Physics and Astronomy

Robert I. Boughton, Chair
104 Overman Hall

Lewis P. Fulcher, Graduate Coordinator
167 Overman Hall
Phone: 419-372-2421

Graduate Faculty


Associate Professors-

Assistant Professors-

Graduate Degrees Offered

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science, and Master of Arts in Teaching. The curriculum of the programs emphasizes applications as well as a solid foundation for pre-doctoral training. Course work focuses on developing skills in several areas of emphasis: astrophysics, computational physics, theoretical physics and materials physics. All graduate students are involved in research as part of the degree program.

The M.A.T. degree program is designed to prepare students for a physics teaching career or to provide enrichment for practicing teachers.

Prerequisites to Graduate Work

Applicants should have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree with a major in physics, or a minor in physics and a major in a cognate field from an accredited institution. Applicants should also have taken a minimum of one year of undergraduate chemistry. Applicants with prerequisite deficiencies may be required to take undergraduate course work or satisfactorily complete an examination as a condition of admission.

M.A.T. applicants must have at least one year's teaching experience and hold a valid teaching certificate from the state in which they are teaching.

Admission Procedure

Applicants seeking admission to the graduate program in Physics and Astronomy are required to complete application materials by following the procedure outlined in the Graduate Catalog.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts in Teaching

Candidates must complete 35 semester hours of acceptible graduate course work, of which 21 to 27 hours must be taken in physics. The remaining 8 to 13 semester hours of work must be completed in professional education, including one course in pedagogy. The student must submit a scholarly paper, which is usually written in conjunction with the required course in pedagogy. The student must also pass a written comprehensive examination on selected topics in physics.

Master of Science

Plan I: Candidates must complete a mimimum of 30 semester hours of 500- and 600-level courses approved for graduate credit including a minimum of 26 hours in physics. Students are required to take: PHYS 601, PHYS 602, PHYS 603, PHYS 604, PHYS 605 and PHYS 606, for a total of 18 semester hours. Students must also register for two hours of PHYS 681 per semester in each of four semesters. In addition to the above 26 hours of core courses in the major field, candidates must present a formal thesis and pass an oral examination on the thesis.

Plan II: Candidates must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of 500- and 600-level courses approved for graduate credit, including two hours in PHYS 691 (Directed Research in Physics), for a minimum of 28 hours in physics. Students are required to take: PHYS 601, PHYS 602, PHYS 603, PHYS 604, PHYS 605 and PHYS 606 and PHYS 691, for a total of 20 semester hours. Students must also register for two hours of PHYS 681 per semester in each of four semesters. As an important part of the research seminar work, the student must submit a scholarly paper and pass a final written comprehensive examination covering selected fields.

Courses for Graduates

PHYS 601. Techniques in Experimental Physics (3) I. Laboratory oriented course in which various experimental techniques and topics of current use in physics and engineering are treated.

PHYS 602. Advanced Classical Mechanics (3) I. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, central force problems, small oscillations, canonical transformations, nonlinear dynamics and deterministic chaos, logistic maps.

PHYS 603. Advanced Electrodynamics (3) II. Elements of electrodynamics including: electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetism, radiating systems, and relativity. Prerequisites: PHYS 501, 502, 518 or equivalent work.

PHYS 604. Statistical Mechanics (3) I. Laws of thermodynamics; kinetic theory; Boltzmann transport equation; Liouville's theorem; fundamental postulates of classical and quantum statistical mechanics; microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles; applications to gases, liquids and solids, Ising model and applications of computational methods. Prerequisites: PHYS 602 or consent of instructor.

PHYS 605. Advanced Quantum Mechanics (3) II. Foundations of quantum mechanics with applications to current problems in physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 602 or equivalent.

PHYS 606. Techniques of Computational Physics (3) I. Fundamentals of the application of computers in physics with emphasis on numerical methods; survey of methods of simulation with in-depth treatment of several computational physics applications; high level programming and other simulation tools used in treating complex physical systems.

PHYS 610. Advanced Solid State Physics (3) III. Quantum theory of solids, including: treatment of conduction electrons in metals and semiconductors, electron transport properties, band theory, dielectric, magnetic and optical properties of solids, and superconductivity. Second quantization and pseudopotential techniques. Prerequisite: PHYS 510 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 650. Physics for In-Service Teachers (3-5). On demand. Intensive physics course for secondary or middle school teachers of science who wish to enhance their physics background. Special attention is paid to the development of lecture-demonstration and laboratory apparatus and techniques. Subject matter can vary from year to year. May be repeated. Not acceptable for credit towards a graduate degree in physics.

PHYS 681. Seminar in Physics (2) I, II. Systematic study of selected topics in physics. Oral presentation is emphasized in the research and instructional arenas. May be repeated to 8 hours. Graded S/U.

PHYS 682. Special Topics in Physics (3) On demand. Seminar on subject in modern physics representing an important advance in the field or a special competence of individual staff members. Normal grading. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

PHYS 684. Readings in Physics (1-3). Individual registration. Special topics in specific areas of physics suited to needs of individual student. May be repeated to eight hours. Normal grading. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

PHYS 689. Co-operative Education in Physics (1-6) On demand. Work and study in physics in an industrial, commercial or government laboratory setting in an approved cooperative position. May be repeated to six hours. Graded S/U.

PHYS 691. Directed Research in Physics (1-2) I, II. Supervised independent research on a particular topic. Suitable for work toward paper for M.S. Plan II or M.A.T. degrees, but open to others interested in physics research. Prerequisite: one hour of PHYS 606.

PHYS 694. Workshop in Physics (1-4) On demand. Topics and issues within the discipline; topics vary from term to term.

PHYS 695. Workshop on Current Topics in Physics (1-4) I, II, III On demand. Topics and issues within the discipline; topics vary from term to term.

PHYS 699. Thesis Research (1-12). Credit for thesis study. Enrollment in excess of nine hours is acceptable for Plan I M.S. degree, but no more than six hours may be credited toward degree. Minimum acceptable toward degree is two hours. Graded S/U.

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit

PHYS 501. Methods of Mathematical and Computational Physics I (4) I. Survey of basic methods of mathematical techniques applied to physics, including linear algebra, ordinary differential equations, and vector calculus with emphasis on how these concepts are used in physics. Parallel development is given to numerical methods used to solve physical problems. Use of an appropriate scientific programming language is included. Four lecture-recitations. Prerequisites: PHYS 212; or PHYS 202 and MATH 232.

PHYS 502. Methods of Mathematical and Computational Physics II (3) II (Alternate years). Survey of basic mathematical and computational techniques for solving partial differential equations, including the wave equation, Poisson's equation, and the heat transfer equation. Introduction to Fourier analysis with applications and the Fast Fourier Transform algorithms and their implementation. A rudimentary treatment of special functions, as they arise in solving physical problems, will be given. Prerequisite: PHYS 501 or permission of instructor.

PHYS 503. Stellar Structure and Evolution (3) I (Alternate years). Basic data, stellar interiors, theoretical models. Advanced evolutionary states; red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars, supernovas and black holes. Prerequisites: PHYS 301 or equivalent, and permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for ASTR 403.

PHYS 510. Solid State Physics (3) II (Alternate years). Continuum and atomic theories of solids, lattice vibrations, specific heat of solids, electron theory of metals and semiconductors. Superconductivity. Prerequisite: PHYS 307 or equivalent.

PHYS 511. Physics of Materials (3) II (Alternate years). Structure and physical properties of ceramics, composites, polymers, metallurgically important alloys and amorphous systems. Theory of physical properties of these substances: specific heat, conduction, diffusion. Prerequisite: PHYS 307 or equivalent.

PHYS 517. Quantum Mechanics (3) II. Duality of matter and radiation, state functions and interpretation, Heisenberg uncertainty principle, wave equations and principles of wave mechanics, elementary applications of Schroedinger's equation, operator methods and approximation techniques. Prerequisite: PHYS 501 or equivalent.

PHYS 518. Electricity and Magnetism I (3) I . Electric and magnetic fields; Maxwell's theory of electromagnetic field with applications in propagation, absorption, reflection, transmission of radiation. Prerequisite: PHYS 501 or equivalent.

PHYS 519. Electricity and Magnetism I I (3) II (Alternate years). PHYS 518 continued with applications to guided waves and physical optics. Relativity.
Prerequisite: PHYS 518 or equivalent.

PHYS 528. Microcomputer Interfacing (3) I. Medium and large scale integrated circuits such as peripheral interface adapters. UARTS, A/D converters are used to interface a microcomputer to the external world of the laboratory. One class period and two three-hour laboratories. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

PHYS 529. Selected Topics in Microelectronics (1-3) On demand. An individual, in-depth study of a microelectronics project. Designed to integrate the introductory knowledge gained in PHYS 528 into a complete microelectronics system. Arranged. Prerequisite: PHYS 528 or equivalent.

PHYS 533. Philosophy and Physics of Space and Time (3) II. Physical theories of space and time from philosophical, scientific and historical points of view. Topics include Zeno's paradoxes, Green's concepts of space and time, classical Newtonian world view, general ideas of modern theory of relativity and cosmology. Cross listed in PHIL.

For further information, please contact:

Robert I. Boughton,
Chair, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Director, Center for Materials Science
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403
(419)372-2421::FAX (419)372-9938