Physics

Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

  • DOUGLAS P. JENSEN, chair
  • SHARON STRICKLAND, associate chair
  • MAHDOKHT BEHRAVAN
  • WILLIAM CASE
  • H. NEVAL ERTURK
  • JENNIFER HAWK
  • EDNA STEELE

Mission

The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics strives to provide a rich and rigorous course of study in the natural sciences and an environment in which students explore scientific principles. The curricula are designed to enable majors to achieve employment in laboratories and secondary education, to pursue graduate degrees in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry, and to enter professional programs in medical fields.

Degrees and Programs Offered

The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics offers majors in biology and chemistry with either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The department also offers majors in biochemistry and medical technology with a Bachelor of Science degree. Students earning biology or chemistry majors may earn secondary teaching certification; students interested in this certification should discuss this with their advisors and the Department of Education as early as possible, as secondary certification requirements may not be identical to major requirements.

The department also offers minors in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental studies. The Environmental Studies minor is described in the Interdisciplinary Minors section of this catalog. Many students with majors in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics participate in pre-health curricula, which are described in the Career and Pre-Professional Programs section of this catalog. These programs are not part of the majors, and the majors are not required for them.

The General Education Program is a requirement for all degrees. The requirements listed below are approved for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

ENG 101 3 hours
Language and Culture 9 hours
MTH 108 or higher 3 hours
One course designated as Quantitative reasoning 3–4 hours
Health and Well-being Wellness 2 hours
Activity course 1–2 hours
Humanities 6 hours
Literature 3 hours
Fine Arts 6 hours
Natural Science 7–8 hours
Social Science 6 hours
Total 49–52 hours

Graduation requirements but not a separate course:

  • First Year Seminar
  • Writing Intensive course
  • Non-European/non-Anglophone course. Capstone experience.
  • For more information see the GEP requirements in this catalog.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

PHY 117: STUDY TRAVEL PROGRAM

Class Program
Credits 3 4
Special program offering the student an opportunity to learn about applications of physics in the U.S. and in foreign countries. The student will incur additional costs.
Prerequisites

None.

Notes
GEP.

PHY 125: FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR

Class Program
Credits 3
First-Year Seminars (FYS) constitute a common and academically significant experience in a student’s first year at Converse. All incoming first-year students are required to take a 3 credit- hour FYS course in the fall semester, choosing from a variety of discipline specific topics. Each FYS carries the corresponding departmental prefix, but with a common course number (except designated honors sections). Each FYS course is designed to have no more than 18 students, and counts in some designated category of the General Education Program. Strong writing and speaking components are elements of the course.
Notes
GEP.

PHY 140: CONCEPTS OF PHYSICS

Class Program
Credits 4
A survey of some of the major concepts in physics. Designed for the non-scientist with limited background in mathematics. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee.
Notes
GEP credit.

PHY 153: ASTRONOMY OF ANCIENT CULTURES

Class Program
Credits 4
Students will explore the astronomy and cosmology of different cultures including those of Australian aborigines, Costa Rican indigenous tribes, Maya, Inca and the Egyptians. They will learn the fundamentals of naked eye astronomy and the methods used to learn about ancient astronomy.
Notes
GEP credit.

PHY 160: BASIC PHYSICS OF ELECTRONICS

Class Program
Credits 4

A course that explores how the basic concepts of physics apply to electronic devices.  This course includes lectures on the function and operation of electronic devices, with concentrations on electric charge and electrostatic force; materials structures and their electronic properties; electromagnetics; and circuit elements.  Designed for non-science majors with limited background in mathematics.  Lectures and labs.  Lab fee

Notes

GEP credit.

PHY 241: ELEMENTS OF PHYSICS I

Class Program
Credits 4
A course of mechanics, properties of matter, heat, and sound. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered yearly. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Notes
GEP credit.

PHY 242: ELEMENTS OF PHYSICS II

Class Program
Credits 4
Study of light, static and current electricity, magnetism, and modern physics. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered yearly. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Prerequisites

PHY 241.

Notes
Minor, Elective credit.

PHY 251: ESSENTIALS OF PHYSICS I

Class Program
Credits 4
This course studies mechanics, heat, and waves using calculus to derive relationships and find solutions to problems. It is required for all physics minors. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered yearly. Quantitative GEP requirement
Prerequisites

MTH 120.

Corequisites

MTH 120.

Notes
GEP credit. Minor, Elective credit.

PHY 252: ESSENTIALS OF PHYSICS II

Class Program
Credits 4
This course is a continuation of PHY 251 and studies light, electricity, and magnetism using calculus. It is required for all physics minors. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered yearly. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Prerequisites

MTH 120.

Notes
Minor, Elective credit.

PHY 280: SPECIAL PROBLEMS

Class Program
Credits 1 3
Study in the area of a student’s special interest. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement depending on topic.

PHY 299H: INTERDISCIPLINARY HONORS COURSE

Class Program
This course is team taught by members in two departments and is open to Nisbet Honors Program participants and to others who meet Honors Program guidelines. All students registering for these courses must register not only through the Honors Program but also with their adviser and the Registrar’s Office. Quantitative GEP requirement depending on topic.
Notes
GEP, Elective credit.

PHY 331: MODERN PHYSICS I

Class Program
Credits 3
A study of relativity and quantum theory with applications in atomic physics. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Prerequisites

PHY 242 or 252, MTH

Notes
Minor credit.

PHY 332: MODERN PHYSICS II

Class Program
Credits 3
A study of nuclear structure and interaction. Lectures and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Prerequisites

PHY 331, MTH 120.

Notes
Minor credit.

PHY 411: SEMINAR

Class Program
Credits 1
A study of various topics in physics. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement
Prerequisites

PHY 242 or 252.

Notes
Minor credit.

PHY 412: SEMINAR

Class Program
Credits 1
A study of various topics in physics. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement
Prerequisites

PHY 242 or 252.

Notes
Minor credit.

PHY 431: ANALYTICAL MECHANICS

Class Program
Credits 3
Study of statics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Harmonic oscillations. Offered on demand. Quantitative GEP requirement.
Prerequisites

PHY 242 or 252, MTH 120.

Notes
Minor credit.