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Course Descriptions

For current information about Physics courses (codes PHYS/AST and PHYS SCI), please consult the Undergraduate Bulletin for the Department of Physics/Astronomy (2021-2023).

Physics policy on wait lists

If the class you are interested in is full, it may be possible enroll on a waitlist. For more information, please contact Mary Margaret Hollstein (hollsteinm@uwosh.edu), Academic Department Associate at 424-4433.

If you know there are classes you need for your major, it is better to take them as soon as you can rather than think you can take them later. Too often a senior cannot get into a lab class they need for graduation because it is already full and they must take the class in summer or the next semester.

Physical Science

Physical Science 101 Workshop Physical Science (NS)

A hands-on course covering basic concepts in physical science through active engagement with guided computer-based laboratories, student-directed projects, interactive demonstrations, and class discussions. Emphasis on the nature and limits of science.

For elementary education majors and non-science majors. (3+2)

Physics & Astronomy

Physics/Astronomy 103 The Solar System (NS) (4 units)

The astronomer’s understanding of the earth, moon, and planets. Explores the basic nature of science and the scientific method.

Prerequisite: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics Placement Exam. (3+2) (Fall)

Physics/Astronomy 104 Stars, Galaxies & the Universe (NS) (4 units)

Universe beyond the solar system. Methods of science applied to classification of stars, galaxies, nebulae, and exotic objects such as pulsars, quasars, and black holes. Intended for non-science majors and science majors having an interest in astronomy. May be taken to satisfy the general education lab science requirement.

Prerequisites: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics Placement Exam. (3+2) (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 105 Basic Acoustics of Music (NS) (4 units)

A course designed in cooperation with the music department principally for music majors interested in the acoustical foundation of this subject. Emphasis throughout is on the needs and interests of the music student. May not be counted toward a Physics major or minor. (3+2)

Physics/Astronomy 113 The Solar System – no lab (NS) (4 units)

The astronomer’s understanding of the earth, moon, and planets. Explores the basic nature of science and the scientific method.

Prerequisite: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics Placement Exam. (3+0) (Fall)  

This class does not meet USP requirements.

Physics/Astronomy 114 Stars, Galaxies & the Universe -no lab (NS) (3 units)

Identical to Physics 104 except no laboratory experience is included. May be used to satisfy laboratory science requirement only if Physics 124 is taken during a later term. Credit may not be earned for both Physics 114 and Physics 104.

Prerequisite: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics Placement Exam. (3 + 0) (Spring)

This class does not meet USP requirements.

Physics/Astronomy 133 Solar System Laboratory (NS) (4 units)

Laboratory component of the Solar System, Physics 103. This class is designed for transfer students who have taken the lecture portion of 103 at a different institution.

Prerequisite: Physics 113. (0+2) (Fall)  

Physics/Astronomy 134 Stars, Galaxies & the Universe Laboratory (NS) (1 unit)

Laboratory component of Cosmic Evolution, Physics 104. This class is designed for transfer students who have taken the lecture portion of 104 at a different institution.

Prerequisite: Physics 114. (0+2) (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 138 Energy in Today’s World (NS) (XL) (4 Credits)

Focus is on the physics of energy, energy production, and energy consumption, conservation practices and alternative energy sources.
Prerequisites: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics Placement Exam.

Physics/Astronomy 145 Introduction to Topics in Physics

(1-3 units)

A general introduction to selected topics in physics. A historical perspective of fundamental ideas of motion will be examined. Focus will be on the development of problem-solving skills in such areas as unit analysis; making approximations; and using trigonometry, exponential functions, logarithms, vectors, derivatives, integrals, and graphs. A blend of history, selected topics, direct experiences, problem-solving practice and applying math skills is used to enhance preparation for success in physics courses.

Prerequisite: Consent of department.

Physics/Astronomy 171 College Physics (NS) (5 units)

A survey of mechanics and properties of matter. Recommended for liberal arts majors and pre-professionals. Not recommended for physics majors and minors and pre-engineers.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 108 or equivalent. (3+1+2) (Fall)

Physics/Astronomy 172 College Physics (NS) (5 units)

A survey of waves, electricity, magnetism, and nuclear radiation. Recommended for liberal arts majors and pre-professionals. Not recommended for physics majors and minors.

Prerequisite: Physics 171 and Mathematics 108 or equivalent. (3+1+2) (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 191 University Physics (NS) (5 units)

A survey of mechanics, sound, and heat providing a background for advanced work in these fields. Recommended for students in pre-engineering and majors in physics, chemistry, or mathematics.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 171 or consent of instructor. (4+2) (Fall)

Physics/Astronomy 192 University Physics (NS) (5 units)

A survey of electricity, magnetism, and light providing a background for advanced work in these fields. Recommended for students in pre-engineering and majors in physics, chemistry, or mathematics.

Prerequisite: Physics 191 or 171 and concurrent enrollment or previous completion of Mathematics 172. (4+2) (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 201 Statics for Engineering (3 units)

The action of forces on bodies at rest or in equilibrium. For pre-engineering students and not ordinarily taken by physics majors and minors.

Prerequisite: Physics 171 or 191 (may be taken concurrently) and Mathematics 171. (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 202 Dynamics for Engineering (3 units)

Motion and the action of forces that produce or modify the motion of bodies. For pre-engineering students and not ordinarily taken by physics majors and minors.

Prerequisite: Physics 201 and Mathematics 172 (may be taken concurrently). (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 203 An Introduction to Astrophysics (3 units)

A systematic introduction to the concepts and methods of astrophysics, astronomical measurements and units, astrophysical nature of radiation, stellar structure, and cosmology. This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.
 
Prerequisite: Physics 172 and Math 171,  or Physics 192.

 

Physics/Astronomy 206 Introductory Modern Physics (3 units)

Twentieth century physics; emphasis on atomic and sub-atomic phenomena. Normally acceptable for pre-engineering students.

Prerequisite: Physics 172 or 192 and Mathematics 171. (3+0) (Fall)  

Physics/Astronomy 222 Physics Lab I (2 units)

An experimental treatment of concepts and theories associated with modern physics and classical mechanics. Emphasis is placed on developing experimental skills and techniques appropriate for advanced laboratory work.

Prerequisites: Physics 206 and concurrent registration in Physics 320. (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 305 Electronic Circuits and Devices (3 units)

DC and AC circuit theory with emphasis placed on the external electrical properties of analog devices and their practical applications. Prerequisites: Physics 172, 192, or consent of instructor. (2+2)

Physics/Astronomy 307 Physical Optics (4 units)

Review of geometrical optics, interference, diffraction, polarization, double refraction, electromagnetic theory of light, introduction to quantum optics and lasers.

Prerequisite: Physics 192 and Mathematics 172. 307/507 (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 310 Stellar Structure and Evolution(3 units)

A systematic study of stellar atmospheres and interiors, stellar evolution, and variable stars.  This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.

Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

Physics/Astronomy 311 Digital Instrumentation (NS) (3 units)

Fundamentals and applications of combinational and sequential digital circuits, memory and storage, microprocessors, digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion, emphasizing use in measurement and instrumentation. Credit may not be earned for both Physics 211 and 311/511.

Prerequisite: Previous physics or electronics course, Mathematics 122 or consent of instructor. 311/511 (2+2)

Physics/Astronomy 313 Galaxies, the Interstellar Medium and Star Formation (3 units)

A systematic study of galactic components and structure, physics of the interstellar medium and star formation.  This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.

Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

Physics/Astronomy 319 Digital Signal Processing (3 units)

The fundamentals of digital signal processing techniques with an emphasis on their computer implementation: linear shift-invariant systems, the Z-transform, the discrete and continuous Fourier transforms, digital filter design, and inverse filters. Familiarity with calculus, complex numbers, and BASIC or FORTRAN is assumed. 319/519 (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 320 Classical Physics (3 units)

The physical and mathematical concepts associated with one-dimensional motion, two and three-dimensional motion including the use of different coordinate systems and accelerating reference frames. Analytical, numerical and graphical methods using modern computer technology will be used.

Prerequisite: Physics 191 and Mathematics 172. (3+0) (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 322 Physics Lab II (2 units)

An experimental treatment of concepts and theories associated with physical optics and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Emphasis is placed on developing experimental skills and techniques appropriate for advanced laboratory work.

Prerequisites: Prior completion of or concurrent registration in Physics 307 and Physics 408. (Spring)

Physics/Astronomy 335 Demonstration and Laboratory Techniques in Physics (NS) (3 units)

A laboratory course to provide the high school physics teacher with opportunities to handle the physical apparatus used in modern physics curricula.

Prerequisite: A two-term sequence in General Physics. 335/535 (1+3)

Physics/ Astronomy 350 Research Issues in Physics Education (TC) (1 unit)

A survey of the Physics Education Research (PER) literature for prospective physics teachers. Topics include common student misconceptions in mechanics, optics, and electric circuits; theoretical frameworks in education research; and basic research methods. The course is taught in an informal discussion format (once per week).

Physics/ Astronomy 351 Teaching Issues in Physics Education (TC) (1 unit)

A survey of teaching strategies that address common student difficulties in introductory physics. Topics include learning cycles, classroom discourse, and group dynamics. The course meets biweekly for an hour. Each Physics 351 student receives an eight-hour internship experience in Workshop Physics Science (Physics 101). During this time, students will observe the instructor and engage 3-4 member groups of physics science students.

Physics/Astronomy 408 Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics (3 units)

Temperature, entropy, and other thermal quantities introduced from microscopic considerations and related to macroscopic thermodynamic variables. Calculation of macroscopic properties of matter from microscopic models.

Prerequisite: Physics 320. 408/608 (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 417 Electricity and Magnetism (3 units)

An advanced treatment of important topics in electricity and magnetism. Prerequisite: Physics 320. 417/617 (3+0)  

Physics/Astronomy 419 Introductory Quantum Mechanics (3 units)

Development of quantum mechanics principles and application to important simple physical systems.

Prerequisite: Physics 320. 419/619 (3+0)

Physics/Astronomy 422 Physics Lab III (2 units)

An experimental treatment of concepts and theories associated with electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Emphasis is placed on developing experimental skills and techniques appropriate for advanced laboratory work.

Prerequisites: Prior completion of or concurrent registration in Physics 417 and Physics 419.

Physics/Astronomy 446 Independent Study (1-3 units)

See Independent Study under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites, and proper contract form requirements.

Physics/Astronomy 451 Special Topics (1-3 units)

A Physics/Astronomy course on a topic not covered in the department’s curriculum. This course may be repeated with different content. Each time it is offered, the topic will be announced in the class schedule.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Physics/Astronomy 456 Related Readings (1-3 units)

See Related Readings under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites, and proper contract form requirements.  

Physics/Astronomy 474 Honors: Thesis (1-6 units)

Honors thesis projects include any advanced independent endeavor in the student’s major field of study e.g., a written thesis, scientific experiment or research project, or creative arts exhibit or production. Proposals (attached to Independent Study contract) must show clear promise of honors level work and be approved by a faculty sponsor. Course title for transcript will be Honors Thesis. Completed projects will be announced and presented to interested students and faculty.

Prerequisite: University Honors program and junior standing. Maximum of 6 units (crs.).

Physics/Astronomy 491 Senior Research Project (1-4 units)

Independent research arranged with a faculty supervisor. A contract must be arranged with the faculty member and approved by the department chairman prior to registration.

Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Minimum of 15 units (crs.) of physics completed. 

Astronomy

University Physics I and II (PHYS/AST 191 and PHYS/AST192)

This is the calculus based general physics sequence recommended for students in pre-engineering and majors in physics, chemistry, geology and mathematics.

An Introduction to Astrophysics (PHYS/AST 203)

A systematic introduction to the concepts and methods of astrophysics, astronomical measurements and units, astrophysical nature of radiation, stellar structure, and cosmology. This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.
 
Prerequisite: Physics 172 and Math 171,  or Physics 192.

Stellar Structure and Evolution (PHYS/AST 310)

A systematic study of stellar atmospheres and interiors, stellar evolution, and variable stars.  This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.

Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

Galaxies, the Interstellar Medium and Star Formation (PHYS/AST 313)

A systematic study of galactic components and structure, physics of the interstellar medium and star formation.  This class is elective for all physics emphases and required for the astronomy minor.

Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Physics & Astronomy

N. Halsey Science Center, Rm. 337
921 Elmwood Ave.

 

Department Chair

Dr. Carey Woodward
920-929-1158
woodwardr@uwosh.edu

 

Administrative Assistant

Mary Margaret Hollstein
920-424-4433
hollsteinm@uwosh.edu

 

More contact information

Hours

Department Office Hours
In Person:
Monday 1–4:30
Tuesday 1–4:30
Online:
Thursday 8:00–12:30; 1:00–4:30
Friday 8:00–12:30; 1:00–4:30

 

Chair's Office Hours
Friday 11:30–12:30

 

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