Department of Physics

Lynn Thomson, Department Chair
Rodney Bain, Stephen McNeil, Ellis Miller, Ryan Nielson, David Oliphant, Brian Pyper, Brian Tonks, Stephen Turcotte, Jack Weyland
Departmental Office (208)-356-1913

Physics is a fascinating field of study where active progress is taking place in areas that affect all our lives. Physics embodies a style of thinking and a discipline that can give new perspective and new approaches to a wide range of fields.

The Physics Department offers an Associate Degree of Arts and Sciences with a major in Physics. The Physics Department at BYU-Idaho offers a Pre-Professional Physics Bachelor of Science degree. This degree offers specializations that prepare students for a wide range of goals. Such goals include teaching high school, having a solid foundation for medical professions, law, business administration, or technical writing. Students entering as freshmen in fall of 2001 may specialize in secondary education (major code 870). Students entering as freshmen in fall of 2002 may specialize in pre-medical preparation (medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, dentistry, optometry, etc. . .) pre-law, pre-MBA, and communications and writing (integrated major code 770). It is essential that you carefully consult with your advisor regularly during the introduction and transition of the school to four-year programs to avoid delays or unnecessary courses.

The purpose of this pre-professional integrated degree is to prepare students to think physically about their world, and to apply this thinking and problem solving skills to a wide range of problems and settings. We believe students will find the diversity of majors and interests in their physics courses invigorating, and a good preparation for their professional careers.

In addition to an associate degree with a major in physics, the Physics Department teaches a wide variety of exciting general education courses to serve students in any major. Many physics courses also support requirements in a wide variety of other majors. The variety of these majors ranges from Pre-medical professions with biology emphasis, geology, construction management, to biology.

Our students enjoy learning from experienced and skillful professors. These professors make use of lively demonstrations enhanced with teaching aids from a complete array of equipment and facilities. These facilities include recently remodeled, refurbished, and expanded classrooms and laboratories, a modern weather station, the ever-popular planetarium, and astronomical observatories housing an 11-inch Cassegrain telescope and a 24-inch Cassegrain telescope.

Physics courses at Brigham Young University-Idaho are offered on four general levels:

GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES

To fill General Education Physical Science requirements, most students take classes in Fundamentals of Physics (Ph 101), Physical Science (PhS 100), Physical Science for Teachers (PhS 110), Astronomy (Ph 127), Weather and Climate (Ph 137) or Descriptive Acoustics of Music and Speech (Ph 167). Some of these courses include lab sessions each week. These courses require minimal preparation in mathematics and are each one semester in length. Some institutions require four semester hours of Physical Science that include a lab component. This equates to one three-credit hour course and a one credit-hour lab. Non-Physics majors can fill this requirement by taking Ph 112, Elementary Physics Lab, in conjunction with PhS 100, Ph 101, Ph 137 or Ph 167. In addition, Ph 128 in conjunction with Astronomy Ph 127 also fulfills this requirement. CHECK WITH YOUR ADVISOR TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE ENROLLED IN THE CORRECT COURSE.

TECHNICAL/INDUSTRIAL SCIENCE MAJORS

These majors take Introductory Applied Physics (Ph 105 and 106) and their associated labs (Ph 107 and 108). These courses require extensive use of Algebra and Trigonometry. CHECK WITH YOUR ADVISOR TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE ENROLLED IN THE CORRECT COURSE.

LIFE SCIENCE/PRE-MEDICINE, ARCHITECTURE MAJORS

These majors take a two-semester General Physics course (Ph 201, 202) which includes a lab component. This course utilizes elementary Calculus. CHECK WITH YOUR ADVISOR TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE ENROLLED IN THE CORRECT COURSE.

PHYSICS/CHEMISTRY/ENGINEERING/MATHEMATICS/COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJORS

Leading to a Bachelorís in Arts or Sciences or an Associate in Arts and Sciences for many science majors, including Physics and engineering. This level consists of three to four calculus-based Principles of Physics courses (Ph 121, 123, 220, 309), and the one-semester lab (Ph 150). CHECK WITH YOUR ADVISOR TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE ENROLLED IN THE CORRECT COURSE. Students may enroll in GS.PS 230 Archeoastronomy for elective credit. This course does not qualify for general education credit. Continuing students should note that the numbering of several courses have changed:

   Old      New   Topic
PH 221   Ph 123   Waves, Light and Thermodynamics
Ph 122   Ph 220   Electricity and Magnetism
Ph 222   Ph 309   Modern Physics
Ph 214   Ph 150   Lab 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

Associate in Arts and Sciences with a major in Physics (098)

Recommended sequence of courses:

First Semester
Religion                               2
General Education Basic Skills Op      2-4
General Education                      6
Chemistry 105                          4
Math 112  Calculus I                   4
Total Credits                         18-20

Second Semester
Religion                               2
CS 144 Intro to Software Dev           3
Chemistry 106                          4
Math 113  Calculus II                  4
Ph 121 Prin Physics                    3
Total Credits                         16

Third Semester
Religion                               2
General Education                      9
Math 214 Multivariate Calculus         3
Ph 123 Prin of Physics II              3
Total Credits                         17

Fourth Semester
Religion                               2
General Education                      6
Ph 150 Prin of Ph Lab                  1
Ph 220 Prin of Physics III             3
Math 371 Diff Equations                3
Ph 309  Modern Physics                 3
Total Credits                         18
General Education Requirements

See page 35-37 for a complete explanation of the General Education requirement.

Make sure to SEE YOUR ADVISOR to determine the General Education course that best meet your specific needs.

Bachelor of Science with a Major in Physics Education (870)

Suggested course of study for Secondary Education Specialty during the first two years:

First Semester
Math 110 or 112                        3-4
Eng 111                                3
GE (arts)                              3
Rel 121                                2
Elective                               3-5
Total Credits                         14-17

Second Semester
Math 112 or 113                        4
Ph 121                                 3
Ph 150                                 1
Chem 105                               4
Rel 122                                2
GE (Basic Skills)                      2-4
Total Credits                         16-18

Third Semester
Ph 123                                 3
Ph 227                                 3
Math 113 or 321                        4-3
Ed 200                                 2
GE (Am Inst)                           3
Rel                                    2
Total Credits                         16-17

Fourth Semester
Ph 220                                 3
Ph 250                                 1
Math 321 or 341                        3
Rel                                    2
GE (Social Sciences)                   3
GE BIO                                 4
FA 100                                 0
Total Credits                         16

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

PhS 100* Physical Science (3:3:0)
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills Requirement before registering for this class
(Ph 112 is the accompanying lab)
An interdisciplinary course administered by the Physics Department. Topics in physics, astronomy, chemistry and geology. This course prepares students to pass GE Physical Science requirements and is also designed for those who are planning only a one year program in college.

PhS 110* Physical Science for Teachers (3:3:0)
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills Requirement before registering for this class
A study of the fundamental concepts in physics and chemistry appropriate for preparing Elementary Education majors to teach physical science principles. Students completing Ph.S. 110 may not take Ph.S. 100 for credit. For Elementary Education majors only.

PhS 111* Physical Science Lab for Elementary Education Teachers (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PhS 110
Lab Fee $10
Hands-on science lab for Elementary Education majors that fills the General Education requirement of a one credit natural science lab. For Elementary Education majors only.

Ph 101* Fundamentals of Physics (3:3:0)
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills Requirement before registering for this class
Principles of classical and modern physics as they relate to current concepts of the physical environment.

Ph 105* Introductory Applied Physics (3:3:0)
Prerequisite: Completion of Math 110 and Math 111
Concurrent registration in Ph 107 is recommended, (requires extensive use of Algebra and Trigonometry)
An applied physics course not requiring calculus. Topics include mechanics, heat, wave motion and sound.

Ph 106* Introductory Applied Physics (3:3:0)
Prerequisite: Physics 105
A continuation of Ph 105. Topics include electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics. Recommended concurrent registration in Ph 108.

Ph 107* Introductory Applied Physics Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: Ph 105 must be taken concurrently
Due to the high demand for this laboratory, attendance at the first class period is required to secure your place unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor.

Ph 108* Introductory Applied Physics Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: Ph 106 must be taken concurrently
Due to the high demand for this laboratory, attendance at the first class period is required to secure your place unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor.

Ph 112 Elementary Physics Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: Concurrent registration or completion of one of the following: PhS 100, Ph 101, Ph 137, or Ph 167
Lab Fee $5
An elementary laboratory designed to give students experience in measurement and data analysis at a beginning level in all areas of physics.

Ph 121 Principles of Physics (3:3:2)
Prerequisite: Completion of or current registration in Math 112 or equivalent (Requires extensive use of algebra and Trigonometry)
Classical Mechanics. For students majoring in physics, engineering, chemistry, math or geology.

Ph 123 Principles of Physics II (3:3:0)
Prerequisite: Physics 121 and concurrent registration in Math 113
Principles of thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, and optics.

Ph 127 Descriptive Astronomy (3:3:0)
Solar system and stellar astronomy. Topics in historical and modern astronomy. Frequent use is made of the planetarium and observatory.

Ph 128 Elementary Astronomy Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: concurrent registration or completion of Physics 127
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills requirement before registering for this class.
Observational astronomy designed to give the student experience in observing and analyzing basic astronomical phenomena. Due to the high demand for this laboratory, attendance at the first class period is required to secure your place unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor.

Ph 137* Weather and Climate (3:3:0)
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills Requirement before registering for this class.
An introductory study of the atmosphere including weather, climate, methods of weather forecasting, and the environmental impact of man.

Ph 150 Beginning Physics Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisite: Ph 121 (or concurrent registration with Ph 121)
Beginning Physics Lab for Physics and Physical Science Teaching Majors. Introduces principles of experimentation in physics and laboratory equipment and procedures.

Ph 167* Descriptive Acoustics of Music and Speech (3:3:0)
Recommendation: It is recommended that students complete the Mathematics Basic Skills Requirement before registering for this class.
An introductory acoustics course emphasizing the physical principles underlying the production and perception of sound, speech, and music.

Ph 201* General Physics (5:4:3)
Prerequisite: Math 119 or Math 112 (Requires extensive use of Algebra and Trigonometry)
A general course for pre-medical, architecture, biology, and general education students. Topics include mechanics, fluids, thermodynamics, wave motion, and sound. (Fall semester only)

Ph 202 General Physics (5:4:3)
Prerequisite: Physics 201
A continuation of Physics 201. Topics include electricity and magnetism, optics, relativity, atomic and nuclear physics. (W)

Ph 220 Principles of Physics III (3:3:2)
Prerequisite: Completion of or current registration in Math 113 or equivalent
Principles of electricity and magnetism.

Ph 227 Introduction to Astronomy (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Ph 121, Math 112
Introduction to modern planetary and stellar astronomy. Frequent use is made of the planetarium and observatory. Intended for Physics and secondary education majors.

Ph 250 Intermediate Physics Lab (1:0:3)
Prerequisites: Completion or concurrent registration in Ph 220
Intermediate Physics Laboratory for Physics and Physical Science Teaching Majors. Experimental investigations into electricity and magnetism and optics.

Ph 298 Cooperative Work Experience 1-3
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Work experience to be arranged
Applied principles of physics, weather, or astronomy in a practical work setting under the direction of teachers on campus or in approved laboratories.

Ph 309 Modern Physics (3:3:2)
Prerequisite: Physics 121 and Physics 220, Physics 123, and concurrent registration in Math 113
Physics 123 can be taken concurrently with 309
Quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and special relativity. (W)

Ph 314 History and Philosophy of Science (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Ph 220, 227
Discusses the philosophical assumptions of modern science, criteria for theory selection, and traces their historical development. Describes the historical development of basic ideas in science.

Ph 336 Advanced Physics Lab (2:1:5)
Prerequisites: Completion of Ph 150, 250, and 309
Advanced Physics Laboratory for Physics and Physical Science Teaching Majors. Vacuum Systems, Statistics of Experiments, Fourier analysis, Mathematical modeling, writing proposals and reports.

GS.PS 230 Archaeoastronomy (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: None
A study of the ancient cultures of Africa, Asia, Europe and America and how they used the sun, moon, planets, stars and constellations in the construction of their buildings, calendars, agricultural patterns and religion.


Complete General Education listing

Credit Hour Designations/Abbreviations (e.g., 3:3:3)


BYU-Idaho | Catalog