Full Course Descriptions
Below you will find descriptions of most of the courses offered by our department. A few of our courses are offered in alternate years and may not appear on this list. For a complete list, see the Academic Calendar. Also, for information on selecting your courses and on which courses are expected to be offered in coming years, please see the links under “Help with Course Selection” on our Resources for Students page.
Syllabi can be accessed through the Syllabus Catalogue under the Academics tab on myTrent or by emailing physics@trentu.ca.
Please visit the Academic Timetable to see which courses are presently being offered and in which location(s). Not all courses listed below run every term or in all locations. For specific details about program requirements and degree regulations, please refer to the Academic Calendar.
Course Code | Description | Cross Listed With |
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PHYS-1001H | Introductory Physics I Topics include kinematics, dynamics, translational and rotational motion, fluids, elasticity, and thermal physics. Prerequisite: 4U Advanced Functions or equivalent, or permission of the department. Strongly recommended: 4U credits in Physics, and Calculus and Vectors. MATH 1110H, required for upper-level Physics courses, recommended to be taken concurrently with PHYS 1001H. Excludes PHYS 1000Y, PHYS-FRSC 1020H. | |
PHYS-1002H | Introductory Physics II Topics include electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetism, optics, and quantum physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 1001H or 1020H or permission of the department. MATH 1120H, required for upper-level Physics courses, recommended to be taken concurrently with PHYS 1002H. Excludes PHYS 1000Y, PHYS 1030H. | |
PHYS-1060H | Physics for the Life Sciences The application of basic physical concepts to biological systems. Topics include forces and motion, energy and metabolism, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. Recommended: 4U Math. Not for credit toward a major or minor in Physics. | BIOL-1060H |
PHYS-1510H | Introductory Astronomy I A general science course accessible to all students. Topics include sky phenomena, the history of astronomy, telescopes and detectors, and an exploration of the Solar System. Excludes PHYS 1500Y. Not for credit for a major or minor in Physics. | |
PHYS-1520H | Introductory Astronomy II A general science course accessible to all students. Topics include stars, their properties, structure, and evolution, white dwarfs, novae and supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, and cosmology. Prerequisite: PHYS 1510H. Excludes PHYS 1500Y. Not for credit toward a major or minor in Physics. |
Course Code | Description | Cross Listed With |
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PHYS-2091H | Light and Colour for Future Teachers Light & Colour An experiential learning course designed for future elementary school teachers. Topics include image formation, colour perception, reflection, refraction, shadows, and printing. Emphasis is placed on student learning through collaborative experiments and construction of conceptual models. Registration preference is given to students in education programs, but students in other programs are also welcome. Can be taken either before or after PHYS-EDUC 2093H. Does not satisfy the science requirement for a science degree. Not open to students enrolled in or with credit for PHYS 1001H, 1002H, 1020H, or 1060H, except by permission of the instructor. Excludes PHYS 2090Y. | EDUC-2091H |
PHYS-2150H | Ordinary Differential Equations First order equations; qualitative and numerical methods. Second order linear equations. Linear systems. Applications to physical and biological models. Laplace transforms. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in MATH 1120H or 1100Y or 1101Y. Recommended: MATH 1350H. | MATH-2150H |
PHYS-2310H | Computational Physics Use of computational methods to solve a range of problems in physics that are not accessible to analytical treatment. Typical topics include the motion of real projectiles, planetary motion and chaos, electric fields, waves, and random systems. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in PHYS 1002H (or 1000Y) and in MATH 1120H (or 1100Y or 1101Y), or permission of the department. | COIS-2310H |
PHYS-2610H | Introductory Quantum Physics Special relativity, particle-like aspects of radiation, atomic structure, wave-like properties of matter, Schrodinger equation and applications to onedimensional systems. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in PHYS 1002H (or 1000Y) and in MATH 1120H (or 1100Y or 1101Y), or permission of the department. Pre- or co-requisite: PHYS-MATH 2150H. | |
PHYS-2620H | Atomic Molecular Nuclear Physics Quantum mechanics of one-electron atoms, magnetic dipole moments and spin, transitions and selection rules, identical particles, excited states of atoms, molecules, nuclear and particle physics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2610H, PHYS-MATH 2150H, and MATH 2110H. | |
PHYS-2700H | Thermal Physics The laws of thermodynamics and their applications, thermodynamic potentials, kinetic theory of gases, introduction to statistical thermodynamics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2610H and MATH 2110H. |
Course Code | Description | Cross Listed With |
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PHYS-3130H | Classical Mechanics Classical mechanics of particles in three dimensions. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, motion in non-inertial reference frames, gravity, and central forces. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in PHYS 1002H (or 1000Y) and in MATH 1120H (or 1100Y or 1101Y), or permission of the department. Pre- or co-requisite: MATH 2110H and 2150H. | MATH-3130H |
PHYS-3150H | Partial Differential Equations The heat equation, wave equation, telegraph equation, Laplace equation, Poisson equation and Schrodinger equation, in one, two, and three dimensions, in Cartesian, Polar, and/or Spherical coordinates. Physical interpretations. Properties of harmonic functions. Classification of PDEs. Fourier theory: uniform, pointwise, and L2 convergence. Initial/boundary value problems: existence and uniqueness of solutions. Solutions to I/BVPs using orthogonal eigenfunction expansions. Solutions to I/BVPs using convolutional transforms. Prerequisite: MATH 2110H and 2150H. Strongly recommended: MATH 1350H. | MATH-3150H |
PHYS-3160H | Methods of Applied Mathematics Differential equations in applied mathematics, including Bessel, Legendre, hypergeometric, Laguerre, Hermite, Chebyshev, etc. Series and numerical solutions. Properties of the special functions arising from these equations. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in MATH-PHYS 2150H. Recommended: MATH 2200H. | MATH-3160H |
PHYS-3200Y | Electricity & Magnetism Electrostatics, magnetostatics, electric and magnetic properties of matter, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic wave propagation. Prerequisite: 60% or higher in PHYS 1002H or permission of the department; PHYS-MATH 2150H, MATH 2110H, and 2120H. | COIS-3200Y |
PHYS-3510H | Astrobiology: Life in the Universe An examination of the prospects for extraterrestrial life, based primarily on material from astronomy, biology, and planetary science. Topics include the origin and evolution of life on Earth, extremophiles, the habitability of Mars and Jovian moons, the nature and habitability of exoplanets, SETI, the Drake equation, and the Fermi paradox. Prerequisite: 5.0 university credits including two of BIOL 1020H, BIOL 1030H, PHYS 1510H, PHYS 1520H. Excludes PHYS 2510H. Not for credit toward a major or minor in Physics. | BIOL-3510H |
PHYS-3610H | Foundations of Quantum Mechanics An introduction to the foundations of quantum mechanics. Topics include the postulates of quantum mechanics, Hilbert spaces, Dirac notation, one dimensional problems, matrix representations of quantum mechanics, unitary transformations. Prerequisite: PHYS 2620H and PHYS-MATH 2150H. Recommended: MATH 2350H. Excludes PHYS 4600Y. |
Course Code | Description | Cross Listed With |
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PHYS-4000Y | Project Course An experimental or theoretical project on some topic of advanced physics. Projects are selected in consultation with Physics & Astronomy faculty. Students must obtain approval for the project. Contact the department office for an application form. A cumulative average of at least 77% in all PHYS and MATH credits will normally be required. Students may take only one of PHYS 4000Y or 4010H for credit. | |
PHYS-4050H | Advanced Laboratory Instructs students in techniques commonly found within research laboratories and industrial workplaces, such as principal component analysis, microcontroller programming, analysis of control systems, and interferometry. Pre- or co-requisite: PHYS-COIS 2250H. | |
PHYS-4140H | Advanced Classical Mechanics Classical mechanics of particles, rigid bodies, and continuous media. Topics include Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, systems of particles, motion of rigid bodies, and oscillating systems. Prerequisite: MATH 2110H 2150H , and PHYS-MATH 3130H. Excludes PHYS-MATH 3140H. | MATH-4140H |
PHYS-4220H | Electromagnetic Theory Maxwell's equations, the interactions of electromagnetic fields with matter, the relativistic formulation of electromagnetism and its applications. Prerequisite: PHYS-COIS 3200Y (3210) and PHYSMATH 3150H. | |
PHYS-4310H | Condensed Matter Physics Crystallography, crystal binding, lattice vibrations and thermal properties of solids, band theory, electron transport, semiconductors, magnetism. Prerequisite: PHYS 2700H and 2620H. Pre- or co-requisite: PHYSCOIS 3200Y (3210) and PHYS-MATH 3150H. | |
PHYS-4610H | Advanced Quantum Mechanics Advanced topics in quantum mechanics. Spherically symmetric potentials, theory of angular momentum, perturbation theory, selected special topics. Prerequisite: PHYS 3610H and MATH 3150H. Recommended: MATH 2350H. Excludes PHYS 4600Y. | |
PHYS-4700H | Statistical & Thermal Physics The statistical meaning of entropy and temperature; microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical ensembles; derivation of distributions for distinguishable and indistinguishable particles and applications; additional topics may include advanced methods in classical statistical mechanics, an introduction to phase transitions, and cryogenics. Prerequisite: PHYS 2620H, 2700H, and MATH 2110H. Pre- or co-requisite: PHYS-MATH 3150H. |