Undergraduate Courses

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PHYS 0081: Space and Time, Light and Matter

Phys 0081
Credits: 3

The course begins with Newtonian ideas of space, time, and motion, and outlines the achievements of classical mechanics and Maxwell's electromagnetic field theory to 1900. Classical concepts thus introduced, notably the conservation laws of energy and momentum, the field concept, and the wave and particle, are then developed to take account of 20th century relativity and quantum mechanics, in ways that transcend our everyday common-sense understanding of the natural world. Modern theories of fundamental particles and of the four fundamental types of force are outlined. Applications to nuclear physics are discussed, in particular methods that show that some objects are billions of years old. After a brief outline of the physics of stars, the course culminates in recent discoveries about cosmology which demonstrate how remarkably incomplete our fundamental knowledge still remains.

PREQ: Any MATH Course or CREQ: (MATH 0032 or 0100 or 0120 or 0125 or 0200 or 0220)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
James A Mueller 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0082: Science of Musical Sounds

Phys 0082
Credits: 3

This is a one-term course for non-science majors which explores the physical basis for the production, propagation and perception of musical sounds. The course begins with a discussion of some of the basic physical quantities, such as frequency, wavelength, intensity, etc., used in the physical understanding of music. Examples of topics to be covered are the perception of sound (the ear, tone quality, pitch and loudness, scales, temperament). What makes a pleasant sound and what makes a dissonant one. How does this affect the arrangement of music? How are musical sounds produced by the various orchestral instruments including strings, winds, keyboard and other instruments, and how are they characterized?

PREQ: Any MATH Course or CREQ: (MATH 0032 or 0100 or 0120 or 0125 or 0200 or 0220)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Paul F Shepard 2013-2014FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0087: Physics and Society

PHYS 0087
Credits: 3

This course is meant for non-science students interested in learning about the scientific method and its applications to current societal issues. Topics include: (1) What is Science?; (2) Studies; (3) Pseudoscience; (4) Energy and Entropy; (5) Electricity, Magnetism, and Light; (6) Atom and Light; (7) Climate; (8) Nuclear Energy; and (9) Global Resources. There will be no mathematics beyond multiplication and reading graphs.

PREQ: Any MATH Course or CREQ: (MATH 0032 or 0100 or 0120 or 0125 or 0200 or 0220)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Eric S. Swanson 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0089: Physics and Science Fiction

Phys 0089
Credits: 3

Words like "force," "field," "radiation," "black hole" and "antimatter" are part of our culture; science fiction movies and popular science magazines use them all the time. What do these words really mean? How much of what we see in science fiction is based on real science and how much is pure fantasy? This course will emphasize the meanings of science terms and the way scientists really work, without getting bogged down in mathematics. Our goal will be to understand science terms and claims when we encounter them in fiction and the popular press. We will read several short stories and novels from the leading science fiction writers; we will also have in-class demonstrations of things like lasers, cryogenics, and electric fields. Students will be encouraged to bring in their own examples of science fiction literature that highlight some physics concept (or misconception) to share with the rest of the class. Starting with Newtonian physics, this course surveys modern physics including Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Along the way, we will discuss whether travel to other stars is possible, conditions for the existence of life, and whether other "dimensions" exist. This course fulfills the Physical Science course requirement for School of Arts and Sciences students.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Gurudev Dutt 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0091: Conceptual Physics

PHYS 0091
Credits: 3

This course presents the conceptual basis of introductory classical physics. As such, this course covers the same general topics as PHYS 0110. The emphasis of this course, however, is on a clear understanding of the underlying principles of physics, with a reduced emphasis on mathematics than would be used in PHYS 0110. This course is intended for non-science majors and for students from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The mathematical level of this course will not be adequate for those students who plan to apply to Medical School. It could be used for those students as a preparatory course prior to tackling the more mathematically rigorous PHYS 0110 or PHYS 0174. In that case credit would not be given for both this course and either PHYS 0110 of 0174. Topics covered include: kinematics, Newton's Laws of Motion; conservation of total mechanical energy, total linear momentum, and total angular momentum; rotational kinematics and dynamics; simple harmonic motion; behavior of fluids; heat and heat transfer; mechanical waves and sounds.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Adam K Leibovich 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0110: Introduction to Physics 1

Phys 0110
Credits: 3

This is the first term in a two-term lecture-demonstration sequence that presents the elements of both classical and modern physics. The emphasis of the course is on a clear understanding of the underlying principles rather than on mathematical formalism and problem-solving (although some attention is given to these aspects of physics). This course is appropriate for non-science majors, and for those majoring in the social, psychological and life sciences that do not need the more mathematically oriented course required of engineering and physical science students (Physics 0174,0175). The introductory laboratory course to be associated with this sequence is Physics 0212 (see below) which should be taken after Physics 0110. Credit will not be given for both this sequence and the Physics 0174, 0175 sequence. Subjects covered in the course include: kinematics; Newtonian mechanics; heat and heat transfers; mechanical waves and sound. 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Matteo Broccio 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0111: Introduction to Physics 2

Phys 0111
Credits: 3

This is the second term in a two-term lecture-demonstration sequence that presents the elements of both classical and modern physics. The emphasis of the course is on a clear understanding of the underlying principles rather than on mathematical formalism and problem-solving (although some attention is given to these aspects of physics). This course is appropriate for non-science majors, and for those majoring in the social, psychological and life sciences that do not need the more mathematically oriented course required of engineering and physical science students (Physics 0174,0175). The introductory laboratory course to be associated with this sequence is Physics 0212 (see below). Credit will not be given for both this sequence and the Physics 0174, 0175 sequence. Subjects covered in the course include: thermodynamics; electricity and magnetism (electrostatics to electromagnetic waves); geometrical and physical optics; relativity; and quantum physics. 

PREQ: PHYS 0110 or 0174 or 0475 with a minimum grade of C

 

 

 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
W. Vincent Liu 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL
W. Vincent Liu 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL
Matteo Broccio 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0174: Basic Physics for Science and Engineering I

PHYS 0174
Credits: 4

A two term introduction to both classical and modern physics, with the use of calculus.

COREQ: MATH 0220 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Russell J. Clark 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0175: Basic Physics for Science and Engineering II

PHYS 0175
Credits: 4

This is the second term in a two-term (0174 and 0175) introductory sequence in physics for science and engineering students. Subjects covered in Physics 0175 include: electrostatics, electric currents, magnetism, induction, simple AC circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves, geometric and wave optics, followed by an introduction to quantum physics, including photons, the Bohr atom and spectra, and elementary wave mechanics. Students planning to major in physics are urged to take the equivalent honors course (Physics 0476).

PREQ: A "C" or greater in PHYS0174 and MATH 0235

COREQ: Math 0230 (if MATH 0235 is not complete)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Nero 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0212: Introduction to Laboratory Physics

PHYS 0212
Credits: 2

This is the introductory course in physics laboratory associated with Physics 0110 and 0111. The course involves carrying out experiments in mechanics, electricity, optics, atomic physics and radioactivity. The student then gets insight into the collection and interpretation of experimental data. A lab manual should be purchased from the University Book Center. Credit for Physics 0212 cannot be granted to students who are taking or have completed Physics 0175 or 0476.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Vittorio Paolone 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0219: Basic Laboratory Physics for Science and Engineering

PHYS 0219
Credits: 2

An introductory laboratory associated with Physics 0174 and 0175. Experiments from many areas of physics are performed.

COREQ: PHYS 0175

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Russell J. Clark 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0475: Basic Physics for Science and Engineering I - Honors

PHYS 0475
Credits: 4

Honors version of Physics 0174,0175.

PREQ: A minimum cumulative QPA of 3.25.

CO-REQ: MATH 0230 or 0235

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Arthur Kosowsky 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0476: Basic Physics for Science and Engineering II - Honors

PHYS 0476

This is the second term of a two term Honors College introductory demonstration-lecture course in physics. The calculus is used in this course and the syllabus is essentially the same as Physics 0175. However, the scope of Physics 0476 is broader than that of Physics 0175 and subjects are covered in greater depth. Approximately half the term is spent on classical electricity and magnetism. Other topics include Einstein's special theory of relativity and introduction to modern physics and quantum phenomena. Three hours each week are devoted to lecture-demonstration and two hours to discussion and application to problem solving. This course is especially suitable for physical science majors, engineers, or any student who seeks an in-depth treatment of introductory physics in a calculus-based course.

PREQ: A minimum cumulative QPA of 3.25, a minimum of a "C" in PHYS  0475 or a "B" in PHYS 0174

COREQ: MATH 0240 

 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Arthur Kosowsky 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0520: Modern Physics Measurements

PHYS 0520
Credits: 3

This honors laboratory course provides an introduction to the scientific basis of modern methods of physical measurements. The student is given the means to appreciate what can be done currently in the way of measuring and controlling physical processes. The course emphasizes sophisticated methods of data acquisition and analysis. It provides hands-on experience with research grade electronics, lasers and optics, vacuum systems, mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance devices, microcomputer-controlled experiment interfaces and the like. The course is valuable both to those interested in following a career in science and technology and to those who want to be able to use or critically judge scientific and technical results for broader purposes.

PREQ: A minimum grade of "C" in PHYS 0476, or a minimum grade of "B" in PHYS 0175, a minimum cumulative QPA of 3.25, or permission of the instructor

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Brian D'Urso 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0525: Analog & Digital Electronics

0525
Credits: 3

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David W Snoke 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0477: Principles of Modern Physics 1

PHYS 0477
Credits: 4

This course addresses two of the great revolutions in science of the twentieth century: relativity and quantum mechanics. These revolutions were indispensable in reaching an understanding of physical phenomena at the atomic and subatomic scales. The twentieth century also involved major advances in understanding and analyzing a raft of phenomena in macroscopic systems; this course will contain a segment on thermal and statistical physics, essential for appreciating the complexities of macroscopic matter.

PREQ: A minimum of a "B-" in PHYS 0175 or a "C" in PHYS 0476

COREQ: MATH 0240

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Steven A. Dytman FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0481: Principles of Modern Physics 2

PHYS 0481
Credits: 3

This course (followup to Physics 0477, Modern Physics 1) will cover the following topics: quantum mechanics of many particle systems, multielectron atoms and the periodic table, basics of quantum statistical mechanics, introduction to solid state physics (conductors, semiconductors, superconductors), basic nuclear physics, introduction to elementary particle physics. This course will be an introduction to the concepts and techniques that are important for understanding recent fundamental research and technology.

 

PREQ: A minimum grade of a "C" or better in PHYS 0477 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Steven A. Dytman 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 0525: Analog and Digital Electronics

PHYS 0525
Credits: 3

A laboratory course in analog and digital semiconductor electronics.

PREQ: A "C" or better in PHYS 0219 or PHYS 0520

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Gurudev Dutt 2015SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1310/1311: Undergraduate Seminar

PHYS 1310/1311
Credits: 1

An informal, weekly meeting on various topics of interest. Students will also make presentations in class.

PREQ: A minimum of C in all courses. PHYS 0477, and (PHYS 0520, PHYS 0525, PHYS 1361, PHYS 1426, or ASTRON 1263) or (PHYS 0219 and any ASTRON course at or above 1120 or any PHYS course at or above 1321)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Turnshek 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1321: Computational Methods in Physics

PHYS 1321
Credits: 3

This course will cover problems solving techniques using a computer. Students will learn the steps needed to solve a problem and gain familiarity with approximation schemes.

PREQ: A minimun grade of "C-" or better in PHYS 0477, PHYS 0219 and a minimum grade of a "C-" in MATH 0240 or 0245

COREQ:PHYS 0477, PHYS 0219 or PHYS 0520 or CS 0008 or ENGR 0012, MATH 0240, MATH 0290

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Michael Wood-Vasey 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1331: Mechanics

PHYS 1331
Credits: 3

Classical mechanics, with vector calculus and differential equations as tools.

PREQ: A "C" of betterin all courses. PHYS 0175 or 0476, and MATH 0240, and MATH 0290 (or MAth 1270)

COREQ: MATH 0280

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Joseph Boudreau 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1341: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

PHYS 1341
Credits: 3

The properties of matter as described by thermodynamics, in which atomic structure is irrelevant, and by statistical mechanics, which is based on the atomic point of view.

PREQ: A "C" or better in all courses: PHYS 0477, MATH 0240 and MATH 0290 (or MATH 1270)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Vladimir Savinov 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1351: Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism

PHYS 1351

Electromagnetic theory is formulated with the use of vector calculus. Vector calculus, electrostatics, including Poisson's and Laplace's equations and associated boundary conditions and boundary value problems, Electric current, Lorentz force law, Magnetic field and Biot-Savart Law, Electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations, E and B in matter.

PREQ: A minimum "C" grade in both PHYS 0175 (or 0476), and MATH 0240

COREQ: MATH 0290 or 1270.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Vladimir Savinov 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1361: Wave Motion and Optics

PHYS 1361
Credits: 3

An intermediate course in waves and optics which includes a laboratory.

PREQ: A "C" or better in PHYS 0219 and MATH 0240

COREQ: MATH 0280 or MATH 1180 or MATH 1185

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Hrvoje Petek 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1370: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 1

PHYS 1370
Credits: 3

This course is an introduction to quantum mechanics for undergraduate honors majors and first-year graduate students who have not taken such a course.

PREQ: A "C" or better in both PHYS 0477 and MATH 0280 (or MATH 1180 or MATH 1185)

COREQ: PHYS 1331 and 1351

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Pekker 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1371: Introduction to Quantum Mechanics II

PHYS 1371
Credits: 3

Physics 1371 will be a continuation of the material covered in Physics 1370 with special emphasis on applications of quantum mechanics. Topics to be covered are: multi-particle systems, time-independent perturbation theory and its application to the fine-structure and hyperfine structure of atoms, time-dependent perturbation theory and its application to the absorption and emission of light, and other approximation methods.

PREQ: A "C" or better in PHYS 1370

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Pekker 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1372: Electromagnetic Theory

PHYS 1372
Credits: 3

Advanced topics, including boundary-value problems and radiation theory.

PREQ: PHYS 0477, a "C" or better in both PHYS 1351 and MATH 0280

COREQ: PHYS 1331

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Xiao-lun Wu 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1373: Mathematical Methods in Physics

PHYS 1373
Credits: 3

This course will prepare you for most of the mathematical techniques required in advanced undergraduate courses and most first year physics graduate courses, at Pitt or elsewhere. The course will include: Theory and applications of analytic functions, with emphasis on contour integration and infinite series. Review of finite-dimensional linear vector spaces, leading to an introduction to Hilbert spaces. Applications to ordinary and partial differential equations, including introduction to the most commonly used special functions.

COREQ: PHYS 1370

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Ayres Freitas 2015-2016FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1374: Intro to Solid State Physics

PHYS 1374
Credits: 3

This course is an introduction to solid state physics for undergraduates. No previous knowledge of solid state physics is assumed, but familiarity with basic quantum mechanics (Schrodinger equation) will be assumed. Topics include: electron bands in solids, quantum confinement and two-dimensional structures and nanostructures, phonons (sound quanta), drift and diffusion of electrons, solid state quantum optics, coherence and dephasing, magnetic systems, and superconductors.

PREQ: PHYS 0477 or CHEM 0710 or 1410

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Hrvoje Petek 2013-2014FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1375: Foundations of Nanoscience

PHYS 1375
Credits: 3

This course provides an introductory overview of the scientific issues that arise when we attempt to extend our current knowledge of physical systems into the nano length scale. Simple one-dimensional quantum problems will be examined, and difficulties of extending these to small but signidficant arrays of particles will be discussed. Simple statistical mechanical systems will be discussed, and difficulties of bringing them down to much smaller numbers of particles will be discussed. The course will conclude with consideration of all these as applied to one nano system of interest, which may be selected differently each time the course is offered.

 

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
James V. Maher, Jr. 2013-2014SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1376: Introduction to Biophysics

PHYS 1376
Credits: 3

This course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds, such as physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics. We will use concepts and tools developed in physics to understand complex living systems.

PREQ: PHYS 0111 or 0175 and either MATH 0230, 0235 or (MATH 0220 and STAT 1000)

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Xiao-lun Wu 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1378: Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics

PHYS 1378
Credits: 3

This course will provide an overview of modern particle physics. It will teach typical experimental techniques for particle detection and acceleration, but also basic theoretical concepts, such as the role of conservation laws and symmetries. Students will learn how to calculate the leading aspects of particle physics processes, as well as the structure of the Standard Model and theoretical ideas that go beyond this model. Furthermore, this knowledge will be related to recent experimental results from colliders and astrophysics.

PREQ: PHYS 1370.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Ayres Freitas 2014-2015SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1426: Modern Physics Laboratory

PHYS 1426
Credits: 2

An introduction to the research laboratory environment.

PREQ: PHYS 0477 and PHYS 0525

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Hanna Salman 2014-2015SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1626: Modern Physics Laboratory - W Component

PHYS 1626
Credits: 1

This course is the W component option to Physics 1426.

PREQ: A declared major in Physics, Physics and Astronomy, or Astronomy

COREQ:PHYS 1426 or ASTRON 1263

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Hanna Salman 2014-2015SpringSyllabus: DL

PHYS 1661: Wave Motion and Optics - W Component

PHYS 1661
Credits: 1

This course is the W component option to Physics 1426.

PREQ: Declares major in Physics, Physics and Astronomy, or Astronomy

COREQ: PHYS 0520 or 1361

PHYS 1900: Internship

PHYS 1900

There are occasional opportunities for students to work (not necessarily for pay) in a nonacademic position that has academic value.

PREQ: Departmental Consent

PHYS 1901: Independent Study

PHYS 1901

An opportunity for qualified students to work independently, but with guidance from a sponsoring faculty member.

PREQ: Departmental Consent

PHYS 1902: Directed Reading

PHYS 1902

An opportunity for qualified students to pursue a course of study outside of the classroom, under faculty supervision.

PREQ: Departmental Consent

PHYS 1903: Directed Research

PHYS 1903

An opportunity for qualified students to pursue research under faculty supervision.

PREQ: Departmental Consent

PHYS 1904: Experiences in Undergraduate Teaching

PHYS 1904
Credits: 2

A program to allow qualified juniors and seniors to assist in the teaching of one of the physics introductory lecture courses. Details of the student's responsibility must be worked out with the physics faculty member in whose course the student will be assisting.

 

ASTRON 0086: Observational Astronomy

Astron 0086
Credits: 3

This course is for students who have a desire to become familiar with the nature and motions of celestial objects in the night sky and techniques to observe them. Each week students meet for two 50 minute lectures on campus and one evening session at Allegheny Observatory. Transportation to the Allegheny Observatory is provided by the University during the Fall and Spring terms. The course will be given at a level suitable for both science and non-science majors who want to learn how to use a telescope and enjoy observational and practical astronomy. The course will make use of existing Observatory facilities. The activities will focus on:

  1. Practical astronomy from the standpoint of understanding the motions of objects in the sky (including constellations versus celestial coordinate systems)
  2. Telescopes and their use
  3. Observational astronomy using a digital CCD camera
  4. The nature of astronomical objects which are observable with the unaided eye or a small telescope.
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
John W. Stein 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 0087: Basics of Space Flight

Astron 0087
Credits: 3

This is a self-contained course for students not majoring in the physical sciences. Topics covered include overview of the solar system, gravitation and mechanics, the history of space flight, rocket propulsion, the Moon landings, interplanetary trajectories and planetary orbits, light, remote sensing, interstellar space travel and life in the universe. Specific examples of planetary space missions and their scientific instruments, goals and results will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be placed on current missions. At the end of the course the students will have a deeper understanding of space flight, its difficulties, and its inherent dangers. The lectures are based, in part, on a NASA WWW document available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/. It is supplemented by additional WWW material, and notes and material from the instructor. This course fulfills the Physical Science course requirement for School of Arts and Sciences students.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Regina E Schulte-Ladbeck 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 0088: Stonehenge to Hubble

Astron 0088
Credits: 3

This is a self-contained course for students not majoring in the physical sciences. Lectures focus on practical astronomy and provide a historical perspective of our place in the Universe. Phenomena that can be readily observed with the unaided eye or a small telescope are discussed. The historical perspective starts with the earliest views, and discusses scientific discovery as a process leading up to the modern idea of the expanding Universe of galaxies. Part of this course includes the requirement of one evening "field trip" to the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory. The purpose of these trips will be to tour the facility and, if possible, make observation with a telescope. On any one evening only a small fraction of the class will make a trip, so it should be possible to accommodate the students' evening schedules. Nominally, the trips will take place on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Bus transportation from the Oakland campus to the Observatory will be provided. A small percentage of the course grade will be based on participation in these field trips.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Nero 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL
2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 0088: Stonehenge to Hubble

Astron 0088
Credits: 3

This course is a self-contained historical introduction to astronomy for students not majoring in the physical
sciences. Astronomy is a vast field of study, and it is impossible to even mention all of its major areas in a single
course, so ASTRON 0088 is very general and mostly descriptive in nature. Some of the lectures will make use of
simple arithmetic and geometry because astronomy is a quantitative science. My primary goals are to cultivate
an understanding of the scientific method and an appreciation for critical thought that students can apply well
beyond this course, to develop an interest in astronomy, and to have fun! The course aims to give an historical
perspective of astronomy, beginning with a discussion of the earliest views of the Universe and the role of astronomy
in primitive civilizations. The course proceeds with the development of our current understanding that we live on
a planet in one of many solar systems, on the edge of a galaxy that contains billions of stars, and is but one of a
hundred billion galaxies in the observable Universe. The underlying theme will be the process of scientific discovery
and advancement. Understanding the nature of scientific discovery remains critically important in the world of
today, especially because science is often misrepresented or described incorrectly in the media, popular literature,
and public debate.
 
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Carlos Badenes 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 0089: Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos

Astron 0089
Credits: 3

This is a self-contained course for students not majoring in the physical sciences. The Universe in which we live is a unimaginably vast and rich place that is understandable through the same physical laws that govern our existence here on Earth. By exploring topics from our nearest neighboring stars and their alien worlds to the farthest galaxies newly formed after the Big Bang, this course will engage your mind to better understand our Universe and your everyday world. Through active and engaged participatory lectures, we will observe the cosmos and learn about the birth, life, and death of stars and their mysterious remnants: pulsars and black holes. From studying stars and our own Milky Way Galaxy, we will expand our vision to cosmology and investigate the origin and ultimate fate of the Universe. Part of this course includes an evening field trip to the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory. A percentage of the course grade will be based on participation in these field trips. On any one evening only a small fraction of the class will make a trip, so it should be possible to accommodate students' evening schedules. The purpose of these trips will be to tour the facility and make observations of the night sky with a telescope.

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Tommy Nelson 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL
Tommy Nelson 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 0113: Introduction to Astronomy

Astron 0113
Credits: 3

An introduction to the study of the solar system, stars, galaxies, extragalactic objects and the universe at large. Prerequisite: none. This course is intended for students majoring in the natural sciences. Although calculus is not used in this course, algebra and trigonometry are used extensively. Students not majoring in the natural sciences and who are not comfortable with algebra and trigonometry are advised to take the Astronomy 0089 course instead.

PREQ: A "C" or better in one of the following MATH courses (MATH 0032 or 0100 or 0120 or 0125 or 0200 or 0220 or 0235)

 
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Carlos Badenes 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 1120: Stars, Stellar Structure and Stellar Evolution

Astron 1120
Credits: 3

A study of the properties, formation, structure, and evolution of stars. 

PREQ: ASTRON 0113 or 0413, MATH 0240 or 0245 and MATH 0290

COREQ: PHYS 0477
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
D. John Hillier 2013-2014FallSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 1121: Galaxies and Cosmology

Astron 1121
Credits: 3

A study of the nature of our Milky Way Galaxy, objects outside of our Galaxy and the structure of evolution of the universe.

 PREQ: ASTRON 0113 or 0413, MATH 0240 or 0245 and MATH 0290

COREQ: PHYS 0477
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Carlos Badenes 2015-2016SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 1122: Solar System and Exoplanets

Astron 1122
Credits: 3

This course will cover the nature and formation of planets and other non-stellar bodies in our own Solar System and in other stellar systems. Topics covered will include rocky planets, gas giants, moons, rock+ice planets, comets, asteroids, superearths, and exomoons.

PREQ: ASTRON 0113 or 0413, and PHYS 0111 or 0175, or 0476

 
ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
Arthur Kosowsky 2016-2017SpringSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 1263: Techniques of Astronomy

Astron 1263
Credits: 3

The topics covered include theoretical foundations of observational astronomy, designs of telescopes, instrumentation for telescopes, data acquisition and management, as well as practical problems in observational astronomy.

PREQ: ASTRON 0113, PHYS 0175 and PHYS 0219

ProfessorCourse YearCourse SemesterDownload
David Turnshek 2016-2017FallSyllabus: DL

ASTRON 1900: Internship

Astron 1900

There are occasional opportunities for students to work (not necessarily for pay) in a nonacademic position that has academic value. Credits are variable.

PREQ: Departmental Consent

ASTRON 1901: Independent Study

Astron 1901

An opportunity for qualified students to work independently, but with guidance from a sponsoring faculty member.

ASTRON 1902: Directed Reading

Astron 1902

An opportunity for qualified students to pursue a course of study outside of the classroom, under faculty supervision.

ASTRON 1903: Directed Research

Astron 1903

An opportunity for qualified students to pursue research under faculty supervision.