Teaching

PHYS101: General Physics I

Prerequisite, MATH 110. PHYS 101 along with its associated laboratory supplement 101L is a calculus-based introductory course in physics that focuses on the core principles of classical mechanics. Students will learn how to abstract and apply natural laws to new situations, with an emphasis on developing broadly applicable critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Topics include kinematics (describing motion), symmetry and conservation laws (momentum, energy, angular momentum), special relativity, and fundamental forces. (Offered spring semester.) 3 credits.

PHYS107: General Physics for the Life Sciences I

Prerequisite, MATH 110. Students study mechanics, and thermodynamics. Students will learn how physics principles apply to the workings of living organisms and standard diagnostic tools used in life science. This course is intended to fill the physics requirement for life science majors and pre-medical preparation. This course includes a lecture and required laboratory component held at different times. (Offered fall and spring semesters.) 4 credits.

Solar Decathlon
Students Alexa Zeiger and Maggie Gallardo at the Orange County Solar Decathlon, Fall 2015. Schmid college students and faculty went to show support of our local team's entry.

PHYS220: Scientific Computation I

Prerequisites, CPSC 230, 231. This example-driven course introduces computation as a tool for scientific exploration. Topics include manuscript preparation with LaTeX and Jupyter, test-driven development, numerical methods with arrays/dataframes, and symbolic computation. Modern languages like Python, MATLAB, Sage, and Julia are emphasized. (Offered fall semester.) 3 credits.

Reference: A Primer on Scientific Programming with Python, 4th Edition,
Hans Petter Langtangen, Springer, 2014.

Driven Sombrero Potential Poincare Slice
[Image courtesy of student Michael Seaman, Spring 2016.] Evolving Poincare section of the phase space for a driven nonlinear oscillator in a sombrero potential.

PHYS321: Mechanics II

Prerequisite, PHYS320. This example-driven course continues where PHYS320 ended. Students will learn Hamilton's action extremization principle, conservation principles via Noether's theorem, Lagrangian mechanics, Hamiltonian mechanics, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, and special relativity. Problem solving and physical reasoning skills will be emphasized. 3 credits.

PHYS340: Quantum Information Science

Prerequisites, MATH 211, CPSC 230. This multi-disciplinary course introduces the study of finite-dimensional collections of quantum bits. Using the circuit model of quantum computation, the course illustrates concrete algorithms that show an advantage over classical methods, including those discovered by Deutch-Josza, Simon, Grover, and Shor, along with basic error correction. (Offered spring semester.) 3 credits.

PHYS451: Quantum Mechanics I

Prerequisites, PHYS250, 320. Students study the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, its historical development, and its application. By the conclusion of the course, students should understand the basic principles of quantum mechanics and the limits they place on experimental precision. Students should also be able to apply quantum mechanics to solve simple problems including: free and bound eigenstates of Schrödinger's equation, double slit diffraction of particles, the spectrum and wave functions of bound states of an infinite potential well, a finite potential well, and a one dimensional harmonic oscillator. (Offered fall semester.) 3 credits.

CS510: Computing for Scientists

CS 510 is a graduate-level course intended to introduce modern computing tools and techniques to science-oriented students from diverse backgrounds. Assuming little prior knowledge, students will become proficient with a powerful set of inter-operable tools that are suitable for problem-oriented and data-intensive applications now common in modern science. While emphasizing the central role of data (structuring, processing, and visualization), students will use industry-best software development practices to develop efficient implementations and visualizations of numerical solutions to scientific problems. Students will be expected to complete programming assignments in freely available languages such as Python, Julia, C, and C++ (Offered fall semester.) 3 credits.

Julia Set Mandelbrot Set
(top) Julia set visualization in the complex plane. [Image courtesy of student Sidy Danioko, Fall 2015.] (bottom) Mandelbrot set visualization, zoomed into a region of the complex plane. [Image courtesy of student Ismael de Paiva, Fall 2015.]