Introductory Courses

Introductory physics courses for premedical, predental, and other preprofessional students may be chosen from CAS PY 105, 106, or 211, 212, or 241, 242. CAS PY 105, 106 and 241, 242 cover all of classical and modern physics in two semesters. CAS PY 211, 212 cover classical physics only. CAS PY 212 may be followed by CAS PY 313, which includes modern physics. Physics and other science concentrators or engineers with an interest in physics may elect the more intensive CAS PY 251, 252, which is usually followed by CAS PY 351. The four introductory sequences differ primarily in the level of mathematics employed. CAS PY 105, 106 assume a knowledge of algebra and trigonometry only. The other sequences require knowledge of calculus, which is used most extensively in CAS PY 251, 252. Many of these courses include demonstrations supplied by the Physics Department Lecture Demonstration Facility.

CAS PY 100 Physics of the Twentieth Century and Beyond

Prereq: one year of high school physics. A historical survey of modern physics, focusing on quantum mechanics and relativity as applied to the microworld (subatomic physics) and the macroworld (the early universe). Covers exotic phenomena from quarks to quasars, from neutrinos to neutron stars. For non-science majors. 4 cr, 1st sem. (NS)

CAS PY 103 Cinema Physica

Conceptual introduction to physical law as portrayed in film. Quantitative understanding using simple estimates, elementary physics, and dimensional analysis. Kinematics; forces; conservation laws; heat and temperature; atoms, molecules and materials. Sample films: Speed; Armageddon; Independence Day; X-Men; The Sixth Sense; Contact. 4 cr, 2nd sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 104 Physics of Health Sciences

Prereq: some knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. Recommended for students majoring in athletic training, physical therapy, or speech, language & hearing sciences. A one-semester physics course for students who do not require a two-semester sequence. Cannot be taken for credit in addition to CAS PY105 or PY106. Students considering application to medical, dental, or veterinary schools should take PY 105/106 or another two-semester sequence instead of PY 104. 4 cr, either sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 105, 106 Elementary Physics

Prereq for CAS PY 106: CAS PY 105 or equivalent. Satisfies premedical requirements; presupposes algebra and trigonometry. Principles of classical and modern physics. Mechanics, conservation laws, heat, light, electricity and magnetism, waves, light and optics, atomic and nuclear physics. Lectures, discussions, and laboratory. CAS PY 105: 4 cr, either sem; CAS PY 106: 4 cr, either sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 107 Physics of Food and Cooking

Physical science concepts of thermal / soft matter physics and molecular biophysics such as phase transitions and gelation, viscosity, elasticity illustrated via cooking. Labs and demos using molecular gastronomy methods of sous-vide cooking, pressure cooking, making desserts, cheese, emulsions, foams, gels, ice creams. Carries natural science divisional credit (with lab) in CAS. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking. CAS PY 107: 4 cr, either sem.

CAS PY 195 Freshman Seminar for Physicists

Prereq: freshmen with declared majors in physics. Seminar where freshman physics majors learn successful strategies for studying physics and become familiar with BU’s policies, procedures, resources, and extracurricular activities. Exploration of research and career opportunities through invited speakers, book discussions, and laboratory tours. 1 cr, 1st sem.

CAS PY 211, 212 General Physics

Prereq: CAS MA 123 or equivalent; coreq: CAS MA 124, MA 127, or consent of instructor for students concurrently taking MA 123. Prereq for CAS PY 212: CAS PY 211 or equivalent. For premedical students who wish a more analytical course than CAS PY 105, 106, and for science concentrators and engineers. Basic principles of physics emphasizing Newtonian mechanics, conservation laws, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, geometrical optics. Lectures, discussions, and laboratory. CAS PY 211: 4 cr, either sem; CAS PY 212: 4 cr, either sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 231 The Physics in Music

Prereq: musical performance experience or consent of instructor (no physics prerequisite). An introduction to musical acoustics, which covers vibrations and waves in musical systems, intervals and the construction of musical scales, tuning and temperament, the percussion instruments, the piano, the string, woodwind and brass instruments, room acoustics, and the human ear and psychoacoustical phenomena important to musical performance. Some aspects of electronic music are also discussed. 4 cr, 2nd sem. (NS)

CAS PY 241, 242 Principles of General Physics I, II

Prereq: CAS MA 123 or equivalent; coreq: CAS MA 124, MA 127, or consent of instructor for students concurrently taking CAS MA 123. Prereq for CAS PY 242: CAS PY 241 or equivalent. Calculus-based introduction to principles and methods of physics. Mechanics, heat, light, electricity and magnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, and relativity are treated. Topics relevant to medical science are emphasized. Ideal for premedical students. Lectures, discussions, and laboratory. 4 cr each, CAS PY 241, 1st sem; CAS PY 242, 2nd sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 251, 252 Principles of Physics

Prereq: CAS MA 123 or equivalent; coreq: CAS MA 124, MA 127, or consent of instructor for students currently enrolled in CAS MA 123. Prereq for CAS PY 252: CAS PY 251 or equivalent. Introduction to mechanics, conservation laws, heat and thermodynamics, electrostatics, magnetism, alternating currents, electromagnetic radiation, geometrical optics. Primarily for physics, mathematics, and astronomy concentrators, but open to other students with a strong background in mathematics. Lectures, discussions, and laboratory. 4 cr each, CAS PY 251, 1st sem; CAS PY 252, 2nd sem. (NS) (lab)

CAS PY 313 Elementary Modern Physics

Prereq: CAS PY 211, 212 and CAS MA 124. Waves and physical optics, relativistic mechanics, experimental foundations of quantum mechanics, atomic structure, physics of molecules and solids, atomic nuclei and elementary particles. Along with CAS PY 211, 212, PY 313 completes a three-semester introductory sequence primarily intended for students of engineering. 4 cr, either sem.

CAS PY 351 Modern Physics

Prereq: CAS PY 251, 252 (or 211, 212) and CAS MA 124; coreq: CAS MA 225. Introduction to special relativity, foundations of quantum theory, and introduction to wave mechanics, topics in atomic and molecular structure, solid state, and nuclear physics. Lectures, discussions, and laboratory. 4 cr, 1st sem.

CAS PY 352 Modern Physics II

Prereq: CAS PY 351. Continuation of CAS PY 351. An introduction to modern physics including quantum mechanics of atoms and molecules, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and elementary particle physics. Labs are a required course component. 4 cr, 2nd sem.

CAS PY 355 Methods of Theoretical Physics

Prereq: CAS PY 251 and 252 (or 211 and 212), and CAS MA 225, or consent of instructor. First and second order ordinary differential equations. Partial differential equations (waves, heat, Schrödinger) and series solutions of differential equations. Vectors and vector calculus. Matrices, matrix algebra, and matrix transformations. Rotations, similarity, unitarity, hermiticity, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors. 4 cr, 2nd sem.

CAS PY 371 Electronics for Scientists

Prereq: CAS PY 212 or PY 252, CAS MA 124, or consent of instructor. A survey of practical electronics for all College of Arts & Sciences science students wishing to gain a working knowledge of electronic instrumentation, and in particular, its construction. Two four-hour laboratory-lecture sessions per week. 4 cr, 2nd sem.