Chair: Associate Professor Krieble
Associate Professor: Malenda
Assistant Professor of Practice: Wood
Adjunct Faculty: Becker, Jackson, Patrick
The mission of the Department of Physics and Earth Science is to provide a curriculum that offers a solid foundation in the fundamental science of physics, to provide courses to service the general education curriculum, and to offer experiential opportunities for undergraduate research. In addition, the Department seeks to foster an appreciation of the principles of the natural world and of the scientific method within the liberal arts context of the institution.
The Physics and Earth Science Department provides an opportunity to investigate and study those areas of physics essential for graduate work in physics or for a physics-related career in industry, government, or secondary education. In the physics curriculum, the emphasis is on theoretical developments and problem-solving at the appropriate level of mathematical sophistication; and on experimental investigation that stresses physical principles and that makes use of modern laboratory techniques and equipment.
The department offers introductory courses in astronomy, forensics, and meteorology.
Learning in Common Requirements for Physics Majors
Physics majors must select Mathematics 170 to fulfill their Quantitative Reasoning (F2) requirement and Physics 111 for their Laboratory Science (F4) requirement.
The Major in Physics
The Physics Department offers two degree options for students wishing to pursue the physics major: The bachelor of arts (B.A.) and the bachelor of science (B.S.). The requirements for each degree option are listed below.
The Bachelor of Arts with Major in Physics
The bachelor of arts with a major in physics consists of 7 course units in physics (Physics 111, 112, 222, 331, 345, and two additional 300-level courses) plus four course units in mathematics (Mathematics 170 or 106-166, plus 171, 211, and 254). It is suggested that the student schedule Physics 111-112 in the first year and begin mathematics at the calculus level by scheduling Mathematics 170 and 171 in the first year, if possible. In the sophomore year, the courses normally taken are Physics 222 and 343, and Mathematics 211 and 254.
The Bachelor of Science with Major in Physics
The bachelor of science with major in physics consists of 10 course units in physics (Physics 111, 112, 222, 331, 341, 345, 346, and three additional course units), plus five course units in mathematics (Mathematics 170 or 106-166, plus 171, 211, 254, and 324). If the student chooses Physics 343 as one of the three elective physics courses, he or she may omit Mathematics 324. It is strongly recommended that the student schedule Physics 111-112 in the first year, and begin mathematics at the calculus level by scheduling Mathematics 170 and 171 in the first year. In the sophomore year, the courses normally taken are Physics 221 and 222 and Mathematics 211 and 254.
The Minor in Physics
The minor in physics consists of five course units including either Physics 109-110 or Physics 111-112 but not both.
The Interdepartmental Major in Physics
The student interested in a career requiring an interdisciplinary science major is encouraged to design an interdepartmental major in physics and is urged to consult the department chair.
The six courses that satisfy Set I of an interdepartmental major in physics are Physics 111-112 and any four upper-level courses in physics. These courses and the six of Set II are selected by the student with the approval of the department chair. An interdepartmental major in physics and mathematics is strongly recommended for any student wishing to prepare for a teaching career in physics.
The Interdepartmental Major in Earth Science
Set I requirements include ENVR 111 at Moravian and five earth science courses, selected with the approval of the Set I advisor, at Moravian or Lehigh University. Students who plan an interdepartmental major should keep in mind that the earth sciences require a well-rounded background in mathematics and the basic sciences.
A student planning a major or an interdepartmental major in physics should discuss career plans with the department chair, because such plans influence the choice of the elective physics courses, the modern language courses (French, German, or Russian is recommended), elective mathematics courses, and any other elective courses (e.g., astronomy, geology, chemistry, or biology). These considerations are especially important for a student planning graduate work in physics or teaching at the secondary level.
Students seeking secondary school teacher certification in physics follow either the requirements for the physics major or those for the interdepartmental major, with physics constituting Set I and mathematics constituting Set II. Students also must take Chemistry 113. Those interested in combining physics and general science certification should consult the requirements for such certification under science education. All students seeking certification in secondary education should consult the Education Department.
Courses in Physics
PHYS 105. Forensic Science. An introduction to the field of forensic science as applied to criminal investigations and the law. This course will employ a data-driven approach to solving simulated criminal cases using a variety of scientific methods to examine physical evidence. Evidence-based lab experiments include examinations of soil samples, hair fiber, blood patterns, fingerprints, and ballistics and will be conducted to build a logical case in a criminal investigation. The laboratory will culminate in a final project employing a number of these methods. Limitations and abilities of experimental techniques will also be examined throughout the course. Fall & Spring. Prerequisite: None. (F4)
PHYS 106. Meteorology. Physical processes and properties of the atmosphere, elements of weather analysis and forecasting, effects of atmosphere on people and activities. Laboratory includes weather instruments and observation, weather-map construction and analysis, experiments, scale models, and computer application. Spring. (F4)
PHYS 108. Astronomy. Methods and results of astronomical exploration of the solar system, our stellar system, galaxies, and universe. Laboratory includes telescope observation, optics, analysis of astronomical photographs, and computer simulations. Fall & Spring. Two 3-hour periods. (F4)
PHYS 109. Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences I. Aspects of physics important in biological processes and health sciences. Major topics in the first term include elementary mechanics, biomechanics, fluids, and thermodynamics. Fall. Physics 109 & Physics 110 must be taken in sequence. Three 70-minute lectures and one 3-hour laboratory. (F4)
PHYS 110. Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences II. Aspects of physics important in biological processes and health sciences. Major topics in the second-term include electromagnetism, bioelectricity, membrane transport, waves, geometrical optics, and radiation. Spring. Physics 109 & Physics 110 must be taken in sequence. Three 70-minute lectures and one 3-hour laboratory. (F4)
PHYS 111 Introductory Physics I. First term of calculus based introductory physics treats mechanics, fluids, and wave phenomena. Fall. PHYS 111 & PHYS 112 must be taken in sequence. Co/prerequisites: students must have completed or be concurrently registered for MATH 170. Three 50-minute lectures, one 50-minute problem session, and one 3-hour laboratory. (F4)
PHYS 112. Introductory Physics II. Second term of calculus based introductory physics treats electricity, magnetism, optics, and selected topics in modern physics. Spring. PHYS 111 & PHYS 112 must be taken in sequence. Co/prerequisites: Students must have completed or be concurrently registered for MATH 171. Three 50-minute lectures, one 50-minute problem session, and one 3-hour laboratory. (F4)
PHYS 221. Linear Electronics. A laboratory-oriented course in electronics stressing applications of linear integrated circuits to laboratory measurement in physics, chemistry, and biology. Laboratory experiments and lecture-discussions include circuit analysis, system design using operational amplifiers, analog computer systems, transistors, power supplies, oscillators, and Arduino microcontrollers. Prerequisite: Physics 109-110 or 111-112 or permission of instructor. Spring. Three 50-minute lectures and two 3-hour laboratories.
PHYS 222. Modern Physics. Concepts leading to the breakdown of classical physics and the emergence of quantum theory. Topics include particle physics, nuclear physics, atomic physics, relativity and introduction to quantum mechanics. Independent laboratory experiments and projects (e.g., Compton effect, electron diffraction, Michelson interferometer, Millikan oil drop) complement the student’s study. Prerequisites: Physics 111-112 and Mathematics 171 or permission of instructor. Fall. Three 50-minute lectures, one 50-minute problem session, one 3-hour laboratory. Writing- Intensive.
PHYS 230.2. Research in Astronomy. Research in Astronomy is an online, half unit course concentrating on a study of the techniques required in making and reducing astronomical observations. This course will focus on methods of modern data collection, reduction, and analysis using a telescope, CCD detector, and filter system. The students will be required to carry out an individual observing project on variable stars using a remote robotic telescope located in Utah. Upon completion of the course the students will be able to continue to use the robotic telescope for their research projects.
PHYS 331-332. Mechanics. First term treats motion of a single particle with emphasis on conservative forces and their properties, central force fields, and oscillatory motions. Second term treats motion of the system of particles, rigid body mechanics, accelerated reference systems, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Emphasis on computer solutions of problems. Fall-Spring. Prerequisites: Physics 111-112 and Mathematics 211. Alternate years. Three 70-minute lectures.
PHYS 333. Physical Optics. Theoretical and experimental study of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation and matter. Topics include wave and photon representations of light, geometrical optics, polarization, interference, and diffraction phenomena. Standard laboratory experiments include interferometry and diffraction. Prerequisites: Physics 111-112 and Mathematics 211 or permission of instructor. Fall. Alternate years. Three 50-minute lectures, one 3-hour laboratory.
PHYS 334. Thermal Physics. Unified treatment of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Topics include laws of thermodynamics, state functions and variables, application to physical and chemical systems, kinetic theory, distribution functions, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics, black-body radiation, and Debye theory of specific heats. Prerequisites: Physics 111-112 and Mathematics 254 or permission of instructor. Spring. Alternate years. Three 50-minute lectures, one 3-hour laboratory.
PHYS 341. Quantum Mechanics. Fourier transforms, wave packets, Schrödinger's equation, square-well and barrier potentials, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom, atomic spectra, algebraic methods, and matrix mechanics. Prerequisites: Physics 222 and Mathematics 254 or permission of instructor. Spring. Alternate years. Three 50-minute lectures, one 50-minute problem session, one 3-hour laboratory.
PHYS 343. Introduction to Mathematical Physics. Mathematical techniques for solving ordinary and partial differential equations that arise in theoretical physics. Topics include series solutions, special functions, operational methods, boundary-value problems, orthogonal functions, product solutions, and/or selected topics determined by needs of students and interest of instructor. Prerequisite: Physics 111-112. Co-requisite: Mathematics 254. Spring. Three 50-minute lectures.
PHYS 345-346. Electric and Magnetic Fields. Field concepts, electromagnetic theory, and electromagnetic waves. First term treats electrostatics, steady fields and currents, and electromagnetism. Second term treats time-varying fields and currents, Maxwell's equations, and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisites: Physics 111-112 and Mathematics 254 or permission of instructor. Fall-Spring. Alternate years. Three 50-minute lectures, one 3-hour laboratory.
PHYS 370. Physics Seminar. Selected topics in theoretical and/or experimental physics. Choice of topics determined by needs of students and interest of instructor. Fall. Alternate years. Prerequisite: Physics 343. Three 50 minute lectures.
PHYS 190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.
PHYS 286, 381-383. Independent Study.
PHYS 384. Independent Research.
PHYS 288, 386-388. Internship.
PHYS 400-401. Honors.