Current Course Websites:

Physics 336 Spring 2014

Physics Capstone Resources 2013-2014

Physics 499A and B Capstone

Capstone 499A is designed to serve several purposes. It will prepare students for Capstone 499B (senior thesis project). But more importantly, capstone class is the last opportunity for one-on-one skill training before graduation. This lab environment will simulate a work environment, complete with deadlines, job training, safety, peer-review, reliance on each other, and scientific communication. Students taylor the Capstone experience to best fit the path they plan to take after PLU. In 499A, our learning goal is to develop creativity in research and experimental skills. This one-credit course has been minimized to essentials but is still rigorous.

Physics 336 Classical Mechanics

This course is designed as a deeper look at the mechanics learned in an introductory physics class. Mechanics is the study of how things move. Classical Mechanics is the form of mechanics developed by Galileo and Newton in the seventeenth century and reformulated by Lagrange and Hamilton in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Classical Mechanics is about predictability. Studying equations of motion gives students the opportunity to use many mathematical techniques needed in other branches of physics, for example vector calculus, differential equations, complex numbers, Taylor series, calculus of variations and matrices. A good understanding of Classical Mechanics is a prerequisite for the study of relativity and quantum physics.

Physics 223 Elementary Modern Physics

Modern Physics describes the 20th century breakdown of classical physics. Students study post-Newtonian laws of physics, which apply to very small scales of space, time, and mass as well as very high speeds. The theoretical frameworks necessary for the study of these laws are quantum physics and relativity, developed in the 1900's. The centennial age of these fields qualiﬁes them as ``modern" in the history of physics. The course will discuss many of the famous experimental results which lead to this ``20th -century physics revolution." It will also overview some current exciting frontiers in physics. It is suitable for physics majors, and for all students interested in careers in science and engineering.

Physics 115 Physics of Energy

Inspired by a growing concern for sustainability and the environmental impact of conventional fuel usage, the Physics of Energy provides students with an understanding of the underlying physical principles of traditional and alternative methods of energy production. Students will learn fundamental physics concepts, as they pertain to energy and examine current and future prospects of energy sources. The western United States is an ideal area to study energy, including hydroelectric, wind, nuclear, solar, ocean wave and geothermal sources. With a theme of sustainability and interdisciplinary training (adding a geosciences perspective), students will participate in hands-on explorations, tour energy facilities, analyze energy sources and improve communication skills in this physics course. Sources studied include hydroelectric, solar, ocean wave, nuclear and geothermal energy. Blog from 2011!

Physics 331 Electromagnetism

One of the four basic forces in nature, Electromagnetism is well understood and describes a fascinating connection between electricity and magnetism, which was not known until the 1800's. In this course, we discuss electric and magnetic fields. This course is extremely math intensive. However, in challenging courses such as this one, students will collaborate, build math skills and confidence and should take pride in understanding one of the greatest discoveries in physics as of yet. In the first section we review some of the the major math concepts including vector, integral and differential calculus.

Physics 332 Optics

Physics 332 takes us through a study of electromagnetic waves, and an examination of how the laws of basic optics (Snell’s law of refraction, Brewster’s law of polarization, and Fresnel’s equations for reflection) arise from Maxwell’s four equations. We begin with a careful analysis of electric and magnetic fields inside materials that become polarized or magnetized by externally generated fields. The total fields are changed by the presence of such materials, and are often described by an alternate form of Maxwell’s equations (see the inside back cover of the text). This additional understanding of the behavior of fields inside matter is important to a complete description of refraction and reflection of light, and to an analysis of absorption of electromagnetic waves by receiving antennae or by water.

Physics 153 Introductory Physics with Calculus- Mechanics

This course is a whirlwind tour of many of the basic concepts in physics, emphasizing mechanics. Some of the topics covered include motion of objects in a gravitational field, circular motion, Newton's Laws and Energy. Calculus is the language of physics, in fact, it was invented for physics; this course makes use of calculus, trigonometry and algebra. Even non-physics majors benefit from taking physics because physics teaches problem solving skills and strong work ethic. Memorization is not a prominent part of learning physics, rather, in physics you will learn the art of "figuring out," using the available tools. Every problem is a new challenge.

Physics 154 Introductory Physics with Calculus- Electromagnetism

This course is a fast-paced tour of the basic concepts in electromagnetism and optics. One of the four basic forces in nature, Electromagnetism is well understood and describes a fascinating connection between electricity, magnetism, and optics which was not known until the 1800's. A good background in calculus is required as it is the language of this connection.

Introductory Physics Laboratory

Laboratory course that is taken concurrently with Physics 153 and 154