Physics (PHYS) Courses

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

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PHYS 110 Physics of Contemporary Issues (3) Contemporary issues of political interest such as nuclear warfare and waste, the greenhouse effect and alternative energies will be studied at a physics level appropriate for any college student. A course objective is to develop scientific reasoning. Pre: none. (Attributes: ALEX, GCC)

PHYS 111 Intro to Space Exploration (3) Survey of applied science, social, cultural and engineering topics in space science, focusing on exploration. Past, present and future aspects of space exploration. Relationship to Hawaiian views of cosmology and Hawaiian traditions such as Wayfaring and relationship to the land. (Same as ASTR 111)

PHYS 115 Phys for Liberal Arts (3) Designed for non-science majors. Basic physical concepts through student's active participation and practical experience in a manner that is simple and intuitive.

PHYS 120 Weather & Climate Hawaii (3) For non-science majors and prospective science teachers. Basic meteorology, sun-earth-ocean-atmosphere interrelationships, weather types, seasonal changes, trade winds, clouds, rainfall, with examples drawn from the local weather and climate. (Same as GEOG 120). (Attributes: ALEX, GAHP, GCC, HPP)

PHYS 150 World Models (3) This course examines computer and mathematical models of the world that take into account how its subsystems (environment, resources, politics, finance) affect each other. No prerequisites.

PHYS 151 College Physics I (3) Principles of physics with the use of algebra and trigonometry. Covers electricity mechanics, oscillations, fluids, waves, kinetic theory and thermodynamics. Pre: MATH 140x or MATH 140 or MATH 125. See also PHYS 170L which serves as the lab course (Previously offered as PHYS 106).

PHYS 151L College Physics I Lab (1) (lab) A required laboratory supplement for PHYS 151; covers basic principles of experimentation and physical measurement. Presents illustrative experiments in mechanics, heat and waves. Pre: PHYS 151 (which can be taken concurrently).

PHYS 152 College Physics II (3) Principles of physics with the use of algebra and trigonometry. Covers electricity, magnetism, optics, and rudiments of atomic and nuclear physics. Pre: C or better in PHYS 151. See PHYS 152L, which serves as the lab course (Previously offered as PHYS 107).

PHYS 152L College Physics II Lab (1) (lab) A required laboratory supplement for PHYS 152; presents illustrative experiments in electricity, magnetism and optics. Pre: PHYS 152 which may be taken concurrently.

PHYS 170 Gen Phys I: Mechanics (4) Introductory physics designed for students majoring in physical sciences or engineering. Covers mechanics of particles, extended bodies, rotational dynamics, conservation laws, fluids, wave motion, and thermodynamics. Pre: MATH 205 (which can be taken concurrently).

PHYS 170L Gen Phys I Lab (1) (lab) A required laboratory supplement for and PHYS 170; covers basic principles of experimentation and physical measurement. Presents illustrative experiments in mechanics, heat and waves. Pre: PHYS 170 which may be taken concurrently.

PHYS 211 Electronics (4) (lecture/lab) Theory and application of circuit design and analysis. AC and DC circuits and filters; circuits based on diodes and transistors and operational amplifiers; digital circuits and filters. Laboratory will consist of the design, assembly and testing of circuits. Pre: PHYS 272, 272L, and MATH 206.

PHYS 224 Spaceflight (3) All aspects of manned and unmanned spaceflight, with emphasis on actual technologies and procedures used in space exploration. For students interested in Astronomy, Physics, Planetary Sciences, Aerospace Engineering or with a general interest in spaceflight. Pre: PHYS 151 or higher; CHEM 151 or higher; MATH 140X or higher or instructor's consent. (Same as ASTR 224)

PHYS 230 Applied Electronics (4) (lecture/lab) Theory and applications of circuit design and analysis with an emphasis on analog devices. AC and DC series and parallel RLC circuits, diodes, transistors and operational amplifiers. Laboratory will consist of construction and analysis of representative circuits. Pre: PHYS 272 or PHYS 173 and PHYS 272L. (Same as ASTR 230)

PHYS 260 Computational Physics & Astron (3) Computational techniques in physics and astronomy, with an emphasis on fundamental algorithms and development of code in high-level languages. Topics include least squares, interpolation, random number generators and numerical integration of differential equations. Pre: PHYS 272 or PHYS 173, CS 150. (Same as ASTR 260)

PHYS 260L Computational Phys & Astr Lab (1) (lab) Will offer an introduction to unix command language and programming skills relevant to Astronomy. Emphasis on writing algorithms and code programming in Python, C ++, or Fortran. Some elements of IDL and IRAF are covered. Problems will come from physics and astrophysics that will be solved using numerical methods and mathematical algorithms presents in the PHYS 260 lecture. Topics covered are integration methods, interpolation, error estimation, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, linear and non-linear equations, Fourier methods, random numbers and Monte Carlo methods. Pre: PHYS 272 or PHYS 173, PHYS 260 (may be taken concurrently). (Same as PHYS 260L)

PHYS 272 Gen Phys II: Elec & Magnetism (4) Introductory calculus-based physics designed for students majoring in physical sciences or engineering. Covers electric fields and potentials, magnetic fields, Maxwell's equations and basic optics. One class hour is dedicated to the development of problem-solving skills in small- group sessions. Pre: MATH 206 (which can be taken concurrently) and C or better in PHYS 170.

PHYS 272L Gen Phys II Lab (1) (lab) A required laboratory supplement for PHYS 272; presents illustrative experiments in electricity, magnetism and optics. Pre: PHYS 272 (which can be taken concurrently). Previously offered as PHYS 171L.

PHYS 274 Gen Phys III: Intro Modern Phy (3) Survey of contemporary physical theory and applications: special relativity; quantum physics; atomic structure and spectra, nuclear structure and reactions; elementary particles and fundamental forces. Pre: MATH 300 which can be taken concurrently and PHYS 170 and 272. (Previously offered as PHYS 270)

PHYS 330 Electromagnetism (3) Intermediate-level electrostatics and electrodymanics; electric and magnetic properties of ideal and real materials; Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism; conservation laws; electromagnetic waves and boundary value problems. Pre: MATH 231, MATH 232, PHYS 272 and MATH 300 which may be taken concurrently.

PHYS 331 Optics (3) Intermediate optics. Topics include plane waves, multiple interfaces, polarization, light propagation in real materials, Fourier optics, coherence theory, paraxial rays, diffraction and blackbody radiation. Pre: PHYS 272 and Math 231.

PHYS 341 Thermodynamics (3) Thermodynamics at the intermediate level. Includes energy, entropy, engines and refrigerators, free energy, classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Pre: PHYS 274 and MATH 231.

PHYS 360 Mathematical Physics (3) Special functions of mathematical physics which arise from Sturm-Liouville equations: Bessel, beta, elliptical, gamma and Legendre functions. Generating functions, complex integral representations. Other topics may include transforms, Fourier analysis and linear algebra. Pre: MATH 232, or MATH 231 and MATH 300 or instructor's consent. (Same as MATH 360)

PHYS 371 Classical Mechanics (3) Intermediate-level kinematics and dynamics. Central force motion; rotations, noninertial frames, normal modes of vibrations; introduction to Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism. Pre: PHYS 170-171; previous or current enrollment: MATH 300.

PHYS 380 Chaos (3) An introduction to nonlinear dynamical systems for science majors. Topics include dynamics in one and several dimensions, stability, excitable media, fractals, and time series analysis. Applications in physics, chemistry, ecology and other fields are illustrated. Pre: C or better in MATH 206 and C or better in PHYS 272 or MATH 232. (Same as MATH 380).

PHYS 430 Quantum Mechanics I (3) Postulates and formalisms of quantum mechanics. The Schrodinger equation in one and several dimensions: scattering, the harmonic oscillator, tunneling and the hydrogen atom. Orbital angular momentum and spin. The statistical interpretation and the uncertainty principles. Quantum statistical mechanics. Fermions and bosons. Pre: PHYS 274 and MATH 300.

PHYS 431 Quantum Mechanics II (3) A continuation of PHYS 430. Topics may include perturbation theory, the adiabatic approximation, foundations of quantum theory and/or quantum computation. Pre: PHYS 430.

PHYS 432 Senior Lab/Thesis Project (3) (lab) Individual research projects conducted in the college laboratory, library, or observatory; or at an external research facility; under the direct guidance of a member of the physics and astronomy faculty or an affiliated faculty member. Students must propose and complete a research project and present a final report to the department. Permission of the department is required for registration. Pre: Permission of the department is required. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6 credits. (Same as ASTR 432)

PHYS 495A Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. The first semester (495A) is taken CR/NC, in the second semester (495B), students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing or instructor's consent. (Same as ASTR 495A-495B, CHEM 495A-495-B, GEOL 495-A-495-B, and MATH 495A-495B).

PHYS 495B Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. The first semester (495A) is taken CR/NC, in the second semester (495B), students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing or instructor's consent. (Same as ASTR 495A-495B, CHEM 495A-495B, GEOL 495A-495B, and MATH 495A-495B).

PHYS 496 Space Studies Seminar (1) Seminar presentations of topics related to space exploration by invited speakers, faculty, and enrolled students. Students are required to prepare and submit reaction papers/essays.


PHYS x94 Special Topics in Subject Matter (Arr.) Special topics chosen by the instructor. Course content will vary. May be repeated for credit, provided that a different topic is studied. Additional requirements may apply depending on subject and topic.

PHYS x99 Directed Studies (Arr.) Statement of planned reading or research required. Pre: instructor’s consent.