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updated 8/15/2008

Physics and Astronomy

Chaden Djalali, Chair

Professors
Frank T. Avignone III, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1965, Distinguished Professor and Carolina Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Richard J. Creswick, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1981
Timir Datta, Ph.D., Tulane University, 1979
Chaden Djalali, Ph.D., University of Paris, 1981,
Distinguished Professor and Chair
Ralf W. Gothe, Ph.D., University of Bonn, 1990
Vladimir Gudkov, Ph.D., Leningrad Nuclear Physics Institute, 1984
Joseph E. Johnson III, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1968
Kuniharu Kubodera, Ph.D., University of Tokyo, 1970
Milind N. Kunchur, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1988
Pawel O. Mazur, Ph.D., Jagellonian University, 1982
Sanjib R. Mishra, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1986
Fred Myhrer, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1973
Milind V. Purohit, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1983
Carl Rosenfeld, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1977
Richard Webb, Ph.D., University of California at San Diego, 1973, Distinguished University Professor

Associate Professors
Thomas M. Crawford, Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1992
Varsha P. Kulkarni, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1996
Steffen Strauch, Ph.D., Darmstadt University, 1998
David J. Tedeschi, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic, 1993, Graduate Director
Jeffrey R. Wilson, Ph.D., Purdue University, 1985
, Undergraduate Director

Assistant Professors
Brett D. Altschul, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003
Yaroslaw Bazaliy, Ph.D., Stanford University, 2000
Scott R. Crittenden, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2004
Yordanka Ilieva, Ph.D., Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2001
Robert Petti, Ph.D., Pavia University, 1998


Overview

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers strong traditional curricula at the graduate level with additional courses in research. Comprehensive experimental research programs are available in high-energy physics, nuclear/intermediate energy physics, condensed matter physics/nanoscience, and astrophysics. There are broad efforts in theoretical research with programs in the foundations of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, statistical/condensed matter physics, cosmology and astrophysics, and computational physics.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the degrees of Master of Science, Professional Science Master (area of emphasis: modeling for corporate applications*), and Doctor of Philosophy. In cooperation with the College of Education, the department also offers the Master of Arts in Teaching in Sciences (Physics Option) and the Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Sciences (Physics Option).

*The Professional Science Master program is not currently accepting applicants into the modeling for corporate applications emphasis.

Admission

Adequate preparation for graduate study ordinarily presupposes a bachelor's degree in physics or an allied field. Prior to admission to this department, entering graduate students are expected to have passed with a grade of C or better the following courses or their equivalent: modern physics, mechanics, electromagnetic theory, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics, nuclear physics, and solid state physics. Mathematics through advanced calculus, including ordinary and particle differential equations and vector analysis, should also have been completed in the undergraduate program. Students with deficiencies in these courses must make them up during their initial two years of graduate studies.

Requests for further information should be addressed to: Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 (e-mail powell@physics.sc.edu).

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the Master of Science degree include 30 semester hours of course work, a thesis, and an oral comprehensive examination. The requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy include 60 semester hours of advanced course work (or 30 semester hours beyond the master's degree), written and oral examinations for admission to candidacy, a reading knowledge of one foreign language, and a dissertation. Beyond the basic courses taken by most graduate students, the formal course work of Ph.D. students is quite flexible and is decided by consultation between the student and the student's advisory committee. Usually five or six years are required to complete the doctoral program. The majority of time during the student's last two years of residence will be devoted to individual research under the guidance of a member of the faculty on a problem of mutual interest. This research forms the basis for the doctoral dissertation.

Degree Requirements for the Professional Science Master

The requirements for the professional master's degree include 15 hours of physics courses, including computational physics, and 15 hours of business courses. In lieu of a thesis, the professional master's degree requires that students take an internship in a company. However, the program is not currently accepting applicants into the modeling for corporate applications emphasis.


Course Descriptions

Astronomy (ASTR)

  • 522 -- Topics in Astronomy. (1-3) Readings and research on selected topics in physics. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 533 -- Advanced Observational Astronomy I. (1-3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Development of a combination of observational techniques and facility at reduction of data. A maximum of eight hours per week of observation, data reduction, and consultation. Offered each semester by arrangement with the department.
  • 534 -- Advanced Observational Astronomy II. (1-3) A continuation of ASTR 533. Up to eight hours per week of observation, data reduction, and consultation.
  • 599 -- Topics in Astronomy. (1-3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Readings and research on selected topics in astronomy. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.

Physics (PHYS)

  • 501 -- Modern Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 307 and MATH 242) Principles of special relativity, origin, and development of quantum theory, and elements of nuclear and particle physics.
  • 502 -- Quantum Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 303) A self-contained treatment of quantum theory and its applications, beginning with the Schrödinger equation.
  • 503 -- Mechanics. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 206 or 211, MATH 242 or 520) Classical mechanics of particles, systems, and rigid bodies; discussion and application of Lagrange's equations, introduction to Hamiltonian formulation of mechanics.
  • 504 -- Electromagnetic Theory. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 503) Field theory of electric and magnetic phenomena; Maxwell's equations applied to problems in electromagnetism and radiation.
  • 506 -- Thermal Physics and Statistical Mechanics. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 306) Principles of equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetic theory, and introductory statistical mechanics.
  • 509 -- Solid State Electronics. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 207 or 212) Topics include: basic electrical circuits; electronic processes in solids; operation and application of individual solid state devices and integrated circuits. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
  • 510 -- Digital Electronics. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 509) Basic operation of digital integrated circuits including microprocessors. Laboratory application of microcomputers to physical measurements.
  • 511 -- Nuclear Physics. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 502) An elementary treatment of nuclear structure, radioactivity, and nuclear reactions. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
  • 512 -- Solid State Physics. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 502) Crystal structure; lattice dynamics; thermal, dielectric, and magnetic properties of solids. Free electron model of metals. Band structure of solids, semi-conductor physics. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
  • 514 -- Optics, Theory, and Applications. (4) (Prereq: PHYS 306) Geometrical and physical optics; wave nature of light, lenses and optical instruments, interferometers, gratings, thin films, polarization, coherence, spatial filters, and holography. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.
  • 515 -- Mathematical Physics I. (3) (Prereq: MATH 242) Analytical function theory including complex analysis, theory of residues, and saddlepoint method; Hilbert space, Fourier series; elements of distribution theory; vector and tensor analysis with tensor notation.
  • 516 -- Mathematical Physics II. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 515) Group theory, linear second-order differential equations and the properties of the transcendental functions; orthogonal expansions; integral equations; Fourier transformations.
  • 517 -- Computational Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 207 and MATH 142) Application of numerical methods to a wide variety of problems in modern physics including classical mechanics and chaos theory, Monte Carlo simulation of random processes, quantum mechanics and electrodynamics.
  • 521 -- Biophysics. (4) (Prereq: MATH 142, PHYS 212, CHEM 112, BIOL 102) Principles of physics applied to living systems: diffusion, friction, low Reynolds-number world, entropy, free energy, entropic/chemical forces, self-assembly, molecular machines, membranes.
  • 522 -- Biophysics Laboratory. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 521) Laboratory experiments based on topics covered in PHYS 521.
  • 531 -- Advanced Physics Laboratory I. (1-3) A laboratory program designed to develop a combination of experimental technique and application of the principles acquired in formal course work. A maximum of eight hours per week of laboratory and consultation.
  • 532 -- Advanced Physics Laboratory II. (1-3) A continuation of Physics 531. Up to eight hours per week of laboratory and consultation.
  • 599 -- Topics in Physics. (1-3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Readings and research on selected topics in physics. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 701 -- Classical Mechanics. (3) Generalized coordinates, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations, variational principles, transformation theory, and Hamilton-Jacobi equation.
  • 703 -- Electromagnetic Theory I. (3) Development of Maxwell's equations; boundary value problems; radiation theory.
  • 704 -- Electromagnetic Theory II. (3) A continuation of PHYS 703.
  • 706 -- Statistical Thermodynamics. (3) Statistics of Boltzmann, of Fermi and Dirac, and of Bose and Einstein, with applications.
  • 708 -- General Relativity. (3) Introduction to the basic concepts of general relativity and a discussion of problems of current interest.
  • 711 -- Quantum Mechanics I. (3) A development of non-relativistic quantum mechanics.
  • 712 -- Quantum Mechanics II. (3) A continuation of PHYS 711.
  • 713 -- Advanced Quantum Theory I. (3) Non-relativistic quantum electrodynamics. Relativistic wave equations. Propagator theory. Field theory of relativistic quantum electrodynamics.
  • 714 -- Advanced Quantum Theory II. (3) A continuation of PHYS 713.
  • 717 -- Nuclear Theory I. (3) The theory of nuclear forces, structure, and reactions.
  • 721 -- Nuclear Physics. (3) Nuclear physics, mainly from the experimental standpoint.
  • 723 -- Elementary Particles I. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 701, 703, 711: coreq: 712) Introduction to elementary particles. The quark model. Symmetry principles and conservation laws. Calculation of cross sections and decay rates using Feynman rules. Accelerators, particle detectors, and experiments. Electromagnetic cross sections.
  • 724 -- Elementary Particles II. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 723) Experimentally accessible processes and their description using the framework developed in PHYS 723. Gauge theories and the standard model. Particle experiments for the next decade and their underlying physics descriptions.
  • 725 -- Solid State Physics. (3) The crystalline state of matter and its main characteristics. Electric and magnetic properties of metals, semiconductors, and insulators.
  • 726 -- Superconductivity. (3) Theory and description of conventional and high temperature superconductors and their properties.
  • 727 -- Magnetic Resonance. (3) Basic theory. Electron spin resonance. High resolution and wideline nuclear magnetic resonance. Mössbauer effect. Magnetic resonance and dielectric relaxation.
  • 728 -- Solid State Theory. (3) Presentation of the quantum theory of solids. Applications to acoustic, electric, magnetic, optical, and superfluid properties of solids.
  • 729 -- Applied Group Theory. (3) Groups and representations. Full rotational group. Angular momentum. Ligand field theory. Application to atomic, molecular, and nuclear physics.
  • 730 -- Graduate Seminar. (1) Presentation by the student of a designated topic. May be repeated for credit.
  • 740 -- Selected Topics in Physics. (1-3 per registration) Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 745 -- Topics in Nuclear Physics. (1-3 per registration) Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 750 -- Topics in Solid State Physics. (1-3 per registration) Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 755 -- Topics in Theoretical Physics. (1-3 per registration) Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title.
  • 760 -- Research. (1-6 each) Introduction to and the application of the methods of research.
  • 761 -- Research. (1-6 each) Introduction to and the application of the methods of research.
  • 781 -- Astronomy for Teachers. (3) Primarily for M.A.T./I.M.A. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. A one semester survey of astronomy. Observational techniques and current developments.
  • 782 -- Topics in Contemporary Physical Sciences for Teachers. (variable 3-4) Primarily for M.A.T. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. Discussions designed to provide teachers with simple physical explanations of subjects including: nuclear energy, black holes, quarks, strange particles, perception of color, integrated circuits, computers, TV games, and other topics of current interest. With 4 hours credit a laboratory will be included to give laboratory experience in the subject areas covered in class.
  • 783 -- Modern Physics for Teachers. (3) Primarily for M.A.T. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. Basic concepts of modern physics. The experimental basis for quantum theory and the theory of relativity. Fundamental concepts of modern physics.
  • 784 -- Topics in Light and Sound for Teachers. (3) Primarily for M.A.T. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. Topics in modern optics and acoustics are discussed in a framework appropriate for school teachers.
  • 785 -- Electronics for Teachers. (3) Primarily for M.A.T. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. Basic electronics with emphasis on measurement and laboratory procedures. Operation and application of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits.
  • 786 -- Teaching Physics on the Internet. (3) Web-based resources for assigning and grading individualized homework and tests and for creating instructional units in physics and physical sciences. Not available for M.S./Ph.D. physics majors.
  • 787 -- Design of Physics Laboratory and Demonstration Experiments for Teachers. (3) Primarily for M.A.T. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. and Ph.D. credit in physics. Design and performance of demonstrations and experiments to display physical phenomena to students. Qualitative and quantitative experiments.
  • 788 -- Physics for AP Teachers. (3) Preparation of teachers for developing and teaching an advanced placement course in physics. Primarily for M.A.T./I.M.A. and M.Ed. students. Not available for M.S. of Ph.D. credit in physics.
  • 789 -- Physics for Teachers of Mathematics. (3) Teacher preparation for creating and solving word problems using conservation laws and symmetries found in physics and physical science and linked to the South Carolina Mathematics Standards.
  • 799 -- Thesis Preparation. (1-9)
  • 899 -- Dissertation Preparation. (1-12)

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