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Effective: Summer 2014

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Honors Institute participant.
Advisory: Advisory: Not open to students with credit in PHYS 34H.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
1 hour lecture. (12 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students have a mathematical understanding of a topic investigated in class.
  • Students have a physical/conceptual understanding of a topic investigated in class.
Description -
A seminar in directed readings, discussions and projects in physics. Specific topics to be determined by the instructor. The subject matter for this seminar will be drawn from a number of possible topics, including Lagrangian/Hamiltonian mechanics, celestial mechanics, astrophysics, the role of the Eigenvalue problem in advanced physics, historical approaches to physics (Galileo, Newton) or other topics of mutual interest to the instructor and students.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. analyze the topic in a skillful and thorough manner.
  2. discuss the topic critically with instructor and other students.
  3. explain the importance of the topic to the discipline of physics.
  4. use new vocabulary relevant to the topic.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Readings, discussion, and critical analysis of the relevant topics
  2. Use of primary, secondary and other important monographs as appropriate
  3. Content specific knowledge (as appropriate for the topic):
    1. Lagrangian/Hamiltonian Mechanics
      1. Minimization Approaches
      2. Integrating Functionals
      3. Langrangians
      4. Equations of Constraint
      5. Cannonical Momentum
      6. Hamiltonians
    2. Celestial Mechanics
      1. Kepler's Laws
      2. Energy Diagrams and Orbits
      3. Numerical Simulations
      4. Orbital Mechanics
    3. Astrophysics
      1. Stellar Details
      2. Planet Formation
      3. Gravity Problems
      4. Light and What We Can Learn From It
    4. The Eigenvalue Problem in Advanced Physics
      1. Review of Eigenvalues
      2. Application to Differential Equations
      3. Coupled Harmonic Oscillators
      4. Rotating Motion
      5. Schrodinger's Equation
    5. Historical Approaches to Physics
      1. Readings from Appropriate Sources
      2. Recreation of Historical Experiments
Methods of Evaluation -
Instructors may use the following methods for evaluation:
  1. Evaluation of class participation
  2. A written paper
  3. Homework
  4. Exams
  5. Oral presentations
  6. Poster projects
  7. Video/Web projects
Representative Text(s) -
This will vary by content. Readings could range from writings of Galileo all the way to advanced mechanics texts at the level of Thornton & Marion.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
The instructor could employ lectures, in-class discussions, cooperative learning exercises, electronic discussions/chat, demonstrations, guest speakers and/or simulation software.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading and study of the textbook, related materials and notes.
  2. Homework Problems: Homework problems covering subject matter from text and related material, one or two problems per week. Students will need to employ critical thinking in order to complete assignments.
  3. Paper/Poster: Students will need to write a paper on one of the topics from the class, or present a poster (instructor's choice).