Physics (PHYS)

PHYS 1190  Fundamentals of Physics  
3 credit hours  

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.

Note: Credit will not be given for PHYS 1190 following credit received for any PHYS course; and students may not take this concurrently with any other PHYS course.
PHYS 1210  University Physics I  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: Nova Scotia Grade 12 Physics and Nova Scotia Grade 12 Pre-calculus, or equivalent

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. Emphasis is placed on problem solving skills. Classes 3 hrs. and lab/tutorial 3 hrs. per week

PHYS 1211  University Physics II  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 1210 [formerly PHYS 1100]; and either MATH 1210 or MATH 1190

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

PHYS 1370  Scientific Method  [PHIL 1255]  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: Nova Scotia grade 11 physics or chemistry and Nova Scotia grade 12 math or equivalent; or permission of the instructors

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.

PHYS 1500  Introduction to Modern Physics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 1210 [formerly PHYS 1100]; and either MATH 1210 or MATH 1190

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.

PHYS 2302  Mechanics I  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 1211 and MATH 1211

This course is designed is designed to give the student a firm introduction to Newton’s Laws of motion, to develop the student’s ability to set up and solve problems in physics, and apply mathematical skills acquired in this course and other courses. 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.

Note: Credit will not be given for both PHYS 2300 and PHYS 2302.
PHYS 2303  Mechanics II  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 2302, MATH 2311, and MATH 2301

This course is a continuation of PHYS 2302, where students continue to develop their problem-solving skills with increasingly sophisticated topics in Classical Mechanics. These topics include many-body and rigid-body dynamics, conservations of momentum and angular momentum, dynamics in 3-D (Euler’s angles, etc.), damped, forced harmonic motion, and waves.

Note: Credit will not be given for both PHYS 2301 and PHYS 2303.
PHYS 2410  Electricity and Magnetism  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 1211 [formerly PHYS 1101] and MATH 1211

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.

PHYS 2510  Thermodynamics  
3 credit hours  

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.

PHYS 3200  Mathematical Methods in Physics I  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 2303 and MATH 2303

This course provides the student with the mathematical techniques needed to solve problems in advanced physics courses. Topics in complex analysis include the Cauchy-Riemann conditions, Cauchy Theorem and Integrals, Laurent expansions, and the calculus of residues. Topics in differential equations and the separation of variables, the Method of Frobenius and Sturm-Liouville theory.

Note: Credit for PHYS 3200 cannot be given to students who have completed MATH 4436 and either MATH 2303 or 3405.
PHYS 3210  Computational Methods in Physics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3500 and PHYS 3200, and either CSCI 1226 or CSCI 1227

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.

PHYS 3300  Classical Mechanics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 1500, PHYS 2303, MATH 2311 and 2303

This advanced course in Classical Mechanics introduces the student to 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.

PHYS 3410  Electromagnetism  
3 credit hours  

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.

Note: Credit will not be given for both PHYS 2400 and PHYS 3410.
PHYS 3500  Quantum Mechanics I  
3 credit hours  

This course builds 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.

PHYS 3510  Statistical Mechanics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 2510, PHYS 3200 and PHYS 3500

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.

PHYS 3600  Experimental Physics I  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 2302 and PHYS 2410

This course provides the student with 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.

Note: While this is a three (3) credit course, it will be taught over two semesters.
PHYS 4200  Mathematical Methods in Physics II  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: either PHYS 3200 or MATH 3405/4436

This course is a continuation of PHYS 3200 and covers additional topics in mathematical physics, including special functions (Bessel, Neumann, Lagrange, etc.), Green’s functions, Fourier series and transforms, Laplace transforms, integro-differential equations, and Hilbert-Schmidt theory.

PHYS 4370  Philosophy of Physics  [PHIL 4515]  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 2410, PHYS 3500 and PHIL prerequisites as outlined in paragraph 8 in the Philosophy Calendar entry; or permission of the instructors

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.

PHYS 4380  Fluid Dynamics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3200 and PHYS 3300

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.

PHYS 4390  General Relativity  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3200 and PHYS 3300

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.

PHYS 4410  Electrodynamics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3410 and PHYS 3200

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.

Note: Credit will not be given for both PHYS 3400 and PHYS 4410.
PHYS 4500  Quantum Mechanics II  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3200, PHYS 3300, and PHYS 3500

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.

PHYS 4501  Quantum Mechanics III  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 4500

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.

PHYS 4510  Subatomic Physics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3500

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.

PHYS 4600  Experimental Physics II  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: PHYS 3600

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.

Note: While this is a three (3) credit hour course, it will be taught over two semesters.
PHYS 4790  Research Thesis  
6 credit hours  
Prerequisite: honours standing

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  Special Topics in Physics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: permission of instructor
PHYS 4876  Directed Study in Physics  
3 credit hours  
Prerequisite: permission of instructor