Physics
Department Office
Darwin Hall 125
707 6642119
www.physastro.sonoma.edu
Department Chair
Joseph S. TennAdministrative Coordinator
Gayle Walker
Faculty
Lynn R. Cominsky, Enrique W. Izaguirre, *John R. Dunning Jr.,
Saeid Rahimi, Gordon G. Spear, Joseph S. Tenn, Brock L. Weiss
*Faculty Early Retirement Program
Programs offered
Bachelor of Science in Physics
Bachelor of Arts in Physics
Minor in Physics
Teaching Credential Preparation
Those engaged in the discipline of physics have as their goal the discovery, elucidation and application of the laws that govern the interactions of matter throughout the physical universe. In its most abstract form, physics is a search for the forces of nature and the source of the presently known fundamental forces of gravitation, electricity and magnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear interactions, and for the elementary particles from which all matter is formed. Physics provides a description of complicated phenomena in terms of a few basic principles and laws.
Physicists also use their knowledge of fundamental principles to solve more concrete problems. Problems in understanding and utilizing the properties of semiconductors, metals and ceramics; in the theory, design and applications of lasers; in applications of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter; and in the theory and design of modern electronic instrumentation, among many others, are amenable to solution using the techniques of physics. Such topics, usually described as ?applied physics,? often overlap with engineering. Indeed, many of the department?s graduates are currently employed in engineering positions.
The department offers a traditional, mathematically rigorous program leading to a B.S. in physics; a newly revised, rigorous, more applied curriculum leading to a B.S. in physics with a concentration in applied physics with areas of study in applied optics, applied nuclear physics and applied electronics and devices; and a very flexible B.A. program with two advisory plans. All programs stress fundamental concepts and techniques, and offer an unusually rich laboratory experience and intensive use of computers.
With the selection of appropriate courses, students can learn to use such instruments and techniques as optical timedomain reflectometry, solid state and tunable dye lasers, an argon laser with computerized Raman spectroscopy detector, fiberoptic instrumentation, neutron activation analysis with gamma radiation spectroscopy, xray diffraction and xray fluorescence, and chargecoupled device (CCD) imagery and analysis with observatory telescopes.
A substantial program in undergraduate astronomy includes many courses, listed in this catalog under ?Astronomy,? which may be included in the two degree programs.
Bachelor of Science in Physics
The B.S. program is a thorough introduction to the principles of physics, providing a strong foundation for graduate study or industrial research. It is also intended for those students who wish to prepare for interdisciplinary studies on the graduate level in fields such as astronomy, atmospheric science, biophysics, environmental science, geophysics and physical oceanography.
Degree Requirements  units 
General education  51 
Major requirements (may include 5 units in GE)  46 
Supporting courses (may include 4 units in GE)  26 
Electives  110 
Total units needed for graduation  124 
PHYS 114 Introduction to Physics I (may be applied to GE)  4 
PHYS 116 Introductory Laboratory Experience (may be applied to GE)  1 
PHYS 214 Introduction to Physics II  4 
PHYS 216 Introductory Laboratory  1 
PHYS 313 Analog and Digital Electronics  3 
PHYS 313L Analog and Digital Electronics Laboratory  1 
PHYS 314 Introduction to Physics III  4 
PHYS 316 Introductory Quantum Laboratory  1 
PHYS 320 Analytical Mechanics  3 
PHYS 325 Introduction to Mathematical Physics  3 
PHYS 340 Light and Optics  3 
PHYS 381 Computer Applications for Scientists  2 
PHYS 430 Electricity and Magnetism  3 
PHYS 450 Statistical Physics  2 
PHYS 460 Quantum Physics  3 
Total units in the major core  38 
Major Electives (Advanced)
To complete the major, select 8 units from the list below. At least two of the courses chosen must be laboratory classes.ASTR 380 Astrophysics: Stars (3)
ASTR 482 Advanced Observational Astronomy (2)
ASTR 495 Special Studies (14)
PHYS 333 Precision Machining for Experimental Physics (1)
PHYS 384 XRay Analysis (2)
PHYS 413 Advanced Electronics (3)
PHYS 413L Advanced Electronics Laboratory (1)
PHYS 445 Photonics (3)
PHYS 447 Lasers and Holography Laboratory (1)
PHYS 449 Fiber Optics and Detectors Laboratory (1)
PHYS 475 Physics of Semiconductor Devices (3)
PHYS 481 Applied Nuclear Chemistry and Physics (2)
PHYS 482 Applied Nuclear Chemistry and Physics Laboratory (2)
PHYS 493 Senior Design Project (2)
PHYS 494 Physics Seminar (1)
PHYS 495 Special Studies (14)
PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research in Physics (3) (No more than 4 units total in ASTR 495 and PHYS 494, 495 and 497 may be used to fulfill this requirement. Certain selectedtopics courses, ASTR or PHYS 396, may be approved by the advisor.)
Total units in the advanced electives: 8 Required Supporting Courses
MATH 161 Calculus I (3 units may be applied in GE)  4 
MATH 211 Calculus II  4 
MATH 241 Calculus III  4 
MATH 261 Calculus IV  4 
CHEM 115AB,116AB General Chemistry (1 unit may be applied in GE)  10 
Total units in supporting courses  26 
Total units in the major  72 
Sample FourYear Program for Bachelor of Science in Physics
The sequential nature of the physics curriculum necessitates an early start with major requirements and the distribution of general education courses over four years.Freshman Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
CHEM 115A (4)  CHEM 115B (4) 
CHEM 116A (1)  CHEM 116B (1) 
MATH 161 (4)  MATH 211 (4) 
ENGL 101 (3) (GE A2)  PHYS 114 (4) 
Elective (2)  PHYS 116 (1) 
PHYS 494 (1) (Recommended)  Elective (2) 
Sophomore Year: 32 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (17 units) 
MATH 261 (4)  MATH 241 (4) 
PHYS 214 (4)  PHYS 314 (4) 
PHYS 216 (1)  PHYS 316 (1) 
GE (3)  PHYS 381 (2) 
GE (3)  GE (3), GE (3) 
Junior Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (16 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
PHYS 313, 313L (4)  PHYS 340 (3) or 430 (3) 
PHYS 325 (3)  PHYS 320 (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3), GE (3)  GE (3), Physics Elective (3) 
Senior Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (14 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
PHYS 450 (2)  PHYS 340 (3) or 430 (3) 
PHYS 460 (3)  Physics Elective (2) 
Physics Elective (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  Electives (5) 
Total semester units:  124 
See your advisor to discuss acceptable physics electives and when they will be offered. Nine of the 51 units of GE are met by required courses listed here (3 each in areas B1, B3 and B4).
Applied Physics Concentration
Students may earn a B.S. with an applied physics concentration.Degree Requirements  units 
General education  51 
Major requirements (may include 5 in G.E.)  48 
Supporting courses (may include 4 in G.E.)  17 
Electives  817 
Total units needed for graduation  124 
Major Core Requirements
PHYS 114 Introduction to Physics I (GE)  4 
PHYS 116 Introductory Laboratory Experience (GE)  1 
PHYS 214 Introduction to Physics II  4 
PHYS 216 Introductory Laboratory  1 
PHYS 313 Analog and Digital Electronics  3 
PHYS 313L Analog and Digital Electronics Laboratory  1 
PHYS 314 Introduction to Physics III  4 
PHYS 316 Introductory Quantum Laboratory  1 
PHYS 325 Introduction to Mathematical Physics  3 
PHYS 340 Light and Optics  3 
PHYS 381 Computer Applications for Scientists  2 
PHYS 384 XRay Analysis  2 
PHYS 430 Electricity and Magnetism  3 
PHYS 450 Statistical Physics  2 
PHYS 460 Quantum Physics  3 
PHYS 475 Physics of Semiconductor Devices  3 
Choose 2 units from the following:  2 
PHYS 411 Lab Practicum (1)
ASTR 411 Lab Practicum (1) PHYS 493 Senior Design Project (2) PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research in Physics (2) PHYS 411 Lab Practicum (1) ASTR 411 Lab Practicum (1) PHYS 493 Senior Design Project (2) PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research in Physics (2) 

Total units in the major core  42 
Major Electives (Advanced)
Choose 6 units. No more than 1 unit in ASTR 495 and PHYS 494, 495 and 497 may be used to fulfill this requirement.ASTR 411 Laboratory Instruction Practicum (1)
ASTR 482 Advanced Observational Astronomy (2)
ASTR 495 Special Studies (14)
PHYS 320 Analytical Mechanics (3)
PHYS 384 XRay Analysis (2)
PHYS 411 Laboratory Practicum (1)
PHYS 413 Advanced Electronics (3)
PHYS 413L Advanced Electronics Laboratory (1)
PHYS 445 Photonics (3)
PHYS 447 Lasers and Holography Laboratory (1)
PHYS 449 Fiber Optics and Detectors Lab (1)
PHYS 481 Applied Nuclear Chemistry and Physics (2)
PHYS 482 Applied Nuclear Chemistry and Physics Laboratory (2)
PHYS 493 Senior Design Project (2)
PHYS 494 Physics Seminar (1)
PHYS 495 Special Studies (14)
PHYS 497 Undergraduate Research in Physics (2)
Total units in the major electives: 6
Required Supporting Courses
MATH 161 Calculus I (3 units may be applied in GE)  4 
MATH 211 Calculus II  4 
MATH 261 Calculus III  4 
CHEM 115A, 116A General Chemistry (1 unit may be applied in GE)  5 
Total units in supporting courses  17 
Total units in the major  65 
Sample FourYear Program for Bachelor of Science in Physics
Applied Physics Concentration
The sequential nature of the physics curriculum necessitates an early start with major requirements and the distribution of general education courses over four years. Physics electives must include 5 or 6 units in one of the application specializations.Freshman Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
CHEM 115A (4)  MATH 211 (4) 
CHEM 116A (1)  PHYS 114 (4) 
MATH 161 (4)  PHYS 116 (1) 
ENGL 101 (3) (GE A2)  GE (3) 
Elective (2)  GE (3) 
PHYS 494 (1) (recommended) 
Sophomore Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
MATH 261 (4)  PHYS 314 (4) 
PHYS 214 (4)  PHYS 316 (1) 
PHYS 216 (1)  PHYS 381 (2) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3) 
Junior Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
PHYS 313, 313L (4)  PHYS 340 (3) or PHYS 430 (3) 
PHYS 325 (3)  Physics Elective (3), GE (3) 
PHYS 384 (2)  GE (3), Elective (4) 
GE (3), Elective (3) 
Senior Year: 32 units
Fall Semester (16 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
PHYS 450 (2)  PHYS 340 (3) or PHYS 430 (3) 
PHYS 460 (3)  PHYS 475 (3) 
Physics Elective (2)  PHYS 493 or 497 or 411(2) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
Elective (3), Elective (3)  GE (3), Elective (2) 
Total semester units:  124 
See your advisor to discuss acceptable physics electives and when they will be offered. Nine of the 51 units of GE are met by required courses listed here, (3 each in areas B1, B3, and B4).
Bachelor of Arts in Physics
The B.A. program allows considerable flexibility for the student who wishes to study physics as part of a liberal arts education. Two advisory plans are offered:Advisory Plan T
This plan uses algebra and trigonometry. Students may select from a wide range of upperdivision courses, appropriate to careers as science or technical writers, scientific sales personnel, technicians, programmers or other technical specialists. There is opportunity to take courses that lead to careers in the health sciences or environmental fields. Advisory Plan T is often taken as part of a double major.Degree Requirements  units 
Major requirements (may include 6 in GE)  3438 
Required concentration  12 
Supporting course (may include 3 in GE)  4 
Remainder of general education  42 
General electives  2428 
Total units needed for the degree  120 
Major Core Requirements
PHYS 209AB General Physics Laboratory 2 PHYS 210AB General Physics 6Choose one of the following two courses in modern physics or astronomy: 34
ASTR 305 Frontiers in Astronomy (3)
PHYS 314 Introduction to Physics III (4)
Choose one of the following two courses in optics: 3
PHYS 340 Light and Optics (3)
PHYS 342 Popular Optics (3)
An approved course in computer applications: 24
The major must include a minimum of 24 upperdivision units in physics and astronomy. In consultation with an advisor, choose 1518 units in additional upperdivision physics and astronomy courses to meet this requirement. 1518Total units in the major core: 3236
Required Area of Concentration
Courses in one other field chosen in consultation with an advisor.Total units in area of concentration: 12
Supporting Course
MATH 107 Precalculus Mathematics (3 units may be applied in GE): 4Total units in supporting course: 4
Total units in the major: 4852
Sample FourYear Program for Bachelor of Arts in Physics
Advisory Plan T (Algebra and Trigonometry)
The sequential nature of the physics curriculum necessitates an early start with major requirements and the distribution of general education courses over four years.Freshman Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
MATH 107 (4)  GE (3) 
ENGL 101 (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
Elective (2)  Elective (3) 
Sophomore Year: 29 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (14 units) 
PHYS 209A (1)  PHYS 209B (1) 
PHYS 210A (3)  PHYS 210B (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
Elective (2)  Elective (1) 
Junior Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (16 units) 
ASTR 305 (3)  PHYS 342 (3) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  Physics Elective (UD) (3) 
Area of Concentration* (3)  Area of Concentration* (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
Elective (3)  GE (3) 
Senior Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  Physics Elective (UD) (3) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  Physics Elective (UD) (3) 
Area of Concentration* (3)  Area of Concentration* (3) 
Elective (3)  Electives (6) 
Elective (3)  
Total semester units:  120 
*Area of concentration = 12 units in one other subject. Twelve of the 51 units of GE are met by required courses listed here (in areas A2, B1, B3 and B4).
Advisory Plan C
This plan uses calculus. Students who choose this, the more popular B.A. advisory plan, have the prerequisites to take nearly all of the courses in the department. They find employment in scientific and engineering fields. Some go on to graduate school in interdisciplinary sciences. This degree program is appropriate for those who wish to earn a California teaching credential in science.
Degree Requirements  units 
Major requirements (may include 56 in GE)  3438 
Required concentration  12 
Supporting courses (may include 3 in GE)  12 
Remainder of general education  42 
General electives  1620 
Total units needed for graduation  120 
Major Core Requirements
PHYS 114 Introduction to Physics I (GE)  4 
PHYS 116 Introductory Laboratory Experience (GE)  1 
PHYS 214 Introduction to Physics II  4 
PHYS 216 Introductory Laboratory  1 
PHYS 314 Introduction to Physics III  4 
PHYS 340 Light and Optics  3 
Choose one of the following two programming courses:  24 
PHYS 381 Computer Applications for Scientists (2)
CS 150 Introduction to Programming I (4) The major must include a minimum of 24 upperdivision units in physics and astronomy, so, with an advisor, choose 1517 units in additional upperdivision physics and astronomy courses 1517 

Total units in the major core  3438 
Required Area of Concentration
Courses in one other field, chosen in consultation with an advisor.Total units in area of concentration: 12
Supporting Courses
MATH 161 Calculus I (3 units may be applied in GE)  4 
MATH 211 Calculus II  4 
MATH 261 Calculus IV  4 
Total units in supporting courses  12 
Total units in the major  5862 
Sample FourYear Program for Bachelor of Arts in Physics
Advisory Plan C (Calculus)
The sequential nature of the physics curriculum necessitates an early start with major requirements and the distribution of general education courses over four years.Freshman Year: 31 units
Fall Semester (16 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
MATH 161 (4)  MATH 211 (4) 
ENGL 101 (3)  PHYS 114 (4) 
GE (3)  PHYS 116 (1) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
Sophomore Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
MATH 261 (4)  PHYS 314 (4) 
PHYS 214 (4)  PHYS 381 (2) 
PHYS 216 (1)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  Elective (3) 
Junior Year: 30 units
Fall Semester (15 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  PHYS 340 (3) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  Physics Elective (UD) (3) 
Area of Concentration* (3)  Area of Concentration* (3) 
GE (3)  GE (3) 
GE (3)  Elective (3) 
Senior Year: 29 units
Fall Semester (16 units)  Spring Semester (15 units) 
Physics Elective (UD) (3)  Physics Elective (UD) (3) 
Area of Concentration* (3)  Area of Concentration* (3) 
GE (3), Electives (5)  GE (3), Electives (6) 
Total semester units:  120 
*Area of Concentration = 12 units in one other subject. Eleven of the 51 units of GE are met by required courses listed here (in areas A2, B1, B3, and B4). (One more can be met with a physics elective.)