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updated 9/15/2008

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
Gary S. Blanpied, Ph.D., University of Texas, 1977,
Undergraduate Director
Richard J. Creswick, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1981
Timir Datta, Ph.D., Tulane University, 1979
Chaden Djalali, Ph.D., University of Paris, 1984, Chair
, Carolina Distinguished Professor
Ralf W. Gothe, Ph.D., University of Mainz, 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 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

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
Roberto Petti, Ph.D., Pavia University, 1998

Affiliated Faculty
Boris Ivlev, Ph.D., Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, 1973, Visiting Professor
Oscar Lopez, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1992, Adjunct Associate Professor
Shmuel Nussinov, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1966, Visiting Professor
Toru Sato, Ph.D., Osaka University, 1980, Visiting Associate Professor
Jose Vargas, Ph.D., Utah State University, 1987, Adjunct Professor

Faculty Emeriti
Chi-Kwan Au, Ph.D., Columbia University, 1972
Colgate W. Darden III, Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1959
Ronald Dovaston Edge, Ph.D., Cambridge University, 1956
Horacio A. Farach, Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires, 1962
Edwin R. Jones Jr., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1965
James M. Knight, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1960
John M. Palms, Ph. D., University of New Mexico, 1966
Charles P. Poole Jr., Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1958
Barry M. Preedom, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 1967
John L. Safko, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1965


Overview

The undergraduate program in physics is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of both experimental and theoretical physics. All of the majors provide a strong basis for graduate study in physics. The applied major is designed for students seeking employment by industrial or governmental laboratories upon completing their B.S. By a suitable choice of electives students will also be prepared for graduate study in the other sciences, mathematics, medicine, or engineering or to enter the University’s special teacher education program that leads to a master’s degree and teacher certification.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physics

1. General Education Requirements (43-54 hours)

The following courses fulfill some of the general education requirements and some cognates and must be completed for a major in physics: PHYS 199, 206 or 211, 207 or 212, 306; MATH 141, 142, 241, and 242; and two math courses 500 level and above, selected with advisor; CHEM 111 and 112; CSCE 145. A grade of C or higher is required in all physics, mathematics, and engineering courses.
For an outline of other general education requirements, see "College of Arts and Sciences."

2. Major Requirements

General Major (30-32 hours)
Courses in physics, to include the following: PHYS 307, 308, 309, 501, 502, 503, 504, and 506 (24 hours)
Two courses in experimental physics (e.g., 509, 510, 511, 512, 514, 531, or 532) (6-8 hours)

Intensive Major (36-
40 hours)
Courses in physics, to include the following: PHYS 307, 308, 309, 501, 502, 503, 504, and 506 (24 hours)
Four physics electives numbered 500 or above, to include at least two courses in experimental physics (e.g., 509, 510, 511, 512, 514, 531, or 532) (12-14 hours)

Intensive Major (Biophysics Concentration)
Research Option (44 hours)
PHYS 307, 308, 502, 503, 504, 506, 521, 522 (26 hours)
BIOL 101, 102, 302, 302L, 541 (15 hours)
CHEM 333 (3 hours)
Premedical Option (44-45 hours)
PHYS 307, 308, 502, 506, 521, 522 and one course from the following 501, 503, 504, 509, 510, 511, 512, or 514 (21-22 hours)
BIOL 101,102, 302, 302L, 541 (15 hours)
CHEM 333, 334, 331L, 332L (8 hours)

Applied Major (Engineering Physics Concentration)
Computer Option (50-51 hours)

PHYS 307, 308, 309, 311, 502, 503, 504, 506, 509, and one course chosen from PHYS 501, 511, 512, 514
CSCE 146, 212, either 211 and 313 or 245 and 311, and one course numbered 491 or higher
ECON 421 (may be used for group IV)

Electrical Option (54-56 hours)
PHYS 307, 308, 309, 311, 502, 503, 504, 506, and two courses chosen from PHYS 501, 509, 511, 512, 514
ELCT 102, 201, 221, 222, 301, 371
CSCE 211
ECON 421 (may be used for group IV)

Mechanical Option (54-57 hours)
PHYS 307, 308, 309, 311, 502, 503, 504, and three courses chosen from PHYS 501, 506, 509, 511, 512, 514
EMCH 200, 260, 290, 327, 360, 507, 508
ECON 421 (may be used for group IV)

3. Cognates

The required mathematics courses satisfy the cognate requirement.

4. Electives, see "College of Arts and Sciences"

Minor in Astronomy

Prerequisite Courses: ASTR 111, 111A

Required Courses: ASTR 211, 211A
At least 12 hours in advanced courses numbered 311 or higher.


Course Descriptions

Astronomy (ASTR)

  • 111 -- Descriptive Astronomy I. (3) The universe: physical processes and methods of study. Lectures, demonstrations, and laboratory experience. Designed primarily for the non-science major. Offered as a self-paced, mastery-oriented course at the Columbia campus.
  • 111A -- Descriptive Astronomy IA. (1) Selected topics from ASTR 111 studied in greater depth. Laboratory experience required of students who have not completed ASTR 111. Offered as self-paced mastery-oriented course at the Columbia campus.
  • 211 -- Descriptive Astronomy II. (3) (Prereq or coreq: ASTR 111) Selected areas from ASTR 111 studied in greater depth. Includes laboratory experience.
  • 211A -- Descriptive Astronomy IIA. (1) (Prereq or coreq: ASTR 111A) Topics from ASTR 111/211 studied in greater depth. Laboratory experience required of students who have not completed ASTR 111. Offered as self-paced mastery-oriented course at the Columbia campus.
  • 311 -- Descriptive Astronomy III. (3) (Prereq: ASTR 211) Offered in a self-paced, mastery-oriented manner.
  • 320 -- Introduction to Radio Astronomy. (3) (Prereq: ASTR 211, MATH 115 or equivalent, and PHYS 202, 207, or 212) Nature of the sun, planets; galactic and extragalactic sources at radio wavelengths; quasars; techniques, detectors, and telescopes.
  • 340 -- Introduction to Relativistic Astrophysics. {=PHYS 340} (3) (Prereq: ASTR 211, MATH 115 or equivalent, and PHYS 202, 207, or 212) Final states of stellar evolution; white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes. Cosmology.
  • 499 -- Undergraduate Research. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Introduction to and application of the methods of research. A written report on work accomplished is required at the end of each semester.
  • 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)

  • 101 -- The Physics of How Things Work I. (3) A practical introduction to physics and science in everyday life--from concrete examples to basic physical principles.
  • 101L -- The Physics of How Things Work I Lab. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 101) Experiments, exercises, and demonstrations to accompany PHYS 101.
  • 102 -- The Physics of How Things Work II. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 101) A continuation of PHYS 101 with emphasis on electricity, magnetism, optics, and atomic physics.
  • 102L -- The Physics of How Things Work II Lab. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 102) Experiments, exercises, and demonstrations to accompany PHYS 102.
  • 151 -- Physics in the Arts. (3) The physics of sound, color, illumination; musical instruments and photographic processes. Creditmay not be received for both PHYS 151 and 153 or both PHYS 151 and 155.
  • 151L -- Physics in the Arts Laboratory. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 151) Laboratory work on wave motion, including acoustic, optical, photographic, and electronic measurements. Credit may not be received for both PHYS 151L and 153L or both PHYS 151L and 155L.
  • 153 -- Physics in the Visual Arts. (3) Principals of optics: video, and photography, eye and vision, color, polarization, lasers, and holography. Credit may not be received for both PHYS 153 and 151.
  • 153L -- Physics in the Visual Arts Laboratory. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 153) Laboratory work in geometrical and wave optics. Credit may not be received for both PHYS 153L and 151L.
  • 155 -- Musical Acoustics. (3) The principles of musical and architectural acoustics, waves and vibrations, digital techniques for generating and recording sound, perception and measure of sound (psychoacoustics). Credit may not be received for both PHYS 155 and 151.
  • 155L -- Acoustics Laboratory. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 155) Laboratory work in musical and architectural acoustics. Credit may not be received for both PHYS 155L and 151L.
  • 199 -- Measurement and Analysis in Physics. (2) Measurements in classical and modern physics are performed, and the analyzed results are compared with basic principles. Four hours of mixed lecture and laboratory per week.
  • 201 -- General Physics I. (3) (Prereq: MATH 115, or MATH 122, or equivalent) First part of an introductory course sequence. Topics include mechanics, wave motion, sound, and heat. No previous background in physics is assumed.
  • 201L -- General Physics Laboratory I. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 201)
  • 202 -- General Physics II. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 201) Continuation of PHYS 201; includes electromagnetism, relativity, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics.
  • 202L -- General Physics Laboratory II. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 202).
  • 203 -- Physics for Medical Sciences. (1) (Prereq/coreq: PHYS 202) Elasticity, fluid mechanics, wave motion, elctromagnetic radiation, and optical systems. Emphasis on problem solving. Primarily intended for pre-med students. One lecture and one recitation hour per week.
  • 206 -- Principles of Physics I. (3) (Prereq: MATH 141; coreq: PHYS 211L) Classical mechanics. Calculus-level treatment for science majors.
  • 207 -- Principles of Physics II. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 206 and MATH 142; coreq: PHYS 212L and MATH 241) Electromagnetic fields and oscillations. Calculus-level treatment, a continuation of PHYS 206.
  • 211 -- Essentials of Physics I. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in MATH 141; coreq: PHYS 211L) Classical mechanics and wave motion. Calculus-level course for students of science and engineering.
  • 211L -- Essentials of Physics I Lab. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 206 or 211)
  • 212 -- Essentials of Physics II. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 211 and MATH 142; coreq: PHYS 212L) Classical electromagnetism and optics.
  • 212L -- Essentials of Physics II Lab. (1) (Prereq or coreq: PHYS 207 or 212)
  • 306 -- Principles of Physics III. (3) (Prereq: C or better in PHYS 207 or 212 and MATH 142; coreq: MATH 241) Wave motion, optics, and thermodynamics. Calculus-level treatment; a continuation of PHYS 207 and 212.
  • 307 -- Introduction to Moder Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 207, 208, and MATH 241) Experimental foundations and general concepts of quantum theory; applications to atomic, condensed matter, and nuclear physics.
  • 308 -- Classic Experiments in Physics I. (2) (Prereq: PHYS 202, 207, or 212) A laboratory course in the performance and analysis of experiments which have contributed to an understanding of basic concepts. One lecture/recitation and one three-hour laboratory period each week.
  • 309 -- Classic Experiments in Physics II. (2) (Prereq: PHYS 308) Further experiments which have contributed to an understanding of basic concepts. One lecture/recitation and one three-hour laboratory period each week.
  • 311 -- Introduction to Applied Numerical Methods. {=EMCH 201, ENCP 201} (3) (Prereq: MATH 141; coreq: MATH 142) Introduction and application of linear algebra and numerical methods to the solution of physical and engineering problems. Techniques include iterative solution techniques, methods of solving systems of equations, and numerical integration and differentiation.
  • 340 -- Introduction to Relativistic Astrophysics. {=PHYS 340} (3) (Prereq: ASTR 211, MATH 115 or equivalent, and PHYS 202, 207, or 212) Final states of stellar evolution; white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes. Cosmology.
  • 399 -- Independent Study. (3-6) Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and department chair is required for undergraduate students.
  • 441 -- Topics in Modern Physics. (1-3) A presentation of recent developments in pure and applied physics. The exact choice of material will be variable, but may include such topics as nuclear structure, low temperature phenomena, and radioastronomy. The emphasis will be on descriptive rather than analytical treatments.
  • 498 -- Senior Thesis. (3) An individual investigation in the library or laboratory or both under supervision of the major professor. The preparation of a scientific report is an integral part of the work.
  • 499 -- Undergraduate Research. (3) (Prereq: PHYS 308 and 309 and consent of instructor) Introduction to and application of the methods of research. A written report on work accomplished is required at the end of each semester.
  • 501 -- Modern Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 307 and MATH 242) Special relativity, high-energy physics, and cosmology.
  • 502 -- Quantum Physics. (3) (Prereq: a grade of C or better in PHYS 307 and MATH 242) A self-contained treatment of quantum theory and its applications, beginning with the Schrodinger 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.

College of Arts and Sciences

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