
Atomic and Molecular Physics (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. For an undergraduate student,
atomic and molecular physics is one of the most fundamental applications of quantum
mechanics in the curriculum. The course provides a firm grounding in quantum angular
momentum theory, including spin and angular momentum coupling, and makes extensive use
of the matrix approach to quantum physics calculations. The course is linked to all courses in
the quantum mechanics stream, and to optics.
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Content. Quantum angular momentum concepts, including orbital angular momentum, spin,
and angular momentum coupling, the hydrogen atom, including spin-orbit and hyperfine
interactions, methods and approaches to multi-electron atoms, topics in molecular physics,
including development of the Hamiltonian, the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, and the
structure of molecular spectra. Usually offered on rotation with Subatomic Physics and Solid
State Physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 3351.
PHYS 3852
Subatomic Physics (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The study of nuclear and particle
physics draws mainly on quantum physics but, due to the semi-empirical nature of many of the
nuclear models used, it also draws heavily on basic electromagnetism and other branches of
physics. An understanding of nuclear physics is essential for work related to radiation therapy,
in the nuclear energy sector, and in some branches of astrophysics. As for particle physics, as
well as being a field in its own right, it has become inextricably linked to research in cosmology.
Content. Some overlap of topics with environmental physics and medical physics is to be
expected, but the approach and depth will differ greatly. Exact content will be at the
instructor’s discretion allowing the course to focus sometimes more on applications of nuclear
physics, sometimes more on particle physics, etc. Usually offered on rotation with Atomic &
Molecular Physics and Solid State Physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 3351.
PHYS 3883
Atmospheric Physics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Atmospheric events and processes
have an impact on and are impacted by human activity, making atmospheric physics a topic of
great societal relevance. The study of the atmosphere requires consideration of a wide range
of spatial scales — from radiation transfer at the atomic level to phenomena on the global level
— and a wide range of time scales — from seconds to centuries. Making headway requires an
understanding of what processes can and cannot be ignored depending on the scales under
consideration. In addition to providing an introduction to the field of atmospheric physics, this
course contributes toward the overall goal of the physics programme by calling on us to
combine knowledge from a variety of subfields of physics. Knowledge acquired in thermal
physics, in mechanics and in quantum physics (blackbody radiation, spectral lines) must be
brought together to develop an understanding of basic atmospheric physics.
Content. Structure of the atmosphere, the global energy balance, atmospheric
thermodynamics, physics of weather patterns, observational techniques and instrumentation.
Usually alternates with Astrophysics. Prerequisites: PHYS 2312, 2341, 2351.
PHYS 3892
Medical Physics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course introduces our students
to a field where there are many opportunities for stimulating and satisfying careers. Medical
physics is an application of physics to the particular — and particularly complex — system
which is the human body. This course requires an integration of concepts from optics, quantum
physics, nuclear physics, electromagnetism, mathematics, etc.
Content. Radiation therapy, medical imaging. Usually alternates with Biophysics. Prerequisite:
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PHYS 3911
Mechanics III (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses This third, elective mechanics course
can afford to take a more philosophical approach to Hamiltonian mechanics, while Mechanics II
will, of necessity, be more pragmatic. In addition, our tools can now be used in a variety of very
sophisticated circumstances.
Content. Topics might include Hamiltonian mechanics with greater reach, canonical
transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables, collision theory, non-linear
mechanics and chaos, continuum mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, in
contrast to the Continuum and Fluid Mechanics course). Prerequisite: PHYS 2312.
PHYS 3952
Solid State Physics (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Solid state physics, also referred to
as condensed matter physics, is the study of matter in which a large number of atoms (1023
cm−3) are bound together, forming a dense solid aggregate. It is a fundamental field of physics
that leads to such areas and topics as material science, nanotechnology, and superconductivity.
In this course, the student will study the structure of solids and how this structure affects such
things as their mechanical properties, their thermal properties, and their electronic properties.
This course builds on concepts introduced in thermodynamics and statistical physics, as well as
quantum mechanics, with links to electromagnetism (e.g. van der Waals forces).
Content. Lattice structure and dynamics, electron kinetics and dynamics, applications (e.g.
semiconductors, superconductors, magnetic resonance). Usually offered on rotation with
Atomic & Molecular Physics and Subatomic Physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 3351, 3342.
PHYS 3983
Astrophysics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. In addition to providing an
introduction to the field of astrophysics, this course contributes toward the overall goal of the
physics programme by calling on us to combine knowledge from a variety of subfields of
physics. Knowledge acquired in introductory physics (conservation principles, forces, optics)
and in quantum physics (blackbody radiation, spectral lines) must be brought together to
develop an understanding of basic astrophysics. In addition, elements of statistical physics will
be introduced as required.
Content. Observational tools (telescopes and detectors), stars: properties, formation, and
evolution, galaxies: structure and evolution, large-scale structure and cosmology. Usually
alternates with Atmospheric Physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2351 or permission of the instructor.
PHYS 3993
Biophysics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The study of biophysics offers a new
perspective on physics through application to the biological sciences. It involves the integration
of diverse concepts seen in introductory physics as well as elements of thermodynamics and
fluid physics. It highlights the usefulness of physical thinking and a physicist’s perspective in the
study of biological phenomena.
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Content. Biomechanics, the optics of vision, sound, hearing & echolocation, fluids in motion,
the thermo dynamics of life, physics at the cellular level, electricity and magnetism in biological
systems. Usually alternates with Medical Physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 1061, 1062, 1091, 1092
or equivalent plus MATH 1003 or 1053, 1013 or 1063, BIOL 1001, 1012.
PHYS 4321
Electromagnetism II
4 ch (3C, 1T*)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This second course on the formalism
of electricity and magnetism extends the material from Electromagnetism I, and adds
mathematical rigor and sophistication to our toolbox of techniques for electromagnetic
problems. Heavier use of the ideas from Methods of Theoretical Physics is made, including
Fourier methods and spherical harmonics. At the culmination of this course, we will have been
exposed to all of the core ideas in E/M theory except for relativity. The latter and applications
will follow in Electromagnetism III.
Content. Fields in materials (D and H), polarization and magnetization vectors, polarizability
and susceptibility tensors, types of magnetization, gauge theory, and its uses in solution of
electromagnetic problems, conservation laws in electromagnetic theory, Poynting’s theorem,
the Maxwell stress-energy tensor, the Lagrangian for a charged particle in an electromagnetic
field, radiation from accelerated charges, retardation effects, generation and propagation of
E/M waves, the breakdown of classical electromagnetic theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 2311, PHYS
3322, PHYS 3331.
PHYS 4338
Advanced Research Project
8 ch [W]
All physics honours students are required to complete a research project, under the
supervision of a member of the department. Non-honours students may complete a research
project as an elective. The Advanced Resarch Project course includes a formal written report
and an oral defense, both of which are assessed by committee. Prerequisites: PHYS 3336,
permission of the department.
PHYS 4351
Quantum Mechanics II
4 ch (3C, 1T*)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The second QM course is not
required for the majors programme, but furnishes our honours students with a range of tools
allowing them to move beyond hydrogen-like atoms and to explore the applications of
quantum mechanics.
Contents. Time independent perturbation theory, non-degenerate and degenerate cases, the
Stark effect, fine structure, the Zeeman effect; the variational method, helium atom; the WKB
method; time-dependent perturbation theory, the Fermi’s golden rule, harmonic perturbation,
the adiabatic approximation, the Berry phase; a charged particle in EM field, gauge
transformation, Landau levels, the Aharonov-Bohm effect; scattering theory: the LippmannSchwinger equation, optical theorem, partial wave expansion, phase shifts, effective range
expansion, resonances, scattering between identical particles, Coulomb scattering.
Prerequisite: PHYS 3351.
PHYS 4371
Optics
3 ch (3C)
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This course includes some experiments that support the lecture material.
Role within programme and connections to other courses.
Optics is both a field of research in its own right and a topic the tools of which are used by
many other branches of physics. This course builds on the basic concepts of wave optics
introduced in Waves. It also provides a brief introduction to some concepts of photonics, the
quantum treatment of light.
Contents. Advanced geometrical optics (e.g. the transition between geometrical and physical
optics, the thick lens, Jones’ matrices), Fourier optics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2372.
PHYS 4722
Signal & Image Processing (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Many physics career paths involve
signal and image processing of some kind, e.g. seismic data processing, medical imaging,
remote sensing (defense, forestry, mining), observational astrophysics, etc. As a result,
understanding the possibilities and limitations of various data analysis techniques is a valuable
asset for any physics graduate.
Content. This course uses data from a variety of applications to illustrate the wide range of
applicability of the tools discussed. Usually alternates with Advanced Electronics. Prerequisite:
PHYS 3331
PHYS 4823
Advanced Electronics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The world of experimental physics is
an electrifying blend of theory and hands-on measurements which relies heavily on a wide
array of complex electronic devices. This course builds on Circuits & Elementary Electronics and
introduces electronics and instrumentation we encounter through a physics career. The
requirement to design and build electronic equipment, to integrate and control multiple
components, and to efficiently operate complex instrumentation is fundamental to
experimental physics. The goal of this course is to furnish the tools we need to meet these
challenges. It includes topics in electronic design, interfacing and control, sensors and
detectors, and data acquisition.
Content. Multi-component design, amplifiers, filters, PCB design, integrated circuits, digital
logic and programmable devices, radio frequency design, interfacing and control, transducers,
detectors and receivers, solid state sensors. Usually alternates with Signal & Image Processing.
Prerequisite: PHYS 2327.
PHYS 4838
Research Project
4 ch [W]
A one-term research project, supervised by a member of the department, assessed on the
basis of the research work carried out and a report. Note that no defence is involved (in
contrast to the Advanced Research Project). Prerequisite: PHYS 3336.
PHYS 4872
Plasma Physics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Plasmas are sometimes referred to
as the fourth state of matter. In a plasma, charge separation between electrons and ions gives
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rise to electric fields, and the movements of these charged particles result in currents and
magnetic fields. Understanding the behaviour of plasmas involves mechanics,
electromagnetism, and thermodynamics, and thus a plasma physics course contributes toward
the overall goal of the physics programme by calling on us to combine knowledge from a
variety of subfields of physics. Plasmas are found in many branches of physics (e.g. particle
physics, condensed matter, astrophysics) and so the knowledge gained in this course will be of
great value in many fields.
Content. Single particle motion, trajectories and drift, plasmas as fluids (electron fluid and ion
fluid, single fluid magnetohydrodynamics), waves in a fluid plasma. Usually alternates with
Continuum & Fluid Mechanics. Prerequisites: PHYS 2341, 2372, 4321.
PHYS 4922
Electromagnetism III
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This course pursues high level
extension and application of electromagnetic theory. It connects to and extends relativistic
mechanics (started in Mechanics I), and illuminates ideas from atomic/molecular physics,
plasma physics and other fields.
Content. Magnetohydrodynamics, relativistic four-vectors and four-tensors, force and
Minkowski force, covariant formulation of E/M fields, an E/M perspective on quantum field
theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 4321, 3351.
PHYS 4933
Special Topics in Physics
3 ch (3C)
This “course” is included in order to allow for ad hoc courses that might be offered only once.
For instance, a visiting professor may have some expertise that s/he could share with the
Department, or the student body may request a course about a particular topic that intrigues
them. Prerequisite: permission of the department.
PHYS 4938
Experimental Physics II (O)
3 ch (3L)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. Various courses will contain
experiments that are directly related to the material addressed in the lectures, however, in the
interest of promoting an understanding of connectivities (avoiding compartmentalisation) and
refining research skills, this synthesis course will contain a variety of experiments, many of
which integrate concepts learned in diverse courses.
Content. The experiments will cover a wide variety of topics. Prerequisites: PHYS 3336
PHYS 4953
Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
3ch (3C)
Content. Relativistic quantum mechanics. The negative energy problem. Classical field theory,
symmetries and Noether's theorem. Free field theory and Fock space quantization. The
interacting field: LSZ reduction formula, Wick's theorem, Green's functions, and Feynman
diagrams. Introduction to Quantum electrodynamics and renormalization. This course is crosslisted as MATH 4443. Credit cannot be obtained for both Math 4443 and PHYS 4953.
Prerequisites: MATH 3003, PHYS 3351, and one of MATH 3043, 3503, PHYS 2312, 3331, or
permission of instructor.Role within programme and connections to other courses. Various
courses will contain experiments that are directly related to the material addressed in the
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lectures, however, in the interest of promoting an understanding of connectivities (avoiding
compartmentalisation) and refining research skills, this synthesis course will contain a variety
of experiments, many of which integrate concepts learned in diverse courses.
Content. The experiments will cover a wide variety of topics. Prerequisites: PHYS 3336,
approved third year physics.
PHYS 4972
Continuum & Fluid Mechanics (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. The emphasis of this course will be
on how what we know of Newtonian mechanics is carried over into a continuum. This
approach helps to emphasise that the tools and knowledge we have already developed can be
used to great effect in new situations. In addition to the portability of physical concepts, we
will also be able to see some generally useful mathematical tools in a new context (vector
calculus in velocity fields being a key example).
Content. Volume and surface forces, stress and strain, Hooke’s Law, equation of motion for an
elastic solid, longitudinal and transverse waves in a solid, fluid properties, fluid motion. Usually
alternates with Plasma Physics. Prerequisites: PHYS 2312, 3331.
PHYS 4983
Introduction to General Relativity (A)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses . Along with quantum theory, general
relativity is one of the central pillars of modern theoretical physics with wide-ranging
implications for astrophysics and high energy physics. The essential idea is that gravitation is a
manifestation of the curvature of spacetime rather than a force in the Newtonian sense. This
course will provide students with a basic working understanding of general relativity and an
introduction to important applications such as black holes and cosmology.
Contents: Review and geometric interpretation of special relativity; foundations of general
relativity; linearized gravity and classical tests; black holes; cosmology. This course is crosslisted as MATH 4483. Credit cannot be obtained for both Math 4483 and PHYS 4983.
Prerequisites: MATH 4473 or permission of instructor.Role within the programme and
connections to other courses. “General relativity has become one of the central pillars of
theoretical physics, with important applications in both astrophysics and high-energy particle
physics.” – Bernard Schutz. The modern view of gravity is as a warping of spacetime, rather
than as a force in the Newtonian sense. This course exposes us to this more sophisticated
model of gravity and to the wealth of applications which follow. The General Relativity course
builds, unsurprisingly, upon the special relativity section of Mechanics I.
Contents. Foundations of general relativity, solutions of Einstein’s equations, classical tests,
cosmology, metrics. Prerequisite: MATH 4473 or permission of the instructor.
PHYS 5993
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (O)
3 ch (3C)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This advanced course draws upon
electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics to provide a capstone
topic tied to the department’s research interests.
Content. Principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, survey of imaging techniques, modern
applications of MRI in medicine, biology and materials science. Prerequisite: permission of the
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instructor.
PHYS 5952
Quantum Mechanics III (O)
4 ch (3C 1T*)
Role within programme and connections to other courses. This advanced quantum mechanics
course introduces relativistic quantum mechanics and a variety of modern applications of
quantum mechanics.
Contents. Relativistic quantum mechanics: the Klein-Gordon equation, Lorentz transformation,
the Dirac equation, the Dirac solution of the hydrogen atom; quantum theory of radiation:
radiation-matter interaction, decays, absorption, stimulated emission, scattering of photons by
atoms, the Casimir effect; path integral formulation; quantum entanglement, the EPR paradox,
dense coding, quantum teleportation, the Bell inequality. Prerequisite: PHYS 4351.
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