The intent of this course is to develop fundamental skills, tools, and conceptual understanding in physics, with a focus on topics/skills that are essential for subsequent study of physics. Students study motion and dynamics of objects in one and two dimensions, including discussions of projectiles, friction, circular motion and dynamics, and collisions including conservation of momentum and energy.
This calculus-based physics course is intended primarily for (astro) physics and chemistry majors and engineers. Topics include kinematics, Newton’s laws of motion, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational dynamics, and Newton’s law of gravitation. Students focus on problem solving skills. Classes 3 hrs. and lab/tutorial 3 hrs. per week.
This calculus-based physics course is a continuation of PHYS 1210, and covers the topics of oscillations and waves, thermodynamics, and electricity and magnetism. Classes 3 hrs. and lab/tutorial 3 hrs. per week
This course provides a historical and logical analysis of methods commonly used in science, and is normally taught by faculty from both the Department of Astronomy and Physics and the Department of Philosophy. Topics include science vs. pseudo-science, natural vs. social sciences, modes of reasoning, observation and experimentation, construction and empirical testing of theories and models, and thought experiments.
The special theory of relativity and early ideas in quantum mechanics are introduced. Topics in relativity include departures from Newtonian theory, Lorentz transformations, space and time dilation, the “Twin Paradox”, and relativistic dynamics. Topics in quantum mechanics include the quantum theory of light, the Bohr model of the atom, the wave nature of particles and the Schrödinger equation applied to simple one-dimensional problems.
Students develop skills in setting up and solving problems in physics and applying mathematical skills through an exploration of Newton’s Laws of motion. Topics include a review of vectors and coordinate systems, rectilinear motion, projectile motion, conservation of energy, simple harmonic motion, accelerating frames of reference, and celestial mechanics.
This is a continuation of PHYS 2302, where students develop their problem-solving skills with increasingly sophisticated topics in Classical Mechanics. These topics include central forces (celestial mechanics), many-body and rigid-body dynamics, conservation of momentum and angular momentum, coupled oscillators, and waves.
This course is a comprehensive introduction to concepts of electricity and magnetism. Topics include electric fields and potentials, motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, elementary circuit analysis, EM induction, capacitors and inductors. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Students are introduced to the basic ideas of thermal physics, including temperature, heat, work, entropy and free energy. These ideas are expanded into the first and second laws of thermodynamics, with applications including phase transitions, engines, refrigerators, and batteries. Classes 3 hrs. and lab 3 hrs. per week.
Students focus on the mathematics needed to solve problems in advanced physics courses. Topics include separation of variables, the method of Frobenius, the Wronskian integral, Green’s functions, Dirac notation, eigenfunctions and eigenkets, Hermitian operators, properties of analytic functions, Cauchy’s Integral Theorem, Laurent expansions and the calculus of residues.
Students are introduced to computational methods of solving mathematically difficult or tedious problems. Students focus on some of the algorithms most useful to a physicist, including root-finding, spline fitting, Richardson extrapolation, Romberg integration, Runge-Kutta and Monte Carlo methods. Students apply learned algorithms to problems in computational (astro) physics.
Students study the calculus of variations, constrained problems, and generalised Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics. Applications are made to oscillations, the “brachistochrone problem”, central force problems, rigid bodies, and the motion of tops. Additional topics include relativistic mechanics, canonical perturbation theory, and chaos.
This course is a comprehensive introduction to the mathematical theory of electric and magnetic fields. Topics include electric field and potential, Gauss’ law, capacitance, Ampere’s law, the Law of Biot and Savart, and magnetization of matter.
Students build on the foundations set in PHYS 1500. Topics in this course include the (time-independent) Schrodinger equation, one-dimensional potentials, barriers and tunnelling, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Dirac notation, expectation values, the three-dimensional Schrodinger equation, single-electron atoms, spin, and identical particles.
Students discover how thermal physics concepts including temperature, entropy, thermal radiation, heat, work, and chemical energy can be described in terms of the discrete quantum states of the components of the system. Applied topics such as cryogenics, phase transitions, or semiconductor physics may also be explored.
Students develop the necessary skills to be a successful experimental (astro)physicist. Students assemble labs from advanced experimental equipment including computers and other digital devices, perform the experiment possibly over several weeks, and communicate their results in a scientifically useful fashion.
In this continuation of PHYS 3200, students cover topics in mathematical physics, including special functions (Gamma, Beta, Digamma, Bessel, Neumann, spherical Bessel), Fourier series and transforms (both discrete and continuous), and an introduction to Group theory including Lie groups culminating in the classification of baryons.
This course explores methodological, conceptual, metaphysical, and epistemological questions that arise in modern physics. Possible topics include scientific revolutions, experimentation, laws of nature, space, time, matter, causality, indeterminism, non-locality, thought experiments, and theoretical unification.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of fluid dynamics. Discussion embraces both compressible and incompressible fluids and includes the continuity equation, the Navier-Stokes equation, Bernoulli’s theorem, viscosity, the Reynolds number, vorticity, and numerous applications to “real world” problems. Some specialized numerical techniques for solving complex problems in fluid dynamics may also be discussed.
This is an advanced course introducing Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the curvature of space-time. Topics shall include manifolds, Riemannian geometry, Einstein’s equations, and applications to cosmology and black holes.
This course is a continuation of PHYS 3410, which focused primarily on electro and magnetostatics, and turns to the more general theory of electrodynamics. Topics include Faraday’s law of induction, Maxwell’s equations in vacuo and matter, the Poynting vector, electromagnetic waves, wave guides, scalar and vector potentials, gauge transformations, Lienardt-Wiechart potentials, radiation from moving charges, and relativistic electrodynamics.
This course is a continuation of PHYS 3500, and covers topics such as time-independent perturbation theory, the variational principle, the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) approximation, time-dependent perturbation theory, the adiabatic approximation, and scattering.
This advanced course in Quantum Mechanics covers a selection of topics that may include scattering, lasers, relativistic quantum dynamics (Dirac theory), second quantization, and field theory.
Students are introduced to modern nuclear and particle physics. Topics may include the nucleon-nucleon interaction, the deuteron, the nuclear shell model, dynamical probes of nuclei (electron, photon, and hadron scattering), the structure of nucleons and mesons, electroweak interactions.
This course is designed primarily for honours physics students to study advanced topics in physics and/or astrophysics in the laboratory. Students are responsible for setting up and performing the experiments, writing computer programs to aid the analysis, and preparing and presenting their results in a professional manner. The majority of work will be project-based, each project conceived and built by the students from equipment available in the lab.
A research project carried out by the student under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department throughout the Honours year. The project should be in the area of astrophysics for students in the honours astrophysics program. Results are written up in a formal thesis that adheres to standard University-set guidelines. Directed study 3 hrs. per week; 2 semesters.
PHYS 4826 – 4849 Special Topics in Physics
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: permission of instructor
PHYS 4876 – 4899 Directed Study in Physics
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: permission of instructor
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