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University Catalog|Office of the Registrar

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Daniel A. Dale, Department Head
204 Physical Sciences Building
Phone: (307) 766-6150, FAX: (307) 766-2652
Web site: http://www.uwyo.edu/physics/

Professors

MICHAEL S. BROTHERTON, B.S. Rice University 1990; M.A. University of Texas at Austin 1992; Ph.D. 1996; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2014, 2002.
YURI DAHNOVSKY,
Institute of Chemical Physics, Moscow 1983; Professor of Physics 2007, 2000.
DANIEL A. DALE, B.S. University of Minnesota 1993; M.S. Cornell University 1996; Ph.D. 1998; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2009, 2001.
PAUL E. JOHNSON, B.S. Davidson College 1973; M.S. University of Washington 1977; Ph.D. 1979; Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy 1997; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 1993, 1981.
HENRY A. KOBULNICKY, B.S. University of Iowa 1991; M.S. University of Minnesota 1993; Ph.D. 1997; Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2014, 2002.
JINKE TANG,
B.S. Jilin University 1982; M.S. Iowa State University 1990; Ph.D. 1989; Professor of Physics 2007.

Associate Professors

MICHAEL J. PIERCE, B.S. University of Oklahoma 1980; M.A. University of Hawaii 1983; Ph.D. 1988; Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2005, 2001.
WENYONG WANG, B.S. Nankai University 1993; M.S. Yale University 1999; Ph.D. 2004; Associate Professor of Physics 2014, 2008.

Assistant Professors

TE YU CHIEN, B.S. National Taiwan Normal University 2001; Ph.D. University of Tennessee-Knoxville 2009; Assistant Professor of Physics 2013.
HANNAH JANG-CONDELL,
S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1999; A.M. Harvard University 1999; Ph.D. 2004; Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2011.
ADAM D. MYERS, M.S. Durham University, United Kingdom 2000; Ph.D. 2004; Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy 2011.

Academic Professional Lecturers

RICHARD BARRANS, JR., B.A. Johns Hopkins University 1985; Ph.D. Caltech 1993; M.Ed. John Carroll University 2004; Academic Professional Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy 2013.
RÜDIGER MICHALAK, Dipl. Phys FZ Julich 1989; Ph.D. 1993; Academic Professional Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy 2007, 2004.
DAVID R. THAYER, B.S. University of Miami 1977; Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1983; Academic Professional Lecturer in Physics 2002.

Assistant Lecturer

EDWARD KONCEL, B.S. Portland State University 1969; M.S. University of Wyoming 1988; Ed.D. 1992; Assistant Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy 1999.

Adjunct Professors

Allam, Bianchini, Kutyrev, Marquard, Norris, Shang, Slater, Wang

Professors Emeriti

Ronald W. Canterna, Walter T. Grandy, A. Raymond Kunselman, Glen A. Rebka, Terry P. Roark, James M. Rosen, Lee H. Schick

 

Physics

Physics originated in antiquity as the study of natural philosophy. As such, it attempts to describe the universe within the context of both physical laws and the fundamental particles of nature. The broad scope of physics runs from the microscopic nuclear structure and that of the elementary particles themselves to the macroscopic, the galaxy and evolution of the universe as a whole. Today the subject is generally divided into broad areas such as solid-state, nuclear, elementary particles, astrophysics, etc. The department maintains competence in most major branches of physics and offers instruction in these areas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, it has a strong interest and involvement in science education.

Undergraduate Curriculum

The four-year physics programs are the Bachelor of Arts in physics, Bachelor of Science in physics, and the Bachelor of Science in physics plus. The Bachelor of Science programs are intended for students who will pursue a career or a graduate degree in the field, whereas the Bachelor of Arts program is primarily geared toward those who are interested in pursuing physics as a second major. The department also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Bachelor of Science Major Program

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Physics major program are required to complete the following courses:

  • PHYS 1210 or 1310, 1220 or 1320, 2310, 2320, 3640, 3650, 4210, 4310, 4410, 4420, 4510, and 4840;
  • Students are required to take at least 3 hours of electives from any PHYS 4000- or 5000-level course
  • MATH 2200, 2205, 2210, 2250, 2310, 4230, and 4440
  • COSC 1010 and CHEM 1020

Bachelor of Arts Major Program

Students in the Bachelor of Arts in physics major program are required to complete the following courses:

  • PHYS 1210 or 1310, 1220 or 1320, 2310, 2320, 3650, 4210, 4310, 4410, 4510
  • Students are required to take at least 3 hours of electives from any PHYS 4000- or 5000-level course.
  • MATH 2200, 2205, 2210, 2310
  • COSC 1010 and CHEM 1020

Physics Plus Curriculum

Students preparing for strictly technological careers and hence want heavily technological undergraduate educations, may select the physics plus curriculum. This program enables students to concentrate in physics, mathematics and an elected technical area with some sacrifice in the breadth of general education.

Students in the Physics Plus program are required to complete the following courses:

  • PHYS 1210 or 1310, 1220 or 1320, 2310, 2320, 3650, 4210, 4310, 4410, 4510, 4840, 4860.
  • MATH 2200, 2205, 2210, 2250, and 2310
  • PHYS 4830 or both MATH 4230 and 4440
  • COSC 1010 and CHEM 1020
  • A coherent program of 27 credits in a technical area approved by the department head

Examples of an elected technical area could be an area involving additional physics and mathematics; physics, mathematics, and astronomy; engineering; biological sciences; chemistry; computer science; mathematics; geophysics; atmospheric science; economics; business; education or technical writing. Further details are available from the department's web site.

Minor Program

  • Complete PHYS 1210 or 1310
  • Complete PHYS 1220 or 1320
  • PHYS 2310 and 2320
  • At least two of the following: PHYS 4210, 4310, 4410, 4510

Astronomy Major Program

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Astronomy major program are required to complete the following courses:

  • ASTR 2310, 2320, 4610 PHYS 1210 or 1310, 1220 or 1320, 2310, 2320, 3640, 3650, 4210, 4310, 4410, 4420, 4510, and 4840
  • MATH 2200, 2205, 2210, 2250, and 2310
  • COSC 1010

Astronomy Minor Program

  • Complete PHYS 1210 or 1310
  • Complete PHYS 1220 or 1320
  • PHYS 2310 and 2320
  • ASTR 2310 and 2320

 

Graduate Study

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the degrees of master of science in physics, master of science in teaching, and doctor of philosophy. Advanced degrees in physics may be based on experimental or theoretical research in physics or astrophysics.

Please refer to the departmental homepage at http://www.uwyo.edu/physics/ for the programmatic updates, or contact the department directly.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Applicants for graduate study in physics or astrophysics should have an undergraduate preparation in physics and mathematics equivalent to that specified for a physics major. They must submit their scores for the verbal aptitude, the quantitative aptitude, analytical aptitude, and the advanced physics portion of the GRE.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantships

The Physics and Astronomy Department commits to providing first- and second-year students with teaching assistantships for the nine-month academic year. More advanced students are generally supported on federal grants or fellowships. Both teaching and research assistantships carry a full tuition waiver and insurance. Summer assistantships are often available to students making satisfactory progress. Refer to http://www.uwyo.edu/physics/ for current amounts.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Physics
Plan A (thesis)

26 hours of graduate coursework, 20 of which must be in PHYS/ASTR at the 5000-level

4 hours of PHYS 5960

Plan B (non-thesis)

30 hours of graduate coursework, 24 of which must be in PHYS/ASTR at the 5000-level

Thesis planning, development, and production guided by the committee chair and graduate committee.

Master of Science in Teaching
Plan A (thesis)

18 hours from PHYS/ASTR at the 5000-level

12 hours from PSYC or the College of Education at the 4000- or 5000-level

Thesis planning, development, and production guided by the committee chair and graduate committee.

The Master of Science in Physics with emphasis in teaching is designed for graduate students preparing to teach in secondary schools or in community colleges. It will include a small, carefully designed component in psychology and education, and includes a supervised teaching experience. This program will require a thesis project based on experience in the classroom.

Doctoral Program

42 hours of graduate coursework

30 hours of PHYS 5980 or 5860. Dissertation planning, development, and production guided by the committee chair and graduate committee.

During the first two years, students normally take physics and astronomy courses while working with faculty members on one or more research projects. Students participate in weekly research seminars and journal clubs to learn about a broad range of current research. By the third year, Ph.D. students begin research work in the area of their dissertation.

Course work consists of several required courses plus a number of elective courses. Astronomy track students will take the required astronomy courses plus electives. Physics track students will take the required physics courses plus electives.

Physics required courses:

PHYS 5310 Quantum Theory I

PHYS 5410 Electromagnetic Theory I

PHYS 5510 Statistical Mechanics I

PHYS 5720 Advanced Solid State

PHYS 5750 Optical Properties of Solids

PHYS 5730 Condensed Matter Magnetism

PHYS 5740 Transport Properties of Solids

Physics elective courses:

PHYS 5110 & 5120 Methods of Theoretical Physics I & II

PHYS 5210 & 5120 Classical Mechanics I & II

PHYS 5320 Quantum Theory II

PHYS 5550 Advanced Statistical Mechanics

PHYS 5770 Nanotechnology: Nanophysics & Nanosystems

PHYS 5780 Modern Computational Methods in Solids

PHYS 5820 Plasmas Physics

PHYS 5830 Physics of Solar Cells

PHYS 5840 Experimental Methods and Low Temperature

Astronomy required courses:

ASTR 5150 Astronomical Techniques

ASTR 5420 Stellar Structure and Evolution

ASTR 5460 Cosmology

ASTR 5470 Interstellar Medium and Diffuse Matter

ASTR 5465 Galaxies

Two of the following physics courses must be taken:

PHYS 5310 Quantum Theory I

PHYS 5410 Electromagnetic Theory I

PHYS 5510 Statistical Mechanics I

Elective courses:

ASTR 5160 Data Mining in Large Astronomical Surveys

ASTR 5430 Radiative Processes & Stellar Atmospheres

ASTR 5440 Stars and Milky Way

ASTR 5480 Planetary Astronomy

ASTR 5490 Planets and Their Stars

ASTR 5870 Special Topics in Astrophysics

Ph.D. candidates demonstrate their competency in basic undergraduate physics and in required graduate courses through a written examination. After passing the written exam, students will take an oral preliminary exam based on a research project they have completed during the first two years. At the completion of the Ph.D. dissertation, a candidate makes a public presentation of his or her work and the committee conducts a final examination to award the degree.

Astronomy Major Program

Physics (PHYS) Courses

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