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University of Calgary Calendar 2023-2024 COURSES OF INSTRUCTION Course Descriptions P Physics PHYS
Physics PHYS

For more information about these courses contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy: science.ucalgary.ca/physics-astronomy.

Module for First Year and First Term Second Year Physics Courses
Physics 106       Module M6 Thermal Physics
Thermal Physics. Gas laws; kinetic theory of gases; temperature; internal energy; specific heat; energy transfer; laws of thermodynamics; PVT diagrams.
Course Hours:
0.75 units; (12 hours)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
Notes:
Taught as part of Physics 223. Contact the instructor in Physics 223 regarding the schedule.     
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Junior Courses
Physics 211       Mechanics
Introductory Newtonian particle mechanics and rigid bodies in rotational equilibrium: Kinematics, Newton's laws, conservation of momentum and mechanical energy.
Course Hours:
3 units; (4-2)
Prerequisite(s):
One of Mathematics 30-1, 212 or Mathematics 2 (offered by Continuing Education).
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for more than one of Physics 211, 221, or 227 will not be allowed.
Notes:
Physics 211 and 221 differ in their prerequisites, but cover the same material and have the same examinations and tutorial quizzes. Physics 211 has an extra lecture hour per week to deal with certain topics from High School Physics and Mathematics 31. Mathematics 31 is recommended.
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Physics 221       Mechanics
Introductory Newtonian particle mechanics and rigid bodies in rotational equilibrium: Kinematics, Newton's laws, conservation of momentum and mechanical energy.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-2)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 30; and Mathematics 30-1, 212 or Mathematics 2 (offered by Continuing Education); and Mathematics 31.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for more than one of Physics 211, 221, or 227 will not be allowed.
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Physics 223       Introductory Electromagnetism, and Thermal Physics
Electrical forces and energy. Static electric fields due to point charges. Parallel-plate capacitor. Simple DC circuits. Lorentz force. Static magnetic fields generated by electric currents. Electromagnetic induction. Gas Laws; kinetic theory of gases; temperature, thermal energy, specific heat; energy transfer; laws of thermodynamics; PVT diagrams.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227.
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Physics 227       Classical Physics
Vector algebra; statics and kinematics of rigid bodies; Newton’s laws of motion; conservation laws; collisions; rotational mechanics; computer modelling of physical systems; approximation methods.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-2T-2)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 30; and Mathematics 30-1, 212 or Mathematics 2 (offered by Continuing Education); and Mathematics 31; and admission to a Major or Minor in Physics or Astrophysics or a Major in Chemistry, Natural Science (Physics Concentration), or Environmental Science (Physics Concentration).
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for more than one of Physics 227, 321, 211 or 221 will not be allowed.
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Physics 229       Modern Physics
Special Theory of Relativity. Origins of quantum mechanics. Wave mechanics and applications. Nuclear physics and radioactivity.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221, 227 or Engineering 349; and 3 units from Mathematics 249, 265 or 275.
Also known as:
(formerly Physics 325)
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Physics 259       Electricity and Magnetism (for students in Engineering)
Electric and magnetic fields related to charges and current through Maxwell’s equations. Energy stored in fields, potential energy, and voltage. Conductors, insulators, and dielectrics. Resistance, capacitance, and inductance with applications to RC/RL circuits.
Course Hours:
3 units; (4-2)
Prerequisite(s):
Mathematics 211; and 3 units from Mathematics 249, 265 or 275; and admission to the Schulich School of Engineering.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 259 and either Physics 255 or 355 will not be allowed.
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Physics 271       How Things Work
Physics behind many common devices will be discussed. Topics will be chosen from among the following: the use of simple and compound machines; waves, sound, acoustics; light and optics; household electric circuitry; magnetism.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Antirequisite(s):
Physics Majors, Astrophysics Majors, Natural Sciences Physics Concentrators and Environmental Science Physics Concentrators are not permitted to register in this course.
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Senior Courses
Physics 303       Quantum Mysteries and Paradoxes
Aims to explain basic quantum phenomena for students outside the physical sciences. Topics covered may include wave-particle duality, quantum interference, as well as the paradoxes of entanglement and quantum nonlocality. Applications such as quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation are discussed, as are the philosophical interpretations of the quantum picture of the world.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Antirequisite(s):
Physics Majors, Astrophysics Majors, Natural Sciences Physics Concentrators and Environmental Science Physics Concentrators are not permitted to register in this course.
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Physics 321       Harmonic Motion, Waves, and Rotation
Newtonian mechanics of rigid body rotation. Simple harmonic oscillations. Progressive waves in one dimension. Energy of a wave. Superposition. Standing waves. Fluids.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-2T)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227; and Mathematics 211 or 213; and Mathematics 267 or 277.
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Physics 323       Optics and Electromagnetism
Static electric fields due to charge distributions. Static magnetic fields due to current distributions. Time-dependent behaviour of capacitors and inductances. Geometrical optics: Thin lenses and curved mirrors. Physical optics: Interference and diffraction.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 223 and 3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227; and 3 units from Mathematics 249, 265 or 275.
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Physics 341       Classical Mechanics I
Conservative and non-conservative forces; forced and damped harmonic oscillations; phase-space analysis; central force motion and scattering; non-inertial frames; applications of ordinary differential equations.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2-2T)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227; and Mathematics 211 or 213; and Mathematics 267 or 277.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 341 and Engineering 349 will not be allowed.
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Physics 343       Classical Mechanics II
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics; general rotations of rigid bodies; moment of inertia tensor; eigenvalues and eigenvectors; perturbation theory; applications to multiple-particle systems.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 341.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 343 and Physics Engineering 383 will not be allowed.
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Physics 355       Electromagnetic Theory I
Electrostatics, DC circuits, calculation of magnetic intensity from currents, motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction, transient effects in capacitors and inductors, electric and magnetic properties of materials.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227; and Mathematics 375 or 376.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 355 and 259 will not be allowed
Also known as:
(formerly Physics 255)
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Physics 365       Acoustics, Optics and Modern Physics (for students in Engineering)
Wave motion as applied to acoustics and physical optics. Wave-particle duality applied to light and matter; electron energy levels of atoms and crystals.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2)
Prerequisite(s):
Mathematics 277 and Physics 259 and admission to a program in Engineering. 
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 365 and 369 will not be allowed. Not open to Geomatics Engineering students.
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Physics 369       Acoustics, Optics and Radiation (for students in Engineering)
Wave motion as applied to acoustics, geometric and physical optics, and radiant energy transfer. Traditional and modern applications.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2)
Prerequisite(s):
Mathematics 277 and Physics 259 and admission to a program in Engineering.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 369 and 365 will not be allowed. Not open to Electrical Engineering students.
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Physics 371       Introduction to Energy
Energy and power. Sources of energy such as wind power, solar power, nuclear power, geothermal energy and fossil fuels and related limitations. Generation and distribution of electricity.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 375       Introduction to Optics and Waves
Geometrical Optics: lenses, mirrors, and other basic optical components. Wave motion. Description of light as a wave. Fermat’s principle. Refraction, scattering, interference, diffraction, and polarization. Optical instruments (including telescopes and microscopes). Lasers and fibre optics if time allows.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-3/2)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 211, 221 or 227; and Mathematics 267 or 277.
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Physics 381       Computational Physics I
Python environments and tools, numerical representation, polynomials and Taylor’s theorem, iterated functions and fractals, root finding, numerical integration, ordinary differential equations.
Course Hours:
3 units; (1-3)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 341; and 3 units from Computer Science 217, 231 or Data Science 211.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 381 and Computer Engineering 335 will not be allowed.
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Physics 397       Applied Physics Laboratory I
Basic laboratory electronics, vacuum systems, and optical devices. Introduction to experimental control, data collection, and analysis. Fundamentals of error analysis and error propagation.
Course Hours:
3 units; (2-1T-3)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 229 or 325.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 397 and Engineering Physics 388 will not be allowed.
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Physics 435       Mathematical Methods in Physics
Partial differential equations. Fourier analysis. Laplace Transforms. Special functions and orthogonal polynomials. Complex analysis. Applications in Physics and Astronomy
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 343 and Mathematics 367; and one Mathematics 375 or 376.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 435 and Mathematics 433 or Physics Engineering 435 will not be allowed.
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Physics 443       Quantum Mechanics I
Basic concepts of quantum systems and their physical interpretation. Operator, matrix, and wave mechanics. Dirac notation. Schrödinger’s time-independent and time-dependent equations. Applications.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 343; and 229 or 325; and Mathematics 311 or 313; and Physics 435 or Mathematics 433. Or, admission to the Engineering Physics program and Physics 229 or 325; and Physics Engineering 383; and Physics Engineering 435.
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Physics 449       Statistical Mechanics I
State-counting; classical distributions and probability theory; origins and role of entropy; equilibrium; ensemble theory; concepts of work, heat, and temperature; equations of state; heat capacity; equipartition theorem; engines; laws of thermodynamics; non-equilibrium systems; Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution; thermodynamic potentials.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-1T-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 229 or 325; and Mathematics 375 or 376; and either Physics 343 and Mathematics 367; or Physics Engineering 383.
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Physics 451       Statistical Mechanics II
Quantum statistical mechanics; bosons and fermions; quantum counting; classical-quantum transition; blackbody radiation; applications of statistical mechanics to phase transitions, critical phenomena and complex systems, Ising model, mean-field theory.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 449.
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Physics 455       Electromagnetic Theory II
Macroscopic Maxwell equations. Scalar and vector potentials. Electrostatics and magnetostatics. Dielectric and magnetic properties of materials. Superconductors.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
3 units from Physics 255, 355, 259 or 323; and Mathematics 375 or 376; and Mathematics 367.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 455 and Electrical Engineering 475 will not be allowed.
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Physics 457       Electromagnetic Theory III
Electromagnetic wave solutions to Maxwell's equations, in vacuum and in insulating and conducting media. Waveguides. Electromagnetic radiation from accelerated charges. Relativistic formulation of electrodynamics.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 455 or Electrical Engineering 475; and one of Physics 435, Mathematics 433 or Physics Engineering 435.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 457 and Electrical Engineering 476 will not be allowed.
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Physics 481       Computational Physics II
Random walks, cellular automata, pseudo-random number generation, Monte Carlo methods, numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, introduction to Fourier transforms.
Course Hours:
3 units; (1-3)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 381 or Computer Engineering 335; and Mathematics 375 or 376.
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Physics 497       Applied Physics Laboratory II
Intermediate laboratory electronics. AC circuit theory and semiconductor devices, including operational amplifiers. Digital sampling theory and frequency-domain signal processing. Computer automation of experimental control, data collection, and analysis, including error analysis and error propagation.
Course Hours:
3 units; (2-6)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 397; and Mathematics 433 or Physics 435.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 497 and Engineering Physics 488 will not be allowed.
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Physics 501       Relativity
Lorentz transformations in classical mechanics; relativistic kinematics; spacetime diagrams; relativistic energy and momentum conservation; Geometrical interpretation; applications of relativistic kinematics; four-vector formalism and tensors; introduction to general relativity; applications.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 455 or Electrical Engineering 475.
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Physics 507       Solid State Physics
Crystal structure. Classification of solids and their bonding. Fermi surface. Elastic, electric and magnetic properties of solids.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 443 and 449; and Physics 455 or Electrical Engineering 475.
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Physics 509       Plasma Physics
Occurrence of plasmas in nature, single particle motion, plasmas as fluids, waves in plasmas, diffusion, resistivity, equilibrium and stability, kinetic theory of plasmas, non-linear effects.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 343 or Physics Engineering 383; and Physics 455 or Electrical Engineering 475.
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Physics 521       Non-linear Dynamics and Chaos
Introduction to non-linear dynamical systems: Phase space representation, bifurcations, normal forms, non-linear oscillators, deterministic chaos, attractors, fractals, universality, renormalization, and synchronization.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 381 and 449; and Physics 435 or Mathematics 433.
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Physics 543       Quantum Mechanics II
Intermediate quantum mechanics. Theory of angular momentum, symmetries, perturbation theory. Identical particles. Applications to atomic physics, spectroscopy. Entanglement.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 443.
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Physics 561       Stable and Radioactive Isotope Studies, Fundamentals
A multidisciplinary course. Topics include nucleosynthesis, radioactive decay, isotope exchange phenomena, kinetic isotope effects, tracer techniques, molecular spectra and instrumentation.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-1)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
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Physics 577       Implementations of Quantum Information
Proposals and realizations of quantum information tasks including quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum cryptography in optical, atomic, molecular, and solid state systems.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 455 and 543.
Antirequisite(s):
Credit for Physics 577 and 677 will not be allowed.
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Physics 581       Computational Physics III
Linear inversion, spectral methods, calling external libraries, data formats, parallelization, numeric and symbolic programming languages.
Course Hours:
3 units; (1-3)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 481; and Mathematics 433, Physics 435 or Physics Engineering 435.
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Physics 593       Topics in Contemporary Physics
Study in advanced topics that may include reading projects, seminars, lectures, term papers and other aspects of training in theory or research methodology
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0) or (0-6)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT
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Physics 597       Senior Physics Laboratory
Selected advanced experiments. Where possible, students may choose those experiments most suited to their interests. Development of technical and computer-based skills, technical writing and presentation skills.
Course Hours:
3 units; (1-6)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 497.
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Physics 598       Honours Research Thesis
Each student will be assigned a project in consultation with a supervisor. Written reports and oral presentations are required.
Course Hours:
6 units; (0-9)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 443 and 449 and 455 and consent of the Department.
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Physics 599       Senior Research Thesis
Each student will be assigned a project in consultation with a supervisor. Written reports and oral presentations are required.
Course Hours:
3 units; (0-9)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
Notes:
A maximum of 6 units may be taken.
MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT
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Graduate Courses

Only where appropriate to a student's program may graduate credit be received for courses numbered 500-599.

Physics 603       Experimental Methods of Physics
Instrumentation for physical experiments. General philosophy of experimentation; signal processes; signal processing methods; instrument design and control; data acquisition and storage; specific detection methods.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 605       Advanced Data Analysis
Methods of extraction of significant information from experimental data degraded by noise. Parametric and non-parametric statistical methods; curve fitting; spectral analysis; filtering, sampling, convolution and deconvolution techniques.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 609       Advanced Classical Mechanics
Variational principles, Lagrange's equations, Noether's theorem. Hamilton's equations and canonical transformations. Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables. Perturbation theory.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 611       Statistical Physics
Classical and quantum ensemble theory applied to interacting systems: real gases, spin lattices, phase transitions. Kinetic theory: Boltzmann equation, transport processes, irreversible processes and fluctuations.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 613       Electrodynamics
Interaction between charged particles and the electromagnetic field in relativistic formulation. Scattering and energy losses of charged particles. Radiation by charged particles.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 615       Non-Relativistic Quantum Mechanics
Mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics may include addition of angular momenta, Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, Wigner-Eckart theorem; charged particles in electric and magnetic fields; quantum operators; approximation methods; scattering; quantum nonlocality, Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, Bell's theorem.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 617       Relativistic Quantum Mechanics
Klein-Gordon and Dirac equations; Dirac spinor and the adjoint spinor; charge (C), parity (P) and (T) transformations and CPT symmetry; relativistic corrections to atomic spectra.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 619       Statistical Physics II
Topics Theories of equilibrium and non-equilibrium critical phenomena and methods to study fluctuating systems selected from the following list of topics: Percolation, scaling theory, phase transitions, Landau-Ginzburg theory, lattice models, Monte Carlo methods, renormalization group, self-organized criticality, theory of random graphs; Brownian motion, random walks and diffusion, Fokker-Planck-Equation, Markov processes, stochastic differential equations, first passage times.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Physics 611
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Physics 621       Nonlinear Dynamics and Pattern Formation
Topics: Introduction to pattern formation and self-organization in nature: Reaction-diffusion systems, hydrodynamical systems, bistable media, excitable and oscillatory media, stability analysis, bifurcations, pattern selection, amplitude equations and normal forms, fronts, traveling waves, topological defects, spiral waves, spatiotemporal chaos, defect-mediated turbulence, spatiotemporal point processes.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 629       Gravitation
An introduction to Einstein's theory of gravitation. Applications to the solar system, black holes, and cosmology.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 663       Applications of Stable Isotopes
Application of stable isotope techniques with special focus on Hydrogeology, Geology and Environmental Sciences. The use of isotopes to understand the water, carbon, nitrogen and sulphur cycles is demonstrated. Topics include hydrology, paleoclimates, geothermometry, fossil fuels exploration and recovery, pollutant tracing, food webs, forensic investigations, among others.
Course Hours:
3 units; (2-1)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
Also known as:
(Geology 663)
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Physics 671       Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy
Atomic structure and spectra. Rotational, vibrational and electronic spectra of diatomic molecules, including microwave, infrared, Raman and visible/ultraviolet spectroscopic techniques. Hund's coupling cases. Polyatomic molecular spectroscopy. Examples from astronomy and upper atmosphere/space physics.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 673       Quantum Optics
Light-matter interaction at the quantum level, field quantization, quantum states of light, quasiprobability distributions, homodyne detection, photon detection, multi-photon interference, cavity quantum electrodynamics, open quantum systems, entanglement.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
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Physics 677       Implementations of Quantum Information
Proposals and realizations of quantum information tasks including quantum computation, quantum communication, and quantum cryptography in optical, atomic, molecular, and solid state systems.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
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Physics 691       Scientific Communication Skills

Required, multi-component, program of courses for all graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy designed to assist students in improving their scientific oral and written communication skills.

691.11. Effective Scientific Speaking

691.12. Graduate Seminar

691.13. Effective Scientific Writing


Course Hours:
1.5 units; (2S-0)
Prerequisite(s):
Admission to a Graduate-level Physics and Astronomy program.
MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT
NOT INCLUDED IN GPA
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Physics 698       Special Topics
Topics include: Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Physics, Radiation Oncology Physics, Space Physics, Computational Neuroscience, and Medical Imaging.
Course Hours:
3 units; (3-0) or (3-3)
Prerequisite(s):
Admission to a Graduate-level Physics and Astronomy program.
MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT
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Physics 699       Project in Physics
Each student will select a project in consultation with a supervisor. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. A written report and an oral presentation are required.
Course Hours:
3 units; (0-9)
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Physics 701       Independent Study
Each student will select a topic of study in consultation with a supervisor. The topic will be in the research area of the staff member. This course may not be used to meet the regular course requirements in the MSc and PhD programs.
Course Hours:
3 units; (0-9)
Prerequisite(s):
Consent of the Department.
MAY BE REPEATED FOR CREDIT
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