Physics

Physics is devoted to the discovery and exploration of the basic physical laws governing our material universe. The physicist attempts to express these laws in their most simple mathematical form, so that they can be applied to predict the behavior of all forms of matter and energy, ranging from the subatomic physics of quarks, gluons, nuclei, and atoms, to the astrophysics of planets, stars, black holes, galaxies, and larger scale structures of the universe. The knowledge obtained from  investigating physical phenomena forms the foundation for many modern technologies ranging from lasers used in high-speed communications and surgery, to quantum and molecular electronics used in modern electrical devices, the magnetic behavior of thin films used for computer hard drives, and the radiation detectors and optical elements used in space telescopes. The fundamental knowledge gained by physicists helps to shape and improve the quality of modern life.

The Missouri S&T physics department provides numerous opportunities for undergraduates to participate in cutting-edge, nationally funded scientific research programs supervised by departmental faculty. Topics studied by Missouri S&T undergraduates include collisions between electrons, atoms, and ions; exotic interactions in atoms and molecules excited with ultra-fast lasers; new magnetic and superconducting materials, thermal and electric transport, transparent conducting oxides; photonic crystals; quantum phase transitions; gravitational waves; and the expansion history of the universe.

The department strongly encourages undergraduates to get involved in the many research projects available. Those who do often present their work at research competitions throughout the state and at national scientific meetings. Missouri S&T physics students regularly win prizes for their research accomplishments in the annual Fuller and Missouri Academy of Science competitions.

After receiving a solid foundation in the basic physics governing the behavior of matter, energy, and radiation, undergraduate physics majors are able to choose among many advanced level courses to satisfy their particular interests. Courses available to upper level students include advanced electricity and magnetism, classical and modern optics, astrophysics, physical mechanics, quantum mechanics, general relativity, thermal physics, solid state physics, and laser physics. The curriculum also includes advanced laboratory courses where students design and participate in original research with other enthusiastic physics majors.

Your undergraduate program will cover a range of fundamental topics and will include substantial laboratory training. In addition, the program is designed with many electives that allow physics majors to tailor their undergraduate education to their own particular interests. With 48 credit hours in physics, 21 in mathematics, 24 in the humanities and social sciences, 9 in chemistry, and 4 in computer science, the rest of the 128 required hours are in electives that you select in consultation with your advisor.

Many physics majors choose to use their electives to study other technical areas, such as mathematics, computer science, or electrical engineering. Some students get dual bachelor’s degrees, with their second degree in one of these or other areas. Because there is considerable overlap in degree requirements, a dual degree usually requires no more than one extra semester of undergraduate study.

An undergraduate degree in physics provides opportunities for a wide range of careers. About two- thirds of our graduates go on to graduate school, many at some of the most prestigious first-tier schools in the country. Those who complete their physics education with a bachelor's degree have been very successful in finding exciting employment opportunities in today's high-tech industries. Missouri S&T physics graduates have gone on to lead and manage major research efforts at leading industrial companies, to be professors and chairmen at leading academic universities, and to work in areas ranging from law and medicine to ecophysics and astrophysics.

Bachelor of Science
Physics

A minimum of 128 credit hours is required for a bachelor of science degree in physics and an average of at least two grade points per credit hour must be obtained. These requirements for the B.S. degree are in addition to credit received for algebra, trigonometry, and basic ROTC.

The physics curriculum requires twelve semester hours in humanities, exclusive of foreign language, and must include ENGLISH 1160 or ENGLISH 3560. A minimum of nine semester hours is required in social sciences, including either HISTORY 1300, HISTORY 1310, HISTORY 1200, or POL SCI 1200. Specific requirements for the bachelor degree are outlined in the sample program listed below

Freshman Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
CHEM 13104CHEM 13203
CHEM 13191HISTORY 1200, or 1300, or 1310, or POL SCI 12003
CHEM 11001PHYSICS 11354
ENGLISH 11203MATH 12154
PHYSICS 11011Electives12
MATH 12144 
 14 16
Sophomore Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
ENGLISH 11603MATH 33043
MATH 22224PHYSICS 2311 or 23053
Elective13PHYSICS 21293
COMP SCI 1500 or 1972 and 19823PHYSICS 24013
PHYSICS 21354Elective13
 17 15
Junior Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
PHYSICS 32013PHYSICS 32113
PHYSICS 31193PHYSICS 31293
PHYSICS 33113Math/Stat Elective23
Math/Stat Elective23Electives17
Electives16 
 18 16
Senior Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
PHYSICS 42113PHYSICS 43113
PHYSICS 43013Elective-Humanities (3000 level)13
Physics Elective33Physics Elective33
Electives17Electives17
 16 16
Total Credits: 128

Note: The minimum credit hours required for a bachelor of science in physics is 128 hours. No more than two of the required physics and mathematics courses with a grade of “D” may be used to meet graduation requirements. Upon petition to and approval by the physics faculty, three semester hours of advanced ROTC (military science or aerospace credit studies) credit can be counted as elective credit to meet requirements for graduation.

Emphasis in Secondary Education

Students may develop an emphasis area in secondary education that will allow them to teach physics in grades 9-12 in Missouri. Please contact the Department of Teacher Education for a complete list of requirements.

a. Professional requirements courses:

EDUC 1040Perspectives In Education2
EDUC 1174School Organization and Administration For Teachers2
EDUC 3216Teaching Reading in Content Area3
ENGLISH 3170Teaching And Supervising Reading and Writing3
EDUC 3280Teaching Methods and Skills in Content Areas6
EDUC 4298Student Teaching Seminar1
PSYCH 2300Educational Psychology3
or EDUC 2102 Educational Psychology
PSYCH 3310Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 4310Psychology Of The Exceptional Child3
or EDUC 4310 Psychology Of The Exceptional Child
Fifteen of these credit hours may be used to substitute for six hours of mathematics electives, six hours of physics electives, and three hours of computer science courses.

b. Clinical experience courses:

EDUC 1104Teacher Field Experience I2
EDUC 1164Teacher Field Experience II2
EDUC 4299Student Teaching12

c. Take these additional courses:

SP&M S 1185Principles Of Speech3
POL SCI 1200American Government3
PSYCH 1101General Psychology3
BIO SCI 1113General Biology3
PHYSICS 1605Environmental Physics I3
HISTORY 3530History of Science3
A 3 hour Art/Music/Theater elective3

d. Complete the requirements for teacher certification listed in this catalog.

Physics Minor Curriculum

The minor in physics is a flexible program whose goal is to increase the breadth and competency of science and engineering students in modern or classical physics. Science students pursuing the physics minor will be interested in a deeper understanding of fundamental physical processes. Engineering students who intend to work in research or advanced development may use a physics minor to acquire a thorough knowledge of atomic, condensed matter, and environmental physics.

The physics minor consists of the following courses:

The introductory physics sequence:
PHYSICS 1111
PHYSICS 2111
General Physics I
and General Physics II
8
or PHYSICS 1135
PHYSICS 2135
Engineering Physics I
and Engineering Physics II
One course in modern physics:
PHYSICS 2305Introduction To Modern Physics3
or PHYSICS 2311 Modern Physics I
12 additional credit hours of physics courses at the 2000 level or above.

The program will be designed to conform to the individual’s interests and needs.

PHYSICS 1001 Special Topics (LEC 0.0-6.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.


PHYSICS 1101 Introduction To Physics (LEC 1.0)

An introduction to the study of physics and its intellectual and professional opportunities. The student will be acquainted with the various areas of physics and with departmental and campus facilities useful to their future studies. Required of all freshman majors.


PHYSICS 1111 General Physics I (LEC 4.0)

An introduction to the fundamental ideas of physics, including mechanics, heat, and sound. Prerequisite: Preceded by Math 1208 or Math 1214.
PHYSICS 1111 - MOTR PHYS 150L: Physics I with Lab
PHYSICS 1111 - MOTR PHYS 150: Physics I


PHYSICS 1119 General Physics Laboratory (LAB 1.0)

Experiments related to topics studied in Physics 1111. Prerequisites: Preceded or accompanied by Physics 1111.
PHYSICS 1119 - MOTR PHYS 150L: Physics I with Lab


PHYSICS 1135 Engineering Physics I (RSD 1.5 and LAB 1.0 and LEC 1.5)

An introduction to mechanics, with an emphasis on topics needed by engineering students, including kinematics, dynamics, statics, and energetics. Prerequisite: Math 1208 or 1214.
PHYSICS 1135 - MOTR PHYS 200L: Advanced Physics I with Lab


PHYSICS 1145 College Physics I (LAB 1.0 and LEC 3.0)

An introduction to the ideas of physics, including mechanics, heat, and sound. Prerequisites: Math 1160 and either of Math 1120 or Math 1140.
PHYSICS 1145 - MOTR PHYS 150: Physics I
PHYSICS 1145 - MOTR PHYS 150L: Physics I with Lab


PHYSICS 1505 Introductory Astronomy (LEC 3.0)

An introductory course in basic astronomy designed primarily for students other than those in science and engineering. Topics include history, the sky, the solar system, stars, stellar evolution, galaxies and the origin and evolution of the universe. Credit will not be given for both Physics 1505 and Physics 1515.
PHYSICS 1505 - MOTR ASTR 100L: Astronomy with Lab
PHYSICS 1505 - MOTR ASTR 100: Astronomy


PHYSICS 1509 Astronomy Laboratory (LAB 1.0)

A science laboratory course in which the student analyzes and interprets astronomical data and makes observations with a telescope. Prerequisite: Preceded or accompanied by Physics 1505 or 1515.
PHYSICS 1509 - MOTR ASTR 100L: Astronomy with Lab


PHYSICS 1605 Environmental Physics I (LEC 3.0)

A course for non-science majors which will consider, without mathematics, the production of energy and the environmental consequences of its use, and the physical problems associated with pollution.


PHYSICS 1609 Laboratory For Environmental Physics (LAB 1.0)

A laboratory course to accompany the Environmental Physics lecture course as an option. A set of experiments will be performed related to environmental impacts studied in Environmental Physics 1605. To be taken simultaneously with Environmental Physics 1605. Prerequisite: Corequisite Physics 1605.


PHYSICS 2001 Special Topics (IND 0.0-6.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.


PHYSICS 2111 General Physics II (LEC 4.0)

An introduction to the fundamental ideas of physics including electricity, magnetism, and light. Prerequisites: Preceded by Physics 1111 or Physics 1135 and preceded or accompanied by Math 1221 or Math 1215.


PHYSICS 2119 General Physics Laboratory (LAB 1.0)

Experiments related to topics studied in Physics 2111. Prerequisite: Preceded or accompanied by Physics 2111.


PHYSICS 2129 Intermediate Physics Laboratory (LAB 2.0 and LEC 1.0)

A laboratory study of the principles of instrumentation used in all modern branches of physics. Analog and digital methods of data gathering are surveyed. Laboratory practice evolves from elementary operations to the design and assembly of a simple instrument.


PHYSICS 2135 Engineering Physics II (LEC 1.5 and RSD 1.5 and LAB 1.0)

An introduction to electricity, magnetism, and light, with emphasis on topics needed by engineering students. Prerequisites: Physics 1135 or Physics 1111, Math 1221 or Math 1215.


PHYSICS 2145 College Physics II (LEC 3.0 and LAB 1.0)

An introduction to the ideas of physics, including electricity, magnetism, and light. Prerequisites: Math 1160, Physics 1145.


PHYSICS 2305 Introduction To Modern Physics (LEC 3.0)

An elementary survey of the modern concepts in physics and their applications; relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, solid state physics, nuclear and particle physics. Prerequisites: Math 2222 and Physics 2135 or 2111.


PHYSICS 2311 Modern Physics I (LEC 3.0)

An introduction to quantum mechanics, atomic physics, and solid state physics. Topics include historically important experiments and interpretations. Prerequisites: Physics 2135 or 2111, preceded or accompanied by Math 3304 or 3329.


PHYSICS 2401 Introduction To Theoretical Physics (LEC 3.0)

Fundamental physical concepts are elaborated in mathematical terms emphasizing the coherence and economy of Physics. Topics include elementary vector analysis, introduction to physical mechanics (motion of a point mass, conservation laws, relativity), Fourier series, and introduction to partial differential equations. Prerequisites: Math 3304 co-requisite; Physics 2135 or 2111.


PHYSICS 3000 Special Problems (IND 0.0-6.0)

Problems or readings on specific subjects or projects in the department. Consent of instructor required.


PHYSICS 3001 Special Topics (LEC 0.0 and LAB 0.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.


PHYSICS 3119 Advanced Physics Laboratory I (LAB 3.0)

A laboratory study of the principles of basic experiments in all major branches of physics. The experiments stress design of apparatus, and procedures and analysis in projects involving electronic, optical, mechanical, and vacuum techniques. Prerequisite: Physics 2129.


PHYSICS 3129 Advanced Physics Laboratory II (LAB 3.0)

A senior laboratory involving experimental design. The student must specify his objectives, assemble apparatus, take measurements, analyze the results, form conclusions, write a report, and deliver an oral presentation of the results. Prerequisite: Physics 2129.


PHYSICS 3201 Physical Mechanics (LEC 3.0)

This course covers topics of rigid body motion in three dimensions, moving coordinate frames, two body collisions, conservation laws, small oscillations, generalized coordinates, and LaGrange's and Hamilton's equations. Prerequisite: Physics 2401.


PHYSICS 3201H Physical Mechanics-H (LEC 3.0)


PHYSICS 3211 Electricity And Magnetism I (LEC 3.0)

A study of electric and magnetic fields, leading to Maxwell's equations. Topics covered include the electrostatic field, the electric potential, and the electrostatic field in matter. Prerequisite: Physics 2401.


PHYSICS 3311 Modern Physics II (LEC 3.0)

A continuation of Physics 2311. An introduction to nuclear and particle physics. Topics include nuclear models, decays, and reactions, and elementary particles and fundamental forces. Prerequisites: Math 3304 or 3329, and either Physics 2305 with consent of instructor or Physics 2311.


PHYSICS 4001 Special Topics (LEC 3.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.


PHYSICS 4099 Undergraduate Research (IND 0.0-6.0)

This course is designed for the undergraduate student who wishes to engage in research. It is not to be used for graduate credit nor for more than six credit hours of undergraduate credit. The subject and credit are to be arranged with the instructor.


PHYSICS 4203 Introduction To General Relativity (LEC 3.0)

An introduction to the theory of general relativity. Topics covered include the formalism of general relativity, Einstein's gravitational field equations, the Schwarzschild solution, black holes, and cosmological models of the universe. Prerequisite: Physics 2401.


PHYSICS 4211 Electricity And Magnetism II (LEC 3.0)

A continuation of Physics 3211. Topics covered include the magnetostatic field, the magnetic vector potential, the magnetostatic field in matter, electrodynamics, and electromagnetic waves. Prerequisite: Physics 3211.


PHYSICS 4301 Introduction To Quantum Mechanics (LEC 3.0)

The fundamental concepts, postulates and methods of quantum mechanics and their applications to physical systems. Topics include solutions of the Schrodinger equation for simple systems and operator methods. Prerequisites: Physics 2305 or 2311, 2401.


PHYSICS 4311 Thermal Physics (LEC 3.0)

A study of the equilibrium states of matter as governed by the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Emphasis is placed on the microscopic approach with an introduction to statistical mechanics. Topics include the kinetic theory of (uniform) gases, phase equilibria in pure systems, and an introduction to quantum statistics. Prerequisite: Physics 2305 or 2311.


PHYSICS 4323 Elementary Solid State Physics (LEC 3.0)

An introductory study of the structure and physical Properties of crystalline solids. Included are topics in crystal structure, x-ray diffraction, crystal binding, thermal properties of solids, free electron theory and elementary energy band theory. Prerequisites: Math 3304 and Physics 2305 or 2311.


PHYSICS 4503 Classical Optics (LEC 3.0)

Physical optics and advanced topics in geometrical optics. Topics include ray propagation, electromagnetic propagation, mirrors, lenses, interference, diffraction, polarization, imaging systems, and guided waves. Prerequisites: Math 2222 and Physics 2135 or 2111. (Co-listed with Elec Eng 5200).


PHYSICS 4513 Laser Physics (LEC 3.0)

The generation of coherent radiation by lasers and the interaction of laser radiation with matter. Topics include stimulated emission, population inversion, optical cavities, optical gain, properties of laser media and other applications. Prerequisite: Physics 2305 or 2311.


PHYSICS 4523 Principles Of Engineering Materials (LEC 3.0)

Examination of engineering materials with emphasis on selection and application of materials in industry. Particular attention is given to properties and applications of materials in extreme temperature and chemical environments. A discipline specific design project is required. (Not a technical elective for undergraduate metallurgy or ceramic majors) (Co-listed with Aero Eng 3877, Chem Eng 5300, Met Eng 5810, Cer Eng 5810).


PHYSICS 4533 Transport in Nanostructures: An Introduction (LEC 3.0)

The course overviews how wave interference, energy quantization and tunneling phenomena influence the wave (electron and light) transport in modern nanostructured materials and devices such as quantum dots, quantum wells, quantum wires, and photonic crystals. Prerequisite: Physics 2305 or 2311.


PHYSICS 4543 Plasma Physics I (LEC 3.0)

Single particle orbits in electric and magnetic fields, moments of Boltzmann equation and introduction to fluid theory. Diffusion of plasma in electric and magnetic fields. Analysis of laboratory plasmas and magnetic confinement devices. Introduction to plasma kinetic theory. Prerequisite: Aero Eng 3131 or Mech Eng 3131 or Physics 3211 or Nuc Eng 3221 or Elec Eng 3600. (Co-listed with Aero Eng 5570, Mech Eng 5570, Nuc Eng 4370).


PHYSICS 4553 Astrophysics (LEC 3.0)

The structure, physical characteristics and evolution of stars, binary systems, nebulae and galaxies. Prerequisite: Physics 2305.


PHYSICS 4563 Astrophysical Concepts (LEC 3.0)

A comprehensive course in modern astrophysics. Topics include: Earth and sky, planetary science, stellar structure and evolution, galaxies, and structure and evolution of the universe. The course includes hands-on computer simulation and telescope use. (For secondary teachers or Master of Science for Teachers candidates.) Prerequisite: Math 2222 or admission to the MST program.


PHYSICS 4605 Physics For Elementary School Teachers (LEC 2.0 and LAB 1.0)

A nonmathematical review of the fundamental ideas of physics, including mechanics, matter, energy, sound, electricity, magnetism, astronomy, and light. Emphasis is placed on the development of hands-on activities. (For elementary school teachers or Master of Science for Teachers candidates only.).


PHYSICS 4615 Physics For Secondary School Teachers (LEC 3.0)

A review of the fundamental ideas of physics, including mechanics, matter, energy, sound, electricity, magnetism, and light with an emphasis on how mathematics can be used to help understand the underlying concepts. (For secondary teachers or Masters of Science Teachers candidates only.) Prerequisites: Math 2222 and admission to the MST program.


PHYSICS 4625 Science Education and Quantitative Literacy for Middle School Teachers (LEC 3.0)

An integrated science-mathematics course for middle school teachers. Course covers selected science/mathematics topics/skills specified in Missouri standards for grades 5-7. Inquiry based methods of teaching these topics in an integrated manner will be emphasized. Prerequisite: Current enrollment in a Teacher Education Program or a full or part-time teacher in a K-12 school. (Co-listed with Stat 5904).


PHYSICS 4635 Physics, Energy, and the Environment (LEC 3.0)

Applications of physics to the environment, including energy, its conservation and transformation, environmental consequences of energy use; world energy resources; atmospheric physics; sources of air, water, and land pollution, and the role physics plays in controlling those resources. May not be used as a 3000- or 4000-level elective for a B.S. in Physics. Prerequisite: Admissions to the Master of Science for Teachers program.


PHYSICS 5000 Special Problems (IND 0.0-6.0)

Problems or readings on specific subjects or projects in the department. Consent of instructor required.


PHYSICS 5001 Special Topics (IND 0.0 and LEC 0.0)

This course is designed to give the department an opportunity to test a new course. Variable title.


PHYSICS 5333 Subatomic Physics (LEC 3.0)

An introduction to elementary particles. Topics include particle properties, nuclear forces, particle interactions, the Standard Model for quarks and leptons, fundamental forces in gauge field theory models, and the role of elementary particle interactions in cosmology. Prerequisite: Physics 3311.


PHYSICS 5403 Computational Physics (LEC 3.0 and LAB 1.0)

An introduction to modern computer simulations for solving physics problems. The course will be project-oriented with examples including planetary motion, chaotic dynamics, quantum scattering, structure of atoms and clusters, molecular dynamics, and Monte-Carlo simulations. Prerequisites: Physics 2305 or Physics 2311; Math 3304; programming experience.


PHYSICS 5413 Chaos, Fractals, and Nonlinear Dynamics (LEC 3.0)

An introduction into nonlinear dynamics, deterministic chaos, and fractals. Topics covered include phase plane analysis, iterated maps, routes to chaos, Lyapunov exponents, strange attractors and pattern formation with applications to chaotic vibrations, population dynamics, chemical oscillations and lasers. Prerequisites: Math 3304; Physics 2135 or Physics 2111.


PHYSICS 5503 Fourier Optics (LEC 3.0)

Applications of Fourier analysis and linear system theory to optics. Topics include scalar diffraction theory, Fourier transforming properties of lenses, optical information processing, and imaging systems. Prerequisites: Both Elec Eng 3430 and Elec Eng 3600 or Physics 4211. (Co-listed with ELEC ENG 5210).


PHYSICS 5513 Fiber And Integrated Optics (LEC 3.0)

Introduction to optical waveguides and their applications to communication and sensing. Topics include dielectric waveguide theory, optical fiber characteristics, integrated optic circuits, coupled-mode theory, optical communication systems, and photonic sensors. Prerequisite: Elec Eng 3600 or Physics 4211. (Co-listed with Elec Eng 5220).


PHYSICS 5603 Advanced Physics Laboratory Teaching Methods (LEC 3.0)

Objectives, methods and problems related to teaching of introductory physics, with an emphasis on laboratory instruction, the development of educational laboratory experiments and techniques, student learning styles, student assessment, student work groups, computer-based data acquisition, and communication techniques. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


Marco Cavaglia, Professor
PHD International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy

Aleksandr Chernatynskiy, Assistant Professor
PHD University of Louisville

Daniel Fischer, Assistant Professor
PHD Heidelberg University

Yew San Hor, Associate Professor
PHD Rutgers University

Ulrich Jentschura, Professor
PHD Dresden University of Technology

David Edward Lay, Lecturer
MS University of Missouri-St. Louis

Anh Thu Le, Assistant Professor
PHD Belarusian State University

Don H Madison, Curators Professor
PHD Florida State University

Ioulia Y. Medvedeva, Professor
PHD Russian Academy of Science

James Musser, Associate Teaching Professor
PHD Texas A&M University

Paul E Parris, Professor
PHD University of Rochester

Jerry L Peacher, Professor
PHD Indiana University Bloomington

Joel Peacher, Lecturer
MS University of Missouri-Rolla

Shun Saito, Assistant Professor
PHD University of Tokyo, Japan

Michael Schulz, Curators Professor
PHD University of Heidelberg

John G Story, Associate Professor
PHD University of Southern California

Jayson Summers, Lecturer
MS Missouri Univeristy of Science and Technology

Steffen Thomas Vojta, Curators Distinguished Professor
PHD Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany

Agnes Vojta, Teaching Professor
PHD Technical University Dresden

George D Waddill, Professor
PHD Indiana University Bloomington

Gerald Wilemski, Professor
PHD Yale University

Alexey Georgiyevich Yamilov, Associate Professor
PHD The City University of New York

Superscripts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in the faculty listing refer to the following common footnotes:
1 Registered Professional Engineer
2 Registered Geologist
3 Certified Health Physicist
4 Registered Architect
5 Board Certified, American Academy of Environmental Engineers
6 LEED AP Certified