Physics (PHYS)

* PHYS 040a / ASTR 040a, Expanding Ideas of Time and SpaceMeg Urry

Discussions on astronomy, and the nature of time and space. Topics include the shape and contents of the universe, special and general relativity, dark and light matter, and dark energy. Observations and ideas fundamental to astronomers' current model of an expanding and accelerating four-dimensional universe. Enrollment limited to first-year students.   SC
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* PHYS 050a or b / APHY 050a or b / ENAS 050a or b, Science of Modern Technology and Public PolicyDaniel Prober

Examination of the science behind selected advances in modern technology and implications for public policy, with focus on the scientific and contextual basis of each advance. Topics are developed by the participants with the instructor and with guest lecturers, and may include nanotechnology, quantum computation and cryptography, renewable energy technologies, optical systems for communication and medical diagnostics, transistors, satellite imaging and global positioning systems, large-scale immunization, and DNA made to order. Enrollment limited to first-year students.   SC

* PHYS 100b / APHY 100b / ENAS 100b / EPS 105b / EVST 100b, Energy, Environment, and Public PolicyDaniel Prober

The technology and use of energy. Impacts on the environment, climate, security, and economy. Application of scientific reasoning and quantitative analysis. Intended for non–science majors with strong backgrounds in math and science.  QR, SCRP
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

PHYS 106a / EVST 206a / HIST 127a / HSHM 201a / HUMS 106a, Sustainable Energy: Physics and HistoryStaff

Students explore the physical logic of energy and power in parallel with the histories of technology for energy exploitation and economic theories of sustainability on the path to modernity. They learn the fundamentals of quantitative analysis of contemporary and historical energy harvesting, its carbon intensity, and climate impact. They also gain an understanding of the historical underpinnings of the current global energy status quo and its relationship to economic theories of sustainability.  Mathematical proficiency with algebra is assumed. Students from all academic interests and experiences are welcome in the course.  QR, SC, SO0 Course cr

* PHYS 107b / EDST 107b / MB&B 107b, Being Human in STEMAndrew Miranker

A collaboratively designed, project-oriented course that seeks to examine, understand, and disseminate how diversity of gender, race, religion, sexuality, economic circumstances, etc. shape the STEM experience at Yale and nationally, and that seeks to formulate and implement solutions to issues that are identified. Study of relevant peer-reviewed literature and popular-press articles. OpEd writing project and design and implementation of an intervention project focusing on improving belonging in Yale STEM communities.  SO
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* PHYS 121La / MB&B 121La, Introduction to Physics in Living Systems I: Observation and AnalysisKatherine Schilling and Caitlin Hansen

A hands-on introduction to the physics that enables life and human measurement of living things. This lab builds student knowledge of scientific experimental design and practice. Topics include detection of light, basic circuit building, sterile technique in biology and physics, data collection with student-built instrumentation, and quantitative assessment. For students choosing to major in MB&B, this course may be used to fulfill the MB&B requirement for Practical Skills in physics. There are no prerequisites to this ½ credit class and it is helpful to take it in the same semester as MB&B 124L. Priority is given to first-year students looking to fulfill medical school application requirements and students seeking to join research labs at Yale.   SC½ Course cr

* PHYS 123Lb / MB&B 123Lb, Introduction to Physics in Living Systems III: MechanicsKatherine Schilling

A hands-on introduction to the physics that enables life and human measurement of living things. The course focuses on the principles of mechanics at work in the biological sciences. This lab builds student knowledge, centering diffusion as an emergent phenomenon from elastic collisions, from which statistical mechanics is introduced.  For students choosing to major in MB&B, this course may be used to fulfill the MB&B requirement for Practical Skills in physics. Priority for this 1/2 credit course is given to first-year students looking to fulfill medical school application requirements. It is helpful to take this course in the same semester as MB&B 124L.   ½ Course cr

* PHYS 124Lb / MB&B 124Lb, Introduction to Physics in Living Systems Laboratory IV: Electricity, Magnetism, and RadiationKatherine Schilling

Introduction to the physics that enables life and human measurement of living things. This lab introduces principles of electricity, magnetism, light and optics at work in the biological sciences. The syllabus emphasizes electric dipoles as a model for biomolecules, electric fields such as those across cell membranes, electric current, and magnetic fields. Light is developed in terms of electromagnetic radiation, ray optics and photons. The interaction of light with biomolecules to understand basic biological research and medical diagnostics are also covered. For students choosing to major in MB&B, this course may be used to fulfill the MB&B requirement for Practical Skills in physics. There are no prerequisites to this ½ credit class and it is helpful to take it in the same semester as MB&B 121L. May not be taken after PHYS 166L. Priority is given to first-year students looking to fulfill medical school application requirements and students seeking to join research labs at Yale.   SC0 Course cr

PHYS 151a or b / APHY 151a or b / ENAS 151a or b, Multivariable Calculus for EngineersStaff

An introduction to multivariable calculus focusing on applications to engineering problems. Topics include vector-valued functions, vector analysis, partial differentiation, multiple integrals, vector calculus, and the theorems of Green, Stokes, and Gauss. Prerequisite: MATH 115 or equivalent.  QR

PHYS 165La and PHYS 166Lb, General Physics LaboratoryStaff

A variety of individually self-contained experiments are roughly coordinated with the lectures in PHYS 170, 171, and 180, 181 and illustrate and develop physical principles covered in those lectures.  SC0 Course cr per term

* PHYS 170a and PHYS 171b, University Physics for the Life SciencesStaff

An introduction to classical physics with special emphasis on applications drawn from the life sciences and medicine. Fall-term topics include vectors and kinematics, Newton's laws, momentum, energy, random walks, diffusion, fluid mechanics, mathematical modeling, and statistical mechanics. Spring-term topics include oscillations, waves, sound, electrostatics, circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves, gene circuits, and quantum mechanics. Essential mathematics are introduced and explained as needed. Completion of MATH 112 or equivalent is prerequisite for PHYS 170. Completion of PHYS 170 is a prerequisite for PHYS 171MATH 116 (or MATH 115) is recommended prior to or concurrently with PHYS 171.  QR, SC0 Course cr per term
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 180a and PHYS 181b, University PhysicsStaff

A broad introduction to classical and modern physics for students who have some previous preparation in physics and mathematics. Fall-term topics include Newtonian mechanics, gravitation, waves, and thermodynamics. Spring-term topics include electromagnetism, special relativity, and quantum physics. Concurrently with MATH 115 and 120 or equivalents. See comparison of introductory sequences and laboratories in the YCPS. May not be taken for credit after PHYS 170, 171.  QR, SC

PHYS 200a and PHYS 201b, Fundamentals of PhysicsStaff

A thorough introduction to the principles and methods of physics for students who have good preparation in physics and mathematics. Emphasis on problem solving and quantitative reasoning. Fall-term topics include Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, gravitation, thermodynamics, and waves. Spring-term topics include electromagnetism, geometrical and physical optics, and elements of quantum mechanics. Prerequisite: MATH 115 or equivalent. MATH 210 and either MATH 225 or MATH 222, are generally taken concurrently. See comparison of introductory sequences and laboratories in the YCPS.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 205La or b and PHYS 206La, Modern Physical MeasurementStaff

A two-term sequence of experiments in classical and modern physics for students who plan to major in Physics. In the first term, the basic principles of mechanics, electricity, and magnetism are illustrated in experiments designed to make use of computer data handling and teach error analysis. In the second term, students plan and carry out experiments illustrating aspects of wave and quantum phenomena and of atomic, solid state, and nuclear physics using modern instrumentation. May be begun in either term.  SC0 Course cr per term

* PHYS 260a and PHYS 261b, Intensive Introductory PhysicsStaff

An introduction to major branches of physics—classical and relativistic mechanics; gravitation; electricity and magnetism; and quantum physics,information, and computation—at a sophisticated level. For students majoring in the physical sciences, mathematics, and philosophy whose high school training included both mechanics and electricity and magnetism at the typical college/AP level and have excellent training in, and a flair for, mathematical methods and quantitative analysis. Concurrently with MATH 120, ENAS 151, PHYS 151, or PHYS 301, or equivalent. Students considering an alternative MATH course should check with the DUS in Physics.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 293a / APHY 293a, Einstein and the Birth of Modern PhysicsA Douglas Stone

The first twenty-five years of the 20th century represent a turning point in human civilization as for the first time mankind achieved a systematic and predictive understanding of the atomic level constituents of matter and energy, and the mathematical laws which describe the interaction of these constituents. In addition, the General Theory of Relativity opened up for the first time a quantitative study of cosmology, of the history of the universe as a whole. Albert Einstein was at the center of these breakthroughs, and also became an iconic figure beyond physics, representing scientist genius engaged in pure research into the fundamental laws of nature. This course addresses the nature of the transition to modern physics, underpinned by quantum and relativity theory, through study of Einstein’s science, biography, and historical context. It also presents the basic concepts in electromagnetic theory, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, special theory of relativity, and quantum mechanics which were central to this revolutionary epoch in science. Prerequisites: Two terms of PHYS 170, 171, or PHYS 180, 181, or PHYS 200, 201, or PHYS 260, 261, or one term of any of these course with permission of instructor.   QR, SC

PHYS 295a / ASTR 255a, Research Methods in AstrophysicsMalena Rice

An introduction to research methods in astronomy and astrophysics. The acquisition and analysis of astrophysical data, including the design and use of ground- and space-based telescopes, computational manipulation of digitized images and spectra, and confrontation of data with theoretical models. Examples taken from current research at Yale and elsewhere. Use of the Python programming language. Prerequisite: background in high school calculus and physics. No previous programming experience required.  QR, SCRP
MWF 10:30am-11:20am

PHYS 301a, Introduction to Mathematical Methods of PhysicsSimon Mochrie

Topics include multivariable calculus, linear algebra, complex variables, vector calculus, and differential equations. Designed to give accelerated access to 400-level courses by providing, in one term, the essential background in mathematical methods. Recommended to be taken concurrently with PHYS 401 or 410. Prerequisite: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261, or permission of instructor.  QR
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 343b / ASTR 343b, Gravity, Astrophysics, and CosmologyStaff

Introduction to frontier areas of research in astrophysics and cosmology exploring ideas and methods. In­-depth discussion of the physics underlying several recent discoveries including extrasolar planets—their discovery, properties, and issues of habitability; black holes—prediction of their properties from GR, observational signatures, and detection; and the accelerating universe—introduction to cosmological models and the discovery of dark energy. Prerequisites: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261, or permission of instructor.  QR, SC
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 345b, Introduction to Quantum Information Processing and CommunicationStaff

This course is intended for undergraduate physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, statistics and data science, and mathematics majors seeking an introduction to quantum information science. There is now a second quantum revolution underway and a world-wide race to build powerful new types of computers based on quantum principles, and to develop new techniques for encrypted communication whose security is guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The approach of this course to these topics will strip away much of the traditional physics details to focus on the information content of quantum systems, the nature of measurement, and why the true randomness of certain measurement results can be a feature rather than a bug. We learn what it means for a quantum bit (‘qubit’) to be simultaneously 0 and 1 (in some sense). We learn about quantum entanglement and the associated ‘spooky action at a distance’ that convinced Einstein that the quantum theory must be wrong. Ironically, this bizarre effect is now used on a daily basis to prove that quantum mechanics is indeed correct and used as a routine engineering test to make sure that quantum computers are working properly and are truly quantum. Specific topics include: the mathematical representation of quantum states as complex vectors, the superposition principle, entanglement and Bell inequalities, quantum gates and algorithms for quantum computers, quantum error correction, dense coding, teleportation, and secure quantum communication. Students learn to do problem sets based on programming and operating publicly-accessible cloud-based quantum computers. See for example: Familiarity with complex numbers and the basics of linear algebra (matrices, determinants, eigenvectors and eigenvalues) is assumed. Prior exposure to basic probability and statistics. as well as a course in quantum mechanics are useful but not required.    SC
MW 9am-10:15am

PHYS 353a / BENG 353a, Introduction to BiomechanicsMichael Murrell

An introduction to the biomechanics used in biosolid mechanics, biofluid mechanics, biothermomechanics, and biochemomechanics. Diverse aspects of biomedical engineering, from basic mechanobiology to the design of novel biomaterials, medical devices, and surgical interventions. Prerequisites: PHYS 180, 181, MATH 115, and ENAS 194.  QR0 Course cr
TTh 9am-10:15am

* PHYS 356a / ASTR 356a / ASTR 556, Astrostatistics and Data MiningEarl Bellinger

This course is intended to give students majoring in astronomy, physics, or any other physical science the necessary background to be able to conduct research with large and complex datasets. The course provides an introduction to the tools needed for analyzing large volumes of data and gives students more experience in building codes to analyze to them. The course starts with a review of basic probability and statistics. Students then learn the basics of classical statistical inference, regression and model fitting, Bayesian statistical inference, as well as different data-mining techniques. Coding with the Python programming language. Prerequisite: ASTR 255 or equivalent.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* PHYS 378a, Introduction to Scientific Computing & Data ScienceDaisuke Nagai

This course introduces students to essential computational and data analysis methods and tools and their problem-solving applications. These are skills and knowledge essential for beginning research in the sciences, and are not typically taught in an introductory physics curriculum. The goal here is not completeness across any of these areas, but instead the introduction of the most important and useful skills, concepts, methods, techniques, tools and relevant knowledge for getting started in research in physics. Key learning goals include basic programming in Python, data analysis, modeling, simulations and machine learning, and their applications to problems in physics and beyond.  Prerequisites: Introductory physics and familiarity with single variable calculus (basic integration, differentiation, Taylor series, etc). Previous experience in Python programming is not required. Contact instructor if you are unsure about your preparation.  SC
F 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PHYS 382Lb, Advanced Physics LaboratoryStaff

Laboratory experiments with some discussion of theory and techniques. An advanced course focusing on modern experimental methods and concepts in atomic, optical, nuclear, and condensed matter physics. Intended to prepare students for independent research. For majors in the physical sciences. After or concurrently with PHYS 439 or 440, or with permission of instructor. PHYS 206LWR, SC

PHYS 401a and PHYS 402b, Advanced Classical Physics from Newton to EinsteinStaff

Advanced physics as the field developed from the time of Newton to the age of Einstein. Topics include mechanics, electricity and magnetism, statistical physics, and thermodynamics. The development of classical physics into a "mature" scientific discipline, an idea that was subsequently shaken to the core by the revolutionary discoveries of quantum physics and relativity. Prerequisite: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261. Concurrently with PHYS 301 or other advanced mathematics course.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 410a, Classical MechanicsNikhil Padmanabhan

An advanced treatment of mechanics, with a focus on the methods of Lagrange and Hamilton. Lectures and problems address the mechanics of particles, systems of particles, and rigid bodies, as well as free and forced oscillations. Introduction to chaos and special relativity. Prerequisite: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261. Concurrently with PHYS 301 or other advanced mathematics course.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 412a, RelativityWitold Skiba

This course covers special relativity and an introduction to general relativity. A thorough treatment of special relativity, stressing equally conceptual understanding and certain formal aspects. Introduction to general relativity covers curved spaces, Einstein's equations, and some of their solutions. Prerequisite: PHYS 401 or PHYS 410.  QR, SC
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* PHYS 420a / APHY 420a, Thermodynamics and Statistical MechanicsEduardo Higino da Silva Neto

This course is subdivided into two topics. We study thermodynamics from a purely macroscopic point of view and then we devote time to the study of statistical mechanics, the microscopic foundation of thermodynamics. Prerequisites: PHYS 301, 410, and 440 or permission of instructor.  QR, SC
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

PHYS 430b, Electromagnetic Fields and OpticsStaff

Electrostatics, magnetic fields of steady currents, electromagnetic waves, and relativistic dynamics. Provides a working knowledge of electrodynamics. Prerequisites: PHYS 301 and 410 or equivalents.  QR, SC
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 439a / APHY 439a, Basic Quantum MechanicsVidvuds Ozolins

The basic concepts and techniques of quantum mechanics essential for solid-state physics and quantum electronics. Topics include the Schrödinger treatment of the harmonic oscillator, atoms and molecules and tunneling, matrix methods, and perturbation theory. Prerequisites: PHYS 181 or 201, PHYS 301, or equivalents, or permission of instructor.  QR, SC
MW 1pm-2:15pm

PHYS 440a, Quantum Mechanics and Natural Phenomena IRamamurti Shankar

The first term of a two-term sequence covering principles of quantum mechanics with examples of applications to atomic physics. The solution of bound-state eigenvalue problems, free scattering states, barrier penetration, the hydrogen-atom problem, perturbation theory, transition amplitudes, scattering, and approximation techniques. Prerequisite: PHYS 410 or 401.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 441b, Quantum Mechanics and Natural Phenomena IIStaff

Continuation of PHYS 440. Prerequisite: PHYS 440 and either PHYS 430 or permission of the instructor.  QR, SC
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

PHYS 442b, Introduction to Nuclear and Elementary Particle PhysicsStaff

Fundamental concepts in nuclear and particle physics, including the discovery of radioactivity, the Dirac equation, antimatter, Feynman diagrams, hadron resonances, quarks and gluons, fundamental symmetries, the weak interaction, beta decay, quantum chromodynamics, neutrino oscillation, unification, and particle theories for dark matter. Prerequisite: two term courses in quantum mechanics.  QR, SC
MW 1pm-2:15pm

PHYS 448a / APHY 448a, Solid State Physics IYu He

The first term of a two-term sequence covering the principles underlying the electrical, thermal, magnetic, and optical properties of solids, including crystal structure, phonons, energy bands, semiconductors, Fermi surfaces, magnetic resonances, phase transitions, dielectrics, magnetic materials, and superconductors. Prerequisites: APHY 322, 439, PHYS 420.  QR, SC
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

PHYS 458a / APHY 458a, Principles of Optics with ApplicationsHui Cao

Introduction to the principles of optics and electromagnetic wave phenomena with applications to microscopy, optical fibers, laser spectroscopy, and nanostructure physics. Topics include propagation of light, reflection and refraction, guiding light, polarization, interference, diffraction, scattering, Fourier optics, and optical coherence. Prerequisite: PHYS 430.  QR, SC