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Physics and Astronomy

Chair: Walter E. Lawrence

Professors M. P. Blencowe, B. C. Chaboyer, R. A. Fesen, M. Gleiser, M. K. Hudson, J. W. LaBelle, W. E. Lawrence, J. R. Thorstensen, G. A. Wegner, M. N. Wybourne; Associate Professors R. R. Caldwell, K. A. Lynch, A. J. Rimberg, B. N. Rogers, L. Viola; Assistant Professor R. M. Millan; Visiting Associate Professor Y. J. Brown; Adjunct Professors T. A. Fulton, W. Lotko, R. A. Naumann, B. W. Pogue; Adjunct Associate Professor A. J. Brizard; Adjunct Assistant Professors C. G. Levey, P. Vlahovska; Research Professors P. Crane, R. E. Denton, J. G. Lyon, D. C. Montgomery; Research Associate Professor H-R Mueller; Research Assistant Professors M. Chu, B. T. Kress, T. P. Smith; Visiting Research Professor M. A. Rawlins.

COURSES FOR STUDENTS IN THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

The following courses are especially recommended for students not majoring in one of the sciences: Physics 1 and Astronomy 1 and 2/3.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN PHYSICS

Prerequisite: Mathematics 3, 8, 13, and 23; Physics 13 and 14. Students with advanced placement may substitute Physics 15 and 16 for Physics 13 and 14.

Students completing a major in physics are required to take a minimum of eight courses in physics, including Physics 19, 24, 41, 42, 43, 44, and two electives including the culminating experience. Students taking Physics 15 and 16 may substitute a third elective for Physics 19. The major requires one upper-level laboratory course; Physics 47, Physics 48, Physics 49, Physics 76 or Astronomy 61. Elective courses are Physics 47, Physics 48, Physics 49, Astronomy 15 or 25, and all physics and astronomy courses numbered in the sixties, seventies and nineties. Courses numbered in the forties may be taken in any order. Chemistry 72 may be substituted for Physics 42. Students planning graduate study in physics or another science, are encouraged to take Physics 66, 76, 91 and other advanced courses in physics and astronomy. Graduate courses in physics and astronomy are open to qualified undergraduates. Students should consult the Chair or the Major Adviser about additional courses in mathematics and other science departments.

Students are required to complete a culminating activity in the major. For the physics major this requirement may be satisfied by receiving credit for one of the following courses: Physics 68, Introductory Plasma Physics; Physics 72, Introductory Particle Physics; Physics 73, Introductory Condensed Matter Physics; Physics 74, Space Plasma Physics; Physics 76, Methods of Experimental Physics; Physics 82, Special Topics Seminar; Astronomy 74, Astrophysics; Astronomy 75, High Energy Astrophysics; Astronomy 81, Special Topics in Astronomy; Physics 87, Undergraduate Research. The culminating experience is included in, not in addition to, the eight courses required for the major.

All major programs require an average GPA of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major, including prerequisites.

A typical program is outlined below. In addition to these courses, a physics major may be completed with almost any Dartmouth Plan attendance pattern, provided that at least one summer and one fall term are spent on campus.

Year Fall Winter Spring

First Mathematics 3 Mathematics 8 (Mathematics 13)

Physics 13 Physics 14

Subsequently (Mathematics 13) Mathematics 23 Physics 24

Physics 19 Physics 24 Physics 44

It is desirable that those students who plan to complete more than the minimal major in physics take Physics 13 and 14 in the first year, and Physics 19 and 24 in the sophomore year. Students taking Physics 13 in the fall must have AP credit for Math 3. Those beginning Physics in their sophomore year, however, can easily complete at least the minimal major.

THE MODIFIED PHYSICS MAJOR

A modified physics major may be desirable for students interested in a broad range of scientific careers, medicine, the health professions, public policy, or journalism for example. The prerequisites for the modified major are the same as those for the physics major. The modified major consists of ten additional courses, of which at least six must be in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Courses selected in other departments (science or otherwise) should form a unified whole with the physics courses, and should draw on and relate to a physics background. It is also possible to modify the physics major with courses outside the science division, subject to these same general guidelines. A written rationale explaining the intellectual coherence of the proposed program of courses, approved by the Chair, is required in all cases. Interested students are urged to consult the Chair.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ENGINEERING PHYSICS MAJOR

The Department of Engineering Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy offer a major in Engineering Physics. This major features a 5/5 split in courses, unlike a modified major which requires six courses from one field and four from the other.

The prerequisite courses for the Engineering Physics major are Mathematics 3, 8, 13, 23; Physics 13, 14; Chemistry 5; and Computer Science 5 or Engineering Sciences 20.

The engineering physics major is a ten-course program consisting of three engineering sciences core courses (Engineering Sciences 22, 23, 24); three physics core courses (Physics 19, 24, 43 [Students taking Physics 15 and 16 may substitute a third elective for Physics 19]); and four electives, two from each department. Two electives must be selected from the following list: Engineering Sciences 25, 33, 34; Physics 42, 68, 91; Physics 73 or Engineering Sciences 131; Physics 66 or Engineering Sciences 120; Physics 44 or Engineering Sciences 140. The other two electives may be courses from the engineering sciences department (numbered above 20, excluding Engineering Sciences 80 and 87) or courses from the physics and astronomy department that fulfill the straight physics major.

A culminating experience is required in the major which can be taken instead of one of the electives above. It must be one of the following: a project or a thesis, Engineering Sciences 86, 88 or 190 (Engineering Sciences 190 must be taken as part of the two-course design sequence Engineering Sciences 190/290); or an advanced engineering sciences course with a significant design or research project, normally taken in the senior year, chosen from an approved list. (Consult the Engineering Sciences Department for the most recent list) or Physics 68, 72, 73, 74, 76, 82, 87, including the senior honors thesis option.

All major programs require an average GPA of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major, including prerequisites.

For more information contact Professor Mary Hudson (Physics and Astronomy) or Professor William Lotko or Christopher Levey (Engineering Sciences).

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN ASTRONOMY

Prerequisite: Math 3, 8, 13 and 23; Physics 13 and 14. Students with advanced placement may substitute Physics 15 and 16 for Physics 13 and 14.

Students completing a major in astronomy are required to take a minimum of eight courses in physics and astronomy, including: Astronomy 15, 25, 61, Physics 19, 24, one elective from Astronomy 74, 75, 81 and two electives from Physics 41, 43, 44, 74. Students taking Physics 15 and 16 may substitute a third elective for Physics 19. In addition to the minimum course requirements for an astronomy major, it is recommended that students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in astronomy or astrophysics should take the following courses: Physics 41, 42, 43 and 44. Students interested in observational astronomy should take Physics 48 (Electronics: Introduction to Linear and Digital Circuits) while those interested in theory should take Engineering Sciences 20 (Introduction to Computer Science with Applications in Engineering). Graduate courses in physics and astronomy are open to qualified undergraduates. Students are required to complete a culminating activity in the major. For the astronomy major this requirement may be satisfied by receiving credit for one of the following courses: Astronomy 74, Astrophysics; Astronomy 75, High Energy Astrophysics; Astronomy 81, Special Topics in Astronomy; or Astronomy 87, Undergraduate Research in Astronomy. The culminating experience is included in, not in addition to, the eight courses required for the major.

All major programs require an average GPA of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major, including prerequisites.

There are seven introductory astronomy courses intended for students with different mathematical and scientific backgrounds and interests:

Elementary courses for students with little or no science or mathematics background: Astronomy 1 (winter), 2 (summer, winter), 3 (summer, winter), and 4 (spring). Note that Astronomy 2 and 3 differ only in that Astronomy 3 includes a laboratory. Astronomy 1, 2/3, and 4 overlap very little in subject matter; any combination of these courses may be taken in any order.

Introductory course for students with some knowledge of calculus and physics: Astronomy 15 (spring).

Introductory courses for advanced physics students, who need not have previous background in astronomy: Astronomy 61 (fall), Astronomy 74 (winter).

Students desiring observing experience at the observatory on Kitt Peak, Arizona, which Dartmouth operates with the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Columbia University and Ohio University should plan to take Astronomy 81 and/or 87.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY MINORS

Physics Minor.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 3, 8, 13, 23, or equivalents; Physics 13 and 14 (or 3 and 4, or 15 and 16).

Four courses are required in addition to the prerequisites. One of these must be Physics 19 except that students taking Physics 15 and 16 may substitute another elective for Physics 19. The other three must be chosen from physics courses numbered 24 and above, and/or astronomy courses numbered 15 and above, at least one of which must be numbered above 40.

Astronomy Minor.

Prerequisites: Mathematics 3 and 8 or equivalents; Physics 13 and 14 (or 3 and 4, or 15 and 16).

Four courses are required in addition to the prerequisites. One of these must be Astronomy 15. The other three are Astronomy 25, 61, and 81. Any physics or astronomy course numbered 20 or above may be substituted for one of these three.

Note that Astronomy 25 has Physics 14 as prerequisite.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MATHEMATICAL PHYSICS MINOR

This minor is sponsored by the faculty in Mathematics and Physics. It may be combined with majors in either of the two departments, or any other department. Students majoring in both physics and mathematics cannot take the minor.

Prerequisites: Physics 13, 14, 19 (or Physics 15 and 16), and Physics 24, Mathematics 3, 8, 13, and 22 or 24.

Requirements: A total of four additional courses are required. These must include Mathematics 23 and Mathematics 46. Mathematics majors must choose two elective physics courses from the following list; physics majors must choose two elective mathematics courses; students majoring in a department other than mathematics or physics must choose one mathematics and one physics course.

Physics 41, 42, 43, 44, 47, 66, 72, 75, 91, 82 (general relativity).

Mathematics 31 or 71, 63, 42, 43, 53, 54, 66, 73, 76.

An advanced undergraduate or graduate level physics or mathematics course may be substituted, with permission from the physics or mathematics department undergraduate advisor. No course may count towards both the major and minor.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MATERIALS SCIENCE MINOR

The minor in Materials Science is sponsored by faculty in Chemistry, Physics and Engineering with an interest in interdisciplinary education and research in materials science.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT

The first-year program for a student who has received advanced placement in mathematics and qualifies for Physics 15-16 might be as follows:

Fall Winter Spring

Mathematics 8 Mathematics 13 Mathematics 23

Physics 15 Physics 16 Physics 24

HONORS PROGRAM IN PHYSICS OR ASTRONOMY

An honors student carries out a program of independent work in physics or astronomy under the supervision of a member of the faculty. This independent work may be done in the student’s senior year, but often begins earlier.It may be experimental, theoretical, or observational. A written report on the completed work is required.

Any major meeting the college requirements is eligible for admission to the departmental Honors Program. To enter the program eligible students should obtain the permission of the Department and of the faculty member who is to supervise the work. This is generally done before the beginning of the senior year. Early consultation with the Department is encouraged.

All departmental Honors are considered individually and awarded by a vote of the faculty. To be considered for High Honors the student must defend an Honors Thesis based upon the independent work before a faculty committee. Students with an average in the major of 3.75 or higher who do not complete an honors thesis may be considered for Honors, as distinct from High Honors, provided they have completed three courses beyond the minimum number required for the major from among the list of courses numbered 60 or higher. One of the courses must be Physics 76, Physics 82, Astronomy 81 or Physics 87.

All Honors students must meet the minimum requirements of the regular major, and, ordinarily, should take physics, astronomy, and mathematics courses beyond those requirements. Special programs may be worked out for eligible students who wish to include extensive work in a field related to physics or astronomy.

COURSES FOR GRADUATE CREDIT

Physics and astronomy courses offered for graduate credit are those numbered 61 or higher. The Department of Physics and Astronomy will allow graduate credit for any course offered by the Departments of Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, or Mathematics that receives graduate credit from that department.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MASTER’S DEGREE (M.S.)

The general requirements for the master's degree are given in the Regulations for Graduate Study section of this bulletin. These requirements, together with the specific requirements of the Department of Physics and Astronomy indicated below, normally allow completion of the degree in two years. It is expected that graduate students who have not completed the equivalent of the Dartmouth physics major program will do so in their first year of graduate study.

Special requirements:

1. Degree credit for eight graduate courses, exclusive of teaching courses. Two of the eight courses may be Graduate Research. At least six of the eight courses should be in physics and astronomy.

2. Credit for at least one term of Supervised Undergraduate Teaching (Physics 257).

3. Completion of a culminating experience chosen from the following options:

a. Completion of a satisfactory thesis, which must be defended before the M.S. Thesis Committee in a public forum.

b. Significant co-authorship of a publication submitted to a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings, defended publicly.

c. Passing the Ph.D. qualifying examination.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DOCTOR’S DEGREE (PH.D.)

A student will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy upon:

1. Physics students: Receiving credit for seven out of the following eight core courses: Physics 76, 91, 100, 101, 103-106.

Astronomy students: Receiving credit for any four of the eight core courses (Physics 76, 91, 100, 101, 103-106) and any four of Astronomy 115-118 and Physics 114.

2. Passing the departmental qualifying examination.

3. Presenting a thesis proposal and successfully defending it before an appointed Ph.D. thesis committee, for certification.

4. Passing a departmental review of the student’s course record and preliminary research progress.

5. Receiving credit for at least two terms of Supervised Undergraduate Teaching (Physics 257) and Physics 256.

Students must achieve thesis proposal certification by the end of the fall term of their fourth year, in order to remain in good standing. Students who successfully complete these requirements will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy by the Department.

The candidate will receive the Ph.D. degree upon

1. Receiving degree credit for at least twelve graduate courses, exclusive of teaching courses. Two of the twelve courses may be Graduate Research, both of which must be completed no later than the second summer in residence.

2. Receiving credit for at least two terms of Supervised Undergraduate Teaching (Physics 257) and Physics 256.

3. Completing a dissertation of substantial significance and publishable quality.

4. Successfully defending the dissertation before the Ph.D. Thesis Committee in a public forum.

It is expected that most students will receive the Ph.D. degree by the end of the fifth year of graduate study.