Fall wait-list policies for PHYS 131 and 132

Summary

There’s a lot of information below, which you should read, but if you’re in a hurry, here’s the quick summary. If your desired section(s) of PHYS 131 or 132 are full when your registration slot comes, sign up for the wait-lists by filling out the forms at these sites:

You may not sign up for the wait-list until after your registration time has begun.

 

 Details

Registration for Fall 2017 classes is about to start. The physics department is offering four sections of PHYS 131 and one section of PHYS 132. As in the past, some seats in these courses will be reserved for students in each year. To be specific, the seating limits on each section will be

  • 6 students during senior registration,
  • 12 students during junior registration,
  • 16 students during sophomore registration,
  • 24 students during first-year registration.

The reason for this is that prospective physics majors need to be able to take these courses early, so we can’t let all the seats be taken by juniors and seniors.

As in past semesters, we will have wait-lists for these courses. If all the sections that fit your schedule are full when your registration time comes, you can sign up for the wait-list. (Do continue to try to add the sections you want for as long as your registration window is open. If a seat opens up, we can’t stop somebody else from beating you to it.) Then, after first-year registration is complete, any available seats will be filled off the wait-lists.

The rest of this post contains details about the wait-list policies. (They’re the same as last semester.) At the very bottom, you will find links to sign up for the wait-lists (but note that you can’t sign up until your registration time has arrived).

PHYS 131-132 Wait-list policies

  1. A student may only sign up for the wait-list after that student’s registration time has begun.
  2. A student who is enrolled in one section of the course may not sign up for the wait-list for other sections.
  3. The student must provide name, email address, ID number, registration group (e.g., “rising junior scholar / athlete” or “rising sophomore”), and desired section(s) of the course. “Rising sophomore” means that you will be a sophomore in the coming semester. For PHYS 131, please check all sections that will fit your schedule. For PHYS 132, there is only one section, so you don’t have to provide the section.
  4. Students will be admitted off the wait-list beginning at the end of the registration period for incoming first-year students.
  5. Students will be offered admission off the wait-list in the order they signed up. To be specific,
    • If any seats are available in any sections listed by the first student on the list, then that student will be offered a seat in one of those sections.
    • If a student has listed multiple sections, and seats are available in more than one section, then the chair will choose which section to offer the student.
    • The same procedure will be applied to each student in order.
  6. When a student becomes eligible to be admitted off the wait-list, the chair of the physics department will notify him or her by email. The student will have 12 hours to accept this invitation by replying to the email. If the student does not reply within that time, he or she will be dropped from the wait-list, and the next eligible student will be admitted.

If you have any questions, ask Ted Bunn, the physics department chair.

Once again, here’s where you go to sign up for the wait-lists:

Wait-lists for PHYS 131 and PHYS 132

Update, 8/23/2016:  As of 5pm today, all 131-132 wait-lists will be closed.  All 131-132 sections will be re-opened as first-come, first-serve for adding and dropping on Bannerweb.

Registration for Fall 2016 classes will begin soon. The physics department will be offering four sections of PHYS 131 and one section of PHYS 132. As in the past, some seats in these courses will be reserved for students in each year. To be specific, the seating limits on each section will be

  • 6 students during senior registration,
  • 12 students during junior registration,
  • 18 students during sophomore registration,
  • 24 students during first-year registration.

The reason for this is that prospective physics majors need to be able to take these courses early, so we can’t let all the seats be taken by juniors and seniors.

As we did last semester, we will have wait-lists for these courses. If all the sections that fit your schedule are full when your registration time comes, you can sign up for the wait-list. (Do continue to try to add the sections you want for as long as your registration window is open.  If a seat opens up, we can’t stop somebody else from beating you to it.)  Then, after first-year registration is complete, any available seats will be filled off the wait-lists.

The rest of this post contains details about the wait-list policies. (They’re the same as last semester.) At the very bottom, you will find links to sign up for the wait-lists (but note that you can’t sign up until your registration time has arrived).

 

 

PHYS 131-132 Wait-list policies

  1. A student may only sign up for the wait-list after that student’s registration time has begun.
  2. A student who is enrolled in one section of the course may not sign up for the wait-list for other sections.
  3. The student must provide name, email address, ID number, registration group (e.g., “rising junior scholar / athlete” or “rising sophomore”), and desired section(s) of the course. “Rising sophomore” means that you will be a sophomore in the coming semester. For PHYS 132, there is only one section, so you don’t have to provide the section.
  4. Students will be admitted off the wait-list beginning at the end of the registration period for first-year students.
  5. Students will be offered admission off the wait-list in the order they signed up. To be specific,
    • If any seats are available in any sections listed by the first student on the list, then that student will be offered a seat in one of those sections.
    • If a student has listed multiple sections, and seats are available in more than one section, then the chair will choose which section to offer the student.
    • The same procedure will be applied to each student in order.
  6. When a student becomes eligible to be admitted off the wait-list, the chair of the physics department will notify him or her by email. The student will have 12 hours to accept this invitation by replying to the email. If the student does not reply within that time, he or she will be dropped from the wait-list, and the next eligible student will be admitted.

If you have any questions, ask Matt Trawick, the physics department chair.

Here’s where you go to sign up for the wait-lists for PHYS 131 and PHYS 132.

Wait-lists for PHYS 131 and 132

Registration for Spring 2016 classes will begin soon. The physics department will be offering two sections of PHYS 131 and four sections of PHYS 132. As in the past, some seats in these courses will be reserved for students in each year. To be specific, the seating limits on each section will be

  • 6 students during senior registration,
  • 12 students during junior registration,
  • 18 students during sophomore registration,
  • 24 students during first-year registration.

The reason for this is that prospective physics majors need to be able to take these courses early, so we can’t let all the seats be taken by juniors and seniors.

This semester, for the first time, we will have formal wait-lists for these courses. If all the sections that fit your schedule are full when your registration time comes, you can sign up for the wait-list. Then, after first-year registration is complete, any available seats will be filled off the wait-lists.

The rest of this post contains details about the wait-list policies. At the very bottom, you will find links to sign up for the wait-lists (but note that you can’t sign up until your registration time has arrived).

 

PHYS 131-132 Wait-list policies

  1. A student may only sign up for the wait-list after that student’s registration time has begun.
  2. A student who is enrolled in one section of the course may not sign up for the wait-list for other sections.
  3. The student must provide name, email address, ID number, registration group (e.g., “junior scholar / athlete” or “sophomore”), and desired section(s) of the course.
  4. Students will be admitted off the wait-list beginning at the end of the registration period for first-year students.
  5. Students will be offered admission off the wait-list in the order they signed up. To be specific,
    • If any seats are available in any sections listed by the first student on the list, then that student will be offered a seat in one of those sections. If a student has listed multiple sections, and seats are available in more than one section, then the chair will choose which section to offer the student.
    • The same procedure will be applied to each student in order.
  6. When a student becomes eligible to be admitted off the wait-list, the chair of the physics department will notify him or her by email. The student will have 12 hours to accept this invitation by replying to the email. If the student does not reply within that time, he or she will be dropped from the wait-list, and the next eligible student will be admitted.

If you have any questions, ask Ted Bunn, the physics department chair.

Here’s where you go to sign up for the wait-lists for PHYS 131 and PHYS 132.

University of Richmond Observatory enters the 21st century

with a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

We’ll be posting announcements of public observing nights in both places, so if you want to know when things are going on at the telescope, follow us on Twitter and/or sign up to get notifications on Facebook. (If I’m not mistaken, to do the latter you want to go to the Facebook page and check the “Get Notifications” line under the Like button.)

Tell your friends!

 

Physics courses for entering students

We in the UR physics department are looking forward to welcoming the new members of the Class of 2016 in the fall. Here’s some information you might find helpful as you think about registering for fall courses.

If anything’s not clear, or if you have any questions about which course is for you, ask us!

Physics majors typically start with Physics 131 in the fall and either 132 or 134 in the spring.  There are four sections of physics 131 available this fall.  Physics 131 is mostly about mechanics but has some other topics as well.  It requires either that you’ve had some calculus or that you take Calc. 1 at the same time.

Pre-med students and students in other science majors also take Physics 131, and the course fulfills the science requirement for non-science majors, so even if you’re not sure what you’re majoring in, keep this course in mind.

Students with strong high school physics backgrounds can skip Physics 131 and start right away with Physics 132.  There is one section of this course offered in the fall. University policy says that you need a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics, or departmental permission, to skip Physics 131.  If you have a strong physics background but didn’t take the right AP exam, email us or talk to one of the physics faculty when you arrive in town to see if you should be in 132.  (This applies especially to international students, who aren’t part of the US AP system.)

If you think you might want to major in physics (even if you’re not sure), and you’re eligible to skip 131, we strongly urge you to sign up for Physics 132 in the fall.  Finishing the introductory physics sequence early will give you a lot more scheduling flexibility in future semesters (and remember that even if you end up majoring in another science, you may still need to take this course).

Students with very strong physics backgrounds (a 4 or a 5 on the Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism AP exam) are eligible to skip both semesters of the introductory sequence.  If you’re in that category, and you think you might want to study physics, the best courses for you are Physics 205 (Modern Physics) and/or Physics 301 (Mathematical Methods).  Once again, if you didn’t take the appropriate AP exam but think you might have the right background for this option, ask us.

For students who aren’t planning to major in a science, we offer Physics 125, a survey of conceptual physics.  This course fulfills the general-education science requirement, but it does not fulfill prerequisites for more advanced science courses.

Finally, I’ll point out that there’s one physics-related first-year seminar this fall:

Space is Big. This course will examine three occasions in the history of Western thought when the conception of the size of the Universe underwent large expansions: 1) The transition from an Earth-centered to Sun-centered view of the Universe, which led to an enormous increase in estimates of distances to stars, and hence in the scale of the known Universe; 2) The gradual understanding, in the early 20th century, of an expanding Universe filled with billions of galaxies; and 3) Contemporary ideas of the multiverse, according to which our observed environment is only a tiny fraction of all that exists. The most extreme and controversial versions of the multiverse hypothesis propose that the very laws of physics vary throughout the Universe, and that our observed patch may be quite atypical. In the course of examining the amount of space in the Universe, we will examine ideas about the nature of space, which also underwent major shifts during each of these periods.

Like all first-year seminars, this course is open to all first-year students, not just science majors. But I thought I’d mention it, because someone who’s read this far down into this post might be particularly interested in a topic like this.

Physics courses for new first-year students

It's time for incoming first-year students to register for classes for the fall semester.  We in the physics department are looking forward to meeting you all in the fall.

Here's some information about the physics courses available for new students.  If anything here isn't clear, or if you have any questions about which course is for you, ask us!

Physics majors typically start with Physics 131 in the fall and either 132 or 134 in the spring.  There are four sections of physics 131 available this fall.  Physics 131 is mostly about mechanics but has some other topics as well.  It requires either that you've had some calculus or that you take Calc. 1 at the same time.

Pre-med students and students in other science majors also take Physics 131, and the course fulfills the science requirement for non-science majors, so even if you're not sure what you're majoring in, keep this course in mind.

Students with strong high school physics backgrounds can skip Physics 131 and start right away with Physics 132.  There is one section of this course offered in the fall. University policy says that you need a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics, or departmental permission, to skip Physics 131.  If you have a strong physics background but didn't take the right AP exam, email us or talk to one of the physics faculty when you arrive in town to see if you should be in 132.  (This applies especially to international students, who aren't part of the US AP system.)

If you think you might want to major in physics (even if you're not sure), and you're eligible to skip 131, we strongly urge you to sign up for Physics 132 in the fall.  Finishing the introductory physics sequence early will give you a lot more scheduling flexibility in future semesters (and remember that even if you end up majoring in another science, you may still need to take this course).

Students with very strong physics backgrounds (a 4 or a 5 on the Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism AP exam) are eligible to skip both semesters of the introductory sequence.  If you're in that category, and you think you might want to study physics, the best courses for you are Physics 205 (Modern Physics) and/or Physics 301 (Mathematical Methods).  Once again, if you didn't take the appropriate AP exam but think you might have the right background for this option, ask us.

For students who aren't planning to major in a science, we offer Physics 125, a survey of conceptual physics.  This course fulfills the general-education science requirement, but it does not fulfill prerequisites for more advanced science courses.

Finally, I’ll point out that there’s one physics-related first-year seminar this year:

Space is Big. This course will examine three occasions in the history of Western thought when the conception of the size of the Universe underwent large expansions: 1) The transition from an Earth-centered to Sun-centered view of the Universe, which led to an enormous increase in estimates of distances to stars, and hence in the scale of the known Universe; 2) The gradual understanding, in the early 20th century, of an expanding Universe filled with billions of galaxies; and 3) Contemporary ideas of the multiverse, according to which our observed environment is only a tiny fraction of all that exists. The most extreme and controversial versions of the multiverse hypothesis propose that the very laws of physics vary throughout the Universe, and that our observed patch may be quite atypical. In the course of examining the amount of space in the Universe, we will examine ideas about the nature of space, which also underwent major shifts during each of these periods.

Like all first-year seminars, this course is open to all first-year students, not just science majors. But I thought I’d mention it, because someone who’s read this far down into this post might be particularly interested in a topic like this.

Change to fall 2011 schedule

UPDATE: We had to change it yet again! I’m sorry for all the confusion. The following should be really truly final.

We have had to move the meeting time of PHYS 132. It will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:00-11:45.

I’m sorry for the last-minute change. If you need to talk to me about scheduling issues, let me know.

Schedule of classes: Fall 2011

UPDATE: We had to make a number of changes to the fall schedule. The most important one for current and prospective physics majors is that we’re moving computational physics from fall to spring. In addition, instructors for some courses got shuffled around, and math methods moved from Tuesday-Thursday to Monday-Wednesday. Details below. Changes are marked in bold italics.

Here is our current plan for the schedule of physics courses for next fall. It may change, but probably not dramatically. Instructors’ names are listed in parentheses.

  • PHYS 125: Elements of Physics. MWF 9:00-11:00 (Serej).
  • PHYS 131: General Physics w/ Calc. I. Four sections:
    • MWF 9-11 (Nebel).
    • TTh 1:30-4:15 (Nebel).
    • MWF 1:30-3:30 (Lipan).
    • TTh 9-11:45 (Gilfoyle).
  • PHYS 132: General Physics w/ Calc. II. MWF 1:30-3:30 (Serej).
  • PHYS 205: Modern Physics. MWF 10:30-11:20 (Bunn).
  • PHYS 215: Cancelled for fall. Moved to spring.
  • PHYS 301: Mathematical Methods in Physics. MW 1:30-2:45 (Fetea).
  • PHYS 309: Quantum Mechanics I. TTh 3-4:15 (Lipan).
  • PHYS 397/398/497/498: Junior and Senior Seminar. W 4:30-5:30 (Beausang).
  • IQS (Physics portion taught by Dr. Fetea).
  • First-year seminar: “Space is Big.” MWF 3-3:50 (Bunn).

Let me know if you have questions about physics courses.

Spring 2011 physics courses

 CLARIFICATION: When I said that electronics is one of the ways of satisfying the experimental requirement, I should have been clearer.  The physics major requires Intermediate Lab, and one more experimental thing.  Electronics and research are the two ways to get that extra thing.  You still need Intermediate Lab.

Registration for spring semester’s not far off.  Here’s some potentially useful information for physics majors and minors.

First, here are the upper-level physics courses we expect to offer.  (There are the usual bunch of intro courses too.)

  • PHYS 216 (Electronics): MWF 1:30-3:30, Matt Trawick.
  • PHYS 221 (Intermediate Lab): TTh 1:30-4:15, Jerry Gilfoyle.
  • PHYS 303 (Classical Mechanics): TTh 10:30-11:45, Ovidiu Lipan.
  • PHYS 306 (Electricity & Magnetism II): MWF 10:30-11:20, Ted Bunn.
  • Junior-Senior seminar, W 4:30-5:30, Ted Bunn.

A couple of other items to note as you prepare to register:

  • Electronics will almost certainly not be offered during the following (2011-2012) academic year. Electronics is one of only two ways to satisfy the physics major’s experimental requirement, the other being research for credit with a faculty member.  (See clarification above: this is the post-intermediate-lab experimental requirement.  Intermediate lab is required too.)
  • E&M II will almost certainly not pass your way again any time soon.
  • The 2011-2012 schedule is not fixed yet, but we’re pretty certain to offer Modern, Math Methods, Computational, Stat. Mech., Intermediate Lab, and a new Systems Biology course.  Quantum 1 is also very likely, and with luck one more advanced course to be named later.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, ask me.

Physics courses for incoming students

It's time for incoming first-year students to register for classes for the fall semester.  We in the physics department are looking forward to meeting you all in the fall.

Here's some information about the physics courses available for new students.  If anything here isn't clear, or if you have any questions about which course is for you, ask us!

Physics majors typically start with Physics 131 in the fall and either 132 or 134 in the spring.  There are four sections of physics 131 available this fall.  Physics 131 is mostly about mechanics but has some other topics as well.  It requires either that you've had some calculus or that you take Calc. 1 at the same time.

Pre-med students and students in some other science majors also take this same sequence of courses, and the course fulfills the science requirement for non-science majors, so even if you're not sure what you're majoring in, keep this course in mind.

Students with strong high school physics backgrounds can skip Physics 131 and start right away with Physics 132.  There is one section of this course offered in the fall. University policy says that you need a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics AP test, or departmental permission, to get credit for Physics 131. If you got a 4 or 5 on the Physics B AP test, then you’re eligible for credit for physics 127-128.  This in principle allows you to go straight into physics 132, but if you’re thinking about a physics major we usually recommend taking 131 in this situation.

If you have a strong physics background but didn't take the right AP exam, email us or talk to one of the physics faculty when you arrive in town to see if you should be in 132.  This applies especially to international students, who aren't part of the US AP system.

If you think you might want to major in physics (even if you're not sure), and you're eligible to skip 131, we strongly urge you to sign up for Physics 132 in the fall.  Finishing the introductory physics sequence early will give you a lot more scheduling flexibility in future semesters (and remember that even if you end up majoring in another science or going pre-med, you may still need to take this course).

Students with very strong physics backgrounds (a 4 or a 5 on the Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism AP exam) are eligible to skip both semesters of the introductory sequence.  If you're in that category, and you think you might want to study physics, the best courses for you are Physics 205 (Modern Physics) and/or Physics 301 (Mathematical Methods).  Once again, if you didn't take the appropriate AP exam but think you might have the right background for this option, ask us.

For students who aren't planning to major in a science, we offer Physics 125, a survey of conceptual physics.  This course fulfills the general-education science requirement, but it does not fulfill prerequisites for more advanced science courses.  (Also, it’s full at the moment.)

New $160,000 supercomputer coming!

Two physics faculty members, Ted Bunn and Jerry Gilfoyle, have just been awarded a $160,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to buy a new supercomputing cluster for their research.  Ted and his students will use it to simulate new telescopes that are being designed for observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation.  Jerry and his students will use it for simulation and analysis of nuclear physics data from Jefferson Lab.

Both faculty members are excited about the new research directions that this will allow them to explore, and especially about the opportunity for students to be involved with research using cutting-edge supercomputing equipment.

Physics courses for new first-year students

It’s time for incoming first-year students to register for classes for the fall semester.  We in the physics department are looking forward to meeting you all in the fall.

Here’s some information about the physics courses available for new students.  If anything here isn’t clear, or if you have any questions about which course is for you, ask us!

Physics majors typically start with Physics 131 in the fall and either 132 or 134 in the spring.  There are four sections of physics 131 available this fall.  Physics 131 is mostly about mechanics but has some other topics as well.  It requires either that you’ve had some calculus or that you take Calc. 1 at the same time.

Pre-med students and students in other science majors also take this same sequence of courses, and the course fulfills the science requirement for non-science majors, so even if you’re not sure what you’re majoring in, keep this course in mind.

Students with strong high school physics backgrounds can skip Physics 131 and start right away with Physics 132.  There is one section of this course offered in the fall. University policy says that you need a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics, or departmental permission, to skip Physics 131.  If you have a strong physics background but didn’t take the right AP exam, email us or talk to one of the physics faculty when you arrive in town to see if you should be in 132.  (This applies especially to international students, who aren’t part of the US AP system.)

If you think you might want to major in physics (even if you’re not sure), and you’re eligible to skip 131, we strongly urge you to sign up for Physics 132 in the fall.  Finishing the introductory physics sequence early will give you a lot more scheduling flexibility in future semesters (and remember that even if you end up majoring in another science, you’ll still need to take this course).

Students with very strong physics backgrounds (a 4 or a 5 on the Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism AP exam) are eligible to skip both semesters of the introductory sequence.  If you’re in that category, and you think you might want to study physics, the best courses for you are Physics 205 (Modern Physics) and/or Physics 301 (Mathematical Methods).  Once again, if you didn’t take the appropriate AP exam but think you might have the right background for this option, ask us.

For students who aren’t planning to major in a science, we offer Physics 125, a survey of conceptual physics.  This course fulfills the general-education science requirement, but it does not fulfill prerequisites for more advanced science courses.

New telescope

Our department just took delivery of a new 14€³ telescope, to be used for classes, student projects, and public observing nights:

celestron14.JPG

As you can see, it's not in the  best possible observing location at the moment.  Plans are in motion to give it a permanent home on the roof of our building.

Thanks a lot to Dean Newcomb for buying us this!

Andrew Hearin, '03

UR Physics alumnus Andrew Hearin, ’03, went off to graduate school in mathematics, but before too long he saw the light and returned to physics.  He’s now a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh, and he just recently published a paper on a possible novel test of general relativity.  (That link is to a publicly-available preprint version of the paper.  Here’s the actual published version, but the link may not work unless you’re connecting from a university with a subscription to the journal.)

Evolution and entropy

Researchers tend to get very specialized, working mostly in just one area.  But every once in a while, it’s fun for a researcher to work on something completely different.  UR Professor Ted Bunn, who normally does astrophysics, just had an article accepted for publication that talks about biological evolution and its relationship to the laws of thermodynamics.

Believers in creationism and intelligent design sometimes say that Darwinian evolution is impossible, because it conflicts with the second law of thermodynamics.  The second law says, very roughly, that the total amount of disorder (or entropy) in the universe always increases, so, the creationists say, it’s impossible for the orderliness of life to arise spontaneously.  This argument is wrong — there’s no conflict between evolution and thermodynamics.  The point of this article is to explain exactly why it’s wrong.