Physics at Bluffton College

A student majoring in physics receives a core preparation in physics plus some training in math, chemistry and computer science. Physics graduates have success in industry, graduate school, high-school teaching and graduate engineering programs.

Students interested in high school teaching must pursue a physical science teaching license. This license combines both chemistry and physics teaching and is the only license available for physics teachers in Ohio. Most students can expect to add a semester to the program to meet student teaching requirements. Prospective teachers must begin the teacher-education program early by taking some education courses during the first or sophomore year. Therefore students should indicate their desire to teach to the Science Department as early as possible so they can receive advice about scheduling.


Required physics courses:
PHY 202 Astronomy (4)
PHY 211 Physics for Science and Engineering 1 (5)
PHY 212 Physics for Science and Engineering 2 (5)
PHY 326 Thermal/Modern/Nuclear/Quantum 1 (5)
PHY 327 Thermal/Modern/Nuclear/Quantum 2 (5)
PHY 360 Linear Electronics (4)

Required mathematics courses:
MAT 135 Calculus 1 (5)
MAT 136 Calculus 2 (5)

Required computer science courses:
CPS 108 Computer Programming (3)

Required chemistry course:
CEM 121 General Inorganic Chemistry 1 (5)
CEM 122 General Inorganic Chemistry 2 (5)

The major as indicated above should be viewed as a minimum major and is satisfactory for high school teachers and some industrial positions. Students will not be admitted to most graduate engineering programs unless they also take MAT 225 and MAT 350. More computer science such as CPS 320 is also recommended for prospective engineers. Students intending to pursue a graduate degree in physics should take the extra math and computer science as described for engineers, plus they should also consider PHY 365 and/or PHY 370. PHY 390 is also recommended for students thinking about graduate school.

PHY 202 Astronomy
An introductory course in astronomy. Lectures discuss sky cycles, astronomical tools, star evolution, galaxies, the solar system. Lab involves observation with naked eye, binoculars and telescopes. Three lectures, three hours of laboratory per week. The student must be flexible concerning lab time because observations are dependent upon weather and when the desired objects appear in the sky. Observations might be early evening, middle of the night or early morning. Prerequisites:
NSC 111 or PHY 211. Offered alternate years.

PHY 203 Earth Science (4)
A survey course in geology/earth-science with emphasis on interpreting environment-shaping processes in terms of physical and chemical properties. Three lectures, one two-hour lab per week. Prerequisites:
NSC 112 or CEM 121. Offered alternate years.

PHY 211 Physics for Science and Engineering 1 (5)
The sequence PHY 211 and 212 form the standard year of calculus-based physics for science and engineering students. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, oscillations and waves, sound and light. Five lectures, two-hours of laboratory work per week. Prerequisites: most students will have had high-school physics, calculus and
CEM 121. Students who have not had these may wish to consult with the professor before attempting this course.

PHY 212 Physics for Science and Engineering 2 (5)
The continuation of PSY 211. Five lectures, two-hours of laboratory work per week. Prerequisite:
PHY 211.

PHY 299 Special Topics in Physics (credit varies)
By arrangement.

PHY 326 Thermal/Modern/Nuclean/Quantum 1 (5)
The full-year sequence PHY 326 and PHY 327 is a combination of physical chemistry and modern physics. Topics include thermodynamics, relativity, blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, compton scattering, wave nature of particles, atomic and nuclear spectroscopy, nuclear physics/chemistry, introductory quantum mechanics. Five lectures, one two-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites:
CEM 122, PHY 211, MAT 136 required; MAT 225, MAT 350 recommended. Offered on alternate years. This course is also listed as CEM 326.

PHY 327 Thermal/Modern/Nuclean/Quantum 2 (5)
The continuation of PHY 326. Five lectures, one two-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite:
PHY 326. Offered on alternate years. This course is also listed as CEM 327.

PHY 352 Digital Electronics and Computers (5)
This course presents a study of digital electronics and an overview of its use in computers. Topics include logic, logic integrated circuits, processors, memory, processor-peripheral communication and instrument interfacing. Prerequisites:
CPS 350 and PHY 212. Offered alternate years. This course is also listed as CPS 352.

PHY 365 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
A study of Maxwell’s equations and their applications. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite:
PHY 212, MAT 225, MAT 350. Offered on demand.

PHY 350 Quantum Mechanics (3)
Formal development of the methods of quantum mechanics and its application to simple atomic and molecular systems. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite:
PHY 327. Offered on demand.

PHY 390 Independent Study in Physics (1-3)
By arrangement. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing in physics.

Modified 10/18/00