The capstone of the Physics-Engineering major is the successful completion (and transfer back to Simpson College) of 10 credits of Engineering coursework, 300-level or above, from an accredited engineering school.
A minor in physics consists of a two course introductory core and at least 10 credits (2.5 courses) of physics courses numbered 200 or higher. Some upper-level courses emphasize applied areas of physics. This is intended to make the minor in physics especially practical to students of engineering, physics education, chemistry, and mathematics. Although either Principles of Physics (151/152) or General Physics (191/192) will satisfy the core requirement for the minor, students satisfying the core requirement with the non-calculus based Principles of Physics (151/152) should realize that calculus is a pre-requisite for some 200- and 300-level courses.
Students will complete five or six courses as follows: Required:
Phys 191 General Physics I
Phys 192 General Physics II
Phys 151 Principles of Physics I
Phys 152 Principles of Physics II
Choose 2.5 courses of physics electives numbered 200-level and above.
Physics CoursesPhys 101 Introduction to Astronomy
This course is a one semester survey of astronomy designed for non-science majors. The course covers topics such as the planets, the Sun, stars, galaxies, black holes, dark matter, cosmology and the search for extrasolar planets. A weekly lab accompanies the course and covers the unaided and telescopic observations of the night sky, methods of astronomical measurement, data analysis and astronomical modeling. QUANT. Four credits.
A qualitative introduction to physics for liberal arts majors or students who want a one semester introduction. The conceptual understanding of physics principles rather than their mathematical application is emphasized. The topics covered may vary each semester but will be selected from forces and motion, the properties of matter, heat, light, sound, electricity, magnetism, and relativity. Laboratory accompanies course. Four credits.
Phys 121L Laboratory: Ideas in Physics Phys 151 Principles of Physics I
An introduction for science majors to the principles of physics and their applications using algebra and trigonometry. This first semester of a two semester sequence with 152 will generally cover mechanics, heat, sound, and the properties of matter. Laboratory accompanies course. Prerequisites: Mathematics 130 and Mathematics 131 or Math ACT of 24 or higher. QUANT and SCIREASON. Four credits.
Phys 151L Laboratory: Principles of Physics I Phys 152 Principles of Physics II
A continuation of Physics 151. Topics covered this semester generally include electricity, magnetism, light, optics, and modern physics. Laboratory accompanies course. Prerequisite: Physics 151. Four credits.
Phys 152L Laboratory: Principles of Physics II Phys 180 Independent Study in Physics Phys 190 Special Topics in PhysicsPhys 191 General Physics I
A two semester, calculus based, sequence with Physics 192 covering the fundamental concepts of physics, including mechanics, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, light, modern physics and relativity. Laboratory accompanies course. Prerequisite: Mathematics 151 or concurrent enrollment. QUANT and SCIREASON. Four credits.
Phys 191L Laboratory: General Physics I Phys 192 General Physics II
A two semester, calculus based, sequence with 191 covering the fundamental concepts of physics, including mechanics, sound, heat, electricity magnetism, light, modern physics and relativity. Laboratory accompanies course. Prerequisite: Physics 191 and Mathematics 151. Four credits.
Phys 192L Laboratory: General Physics II Phys 198 Independent Research in Physics Phys 210 Introduction to Laser Science
This course will introduce students to the principles of laser operation, the unique properties of laser light, kinds of lasers, and the application of lasers to various fields such as chemistry, medicine, environmental science, and engineering. Topics will include: divergence and coherence, stimulated emission, population inversion, standing waves and modes, criteria and mechanisms for lasing, Q-switching, gas and solid state lasers, tunable lasers, the quantum nature of light and matter, and spectroscopy. Same as Engineering 210. Prerequisite: Physics 152 or Physics 192, or permission of instructor. Four credits.
Phys 210L Laboratory: Introduction to Laser Science
In the laboratory, students will receive hands-on experience working with optical components and instrumentation and will work with various laser systems including helium-neon, nitrogen/dye, and semiconductor diode lasers. Properties of lasers and laser light will be investigated, as well as various applications such as spectroscopy.
Phys 230 Modern Physics
A basic introduction to quantum physics. Topics include: blackbody radiation, photoelectric effect, Bohr atom, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, wave functions, the Schrodinger Equation, expectation values, and applications of quantum concepts to atomic and nuclear physics. Prerequisite: Physics 192 and Math 251 or concurrent enrollment. Four credits.
Phys 250 Statics
Vector and scalar treatment of coplanar and noncoplanar force systems. Resultants, equilibrium, friction, centroids, second moments of areas, radius of gyration, internal forces, shear and bending moment diagrams. Same as Engineering 250. Prerequisites: Physics 191 and Mathematics 152 or concurrent enrollment. Four credits.
Phys 271 Experimental Physics I
An introduction to methods in experimental physics including basic electronics and instrumentation, data acquisition and analysis, and report writing. Experimental subject areas may include the measurement of fundamental constants, electron, optical, atomic and nuclear physics, magnetic torque, atomic spectroscopy and lasers. Two lecture-lab sessions per week. Pre-requisite: Physics 230 or concurrent enrollment. QUANT, SCIREASON, and WRITCOM. Two credits.
Phys 280 Independent Study in Physics Phys 290 Special Topics in Physics Phys 298 Independent Research in Physics Phys 310Thermal Physics
Topics in classical and statistical thermodynamics including heat, temperature, work, heat capacity, micro and macrostates, entropy, Einstein solids, ideal gases, heat engines, free energy, and the Boltzmann distribution. Prerequisite: Physics 192 required, Phys 230 or Chem 101 recommended. Four credits.
Phys 320 Classical Mechanics
An intermediate-level course in mechanics beginning with Newton’s Laws. Topics include: projectiles, oscillations, damping, resonance, rotating coordinate systems, Coriolis forces, conservation laws, angular momentum, central forces, systems of particles, moments of inertia, rigid body rotation. The course emphasizes solutions to ordinary differential equations, and the use of cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems. Prerequisites: Physics 191 and Math 345, or permission of instructor. Four credits.
Phys 340 Electromagnetic Fields
A study of the electromagnetic field: vector calculus, electrostatics, magetostatics, induction, Maxwell’s equations and electromagnetic waves. The development and application of Maxwell’s Equations comprises the core of this study. Other topics may include: Laplace’s and Poisson’s Equations, method of images, multipole expansion, dielectrics, magnetic properties of materials, vector potentials, and wave-guides. Prerequisites: Physics 192 and Math 345. Four credits.
Phys 360 Quantum Mechanics
Introduces the postulates and principles of quantum mechanics. Solutions to the Schroedinger Equation, square wells, tunneling, scattering, the uncertainty principle, eigenvalue problems, Hermitian operators, angular momentum, spin, hydrogen atom, two-particle systems, time-independent perturbation. Prerequisites: Math 345 and Phys 230 or Chem 302. Four credits.
Phys 370 Physics Seminar
This seminar is a course for students who are interested in current trends in physics. The course will begin with a focus on background information in one or two selected topics and then move on to individual student investigations in these areas. Students will read current scientific literature and take turns, along with faculty, presenting papers to the group. This course is designed to allow students to enhance and demonstrate their skills in analyzing and presenting scientific concepts. Prerequisite: Senior status or permission of instructor. INFOLIT and ORALCOM. One credit.
Phys 371 Experimental Physics II
An introduction to advanced experimental techniques and instrumentation in physics including lock-in amplifiers, vacuum systems and lasers, electronics, data acquisition and software, statistical analysis of data and report writing. Students will normally work on several shorter experiments and one longer project. Two lecture-lab sessions per week. Prerequisite: Physics 271. Two credits.
Phys 380 Independent Study in Physics Phys 385 Capstone Completion in Physics
This course is to facilitate satisfactory completion of the physics capstone requirement. Senior physics students should enroll in this course immediately after or concurrently with the semester of expected completion of their capstone experience. The student will work with a designated faculty member to complete the written and oral requirements of the capstone. (Note: Students who complete the capstone experience by student teaching in physics are exempt from this course.) Prerequisite: senior standing in physics or permission. 0 credits. H/P/NP only.
Phys 390 Special Topics in Physics Phys 398 Independent Research in Physics
Dual-Degree Engineering Program
Olsgaard (liaison officer) The Division of Natural Science offers a Dual-Degree Engineering program leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simpson College and a Bachelor of Science degree from an approved engineering school. Simpson currently has dual-degree transfer arrangements with three highly rated engineering schools: Iowa State University in Ames, the Institute of Technology (University of Minnesota) in Minneapolis, and Washington University in St. Louis.
The Dual-Degree program begins with a strong, small college liberal arts foundation, followed by specialized training at a larger engineering institution. Students in this program normally follow a 3-2 schedule: three years at Simpson College, followed by two years at an engineering school. (For some programs, the engineering requirements may take longer.) A B.A. degree from Simpson College may be received after the fourth year by transferring back to Simpson up to 32 hours of course work from the first year of engineering school. A B.S. degree in engineering is received after completing the requirements of the engineering school.
Although any Simpson major may be pursued in this program, students normally choose a science discipline closely related to their interest in engineering, such as chemistry, computer science, math, or physics. Because of the time constraint of 3-2 scheduling, electives for a Simpson major may sometimes be satisfied by related engineering courses included in the 32 hours transferred back from the engineering school. Students must plan such a program with the respective Simpson department offering the major. For students who are interested in physics, a special Physics—Engineering major is available.
As an alternative to the 3-2 schedule outlined above, many students opt for a 4-2 transfer schedule, in this case all of the Simpson College requirements for the B.A. degree are completed before transferring, along with any other preparatory science and math courses required by the engineering school. In a few cases, a 3-3 or 4-2 transfer schedule leading to a Masters Degree in engineering is available.
The following is an outline of three transfer options available to Simpson students. The details of these programs are subject to change. There are also some program specific requirements not listed here. Therefore, prospective engineering students should consult with the liaison officer early in their study to ensure a smooth transfer. In addition to these options, a student-designed transfer to a different engineering school is possible.