Click here for Spring 2015 Physics course offerings. Below is more information on the content of all physics courses, some of which may not be offered every year. Links are provided for syllabi or course websites for recently offered courses. Course outlines are given for most courses and are a general description of the material covered in the course and how the course is organized. For a complete course description refer to the course catalog portion of the General Announcements or click here.
This summer we will be offering PHYS 125 & 126 that may be of interest to Rice students and others who find themselves in Houston over the Summer. Flyers (pdf) for interested Rice students can be found here, and for non-Rice students can be found here. General descriptions and syllabi can be found listed under each course below.
Calculus-based survey of Physics. Includes classes and lab exercises on topics chosen from mechanics, electricity, and magnetism.
Fall 2015 Syllabus
PHYS 101 (With Lab) Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 101. May receive credit for only one of PHYS102, 112, 126, AP Physics-B (PHYS 142), and AP Physics-C, E&M (PHYS102).
Spring 2016 Syllabus
PHYS 102 (With Lab) Course Outline
Calculus-based survey of physics. Includes classes and lab exercises on topics chosen from mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. Primarily for physical science and engineering students with strong high school backgrounds in physics.
PHYS 111 (With Lab) Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 111. May receive credit for only one of PHYS102, 112, 126, AP Physics-B (PHYS 142), and AP Physics-C, E&M (PHYS102).
PHYS 112 (With Lab) Course Outline
Calculus-based survey of physics. Includes classes and lab exercises on topics chosen from mechanics, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics,and modern physics. Primarily for bio-science and pre-medical students.
Summer 2014 Syllabus
PHYS 125 (With Lab) Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 125. May receive credit for only one of PHYS102, 112, 126, AP Physics B (PHYS 142), and AP Physics-C, E&M (PHYS102).
PHYS 126 (With Lab) Course Outline
Study of concepts in physics with emphasis on the nature of physical phenomena, the conceptual development of physics, and related cultural influences.
PHYS 141 Course Outline
For AP credit only. May receive credit for only one of PHYS 102, PHYS 112, PHYS 126, AP Physics-B, and AP Physics-C (E&M).
Physics is critical to our understanding of nuclear weapons, radiation, electronics, energy and global warming. Topics covered may include energy and conservation, radioactivity, nuclear physics, the Theory of Relativity, lasers, explosions and quantum physics.
PHYS 143 Syllabus
This course explores our scientific understanding of sound and music by studying the properties of sound and its production by a variety of musical instruments. Additional topics include an analysis of musical scales, the physiology of hearing, and the technology of sound reproduction. For non-science and non-engineering majors.
Fall 2012 Syllabus
Fundamentals of oscillations and waves and properties of electromagnetic waves. Basic principles of geometric optics,interference and diffraction, including Fourier methods.
Fall 2014 Syllabus
PHYS 201 Course Outline
An introductory course in modern physics. Topics include special relativity, early quantum theory, quantum mechanics, atomic physics,statistical physics, nuclear and particle physics.
PHYS 202 Course Outline
Laboratory on waves and optics.
PHYS 231 Course Outline
Classical mechanics and appropriate mathematical methods. Emphasis on problem solving.
PHYS 301 Course Outline
Classical electrodynamics and appropriate mathematical methods. Emphasis on problem solving.
PHYS 302 Course Outline
Fundamentals of quantum mechanics and applications to atomic and molecular structure.
PHYS 311 Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 311: Introductory Quantum Physics I.
PHYS 312 Course Outline
Lab exercises in electronics, noise reduction, statistics and particle counting.
PHYS 331 Course Outline
Lab exercises illustrating topics in the upper-division physics curriculum.
PHYS 332 Course Outline
Introduction to definition and basic concepts of biological physics: proteins and nucleic acids; diffusion and random walks and their application to biological systems; biological motors and membranes; folding of biomolecules; gene regulation; and modern techniques and their applications to biomolecules.
Following an overview of atmospheric science, we will examine the following topics: atmospheric thermodynamics, radiative transfer, cloud microphysics, atmospheric dynamics, severe weather, and climate dynamics.
A broad survey of history and current state of nuclear and particle physics. The emphasis is on experimental results and how they led to our current undertaking of the strong and electroweak interactions.Some recent advances are discussed in detail.
PHYS 411/542 Course Outline
Introduction to topics in solid state physics, including crystal structure, lattice vibrations, electronic band structure and transport.
PHYS 412 Course Outline
Use of computational techniques to solve selected physics problems.Examine benefits and pitfalls of doing physics by computation.
PHYS 416/517 Course Outline
Includes classical thermodynamics; classical & quantum statistical mechanics; Fermi, Bose, and classical gases; magnetic systems; and phase equilibria.
PHYS 425 Course Outline
A reading course in special topics.
Fundamental processes in cosmic and laboratory plasmas: gas dynamics, kinetic theory, magnetohydrodynamics, wave and shocks, individual particle drifts, collisions and electrical conductivities, geometric and distribution instabilities.
PHYS 480 Course Outline
Research projects conducted under supervision of departmentally approved faculty. Open to juniors and seniors majoring in physics and astronomy. May be repeated for credit. PHYS 491/493 must be taken concurrently with PHYS 492/494 when used in partial fulfillment of B.S.degree requirements.
Fall 2014 Syllabus
Weekly seminar for juniors and seniors in which presentations on research topics and/or topics in the scientific literature will be given. Open to juniors and seniors majoring in physics and astronomy department.
Spring 2014 Syllabus
Amateur radio for middle-school science
teaching. Fundamentals of electromagnetic waves and propagation, the
ionosphere and space weather. Basic electronics, antenna design and
safety. Provides information necessary to gain the technical level of
ham radio license.
Plasma physics of the earth's magnetosphere, including interactions of the magnetosphere with the solar wind and the ionosphere. The emphasis is on large-scale phenomenon, but small scale (kinetic)physics is discussed in cases where it affects the large-scale phenomena.
PHYS 510 Course Outline
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics.
Fall 2016 Syllabus
PHYS 515 Course Outline
Survey of analytical methods used by research physicists and astronomers. Includes complex variables, ordinary differential equations, infinite series, evaluation of integrals, integral transforms, normal-mode analysis, special functions, partial differential equations, eigen functions, Green's functions, and variational calculus.
Fall 2015 Syllabus
Fall 2015 Course Website
PHYS 516 Course Outline
Use of computational techniques to solve selected physics problems. Examine benefits and pitfalls of doing physics by computation. Requires completion of project using a low-level programming language.
Plasma kinetic equations (Klimontovich, Liouville, BBGKY, Balescu-Lenard, Fokker-Planck, Vlasov), Vlason theory of waves and instabilities, connections to fluid plasma models.
PHYS 519 Course Outline
Graduate level course on non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Topics include early quantum theory, one-dimensional systems, matrix formulation, quantum dynamics, symmetries and conservation laws, bound states, scattering, spin, and identical particles, perturbation theory.
PHYS 521 Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 521.
PHYS 522 Course Outline
Selected topics in statistical mechanics, including phase transitions and transport phenomena.
PHYS 526 Course Outline
Maxwell's equations, wave propagation, special relativity and covariant formulation, charged-particle dynamics, and radiation.
Spring 2016 Course Website
PHYS 532 Course Outline
Physics of structures and devices at the nanometer scale. After are view of solid state physics, topics include nanostructured materials, nanoelectronics, and nanomagnetism. Emphasis on relevance of nanophysics to current and future technologies.
PHYS 533 Course Outline
Physics of structures and devices at the nanometer scale. Topics include nanomechanics, bionanotechnology, advanced sensors and photonics. Continuation of PHYS 533.
PHYS 534 Course Outline
Study of crystals by x-ray, electron and neutron diffraction.Includes basic diffraction theory as well as methods for characterizing the structure, composition and stresses in crystalline materials. Required for undergraduate materials science and engineering majors. Cross-list: MSCI 535.
Spring 2014 Syllabus
This two-semester course will familiarize students with basic experimental techniques that are common to all academic and industrial research laboratories. Topics will include lab safety, mechanical design, computer-based data acquisition and experimental control, laboratory electronics, vacuum technology, optics, thermal measurement and control, cryogenics and charged particle optics.
PHYS 537 Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 537.
PHYS 538 Course Outline
Introduction to study and creation of nanoscale structures, emphasizing relevant physical principles. Techniques covered include optical, X-ray, electron-based and scanned-probe characterization, as well as patterning, deposition and removal of material.
PHYS 539 Course Outline
Radiation processes and their applications to astrophysical phenomena and space science. The course treats radiative transfer, radiation from moving charges, relativistic covariance and kinematics, bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, Compton scattering, some plasma effects, and radiative transitions in atoms and molecules.
Spring 2015 Syllabus
PHYS 541 Course Outline
Graduate/Undergraduate Equivalency: PHYS 411. See PHYS 411 above for links.
A continuation of PHYS 542.
PHYS 543 Course Outline
Introduction to biological physics. Review of basic physical concepts. Cells and their components. Diffusion and random walks.Entropy and energy concepts and their roles in biological systems.Modern experimental methods. Applications to biological macromolecules.
PHYS 551 Course Outline
This is an introductory course for physical sciences graduate students who have not taken college-level biology courses. We will examine biological systems such as DNA, proteins and membranes, first by giving a thorough description of their biological functions and then by analyzing their underlying physical principles.
PHYS 552 Course Outline
Study of Einstein's theory of gravitation, including cosmological models.
PHYS 561 Course Outline
Fundamental concepts of crystalline solids, including crystal structure, band theory of electrons, and lattice vibration theory.Cross-list: ELEC 563.
PHYS 563 Course Outline
Continuation of PHYS 563, including scattering of waves by crystals,transport theory, and magnetic phenomena. Cross-list: ELEC 564.
PHYS 564 Course Outline
An introduction to surface- and low-dimensional physics covering experimental surface physics and ultra-high vacuum technology, crystal structure, chemical analysis, epitaxy, nanoscale electronic and magnetic structures and devices, elementary excitations, optical properties and nanoscale sensitive magnetic and non-magnetic spectroscopies.
Fall 2014 Syllabus
This course uses real data on archetypal materials to illustrate the thermodynamic and transport properties of solids, and principles of materials synthesis. The goal is building a phenomenological understanding of topics including the origin of magnetism; interactions and long range order; phase transitions (magnetism; superconductivity); quantum oscillations and Landau levels.
Introductory course for graduate students. Topics include the concepts of classical and quantum phase transitions, mean field theory, renormalization group and quantum phase transitions in magnetic, fermionic, and bosonic systems.
PHYS 568 Course Outline
Cross-list: ELEC 569.
This is an introductory course at the graduate level. Topics to be discussed include: atomic structure, principles of lasers, fundamental interactions of atoms with electro-magnetic radiation, including coherent effects, laser spectroscopy, quantum optics, and laser cooling and trapping of atoms, and Bose-Einstein condensation.
Spring 2016 Syllabus
PHYS 571 Course Outline
Discussion of quantization and statistical properties of light fields; interaction between atoms and light; non-classical states;basic laser theory; quantum effects of nonlinear optics; introduction to atom optics.
Fall 2012 Course Website
PHYS 572 Course Outline
Lecture/seminars which treat topics of departmental interest.
Spring 2016 Syllabus, Section 1
Spring 2016 Syllabus, Section 2
This course covers computational and numerical methods for calculating electromagnetic fields and propagation in complex geometries on the nano and microscale. Methods include the finite difference time domain method, boundary element methods, Greens functions methods, finite element methods, the discrete dipole approximation and relaxation methods. Cross-list: ELEC 605.
PHYS 605 Course Outline
Modern simulation techniques for classical atomistic systems. Monte Carlo and molecular dynamic techniques, with extensions to various ensembles. Applications to simulations of large molecules. Advanced techniques for simulation of complex systems, including constraint satisfaction, cluster movies, biased sampling and random energy models.Cross-list: BIOE 610.
An introduction to relativistic quantum field theory. Topics include: quantization of scalar, spinor, and vector fields; Feynman diagrams; gauge theories, including QED and QCD; renormalization; and functional-integral methods.
PHYS 622 Course Outline
The mechanical properties of membranes influence several biological processes including endocytosis, fusion, signalling and cellular differentiation. This course will cover the theoretical foundations of membrane mechanics, examine experimental methods for measuring membrane material properties, including nanomechanical and optical techniques, and emphasize the importance of membrane mechanics in bioengineering applications. Cross-list: BIOS 643.
Applications of techniques developed in PHYS 664.
PHYS 663 Course Outline
Formal structure of many-body theory as used in condensed matter physics.
PHYS 664 Course Outline
Supervised teaching for graduate students.
Thesis research under the supervision of department faculty.