Associate Professor Fred Olness, Department Chair
Professors: Gary McCartor, Ryszard Stroynowski, Vigdor Teplitz; Associate Professors: Thomas Coan, Kent Hornbostel, Roberto Vega; Assistant Professors: Yongsheng Gao, Robert Kehoe, Jingbo Ye; Senior Lecturer: Randall Scalise; Visiting Assistant Professor: Stuart Wick; Adjunct Lecturers: John Cotton; Research Professor: Gary Evans; Research Assistant Professors: Marc Christensen, Ping Gui; Emeritus Professors: Jeff Chalk, George Crawford.
The Physics Department offers a program consisting of course studies in broad areas of classical and modern physics, and research studies in both experimental and theoretical physics.
The research activities of the faculty are focused primarily in high energy, elementary particle physics and related fields. The advanced classes are small, so there is ample opportunity for students to work closely with the Physics faculty, particularly in the advanced laboratories where students become familiar with state-of-the-art equipment. Undergraduate physics majors are strongly encouraged to participate in research activities. A majority of majors go on to pursue advanced degrees upon graduation from SMU.
Bachelor of Science Degree. This degree program is designed for students who plan careers in physics in industry, laboratories, or academia. A candidate for the B.S. degree must complete a minimum of 38 term hours in physics, including PHYS 1105*, 1106*, 1303, 1304 (or 1407 and 1408), 3305, 3344, 3345, 3374, 4211, 4392, 5382 and 5383. (PHYS 4321 may be substituted for 3345.) An additional laboratory course, PHYS 4112, is strongly recommended. Additional courses may be chosen from a variety of physics electives or in related fields with departmental permission. A candidate for the B.S. degree must also complete 15 term hours of courses in mathematics, including MATH 1337, 1338, 2339, 2343 and one advanced mathematics course. Students planning to pursue graduate studies are encouraged to complete more than the minimum 38 credit hours in physics and 15 credit hours in mathematics.
Bachelor of Arts Degree. This degree program is appropriate for students who wish to combine a physics curriculum with a broad liberal arts program with the aim of pursuing careers in medicine, teaching, business, and government. A candidate for the B.A. degree must complete a minimum of 30 term hours in physics, including PHYS 1105*, 1106*, 1303, 1304 (or 1407 and 1408), 3305, 3344, 4211, 4392, and 5382. Additional courses may be chosen from the available physics electives or in related fields with departmental permission. Additionally, a candidate for the B.A. degree must complete 15 term hours of courses in mathematics, including MATH 1337, 1338, 2339, 2343 and one advanced mathematics course.
Minor in Physics. A minor in physics is particularly appropriate for majors in the natural sciences, including pre-med, mathematics, and engineering. The departmental requirement for a minor in physics is 17 term hours in physics, including PHYS 1105*, 1106*, 1303, 1304, or 1407 and 1408, and nine hours of advanced course work.
The Departmental Distinction Program. A physics major achieving a B.S. degree may graduate "with departmental distinction" by successfully completing a special program of study in addition to the requirements stated above, while maintaining a minimum G.P.A. of 3.50. The special program consists of independent reading, research and senior thesis under the direction of a departmental faculty member. The student must apply to the Department for this designation during his or her junior year. The student will enroll in either PHYS 4375 or 4390 during the program, and a senior thesis is to be written and presented to the faculty.
Simultaneous Degree Programs. It is also possible to earn simultaneously a B.S. degree in physics from Dedman College and a degree in engineering from the School of Engineering. The undergraduate adviser of the Department of Physics should be consulted for detailed information on the simultaneous degree programs.
*Students with substantial laboratory experience may petition the Department to waive the requirement of PHYS 1105 and/or 1106.
Students with a strong high school preparation in physics may take a departmental placement examination to acquire credit for either PHYS 1303 or 1304; the placement exam must be taken during the student's first semester at SMU.
1105, 1106. General Physics Laboratory. One three-hour laboratory period per week. Taken with PHYS 1303, 1304 if eight hours of credit, including laboratory, are needed. PHYS 1105 prerequisite for PHYS 1106.
1301. The Ideas of Modern Physics. Presents cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics, and particle physics in an essentially descriptive, nonmathematical framework accessible to all SMU students.
1303. Introductory Mechanics. For science and engineering majors. Vectors kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, rotational motion, vibrations, waves, and fluids. Prerequisite: MATH 1337 or high school calculus course recommended.
1304. Introductory Electricity and Magnetism. For science and engineering majors. Electricity, magnetism, electromagnetic radiation, optics, special relativity. Prerequisite: PHYS 1303. MATH 1338 recommended.
1311. Elements of Astronomy. A course in planetary and stellar astronomy including laboratory and observations.
1313. Fundamentals of Physics. Contemporary concepts of physics including Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, rotational motion, fluids, the gas laws, vibrations and waves, sound. Intended for the nonscience major. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed.
1314. The Physical Perspective. Principles and concepts of physics including electricity, magnetism, the nature of light, Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum theory, atomic physics, and the Big Bang. Intended for the nonscience major. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed.
1320. Musical Acoustics. Covers both the acoustics (physical sound properties) and the psycho-acoustics (psychological, perceptual properties) of music. Topics include sound in general, sound of musical instruments (including voice), sound characteristics of rooms, electronic production (synthesis), and reproduction of sound. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed.
1403. General Physics. Equivalent of PHYS 1303 and 1105.
1404. General Physics. Equivalent of PHYS 1304 and 1106.
1407, 1408. General Physics. Principles and concepts of physics; applications in the life sciences. Mechanics, thermodynamics, sound, optics, electricity, magnetism, modern physics. Prerequisite: MATH 1337.
3305. Introduction to Modern Physics. For science and engineering majors. Special relativity. Elements of quantum physics. Structure of atoms, molecules, and solids. Nuclear physics. Elementary particles. Prerequisite: PHYS 1304.
3320. Physics of Music. Covers the acoustics (physical sound properties) of music. Topics include sound in general, sound of musical instruments, acoustics, electronic synthesis, Fourier transforms, interference, diffraction, resonance. Prerequisites: PHYS 1303 and 1304 or equivalent. PHYS 3344 recommended. A basic knowledge of music is helpful.
3333. The Scientific Method. (Debunking Pseudoscience) Provides students with an understanding of the scientific method sufficient to detect pseudoscience in its many guises: paranormal phenomena; free-energy devices; alternative medicine; creationism; and many others. Prerequisite: None.
3344. Classical Mechanics. The motion of a particle and of systems of particles, including oscillatory systems, accelerated coordinate systems, central-force motion, rigid-body dynamics, gravitation, and Lagrangian mechanics. Prerequisite: PHYS 1303 and MATH 2339 (or taken concurrently).
3345. Advanced Mechanics. Topics in classical mechanics including the motion of a system of particles, the two-body central-force problem, small oscillations of coupled systems, collision theory, Lagrange's and Hamilton's formulations, the vibrating string, and the special theory of relativity. Prerequisite: PHYS 1303.
3368. Principles of Astrophysics and Cosmology. Cosmic distance scales. Physics of stars. Expansion of the Universe. Cosmic nucleosynthesis. Selected other topics as appropriate. Prerequisite: PHYS 3305.
3374. Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Basic concepts of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics with emphasis on quantum statistics. The laws of thermodynamics, entropy, Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac statistics. Prerequisites: PHYS 3305. MATH 2343 recommended.
4112. Laboratory Physics II. Intermediate level experimental physics. Approximately one experiment per week. One three-hour laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PHYS 3305.
4190, 4290, 4390. Special Projects in Physics. Directed study of special topics. For physics majors only. Prerequisites: Junior or senior classification and permission of department.
4211. Laboratory Physics I. Introduction to experimental physics. Approximately one experiment per week. One three-hour laboratory period per week. Prerequisites: PHYS 1105, 3305.
4321. Methods of Theoretical Physics. Matrices, determinants, linear algebra, complex variables, inhomogeneous equations, Sturm-Liouville theory, partial differential equations, special functions, Fourier series and integral transforms, integral equations, calculus of variations, applications. Prerequisites: MATH 2339, 2343.
4375. Research. For physics majors. Students will participate in physics research with a member of the faculty of the Department of Physics. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
4392. Introduction to Electromagnetic Theory. A development of electromagnetic theory from the experimental laws; Maxwell's equations for the electromagnetic field. Electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady currents, boundary-value problems, time-varying electric and magnetic fields.
5337. Introduction to Solid State Physics. Crystal lattices and the reciprocal lattice. The free-electron model of metals. Crystal binding. Lattice vibrations phonons. Thermal properties of solids. Energy bands in solids.
5380. Concepts of Experimental Particle Physics. Principles of elementary particle physics and the experiments by which we learn laws obeyed by these particles, with reading of scientific papers. Prerequisite: PHYS 3305 or equivalent; PHYS 5382 recommended.
5382. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. A study of the development of quantum theory including blackbody radiation, the Bohr atom, and the photoelectric effect. Wave-mechanics and matrix-mechanics approaches will be studied, as well as a brief introduction to the Dirac formalism. Solutions to the Schrödinger equation for a variety of one-dimensional problems and for the hydrogen atom are discussed. Prerequisite: PHYS 3305 and MATH 3353.
5383. Advanced Quantum Mechanics. Applications and approximation methods in quantum mechanics. Applications to laser physics, solid-state physics, molecular physics, and scattering are included. Prerequisite: PHYS 5382.
5393. Electromagnetic Waves and Optics. Theory and applications of electromagnetic wave radiation, propagation, and scattering. Geometrical and physical optics. Guided waves. Lasers, coherent optics, interferometry, and holography. Prerequisite: PHYS 4392 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.
5395. Introduction to Elementary Particles. Modern theories of elementary particles including relativistic kinematics, Feynman diagrams, quantum electrodynamics, quarks, weak interactions, and gauge theories. Prerequisite: PHYS 5383.