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Physics and Astronomy

Information

Information

Nadia Kaltcheva, Chairperson

Department Office: Halsey Science 337
Department Telephone: (920) 424-4433

Code 80 or PHYS SCI, 82 or PHY/AST, 33 or ENGR TECH

Faculty

Faculty

Jambunathan  Rioux
Kaltcheva Stojilovic
Lattery

Degrees

Degrees

  • Undergraduate: A major in Physics can lead to the degree(s): Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Science in Education; a major in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology or Environmental Engineering Technology can lead to the degree: Bachelor of Science.

  • Graduate: See Department for details.

Summary of Fields of Study

Summary of Fields of Study

  1. Goal(s)

    • Upon completion of a Physics major, students will be able to determine specified information about a physical system using basic physics principles, mathematical representations, laboratory methods and instruments, and computer and graphical techniques; find and retrieve published or computer archived information; communicate physics concepts and results of scientific work in written and oral form.

    • In addition to the above goals, Professional Emphasis majors will be able to use integrated principles of physics and advanced analytic and computational methods.

    • Applied Physics Emphasis majors will be able to use the concepts and laboratory techniques of digital and analog electronics, digital signal processing techniques to improve and analyze digitized data.

    • Computer and Instrumentation Emphasis majors will be able to use the concepts and laboratory techniques of digital and analog electronics, digital signal processing techniques to improve and analyze digitized data, high level programming languages and assembler languages and assemble and use computer-interfaced equipment.

    • Secondary Education Emphasis majors will be able to use appropriate apparatus and computers to teach physics concepts to high school students.

    • Physics/Engineering Dual degree majors will receive a degree from UW Oshkosh and a degree from either UW Madison or University of Minnesota.

  2. The Major(s)

    • The Department offers a choice of four emphases within the Physics Major. These are: 1) Professional Emphasis in Physics, 2) Applied Physics Emphasis, 3) Secondary Education Emphasis, and 4) Physics/Engineering Dual.

     3. The Minor(s)
    • The Department offers two minor(s): 1) Physics - Liberal Arts, and 2) Physics - Secondary Education.

 

Admission/Graduation Requirements

Admission/Graduation Requirements

  • To be eligible for graduation, students must meet all requirements for the degree being sought in addition to earning a minimum grade point average of 2.00 in all courses required for the Physics and Astronomy major or minor. Refer to the following for complete major/minor course requirements.

  • Those students seeking Wisconsin teacher certification must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in all courses required for their majors and minors in order to meet requirements of the College of Education and Human Services.

Required Core Courses

Required Core Courses

  • Physics

    • Physics/Astronomy 109 General Physics 5 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 110 General Physics 5 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 206 Introductory Modern Physics 3 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 222 Physics Laboratory I 2 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 307 Physical Optics 3 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 320 Classical Dynamics 3 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 322 Physics Laboratory II 2 cr.

    • Physics/Astronomy 408 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics 3 cr.

  • Mathematics

    • Mathematics 171 Calculus I 4 cr.

    • Mathematics 172 Calculus II 4 cr.

    • Mathematics 273 Calculus III 4 cr.

    • Mathematics 371 Differential Equations 3 cr.

  • Comment:

    The mathematics courses listed in the core are not counted as part of the required units (crs.) in the major emphases.

  • Course Offerings:

    • Group 1 Introductory Courses: Physics/Astronomy 103, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 113, 114, 123, 124.

    • Group 2 Advanced Courses: Physics/Astronomy 206, 222, 307, 320, 322, 408, 417, 418, 419, 422, 446, 451, 456, 474.

    • Group 3 Applied Physics Courses: Physics/Astronomy 305, 311, 319, 335.

    • Group 4 Service Courses: Physics/Astronomy 105, 201, 202.

    • Group 5 Physical Science Course: Physical Science 101.

The Major(s), with Emphases and/or Options

The Major(s), with Emphases and/or Options

Physics Major

  • Professional Physics Emphasis

    Recommended for students who seek employment in the field of Physics or Astronomy or who are preparing for graduate studies in Physics, Astronomy or related fields.
    • Required Units (crs.): 43 minimum

    • Required Courses: In addition to the Core Courses:

      • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 417, 419, 422, 491.

      • Mathematics: Mathematics 375, 376.

    • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 2 and 3 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

    • Comment:

      37 units (crs.) of Physics and six units (crs.) of Mathematics required for this emphasis

  • Applied Physics Emphasis

    Recommended for students who seek employment in the application of physics and computing to scientific and technical areas.

    • Required Units (crs.): 38 minimum

    • Required Courses: In addition to the Core Courses:

      • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 305.

    • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 2 and 3 to meet the Minimum Requirement.


  • Secondary Education Emphasis

    Recommended for students who plan to teach Physics at the secondary school level.

    • Required Units (crs.): 38 minimum

    • Required Courses: In addition to the Physics Core Courses:

      • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 305, 335.

    • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 2 and 3 to meet the Minimum Requirement.


  • Physics/Engineering Dual Degree Emphasis

    Recommended for students who seek both Bachelor of Science in Physics and Bachelor of Engineering degrees.

    • The information below delineates the required courses needed to complete a physics major at UW Oshkosh, transfer to either UW Madison or the University of Minnesota, and complete an engineering major. Students in the dual degree program receive both a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physics from UW Oshkosh and a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in a selected engineering field from UW Madison or the University of Minnesota.

    • Degree Requirements: UW Oshkosh

    1. Meet the course requirements for general education and for a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters and Science.
    2. Meet the grade point average requirements of UW Oshkosh with regard to general education courses and courses taken in physics at UW Oshkosh.
    3. Meet the UW Oshkosh requirement for 35 upper level course credits. (Courses designated as upper level by the engineering school to which the student has transferred will be included in the upper level credit count to meet the UW Oshkosh requirement.)
    4. Normally, students will complete about 84 credits at UW Oshkosh before transferring to their engineering school of choice. If a student transfers courses in to UW Oshkosh, the student will still be required to complete 30 credits of UW Oshkosh courses to qualify for the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physics from UW Oshkosh.
    5. The UW Oshkosh residency requirement stating that 15 of the student's last 30 credits must be taken at UW Oshkosh will be waived for these students.
    • Note that the destination engineering schools may have additional requirements for admission (e.g., a minimum grade point average). Consult with an adviser in Physics/Astronomy for a list of current requirements.
    • Additional explanation: Completion of the program will normally take five years (or more), three at UW Oshkosh to complete the physics major and the College of Letters and Science Bachelor of Science requirements, and an additional two (or more) at the engineering school of choice to complete the requirements for the degree in engineering.
    • Required courses:
    1. Physics: Physics/Astronomy 109 General Physics I 5 cr.
    2. Physics: Physics/Astronomy 110 General Physics II 5 cr.
    3. Physics: Physics/Astronomy 206 Modern Physics 3 cr.
    4. Physics: Physics/Astronomy 222 Physics Laboratory I 2 cr.
    5. Mathematics: Mathematics 171 Calculus I 4 cr.
    6. Mathematics: Mathematics 172 Calculus II 4 cr.
    7. Mathematics: Mathematics 273 Calculus III 4 cr.
    8. Mathematics: Mathematics 256 Introduction to Linear Mathematics 3 cr.
    9. Mathematics: Mathematics 371 Differential Equations 3 cr.
      1. (or Combined Linear Algebra/Differential Equations course from the destination engineering school.)
      2. Total Math credits required (from UW Oshkosh or equivalent), including math courses listed in the required core above: Three to five courses: 12-18 cr.
    10. Chemistry: Chemistry 105 General Chemistry I 5 cr.
    11. Physics: Physics 320 or Physics 201 and 202 (the equivalent may be taken at the destination engineering school).
        • The Bachelor of Science degree with the Physics major will be awarded as soon as the student has transferred the needed courses from the destination engineering school and has met the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree from UW Oshkosh and the requirements for the Physics major specified above. 
        • Additional UW Oshkosh physics courses (total 11 credits) from the following list:

        • Physics 305, 307, 311, 319, 322, 408, 417, 419, 451, 491.
        • Total minimum Physics and Engineering credits from UW Oshkosh as state above: 26 crs.

    12. Courses required from UW Oshkosh: 30 crs. Minimum
    13. within the course credits transferred back from the destination engineering school to UW Oshkosh, there must be:

      1. Sufficient approved upper division engineering and physics course fro the student to have at least 36 credits in physics and engineering courses, including the minimum 29-32 UW Oshkosh physics credits listed above.
      2. sufficient credits to meet the required total of 120 credits and the 35 upper division credits required for graduation at UW Oshkosh.

    The Minor(s)

    The Minor(s)

    1. Physics (Liberal Arts) Minor

      • Required Units (crs.): 23 minimum

      • Required Courses:

        • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 109, 110, and 206.

      • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 2 and 3 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

      • Prerequisites:

        • Mathematics: Mathematics 171

    2. Physics (Secondary Education) Minor

      Recommended for students who plan to complete a broad field science major in Secondary Education.
      • Required Units (crs.): 23 minimum

      • Required Courses:

        • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 109, 110, 206, 335.

      • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 2 and 3 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

      • Prerequisites:

        • Mathematics: Mathematics 171

      • Comment:

        Secondary Education students completing this minor must also complete a licensable major.

    Course Offering(s)

    Course Offering(s)

    Physical Science   101                                           1-4 (crs.)

    Workshop Physical Science (NS) (XL)

    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   103                                           4 (crs.)

    The Solar System (NS) (XL)

    The astronomer's understanding of the earth, moon and planets. Explores the basic nature of science and the scientific method. Intended for non-science majors and science majors having an interest in astronomy. 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                                           4 (crs.)

    Stars, Galaxies and the Universe (NS) (XL)

    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                                           4 (crs.)

    Basic Acoustics of Music (NS)

    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   106                                           3 (crs.)

    Introduction to Topics in Physics

    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   107                                           1-5 (crs.)

    General Physics (NS) (XL)

    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 106, Mathematics 108 or equivalent. (3+1+2) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   108                                           5 (crs.)

    General Physics (NS) (XL)

    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 107. (3+1+2) (Spring)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   109                                           5 (crs.)

    General Physics (NS) (XL)

    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: Concurrent registration in or previous completion of Mathematics 171. (4+2) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   110                                           5 (crs.)

    General Physics (NS) (XL)

    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 109 and concurrent registration in or previous completion of Mathematics 172. (4+2) (Spring)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   112                                           4 (crs.)

    Energy in Today's World (NS) (XL)

    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   113                                           3 (crs.)

    The Solar System - no lab (NS)

    The astronomer's understanding of the earth, moon and planets. Explores the basic nature of science and the scientific method. May be used to satisfy laboratory science requirement only if Physics 123 is taken during a later term. Credit may not be earned for both Physics 113 and Physics 103. Prerequisites: Completion of the minimal University general education math requirement or qualifying for Mathematics 104 or higher via the Mathematics placement Exam. (3+0) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   114                                           3 (crs.)

    Stars, Galaxies and the Universe -no lab (NS)

    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)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   123                                           1 (crs.)

    Solar System Laboratory (NS)

    Laboratory component of the Solar System, Physics 103. Completes four units (crs.) applicable toward laboratory science requirement when taken following Physics 113. Prerequisite: Physics 113. (0+2) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   124                                           1 (crs.)

    Stars, Galaxies and the Universe Laboratory (NS)

    Laboratory component of Cosmic Evolution, Physics 104. Completes four units (crs.) applicable toward the laboratory science requirement when taken following Physics 114. Prerequisite: Physics 114. (0+2) (Spring)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   201                                           3 (crs.)

    Statics for Engineering

    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 107 or 109 (may be taken concurrently) and Mathematics 171. (3+0) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   202                                           3 (crs.)

    Dynamics for Engineering

    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) (Spring)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   206                                           3 (crs.)

    Introductory Modern Physics

    Twentieth century physics; emphasis on atomic and sub-atomic phenomena. Normally acceptable for pre-engineering students. Prerequisite: Physics 108 or 110 and Mathematics 171. (3+2) (Spring)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   222                                           2 (crs.)

    Physics Lab I

    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.

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   305                                           3 (crs.)

    Electronic Circuits and Devices

    DC and AC circuit theory with emphasis placed on the external electrical properties of analog electronic devices and their practical applications. Prerequisite: Physics 108, 110 or consent of instructor. 305/505 (2+2)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   307                                           3 (crs.)

    Physical Optics

    Review of geometrical optics, interference, diffraction, polarization, double refraction, electromagnetic theory of light, introduction to quantum optics and lasers. Prerequisite: Physics 110 and Mathematics 172. 307/507 (3+0)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   311                                           4 (crs.)

    Digital Instrumentation (NS)

    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. Prerequisite: Previous physics course or electronics course or Mathematics 212 or consent of instructor. 311/511 (3+2)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   319                                           3 (crs.)

    Digital Signal Processing

    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                                           3 (crs.)

    Classical Physics

    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 109 and Mathematics 172. (3+0) (Fall)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   322                                           2 (crs.)

    Physics Lab II

    An experimental treatment of concepts and theories associated with physical optics and themodynamics 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.

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   335                                           3 (crs.)

    Demonstration and Laboratory Techniques in Physics (NS)

    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                                           1 (crs.)

    Research Issues in Physics Education (TC)

    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                                           1 (crs.)

    Teaching Issues in Physics Education (TC)

    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 small three- to four-member groups of physics science students.

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   408                                           3 (crs.)

    Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics

    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                                           3 (crs.)

    Electricity and Magnetism

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

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   419                                           3 (crs.)

    Introductory Quantum Mechanics

    Development of quantum mechanics principles and application to important simple physical systems. Prerequisite: Physics 320. 419/619 (3+0)

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   422                                           2 (crs.)

    Physics Lab III

    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                                           1-3 (crs.)

    Independent Study

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

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   451                                           1-3 (crs.)

    Special Topics

    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                                           1-3 (crs.)

    Related Readings

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

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   474                                           1-6 (crs.)

    Honors: Thesis

    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 six units (crs.).

     

     

    Physics/Astronomy   491                                           1-4 (crs.)

    Senior Research Project

    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.

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