Physics

  • Nadine Gergel-Hackett

    Mary Baldwin University offers a minor in Physics and a major in collaboration with our consortium school Washington & Lee University (W&L) in Lexington, Virginia.

    A student pursuing the major is required to have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 and have an average GPA for at least 3 physics courses taken at Mary Baldwin of at least 3.7 prior to registering for any courses at W&L. The student is also expected to provide her own transportation to W&L.

  • Requirements for the Major in Physics

    41 semester hours
    PHYS 201 General Physics I
    PHYS 202 General Physics II
    PHYS 207 Electrical Circuits
    PHYS 260 Introduction to Materials Science
    CHEM/PHYS 321 Physical Chemistry I
    Modern Physics*
    Optics*
    Electricity and Magnetism*
    Newtonian Mechanics*
    Quantum Mechanics*
    Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering*
    PHYS 400 and PHYS 401 Senior Research

    Additional courses required as prerequisites for completion of the above include:
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    MATH 301
    MATH 302
    MATH 306
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122

    *Courses offered at Washington & Lee University

    Requirements for the Minor in Physics

    18 semester hours
    PHYS 201
    PHYS 202
    PHYS 207
    PHYS/CHEM 260
    CHEM/PHYS 321

    Additional courses required as prerequisites for completion of the above include::
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122

    Note: Students may substitute Physics courses at Washington & Lee for PHYS 207, PHYS/CHEM 260 and CHEM/PHYS 321. Please see you advisor for more information.

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Courses throughout the physical science curriculum discuss the relevance of scientific principles to public policy and social issues.
    • Students are encouraged, particularly through the local chapter of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates and the national physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma, to engage local schools and organizations such as the Girl Scouts in hands-on experience with science and tutoring.
  • 100 Exploring the Physical World (3 s.h.) (N, Q)
    This is a course for students who like to learn by doing: hands-on activities linking core chemistry and physics principles to the real-world are emphasized. The objectives of the course are to give an appreciation of the process and content of physical science and to provide experience in learning by the inquiry method Cross listed as CHEM 100.  Fall yearly.

    201, 202 General Physics I, II (4 s.h. each) (N: 201 only)
    A foundation for further study in physics, biology, chemistry, and pre-medicine. Topics include the phenomena of classical mechanics, wave motion and sound, fluids, electricity, magnetism, and light, each developed from first principles, often historic discoveries. Equations for physical laws use algebra, trigonometry, plane geometry, and calculus, as appropriate. Laboratories provide direct familiarity with natural phenomena. Recommended background: high school physics. *Prerequisites: MATH 211–212, which may be taken concurrently. Yearly.

    207 Electrical Circuits (4 s.h.)
    This laboratory-based course covers basic introductory level circuits, including basic DC Circuits, Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s Rules, Resistance, Thevenin and Norton Equivalents, Op-Amps, digital circuits, and transient circuits.*Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and PHYS 202.  May term alternate years.

    260 Introduction to Materials Science (3 s.h.) (R). This course integrates the physics and chemistry of materials with an emphasis on the state-of-the-art in nanomaterials and nanotechnologies.    Topics include: crystalline structure, bonding in solids, band theory, defects, electricaland thermal properties of materials, and a project researching nanomaterials and/or nanotechnologies in the current scientific literature. Cross listed as CHEM 260. *Prerequisites: PHYS 202 and CHEM 122, which may be taken concurrently. Spring alternate years.

    270 Undergraduate Research (1–3 s.h.)
    Students do original research in accordance with ability and background under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students are expected to devote 4 hours per week to the project for every credit hour. A written report will be submitted to the department each semester of enrollment. Cannot be used to meet elective course requirements for a major or minor in physics. May be repeated for credit. Total research credit to be used toward an undergraduate degree not to exceed 6 hours. *Prerequisites: PHYS 202, consent of instructor and submission of a research contract to the department.

    321 Physical Chemistry I: Thermodynamics, Statistical Thermodynamics, and Kinetics (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see CHEM 321 in the Chemistry listing.

    370 Undergraduate Research (1–3 s.h.)
    Students do original research in accordance with ability and background under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students are expected to devote 4 hours per week to the project for every credit hour. A written report will be submitted to the department each semester of enrollment. Cannot be used to meet elective course requirements for a major or minor in physics. May be repeated for credit. Total research credit to be used toward an undergraduate degree not to exceed 6 hours. *Prerequisites: PHYS 202, PHYS 260, consent of instructor and submission of a research contract to the department.

    400, 401 Senior Research (2 s.h. each) (M: both 400 and 401)
    Seminar and independent research leading to the completion of a thesis required of majors in the senior year. The student, under supervision of faculty members, experiences research as it is carried out in practical situations and presents findings orally and in writing. Satisfactory completion of the research project and the oral defense of the thesis fulfill the senior requirement for physics majors.

    Note: Directed inquiries, teaching assistantships, and internships in physics are available on an individual basis.