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Physics

http://www.whitworth.edu/physics

PhysicsThe purpose of the Whitworth University Physics Department is to provide our students with an academically rigorous education in physics and its application. This takes place in a context of committed Christian faith, intellectual challenge, and holistic mentoring.  We seek to prepare students for careers in which they will explore the laws of the natural world that God has made, share the details of that creation with others, and apply technology to serve the needs of the world.

Learning Outcomes

Common Outcomes

Whitworth University's Department of Physics will prepare its graduates to have...

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics and physics;
  2. an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  3. an ability to function on teams composed of individuals with differing skills, habits, and backgrounds;
  4. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility informed by a Christian perspective;
  5. an ability to communicate truthfully and effectively; and
  6. the knowledge, experience, and attitude to enhance their capabilities and adapt continuously to a changing world.
Additional Outcomes for the B.S. in Engineering Physics

In addition to the Common Outcomes for the Department of Physics, graduates with a B.S. in Engineering Physics will have...

  1. an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
  2. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems;
  3. a knowledge of contemporary issues pertaining to technology and society;
  4. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice; and
  5. significant exposure to the engineering profession.
Additional Outcomes for the B.S. in Physics

In addition to the Common Outcomes for the department of physics, graduates with a B.S. in physics will have...

  1. the knowledge and habits required to continue on to successful advanced study in physics or related fields, and
  2. significant experience conducting original research in basic or applied science.

 Note: Students may not receive more than one major in the Department of Physics.

Requirements for a Physics Major, B.A. (46)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
MA 281Differential Equations3
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
15 credits from the following:15
Computational Physics
Dynamics
Advanced Dynamics
Nuclear Physics
Thermodynamics
Optics
Electronics
Electricity and Magnetism I
Electricity and Magnetism II
Quantum Mechanics
Mathematical Methods I
Mathematical Methods II
For 4-12 teaching endorsement, the following additional courses are required: All endorsements subject to change; see School of Education for updated requirements.
Elementary Probability and Statistics
Science in Secondary School

Requirements for a Physics Major, B.S. (69-70)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
One of the following:3-4
Computational Physics
Electronics
PS 351Dynamics3
PS 353Advanced Dynamics4
PS 363Thermodynamics4
PS 451Electricity and Magnetism I4
PS 453Electricity and Magnetism II3
PS 455Quantum Mechanics4
PS 388Internship Preparation1
PS 393Internship Reflection1
One of the following:4
Nuclear Physics
Optics
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
MA 281Differential Equations3
EN 356Mathematical Methods I2
EN 358Mathematical Methods II2
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
CH 181General Chemistry II3
For 4-12 teaching endorsement, the following additional courses are required: All endorsements subject to change; see School of Education for updated requirements.
Elementary Probability and Statistics
Science in Secondary School

Requirements for an Applied Physics Major, B.A. (57-61)

EN 110Engineering Orientation1
PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
MA 281Differential Equations3
EN 356Mathematical Methods I2
EN 358Mathematical Methods II2
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
CS 171Computer Science I3
One of the following:3
Engineering Graphics & CAD
Computer Science II
General Chemistry II
One of the following:3-4
Statics
Computational Physics
Electronics
One of the following:3
Linear Algebra
Mathematical Statistics I
One of the following:3-4
Dynamics
Thermodynamics
Electricity and Magnetism I
Two additional approved upper-division courses from physics, computer science, chemistry or engineering6-8

Requirements for a Biophysics Major, B.S. (66-70)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
PS 363Thermodynamics4
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
CH 181General Chemistry II3
CH 181LGeneral Chemistry II Lab1
CH 271Organic Chemistry I3
CH 271LOrganic Chemistry I Lab1
BI 140General Biology I: Genes, Cells and Evolution4
BI 141General Biology II: Organismal Biology4
MA 281Differential Equations3
One of the following:3
Introductory Biochemistry
Biochemistry I
Electives
Four of the following with at least one from physics and one from biology:12-16
Genetics
Molecular Biology
Neurophysiology
Advanced Cell Biology
Organic Chemistry II
Biochemistry II
Computational Physics
Dynamics
Nuclear Physics
Optics
Electronics
Electricity and Magnetism I
Quantum Mechanics


 

Requirements for an Engineering Physics Major, B.S. (68)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
PS 373Electronics4
EN 110Engineering Orientation1
EN 171Engineering Graphics & CAD3
EN 211Statics3
EN 356Mathematical Methods I2
EN 358Mathematical Methods II2
EN 388Internship Preparation1
EN 393Internship Reflection1
EN 485Engineering Design Project3
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
MA 281Differential Equations3
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
CS 171Computer Science I3
At least 14 credits from the following:14
Mechanics of Materials
Dynamics
Advanced Dynamics
Nuclear Physics
Thermodynamics
Optics
Electricity and Magnetism I
Electricity and Magnetism II
Digital Logic Design

Dual Degree Pre-Engineering Transfer Program

Pre-engineering advisor: Richard Stevens

Whitworth’s pre-engineering program is designed to give students the broad foundation of a liberal arts education, as well as technical training to be successful in a variety of engineering disciplines. Arrangements have been made with several top engineering schools to allow pre-engineering students to complete their first two or three years of coursework at Whitworth and the remainder of the five-year program at a partner engineering school. Partnership arrangements exist with Washington University (St. Louis), the University of Southern California, Washington State University, and Columbia University. Upon completing a customized Whitworth pre-engineering curriculum with at least a 3.25 GPA and a good record, students are assured enrollment in one of the partner engineering schools. Students report that the broad knowledge base and the critical-thinking, teamwork and communication skills acquired at Whitworth have enabled them to thrive in both engineering school and the professional environment. Recent graduates are working at successful engineering firms around the country. The following courses are required to qualify for our partner engineering schools, with additional courses available to prepare for specific engineering fields.

Pre-Engineering Recommended Courses (38)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
MA 171Calculus I4
MA 172Calculus II4
MA 273Calculus III4
MA 281Differential Equations3
CH 161General Chemistry I3
CH 161LGeneral Chemistry I Lab1
CS 171Computer Science I3
EN 110Engineering Orientation1
EL 110Writing I3

Requirements for a Physics Minor (21-24)

PS 151General Physics I3
PS 151LGeneral Physics I Lab1
PS 153General Physics II3
PS 153LGeneral Physics II Lab1
PS 251WGeneral Physics III4
Three additional courses in physics (with no more than one of these at the 100-level)9-12
Complete the following courses for Washington state endorsement in physics:
Elementary Probability and Statistics (3)
Calculus III (4)
Differential Equations (3)
Science in Secondary School (2)
All endorsements subject to change; see School of Education for updated requirements.

Important note:

Completion of PS 151 and PS 153 with at least a 3.0 GPA is required for enrollment in all subsequent courses in the sequence. Students with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 in those two courses are eligible to file a petition with the chair of the Physics Department for a provisional exemption to enroll in further courses.

Requirements for a Science Endorsement for Majors in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics

The science endorsement requires a major in biology, chemistry or physics plus additional courses. For a list of these additional courses, please see the biology or chemistry sections of the catalog.

Interdisciplinary Courses

IDS 115 Preparing for a STEM Career1
Students will learn about the type of scientific work they would enjoy, explore scientific careers, hear guest speakers, and understand the preparation necessary at the undergraduate level in order to succeed in their chosen career. Spring semesters. Recommended standing: Freshman.
IDS 151 Seminar for Health Professions1
A seminar to introduce students to the pre-health fields. Visiting speakers will represent medical, dental and veterinary fields. Course will also cover specifics of courses, majors, and other issues related to pre-health fields. Spring semester.
IDS 351 Preparatory Seminar: Health Professions1
A cross-disciplinary course focusing on synthesis of general biology, general chemistry, general physics, organic chemistry, physiology, NMR and IR spectroscopy. Strategic course for learning to apply introductory science/math knowledge to questions involving higher-order content. Intended for students planning to take the Medical College Admissions Test, Dental Aptitude Test, or veterinary-school entrance exams. Intended primarily for the student in his/her junior or senior year. Students will prepare for health professions both in terms of the entrance exams and by researching each school's focus and prerequisites. Prerequisites: BI 140, BI 141, CH 161, CH 181, CH 271, CH 278, PS 151, and PS 153.

Engineering Courses

EN 110 Engineering Orientation1
Concerns of the engineering profession: its scope, challenges, opportunities, rewards and educational requirements. Includes guest lectures by professional engineers and tours of engineering facilities in the area. Fall semester.
EN 121 Epic Fails in Engineering3
This course will study notorious engineering failures and the scientific, political, and ethical considerations that are associated with these disasters. Failure will be studied not only for its negative consequences, but also from a redemptive perspective. This class is intended for non-science majors, and a high-school level knowledge of algebra and geometry is expected.
EN 125H Engineering in Society3
Introduction to principles of engineering design and their application in small-scale design projects, context of engineering vocation and the engineer's place in society, and foundations for collegiate success as an engineering student. Honors Program offering, freshman only. Fall semester.
EN 171 Engineering Graphics & CAD3
An introduction to modern concepts, standards, and techniques for preparing technical drawings that provide effective communication between design engineers, analysts, and fabricators. Engineering graphics techniques including spatial visualization, two dimensional sketching, multiview orthographic projection, pictorial drawing, solid modeling, and working drawings will be accomplished using AutoCAD and Inventor computer aided design software. Spring semester.
EN 211 Statics3
Mathematical review, equilibrium of a particle, free-body diagrams, equilibrium of a rigid body, structural analysis, friction, center of gravity, moments of inertia. Prerequisite: PS 151 and MA 171. Spring semester.
EN 311 Mechanics of Materials3
Basic concepts of solid mechanics & mechanical behavior of materials, including stress-strain relationships, stress transformation, beam bending, elasticity, plasticity and fracture. Quantitative analysis of materials-limiting problems in engineering design. Prerequisite: EN 211. Spring semester, even years.
EN 351 Dynamics3
Fundamental principles and methods of Newtonian mechanics including kinematics and kinetics of motion and the conservation laws of mechanics. Basic particle and rigid-body applications. Also listed as PS 351. Prerequisites: PS 153 and MA 281. Fall semester, odd years.
EN 356 Mathematical Methods I2
Survey of various mathematical methods commonly used in physics and engineering. Topics covered will include linear algebra, vector calculus, and complex analysis. The emphasis will be not just on the mathematical theory, but also on the various applications of these methods. Prerequisite: MA 273. Spring semester.
EN 358 Mathematical Methods II2
Survey of various mathematical methods commonly used in physics and engineering. Topics covered will include ordinary differential equations, elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic partial differential equations, and various analytical and numerical solution techniques for them. The emphasis will be not just on the mathematical theory, but also on the various applications of these methods. Prerequisite: MA 281. Fall semester.
EN 388 Internship Preparation1
Students will receive guidance in seeking an internship and will set objectives for that experience. Reading and reflection will deepen students' understanding of the role of work in life and how that is shaped by faith and values.
EN 393 Internship Reflection1
Students will assess an internship experience and how it has shaped their thinking about their career. Reading and reflection will further deepen their understanding of the role of work in life and important workplace issues.
EN 396 Topics in Engineering1-3
Selected upper-division topics in engineering. Periodic offering.
EN 485 Engineering Design Project3
Introduction to methodologies, goals and challenges in engineering design. This is a hands-on course, with an emphasis on design of engineering systems for international development, and appropriate technology for developing communities. Also covers issues in communication, cost analysis, and ethics in engineering design. Prerequisites: EN 171 and either EN 211 or PS 373. Fall semester, odd years.

Geology Courses

GL 131 Understanding Earth4
Structure of the earth and the forces of plate tectonics that build and move continents. Examination of the dynamic interactions between the lithosphere (crust), atmosphere, and hydrosphere. Laboratory included. Jan Term.
GL 131L Lab: Understanding Earth0
GL 139 Environmental Geology3
Interactions of the human species with land, sea and air. Geologic hazards, earth resources, oceanography, meteorology. Fall semester, odd years.
GL 141 Introduction to Oceanography3
This course provides a broad introduction to the oft times mysterious oceanographic realm. Topics include: nature of the seafloor; seabed resources; chemical and physical properties of water; currents, waves and tides; coastlines; primary production and other ""life in the water"".
GL 149 Science in Hawaii4
This science course fulfills the general education requirement and is taught on the ""Big Island"" of Hawaii. It is designed to provide a basic understanding of foundational earth science topics including: plate tectonics; earthquakes; volcanoes; coastlines; climates; renewable energy; and Earth's place in the Universe.

Natural Science Courses

NS 101 Earth and Sky3
A broad study of earth science including geology and astronomy, oceans, the atmosphere and fundamental underlying physical concepts. Includes the nature and the origin of the solar system, the structure of the earth, and how earth processes operate and affect human life; for example: volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers, groundwater, glaciers, ocean processes, atmosphere and weather. For elementary education students. Fall and spring semesters.

Physics Courses

PS 101 Physics of Weapons3
A science course specifically designed for non-majors, this course will examine the ties between science and the technology of weapons. Societal impacts of these weapons and Christian responses will be examined. The primary focus of the course will be on physics, and knowledge of high-school algebra and geometry is expected.
PS 121 Concepts of Physics3
A study of fundamental unifying ideas of physics and of how scientists learn about the physical world. Emphasis on the comprehension of concepts. For non-science majors. Jan Term.
PS 123 Origins3
Examination of the human quest to understand the origins of the Universe. Emphasis given to the historical development of scientific theories and the spectrum of Christian perspectives on origins. For non-science majors; algebra and geometry will be used. Periodic offering.
PS 127 Introduction to Space Flight3
A study of the scientific concepts behind the development and practice of space flight. Other topics include the history of space flight, military applications, socio-political implications, crew training, commercial spinoffs of space exploration and the outlook for the future. For non-science majors. Prerequisite: MA 107 or MA 108. Periodic Jan Term offering.
PS 141 Introduction to Astronomy4
Nature and origin of the solar system, starlight and star life, components and structure of a galaxy, the expanding universe and cosmology. Astronomical instruments are also discussed. Includes laboratory. Spring semester.
PS 146 Physics in Current Events3
Using current events as a starting point, we will discuss the physics behind these events and explore where it leads. Topics may include forces, energy, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, heat, fluids, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. The selection will be based largely on current events in news media, such as newspapers, TV, radio, and the Internet. Students are encouraged to suggest topics of interest to them. Course includes a lab component. Fulfills the natural science requirement.
PS 151 General Physics I3
Basic principles of mechanics. Corequisite: PS 151L & MA 171. Fall semester.
PS 151L General Physics I Lab1
Laboratory experiments in mechanics. Includes introduction to propagation of uncertainty. Prerequisite: PS 151 or concurrent enrollment.
PS 153 General Physics II3
Basic principles of thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism. Prerequisites: PS 151, also MA 172 or concurrent enrollment. Spring semester.
PS 153L General Physics II Lab1
Laboratory experiments in thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism. Prerequisites: PS 151L, also PS 153 or concurrent enrollment. Spring semester.
PS 196 Topics in Physics1-3
Selected lower-division topics in physics. Periodic offering.
PS 200 Physics Outreach1
Promotion of physics and engineering education through service-learning in the community. An example of this outreach is working with local middle school students to help design and construct experiments to be flown to the upper atmosphere with a high-altitude balloon.
PS 251W General Physics III4
Continuation of PS 153. Basic principles of optics special relativity, and modern physics. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: PS 153. Completion of this three-semester sequence is the normal pattern for entry into all upper-level physics courses.
PS 251L Lab: General Physics III0
PS 271 Computational Physics3
Introduction to the investigation of physical processes using computers. Survey of various computational techniques to solve equations commonly used in physics and engineering. This is a hands-on course with an emphasis on solving these equations for applications in physics. Prerequisite: MA 273.
PS 351 Dynamics3
Fundamental principles and methods of Newtonian mechanics including kinematics and kinetics of motion and the conservation laws of mechanics. Basic particle and rigid-body applications. Also listed with EN 351. Prerequisites: PS 153 and MA 281. Fall semester, odd years.
PS 353 Advanced Dynamics4
Continuation of PS 351. Numerical techniques in dynamics, velocity-dependent forces, oscillations (linear, nonlinear, and coupled), motion in a noninertial reference frame, and alternative formulations of mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian). Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: PS 351. Spring semester, even years.
PS 353L Advanced Dynamics Lab0
PS 361 Nuclear Physics4
Nuclear structure, radioactivity, nuclear reaction interactions of nuclear radiations with matter. Includes Lab. Prerequisites: PS 251W. Spring semester, even years.
PS 361L Lab: Nuclear Physics0
PS 363 Thermodynamics4
Statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, laws of thermodynamics and states of matter. Implications for engines and other applications in many areas of science. Includes laboratory. Prerequisites: PS 251W and MA 281. Spring semester, odd years.
PS 363L Lab: Thermodynamics0
PS 371 Optics4
Nature of light, geometrical and physical optics, interference, quantum optics, optical instruments. Includes laboratory. Prerequisites: PS 251W and MA 281.
PS 373 Electronics4
A ""learn-by-doing"" practical introduction to the fundamentals of electronic devices and circuits. Emphasis on modern instrumentation. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: PS 153. Spring semester.
PS 388 Internship Preparation1
Students will receive guidance in seeking an internship and will set objectives for that experience. Reading and reflection will deepen students' understanding of the role of work in life and how that is shaped by faith and values.
PS 393 Internship Reflection1
Students will assess an internship experience and how it has shaped their thinking about their career. Reading and reflection will further deepen their understanding of the role of work in life and important workplace issues.
PS 396 Topics in Physics1-3
Selected upper-division topics in physics. Periodic offering.
PS 451 Electricity and Magnetism I4
Electric and magnetic fields, boundary value problems, steady and alternating currents, electrical instruments, and measurement techniques Includes laboratory. Prerequisites: PS 153, PS 373 and MA 281. Fall semester, even years.
PS 453 Electricity and Magnetism II3
Continuation of PS 451. Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves, advanced topics in electrical and magnetic phenomena. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: PS 451. Spring semester, odd years.
PS 455 Quantum Mechanics4
Principles of quantum mechanics, including Schroedinger's equation applied to the rigid rotor, the hydrogen atom and the harmonic oscillator. Includes laboratory. Prerequisites: PS 251W and MA 281. Fall semester, odd years.
PS 471 Research in Physics1-4
Supervised research projects in areas such as electronics, optics, nuclear physics, computer applications, atmospheric physics. Prerequisite: permission of professor. Jan Term.
PS 473 Experimental Physics1-4
Supervised research projects in areas such as electronics, optics, nuclear physics, computer applications, atmospheric physics. Prerequisite: permission of professor.
Dean of Arts and Sciences

NOELLE WIERSMA

Chair

JOHN LARKIN

Professors

KAMESH SANKARANRICHARD STEVENS

Associate professor

JOHN LARKIN

Assistant professor

MARKUS ONG