Courses in Physics

Physics

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PH-100 Series Courses

PH-101 Principles of Physics (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 2 labratory hours; 4 credits

Presents a modern overview of the world around us, from the sub-miniature world inside an atomic nucleus to the vastness of outer space. Investigates selected subjects of interest to modern man in depth and detail. An understanding of physical principles is the major goal. Minimal use of mathematics. This course, or its equivalent, is required for elementary education majors at The City College.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-102 Physics from an Historical Viewpoint

3 class hours; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits - Offered as needed

Traces the historical development of some key scientific ideas and the interaction of the individual scientist with his/her world. The relationship of science to major human events is considered. There is discussion of answers to such questions as: What is motion? What matters? What is life? What is man’s relation to the rest of the universe? In the laboratory, experiments originally performed by famous scientists are recreated in an exact or simulated form.

PH-103 Frontiers of Physics

3 class hours; 3 credits - Offered as needed

An introduction to the ideas of research scientists of contemporary physics. Topics selected from such areas as astrophysics, atmospheric physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and medical applications. Lectures include multimedia illustrations of individual scientists in their actual working environment. Minimal use of mathematics.

PH-104 Frontiers of Physics Laboratory

2 laboratory hours; 1 credit - Offered as needed
Prerequisite or corequisite: PH-103

Experiments arranged to illustrate the basic principles of physics on which contemporary research is based. Students become familiar with such equipment as the cloud chamber, Geiger counter, transistor, spectroscope, air pollution laboratory, and nuclear magnetic resonance apparatus.

PH-105 Introduction to Space Science I: Stars and Normal Galaxies

Offered as needed

PH-106 Introduction to Space Science II: The Universe Including Strange Galaxies

2 class hours; and 2 credits for each course - Offered as needed
Prerequisite for both courses: MA-010 or the equivalent.

An introduction to the Cosmos: stars, galaxies and the universe. Topics for 105 include gravitation, orbits, stellar lifecycles, the search for extra-solar planets and extraterrestrial life. Topics for 106 include galactic evolution (including quasars) and morphology, dark matter and large-scale structure, special and general relativity, black holes, and the Big Bang. Conceptual thinking and mathematical reasoning will be emphasized.

These courses will be taught at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. They are designed as a two-semester sequence, but they may be taken separately and in either order. The two courses together would fulfill the non-laboratory science requirement. Individually, the courses will fulfill Liberal Arts and Sciences requirements.

PH-110 Principles of Astronomy and Space

3 class hours 2 laboratory hours 4 credits

Features and physical processes of sky objects studied, using minimal mathematics. Covers such topics as the earth, sun, moon, asteroids, comets, meteors, origin of the solar system, the evolution of stars, stellar clusters, the classification and evolution of galaxies, pulsars, quasars, and theories about the origin of the universe.

PH-111 Space, Astronomy and Our Universe (1C)*

2.25 class hours; .075 laboratory hours; 3 credits

“Space, Astronomy, and our Universe” discusses topics related to space and astronomy, beginning with our planet and our Moon, and extending to stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole. This course will explore physical processes and laws that govern the motion and evolution of all objects in the Universe, including planets, stars and galaxies.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences.

PH-112 Space, Astronomy and Our Universe Laboratory (1C)*

2 class hours; 1 credit
Corequisite: PH-111

Topics related to space and astronomy, such as our planet and moon, stars, galaxies and the universe and physical processes and laws that govern the motion and evolution of all objects in the universe will be studied through laboratory exercises.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences.

PH-120 Introduction to Meteorology (2E)*

3 hours; 3 credits

Introduces students to Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences. The course presents basic scientific principles and how they apply to the atmosphere and oceans. Fulfills the science requirement without lab (or with lab if taken in conjunction with PH-121).

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-121 Meteorology Laboratory

2 hours; 1 credit

Introduces students to Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences. The course presents basic scientific principles and how they apply to the atmosphere and oceans.

PH-123 Natural Hazards (2E)*

3 class hours; 3 credits

This course examines natural hazards and their evidence, including statistics, underlying scientific principles, current prediction skills, and planning solutions for risk assessment and management. Topics include the external energy flow from the Sun; Earth’s energy flow causing wild fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornados, and tsunami; gravity effect on landscape features such as snow, ice, and flooding; and possible impacts by asteroids and comets having major effects on life.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-124 Global Warming (2E)*

3 class hours; 3 credits

The scientific processes in climate change, climate modeling, and global warming are examined with the use of minimal mathematics in terms of the principles and evidence in science. Major topics include processes involved in the climate system, El Niňo and year-to-year climate prediction, climate model and numerical examples, greenhouse effect and climate feedbacks, natural climate variations, and climate model scenarios for global warming and possible solutions.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-129 How Things Work (2E)*

3 class hours; 3 credits

This course focuses on how things work as it applies to everyday situations. It introduces scientific properties in the context of everyday objects and current technology. Topics will include how our technology works (TV, radio, microwaves, refrigerators, cell phones, GPS), why things look, sound, and feel the way they do, the science of electricity, heat, food, motion, and so forth. Numerical estimation and unit conversion will be covered as well.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-133 Scientific Explorations of Scientific Literature (2E)*

3 class hours; 3 credits

Scientific Explorations of Science Fiction Literature examines the scientific basis of natural processes described in science fiction literature. Some science fiction literature involves valid scientific descriptions of nature. The descriptions of natural processes can be used to understand our natural world in a way that a textbook cannot. In addition, topics that relate to futuristic ideas can be used to discuss the ethics of scientific exploration. A notable example of scientific literature is Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which can be used to explain many concepts in astronomy and natural science, including planetary science, the life cycle of stars, gravity, the natural motion of objects, and visual effects, as well as interdisciplinary topics such as life support and artificial intelligence.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-140 Acoustics: The Physics of Sound (1C & 2E)*

3 lecture hours; 1 recitation hour; 2 lab hours; 4 credits
Corequisite: MA-321 or MA-119 and MA-121 or MA-114 or the equivalent

Traveling waves and standing waves, energy, sound intensity, interaction of sound and materials, methods of sounds production by musical instruments, room acoustics, interference, human ear response to sound, magnetism and induction as they relate to audio equipment, microphones, speakers, pick-ups. This course is intended to satisfy the physics requirement for the Music Production Degree but is open to all majors.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-150 Introductory Laboratory in Fiber Optics

2 laboratory hours; 1 credit - Offered in Fall

Introduces students to basic ideas and techniques related to fiber optics and its applications in telecommunications in a laboratory setting. Topics include preparation of fiber optic cables, the concept of attenuation, power ratios expressed in dB, use of fiber optic test sets, the idea of time domain reflectometry, how to use an optical time domain reflectometer and how to interpret its results, wave-division multiplexing.

PH-151 Introductory Laser Laboratory

2 laboratory hours; 1 credit - Offered in Spring

Introduces students to lasers and some of the optical skills and concepts necessary for dealing with them. Students will get “hands-on” experience with several different types of lasers.

PH-200 Series Courses

PH-201 General Physics I (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: MA-114 or MA-119 and MA-121 or the equivalent, or satisfactory score on the Mathematics Placement Test, Level II.

A beginning course for technology students. Topics include units, vectors, equilibrium, linear motion, Newton’s laws, circular motion, angular motion, momentum, and fluid motion. Emphasis is on applications. A working knowledge of simple algebra is assumed.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-202 General Physics II (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: PH-201 (with a grade of C or better)

Second semester of PH-201, 202 sequence. Topics include vibration and wave motion, electrostatics, electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, optics and topics in modern physics.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-229 Introduction to Photonics

2 class hours; 1 recitation hour; 3 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Corequisite: MA-114

Topics in optics related to lasers and optical fiber and devices for modulating and directing signals from such devices. Students will study geometrical optics with emphasis on ray tracing and the application to lenses (thick and thin), mirrors, prisms and other passive optical elements and systems. Students will study the propagation of light in materials and dispersion and its effects. Additional topics will include an introduction to lasers and fiber optics, including an introduction to the propagation of light through fibers. Laboratory exercises complement class work.

PH-230 Matrix Optics and Aberrations

1 lecture hour; 1 recitation/lab hour; 1 credit
Prerequisite: PH-229

Topics in matrix optics applied to geometric (ray) optics including beam propagation, thin and thick lenses and lens systems. Introduction to aberrations in optical systems, how they are formed and controlled.

PH-231 Fundamentals of Lasers and Fiber Optics

3 class hours; 3 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Corequisite: MA-114

Topics in optics related to lasers and optical fiber and devices for modulating and directing signals from such devices. Geometrical optics with emphasis on ray tracing. Matrix methods in optics. Lenses thick and thin, mirrors, prisms and other passive optical elements and systems. Propagation of light in materials. Dispersion and its effects. Special topics in geometric and wave optics. Laboratory complements class work.

PH-232 Laser and Electro-Optics Technology*

3 class hours; 2 recitation hours; 3 laboratory hours; 5 credits
Prerequisite: PH-231

Wave optics, interference, coherence, polarization, birefringence, diffraction, gratings in two and three dimensions, power and energy measurements, basics of laser safety, ultra-fast pulse techniques, electro-optic and acousto-optic switches, optical materials, non-linear optics. Laboratory complements class work.

* Students registering in PH-232 are required to pay a special services charge of $10.00.

PH-233 Laser Electro-Optics Devices, Measurements and Applications

3 class hours; 3 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: PH-231

Laser as a device, principle of operation, cavity modes and their control (tuning elements, Q switching, mode-locking) and detection, laser design, types of lasers, includes discussion of laser types for medical, ranging and tracking, material processing, pollution monitoring, and optical memory applications, semiconductor laser. Laboratory complements class work.

PH-234 Fiber Optics Devices, Measurements and Applications*

3 class hours; 3 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisites: PH-231, or ET-220 and PH-202.

Propagation of light in optical fiber, including analysis of the behavior of different modes. Dispersion and distortion. Specialized light sources and their characterization. Fiber optic sensors. All-optical fiber amplifiers. Optical switches and logic gates. Optical isolators. Techniques for joining fibers. Instruments for characterizing fiber and fiber links. Optical communications systems and protocols. Wavelength division multiplexing. Medical applications including fiber optics-diagnostic and surgical. Optical data processing and optical memories. Laboratory complements class work.

* Students registering in PH-234 are required to pay a special services charge of $40.00.

PH-235 Laser/Electro-Optics Projects

2 class hours; 3 laboratory hours; 3 credits
Prerequisite: PH-231
Corequisite: ET-910 or permission of the Department

Construction and testing of a laser, optical or electro-optic device such as a helium-neon laser, optical power meter, or fiber optics communication link; oral presentations and computerized literature searches.

PH-236 Introduction to Computers in Electro-Optics

1 class hour; 3 laboratory hours; 2 credits
Prerequisite: PH-231
Corequisite: MA-128 or the equivalent.

Elements of a computer system and an introduction to computer languages. Scientific programming using BASIC/FORTRAN with applications in optics. Use of commercial optics programs. Digital techniques including number systems, logic gates, Karnaugh mapping, Boolean algebra, combinational logic design, sequential logic design.

PH-240 Computerized Physical Measurement Using Graphical Programming (2E)*

2 lecture hours; 3 laboratory hours; 3 credits
Prerequisites: Permission of the department based on one laboratory course in science or technology; MA-114, MA-119 and MA-121 or the equivalent; and ET-501, PH-303, BU-500 or the equivalent.

Students will design applications with a graphical programming language such as LabVIEWTM and use the computer for measurement and automation. Topics include: theory of measurement, physical principles of transducers and their use in measurement, instrument control, data acquisition, virtual instrumentation, signal/data conditioning and analysis.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-300 Series Courses

PH-301 College Physics I (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 1 recitation hour; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: MA-119 and MA-121 or MA-114 or equivalent or permission of the department.

PH-301 and 302 are designed for students who need or want two semesters of noncalculus physics, such as those planning careers in optometry, dentistry, and other medically-related fields. Topics include conservation laws, vectors, laws of motion, linear and angular momentum, energy, gravitation, and thermodynamics.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-302 College Physics II (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 1 recitation hour; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: PH-301 (with a grade of C or better)

Second-semester course following PH-301. Topics include electro-magnetism, vibrations wave phenomena and radiation, and modern physics.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-303 Scientific Use of Computers

1 lecture hour; 2 laboratory hours; 2 credits - Offered as needed
Prerequisite: MA-010

Introduces students to computers and the ways they are used in scientific work. This course includes elements of scientific programming and scientific data collection and analysis. Presentation and dissemination are also included. Automated data acquisition from a variety of sensors. Databases and spreadsheets. Presentations with graphs and text as well as dissemination via the Internet/E-mail are covered.

PH-311 College Physics A (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 1 recitation hour; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: MA-441 or equivalent or permission of Department.

First part of a two-semester introduction to physics with applications to biology, primarily for students majoring in biology or planning careers in optometry, dentistry, and other medically related fields. Topics include conservation laws, vectors, laws of motion, linear and angular momentum, energy, gravitation, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. Strong algebra skills and knowledge of the ideas of calculus are required.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-312 College Physics B (1C & 2E)*

3 class hours; 1 recitation hour; 2 laboratory hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite or Corequisite: PH-311

Second part of a two-semester introduction to physics with applications to biology, primarily for students majoring in biology or planning careers in optometry, dentistry, and other medically related fields. Topics include electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, and radiation phenomena. Strong algebra skills and knowledge of the ideas of calculus are required.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-400 Series Courses

PH-411 Calculus Physics I (1C & 2E)*

2 class hours; 2 recitation hours; 2 laboratory hours; 3.5 credits
Prerequisite: MA-440, or the equivalent
Corequisite: MA-441

Fundamental principles of mechanics; includes kinematics, classical laws of motion, statics, conservation laws, work, mechanical energy, and simple harmonic motion.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-412 Calculus Physics II (1C & 2E)*

2 class hours; 2 recitation hours; 2 laboratory hours; 3 credits
Prerequisite: PH-411 (with a grade of C or better)
Corequisite: MA-442

Fundamentals of heat, waves, and optics; includes heat transfer, first and second laws of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases; nature of light, geometrical and physical optics; optical instruments; sound.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 1C–Life & Physical Sciences and 2E–Scientific World STEM Variant.

PH-413 Calculus Physics III (2E)*

2 class hours; 2 recitation hours; 2 laboratory hours; 3.5 credits
Prerequisite: PH-411 (with a grade of C or better)
Corequisite: MA-443

Electricity and magnetism. Includes Coulomb’s law, electric field and potential, elementary DC and AC circuits; magnetic fields, induction, Maxwell’s equations.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-414 Analytical Mechanics

4 class hours; 4 credits - Offered as needed
Prerequisite: PH-411
Corequisite: MA-443

Engineering mechanics including statics and dynamics in three dimensions. Additional topics of theoretical or mathematical mechanics considered to extent of available time.

PH-415 Electricity and Magnetism

4 class hours; 4 credits - Offered as needed
Prerequisite: PH-413
Corequisite: MA-443.

Basic concepts of electrostatics, electrodynamics, circuits, network theory, transients, vector treatment of AC circuits, and magnetically-coupled circuits.

PH-416 Thermodynamics (2E)*

4 class hours; 4 credits
Prerequisite: PH-412 and MA-443

Introduction to concepts and definitions of thermodynamics. Temperature and Zeroth Law. Work, internal energy, heat, the First Law and applications. Second Law, reversibility and irreversibility, Carnot cycles, entropy, thermodynamic state variables. Power and refrigeration cycles. Chemical equilibrium, chemical potentials, phase rules.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-431 Calculus Optics

1 class hour; 2 recitation hours; 2 credits - Offered as needed
Prerequisite: PH-201 or PH-411, MA-441
Corequisite: PH-231 and MA-442

The theory of diffraction and its applications to modern optics. Maxwell’s equations in differential form with solutions for plane refraction. Propagation of electromagnetic radiation and Poynting’s vector. Gain in laser mediums. Modulation of lasers. Calculus used throughout.

The department advises students who anticipate transferring into a Bachelor’s degree program in Photonics or Engineering to take PH-413 and MA-443 with or before this course.

PH-440 Modern Physics (2E)*

4 class hours; 4 credits
Prerequisites: PH-412 and PH-413

Introduction to atomic and nuclear physics, relativity, space physics, and elementary particle physics. Considerable mathematics used.

* Course qualifies as Pathways Common Core 2E–Scientific World.

PH-450 Introduction to Physics Research

3 class hours; 3 laboratory hours; 4 credits

An introduction to current physics laboratory techniques, methods and approaches, such as near field optical diffraction, microscopy-based motion analysis, biophysical analysis, and optical spectroscopy. Other topics include laboratory safety; research integrity; scientific literature review; analysis and interpretation of data; and written and oral communication of results. In the second half of the course, students will be expected to carry out research projects under the direction of the instructor. Students will prepare a final written report and give a presentation of their results at an undergraduate conference.

PH-900 Series Courses

PH-900 Research Projects

90 laboratory hours; 2 credits
Prerequisites: PH-201, PH-301, or PH-411
Co-requisites: PH-202, PH-302, PH-412, or PH-413

Students learn modern techniques, methods, and approaches and gain practical experience working in a professional physics laboratory. Students will meet with a coordinator to discuss design and execution of their research project at least once a month. Students will prepare a final written report and give a presentation of their results at an undergraduate conference.

PH-931 Cooperative Education in Laser and Fiber-Optics Technology

1 class hour, plus a minimum of 135 hours of appropriate work experience; 3 credits
Prerequisite: a minimum of 12 credits in laser and fiber-optics technology courses.

Cooperative education involves employment with a company in the laser, optics, fiber-optics or related fields. The experience supplements classroom theory and instruction with on-the-job professional training. The experience includes training in skills and/or with equipment beyond the ordinary classroom in a real job atmosphere. Students are placed in a work situation for a minimum of 135 hours, meet with the course coordinator twice a month and present orally and submit in writing a term project report related to the work experience. In addition, a written evaluation is provided by the employer. Students receive a pass/fail grade.