Baker alumnus Elliott Harvey designs water slides. See why he believes he has the greatest job in the world, and how the skills he learned at Baker are being used daily at Splashtacular, Inc. View Video
See how Baker prepares students for success after graduation and what some of our recent science graduates are doing now. View Video
Baker science majors get more hands-on experience in one year than many students at larger universities get in their entire college careers.
Physics students are well prepared for summer internships in engineering, nuclear energy and technology fields. Students also participate in National Science Foundation research projects across the country.
Physics students are encouraged to conduct original research with a faculty member and present results at regional, national and even international conferences.
Small classes allow you to interact and connect with your professors
The new Ivan L. Boyd Center for Collaborative Science Education features state-of-the-art technology, extensive lab space and comfy spots for studying.
PC 125 - Introductory Physics I 4 hrs.
This course provides an algebra-based introduction to mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, and wave motion. Key concepts include forces and Newton’s laws of motion, Newton’s law of gravitation, energy and momentum, heat and temperature, and sound. These concepts are further explored in laboratory sessions. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: MA 145 (or equivalent).
PC 126 - Introductory Physics II 4 hrs.
This is a continuation of PC 125 providing and algebra-based introduction to electricity and magnetism. Topics covered include electric charge, current, and simple electrical circuits. Basic ideas in optics and the physics of the atom are also covered. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: PC 125.
PC 140 - Astronomy 3 hrs.
This course provides an overview of astronomical topics and is designed primarily for non-science majors. Topics include the birth, evolution, and death of stars; white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes; and galaxies and cosmology. Astronomy is a quantitative science and students are expected to solve numerical problems. Prerequisite: MA 145 or 221 or equivalent.
PC 141 - The Solar System 3 hrs.
This course provides an overview of the bodies of the solar system, the physical processes responsible for their observed properties, their interactions, and the formation of the sun, the earth, and the solar system as a whole. The course, designed primarily for non-science majors, aims to develop students’ understanding of the origin and nature of our corner of the universe, as well as an understanding of the methods used to uncover the properties of the bodies of the solar system. Prerequisite: MA 145 or 221 or equivalent.
PC 225 - General Physics I 4 hrs.
This course is a calculus-based introduction to classical mechanics. Key concepts include Newton’s laws of motion, Newton’s law of gravitation, conservation of energy and momentum, and rotational motion. These concepts are further explored in the laboratory sessions where basic data analysis techniques are also introduced. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite or co-requisite: MA 171.
PC 226 - General Physics II 4 hrs.
This is a continuation of PC 225 providing a calculus-based introduction to electricity and magnetism. Key concepts include electric force and charge, the electric field, Gauss’s law, the electrostatic potential, electrical energy, current, simple circuits, the magnetic force and field, Ampere’s law, and electromagnetic induction. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: PC 225. Prerequisite or co-requisite: MA 172.
PC 325 - General Physics III 4 hrs.
This course provides an introduction to geometric optics and modern physics. Topics include special relativity, the wave-particle duality of light and matter, Bohr’s model of the hydrogen atom, and the Schroedinger equation. These topics are motivated by a discussion of the failure of classical physics to explain certain phenomena such as the photoelectric effect. More sophisticated data analysis techniques than those discussed in PC 225 are presented. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: PC 226.
PC 332 - Electronics 4 hrs.
This course provides an introduction to electronics. Topics include DC and AC circuits, semiconductors, diodes, rectifiers, regulators, bi-polar transistors, field effect transistors, operational amplifiers, timers, logic gates, flip-flops, and many applications. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: PC 226.
PC 340 - Astrophysics 3 hrs.
This course provides a mathematical treatment of the properties of the universe and the bodies within it. Topics include the Big Bang model and the very early universe; primordial nucleosynthesis; cosmological models; the formation, structure, and evolution of the stars; the formation and evolution of galaxies; and the ultimate fate of the universe. Prerequisites: PC 225 and MA 271.
PC 359 - Mathematical Methods of Physical Science 3 hrs.
This course introduces students to mathematical techniques beyond those covered in MA 271 that are of fundamental importance in the physical sciences. Topics covered include the gradient, divergence, curl and del operators; line, surface, and volume integrals; and Fourier series. Prerequisite: MA 271 with a grade of C or better. (Cross-listed as MA 359.)
PC 361 - Thermodynamics 3 hrs.
This course concentrates on the properties of systems containing a large number of particles, primarily from a macroscopic perspective. Topics covered include equations of state, heat flow, the mechanical equivalent of heat, heat capacity, enthalpy, entropy, reversible and irreversible processes, and the Carnot cycle. Kinetic theory is also discussed. Prerequisites: CH 138 and MA 172 and PC 226.
PC 365 - Wave Motion and Optics 3 hrs.
This course extends the introductory discussions of oscillatory motion presented in PC 225 and optics presented in PC 325. Topics covered include the mathematics of wave motion, the superposition of waves, interference, diffraction, polarization, coherence, and Fourier optics. Prerequisite: PC 325.
PC 441 - Nuclear Physics 3 hrs.
This course is intended to familiarize the student with the basic concepts of nuclear physics, including measurement techniques and important applications. Nuclear structure is studied in the framework of models highlighting different properties of nuclei and the forces acting between nucleons. The course also covers some applications of nuclear physics techniques within medicine, materials analysis and dating, and energy production from nuclear fission and fusion. The course consists of three lectures and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: PC 325 and MA 372 or permission of instructor.
PC 460 - Elementary Particle Physics 3 hrs.
This course provides an introduction to the physics of elementary particles. Topics covered include a discussion of the historical background of the field; key experiments that underpin the current state of knowledge; conservation laws; the phenomenology of the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces; and particle lifetimes and cross sections and the Feynman diagrams used to depict them. Prerequisite: PC 325.
PC 470 - Advanced Electricity and Magnetism 3 hrs.
This courses represents a deeper and more sophisticated treatment of electricity and magnetism than that given in PC 226. Topics covered include electrostatics, electrical circuits, capacitance, dielectrics, magnetism, induction, displacement currents, and Maxwell’s equations. Prerequisites: PC 226 and MA 372.
PC 480 - Advanced Mechanics 3 hrs.
This course represents a deeper and more sophisticated treatment of classical mechanics than that given in PC 225. Coordinate systems other than the Cartesian system are used to analyze complex three-dimensional motion. Other important topics include damped harmonic motion, the analysis of motion in noninertial frames of reference, the stability of orbits, and the mathematical formulations of Lagrange and Hamilton. Prerequisite: PC 225 and MA 372.
PC 490 - Quantum Mechanics 3 hrs.
This course builds on the introductory discussion of quantum mechanics presented in PC 325. The course material includes an exploration of relevant concepts in classical mechanics and a review of the failure of classical physics to explain quantum phenomena. The postulates of quantum mechanics are used to motivate the mathematical framework for investigating quantum systems. Prerequisites: PC 325 and MA 372.
PC 491 - Senior Projects 1-3 hrs.
This course is the capstone course of the physics program and must be taken by all physics majors. For students intending to continue their studies at the graduate level, the course is used primarily as preparation for the physics GRE. Individual study programs for students with other career plans will be developed by the student and a supervising faculty member. Prerequisite: Senior standing in physics (junior standing for pre-engineering students).
PC 295, 495 - Special Topics in Physics 1-3 hrs.
The topics of this course will be determined by student needs and interests.
PC 499 - Independent Study 1-3 hrs.
Students who have demonstrated superior achievement in physics may enroll for independent study under the supervision of a consenting instructor. Prerequisite: Department chair approval.