Physics and Astronomy

Information

Nadia Kaltcheva, Co-Chair

Mark Lattery, Co-Chair

 

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

Code 80 or PHYS SCI, 82 or PHY/AST

Document Actions

Faculty

Kadel Rioux
Kaltcheva       Stojilovic
Lattery Tobin
Pritzl

Document Actions

Degrees

  • Undergraduate: A major in Physics can lead to the degree(s): Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science in Education. Students choosing the Dual Degree program will receive the Bachelor of Science at UW Oshkosh and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from UW Milwaukee, or other partner university.

  • Graduate: The Department does not offer a graduate program, but offers graduate-level courses for practicing physics and physical science teachers.

Document Actions

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 to study physical systems.

      • 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.

      • 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 be able to use physics and engineering principles and methods to solve real-world problems. 

      2. The Major(s)
        • The Department offers a major in Physics with four emphases: 1) Professional Physics, 2) Applied Physics, 3) Secondary Education, and 4) Physics-Engineering Dual Degree.

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

          Document Actions

          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.

          Document Actions

          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 Physics 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 Advanced Courses: Physics/Astronomy 203, 206, 222, 307, 310, 313, 320, 322, 408, 417, 418, 419, 422, 446, 451, 456, 474.

            • Group 2 Applied Physics Courses: Physics/Astronomy 305, 311, 319, 335.

          Document Actions

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

          1.  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, 491.

              • Mathematics: Mathematics 375, 376.

            • Electives: Sufficient courses from the Department's offerings in Groups 1 and 2 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

            • Comment:

              37 units (crs.) of Physics and six units (crs.) of Mathematics are 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 1 and 2 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 1 and 2 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

          • Physics/Engineering Dual Degree Emphasis
          Recommended for students who seek a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Engineering degree with a major in a selected engineering field from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, or other partner institution. Specific UW Oshkosh course requirements (before transferring to a partner university to complete an engineering degree) are outlined below.  

          Note: Completion of the program will normally take a minimum of five years: three (or more) years at UW Oshkosh to complete the physics major and the College of Letters and Science B.S. requirements; and two (or more) years at the engineering school of choice to complete the engineering degree requirements.

          Students must meet the course requirements for the University Studies Program (USP, general education) and for a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters and Science at UW Oshkosh. Credits to satisfy general education requirements may be transferred back from the engineering school, but students are responsible for ensuring that they meet requirements.

          Students must meet the GPA requirements of UW Oshkosh with regard to USP courses. Students must have a GPA of 2.5 or above (cumulative, and in specified mathematics, science, and engineering courses) Students must 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.

          Normally, students will complete about 90 credits at UW Oshkosh before transferring to their engineering school of choice. If a student transfers courses into 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. 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.

          The B.S. degree with a major in Physics will be awarded after the student has transferred the necessary courses from the destination engineering school and has met the requirements for a B.S. degree from UW Oshkosh and the requirements for the physics major specified above.

            • Required courses:
              • Physics:
                • Physics 109 General Physics I 5 crs.
                • Physics 110 General Physics II 5 crs.
                • Physics 206 Modern Physics 3 crs.
                • Physics 222 Physics Laboratory I 2 crs.
              • Mathematics: 
                • Mathematics 171 Calculus I 4 crs.
                • Mathematics 172 Calculus II 4 crs.
                • Mathematics 273 Calculus III 4 crs.
                • Mathematics 371 Differential Equations 3 crs.
                  (or Combined Linear Algebra/Differential Equations course from the destination engineering school.)
              • Chemistry: 
                • Chemistry 105 General Chemistry I 5 crs.
                • Chemistry 106 General Chemistry II 5 crs.
              • Physics: 
                • Physics 320 Classical Physics 3 crs.
            • Other Required Courses: 11 additional credits from the following list of UW Oshkosh courses (must include either 417 or 419):
              • Physics:
                • Physics 201, 203, 305, 307, 310 or 313, 311, 319, 322, 408, 417, 419, 451, 491.
                  Total Physics credits required:  29-32 crs.
            • A minimum of 30 credits applied to the degree must be earned in UW Oshkosh courses.
            • Within the course credits transferred back from the destination engineering school to UW Oshkosh, there must be:
              • Sufficient approved upper division engineering and physics course for the student to have at least 36 credits in physics and engineering courses, including the minimum 29-32 UW Oshkosh physics credits listed above.
              • Sufficient credits to meet the required total of 120 credits and the 35 upper division credits required for graduation at UW Oshkosh.

          Document Actions

          The Minor(s)

          1.  Astronomy Minor

          Recommended for science students (Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics) who have an interest in Astronomy.

          • Required Units (crs.): 22 minimum
          • Required Courses:
            • Physics: Physics/Astronomy 109, 110, 203, 310, 313
          • Electives: Sufficient courses from the following list to meet the minimum requirement:
            • Physics: Physics 206 or any 300 or 400 level physics course not used in required courses
            • Chemistry: Chemistry 235, 311, 335
            • Geology: Geology 326

          2.  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 1 and 2 to meet the Minimum Requirement.

          3.  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 1 and 2 to meet the Minimum Requirement.
          • Comment:  Secondary Education students completing this minor must also complete a licensable major.

          Document Actions

          Course Offering(s)

          Physics/Astronomy

          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 4 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 4 units (crs.) applicable toward the laboratory science requirement when taken following Physics 114. Prerequisite: Physics 114. (0+2) (Spring)

           

           

          Physics/Astronomy    133

          1 (crs.)

          The Solar System Laboratory

          Laboratory component of The Solar System, Physics 103. This course is for transfer students only. Prerequisite: Completion of equivalent of the lecture part of Physics 103 at another university.

           

           

          Physics/Astronomy    134

          1 (crs.)

          Stars, and Galaxies and the Universe Laboratory (XN)

          Laboratory component of Stars, Galaxies and the Universe, for Physics 104. This course is for transfer students only. Prerequisite: Completion of equivalent of the lecture part of Physics 104 at another university.

           

           

          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    203

          3 (crs.)

          Introduction to Astrophysics

          A systematic introduction to the concepts and methods of astrophysics, astronomical measurements and units, astrophysical nature of radiation, stellar structure, and cosmology. Prerequisite: Physics 108 and Math 171 or Physics 110.

           

           

          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+0) (Fall)

           

           

          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    310

          3 (crs.)

          Stellar Structure and Evolution

          A systematic study of stellar atmospheres and interiors, stellar evolution and variable stars. Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

           

           

          Physics/Astronomy    311

          3 (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    313

          3 (crs.)

          Galaxies, the Interstellar Medium and Star Formation

          A systematic study of galactic components and structure, physics of the interstellar medium and star formation. Prerequisite: Completion of Physics 203 with a grade of C or better.

           

           

          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 thermodynamics 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    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 6 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.

          Document Actions

          Document Actions

          The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — Where Excellence and Opportunity Meet.