PHYS 202
Vibrations, Waves and Optics Spring 2024
Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning

Class Details

Waves and oscillations characterize many different physical systems, including vibrating strings, springs, water waves, sound waves, electromagnetic waves, and gravitational waves. Quantum mechanics even describes particles with wave functions. Despite these diverse settings waves exhibit several common characteristics, so that the understanding of a few simple systems can provide insight into a wide array of phenomena. In this course we begin with the study of oscillations of simple systems with only a few degrees of freedom. We then move on to study transverse and longitudinal waves in continuous media in order to gain a general description of wave behavior. The rest of the course focuses on electromagnetic waves and in particular on optical examples of wave phenomena. In addition to well known optical effects such as interference and diffraction, we will study a number of modern applications of optics such as short pulse lasers and optical communications. Throughout the course mathematical methods useful for higher-level physics will be introduced.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; lecture, three hours per week; laboratory, three hours per week
Limit: 30
Expected: 20
Class#: 3383
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: problem sets, labs, midterm examinations, and a final exam, all of which have a substantial quantitative component
Prerequisites: PHYS 201; co-requisite: PHYS/MATH 210 or MATH 209 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores
Distributions: Division III Quantative/Formal Reasoning
QFR Notes: This course has substantial problem sets in which quantitative/formal reasoning skills are practiced and evaluated.

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