Courses Under BSc Physics University of Cape Coast – UCC
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Bachelor of Science
Department of Physics
4 years (Standard Entry)
Modes of Study:
Successful completion of our programme will usher you onto a platform of opportunities in a world driven by scientific knowledge. Hence, one can work in any of the many science related fields of practice. It also makes one develop a certain versatility in thinking that can make him/her fit for any role in business, industry etc. Graduates can also opt for an advanced study in Physics or related field such as astronomy, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, computer science or the life sciences.
Applicants must obtain passes Physics, Chemistry and Elective Mathematics
Physics is a natural science based on experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis with the purpose of finding quantitative physical laws for everything from the world of the microcosms to the planets, solar systems and galaxies that occupy the universe. The laws of nature can be used to predict the behaviour of the world and all kinds of machinery. Many of the everyday technological inventions that we now take for granted resulted from discoveries in physics. Our programme will take the student on a journey to explore the complex and interesting world of physics, and how its knowledge relates to and improves our lives today.
CMS 107: COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS I
Engaging in academic work at the university is challenging. This course is aimed at equipping fresh students to make the transition from pre-university level to the university level. It assists them in engaging and succeeding in complex academic tasks in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It also provides an introduction to university studies by equipping students with skills that will help them to engage in academic discourse with confidence and fluency.
PHY 101: GENERAL PHYSICS I (THEORY)
This course is intended to introduce students to some of the fundamental concepts and principles underlying Physics so as to develop the scientific problem-solving skills and logical reasoning of students. The knowledge acquired is for later application in allied programmes like Nursing, Optometry, Computer, Science, Science Education and Laboratory Technology. The main topics treated include Physical quantities, vectors, Dynamics, Kinematics, Thermodynamics, Work, Energy and Power.
PHY 103: GENERAL PHYSICS I (PRACTICAL)
This is the practical component of PHY 101, and is assessed separately. It is intended to make Physics as interesting and relevant as possible by investigating some practical applications of Physics. The main topics treated include Hooke’s Law, Surface Tension, Simple Harmonic Motion, Density Measurements, Calorimetry and Thermal expansion.
CMS 108: COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS II
This is a follow-up course on the first semester one. It takes students through writing correct sentences, devoid of ambiguity, through the paragraph and its appropriate development to the fully-developed essay. The course also emphasizes the importance and the processes of editing written work.
PHY 102: GENERAL PHYSICS II (THEORY)
Topics to be treated for the course are; Introduction optics, waves, electricity and magnetism: reflection and refraction on plane surfaces; lens formulae, thin lens in contact, characteristics of wave motion, sound waves, resonance, static electricity; the coulomb ; electric potential, capacitors, current.
PHY 104: GENERAL PHYSICS II(PRACTICAL)
This is the practical component of PHY102 and is designed to help students gain some hands-on experience with laboratory equipment as they perform experiments to enhance their understanding of some the theoretical concepts. Such experiments include the determination of the focal length of lenses and refractive index of glass block; investigation of Ohm’s law and determination of resistivity of materials.
PHY 201: NEWTONIAN MECHANICS
This calculus-based course is designed for students majoring in the Physical Science programmes. It is centered on the Newton’s laws and deals with the motion or the change in motion of physical objects with speeds much less than that of light (<<c). It considers kinematics, dynamics and statics. Other topics include central forces, planetary motion, work, energy and momentum of particles.
The detailed breakdown of the above topics are as follow:
Scalars and vectors, vector algebra, Laws of vector algebra, Unit vectors, Components of a vector, Dot or scalar product, Cross or vector product, Triple products, Derivatives of vectors. Integrals of vectors, Velocity, Acceleration. Relative velocity and acceleration, Tangential and normal acceleration. Notation for time derivatives, Gradient, divergence and curl, Line integrals.
Newton’s laws, Definition of force and mass, inertial frames of reference. Absolute motion, Work, Power, Kinetic energy, Conservative force fields, Potential energy or potentials, Conservation of energy, Impulse, torque and angular momentum, Conservation of momentum, Conservation of angular momentum, Non-conservative forces
Uniform force fields, uniformly accelerated motion. Weight and acceleration due to gravity, freely falling bodies. Projectiles, Potential and potential energy in a uniform force field, Motion in a resisting medium, constrained motion. Friction, statics in uniform gravitational fields
Central forces, some important properties of central force fields, Equations of motion for a particle in a central force field, important equations deduced from the equations of motion. Potential energy of a particle in a central force field, Conservation of energy, Determination of the orbit from the central force. Determination of central force from the orbit.
PHY 203: INTRODUCTORY ATOMIC PHYSICS, HEAT AND OPTICS (THEORY)
Students would be introduced to the following:
Geometric Optics: Fermat’s Principle, colour dispersion, plane surfaces and prisms, thin prisms, the combination of thin prisms, images formed by paraxial rays, optical fibre, spherical surfaces, derivation of the Gaussian formula, thin lenses, spherical mirrors, lens aberrations, optical instruments.
Heat: Macroscopic and microscopic descriptions of temperature and thermodynamic equilibrium measurement of temperature and heat, Heat capacity and specific heat capacity, heat transfer, thermal energy balance. Kinetic theory of gases, First law of thermodynamics, Second law of thermodynamics, the third law of thermodynamics.
Atomic Theory: Discovery of the electron, atoms and the periodic table, light sources and their spectra, the structure of the atom, Photoelectric effect, X-rays, electromagnetic waves and vacuum tubes, vacuum tubes and transistors, electron optics, spinning electrons, Radio, Radar, TV, and microwaves, photon collisions and atomic waves.
PHY 205: NEWTONIAN MECHANICS (PRACTICALS)
1 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 201
This is the practical component of PHY 201 and is designed to help students gain some hands-on experience with laboratory equipment as they perform experiments to enhance their understanding of some the theoretical concepts. Such experiments include the determination moments of forces, verification of the laws of collision and determination of moment of inertia of rigid bodies.
PHY 207: INTRODUCTORY ATOMIC PHYSICS, HEAT AND OPTICS (PRACTICAL)
1 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 203
This is the practical component of PHY 203 and is designed to help students improve on their hands-on experience with laboratory equipment. The experiments are in three areas such as wave phenomena, good and bad conductors of heat, and lastly nuclear radiations (alpha, beta and gamma) detections. This would enhance students’ understanding of some theoretical concepts.
PHY 209: COMPUTING FOR PHYSICS I
2 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 101 and PHY 102
The course provides students with an understanding of the role computation can play in solving problems in Physics and its related courses. It helps students to feel justifiably confident of their ability to write programs that allow them to accomplish useful goals in Physics. It introduces computer hardware and software, and problem solutions with a computer. It presents algorithms in their general form and numerical algorithms, specifically those that are most useful in Physics. Hands-on exercises and/or assignments will cover a wide variety of topics in General Physics.
PHY 204: ELECTRONICS I (THEORY)
This course exposes students to Semiconductor theory and p-n junction Diode, Rectifier Circuits, Thermionic Valves, Bipolar junction transistors. Students will also study thyristors and other semiconductor devices, Integrated Circuits, Power supplies. A.C. amplifiers, D.C. Amplifiers, Noise, Feedback, Oscillators including Multivibrators and non-sinusoidal oscillators, Pulse shaping, Electronics and measuring instruments.
PHY 210: COMPUTING FOR PHYSICS II
This course continues the study of data structures and algorithms, focusing on algorithm design and analysis and the relationships between data representation, algorithm design, and programme efficiency. Topics include advanced data structures, key algorithm design techniques, and characterising the difficulty of solving a problem in Octave language. Introduction to Fortran language for data structures, data analysis and visualisation. Control structures, numerical computing and programming techniques in Fortran. Hands-on assignments cover a wide variety of topics in General Physics. Prerequisite include Computing for Physics I.
PHY 202: ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM (THEORY)
This course is an extension of the electricity and magnetism basics introduced in PHY 102. It is designed to improve students understanding of electric and magnetic phenomena. The course covers basic computation of electric and magnetic fields, calculation of electric potentials and their applications. A.C. theory and electromagnetic waves and their related calculations are covered. Application of RCL circuit is discussed.
PHY 206: ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM (PRACTICAL)
This is the practical component of PHY 202 and is intended to help students gain some hands-on experience with laboratory equipment as they perform experiments to enrich their understanding of some the theoretical concepts. Such experiments include the determination of Inductance, Reactance and Impedance of AC circuits.
PHY 301: ELECTRONICS II
Numbers, Symbols, Binary Arithmetic, Boolean Algebra, Karnaugh Mapping, Digital Signals And Logic Gates, Principles Of Digital Computing, Counters, Switches, Ladder Logic, Combinational Logic Functions, Multivibrators, Shift Registers, Digital-Analog Conversion, Digital Communication, Digital Storage (Memory) are areas students would be exposed to in this course
PHY 303: THERMAL PHYSICS
Thermal Physics is an advanced undergraduate course. It connects the world of everyday systems, for example chemical and atomic systems. The course is introduced through a unified approach to the equilibrium of thermal properties of large systems based on the quantum viewpoint and statistical probability. The laws of thermodynamics and the concepts of entropy, temperature, chemical potential, free energy, and thermodynamic potential will be covered. Heat transfer, phase transition, and classical kinetic theory will also be discussed.
PHY 305: INTRODUCTORY MATHEMATICAL METHODS I
Students would be introduced to Development of notation; Properties of determinants; Taylor’s Series, Eigenvalues and Eigenfunctions; Vector analysis; Laplacian in one dimension; Green’s Functions Fourier Series; Complex variables.
PHY 307: WAVES, ACOUSTICS AND VIBRATIONS
The course PHY307 gives a deep understanding of the underlying physics governing the types of waves and their interaction. A general solution of the one-dimensional wave equation will be treated by using calculus methods. Other topics covered include: Fourier series, Acoustic waves in Fluids: Waves on the liquid surface, basic hydrodynamics; Wave Propagation in inhomogeneous and Obstructed Media; The WKB approximation; an expose on Geometrical optics; and Spectrum Analysis of wave forms.
PHY 309: ATOMIC AND MODERN PHYSICS
This couse will introduce students to Experimental basis of quantum theory, Quantization, Structure of the atom: Rutherford α-scattering, Classical atomic model, Characteristics of X-ray spectra and atomic number, Atomic excitation by electrons and photons, introduction to lasers and their applications.
Students will also be introduced to Wave properties of matter, Electron Spin, The Periodic Table, Crystalline solids, Semi-conductor theory and devices, Band theory of solids
PHY 399: RESEARCH METHODS
This course seeks to equip students with standard information retrieval skills, data presentation and scientific report/research proposal writing. It will allow students to acquire experience and general research skills essential for academic and research study. Specific aims of this course include gathering and critically evaluating information which addresses a specific research question and critiquing published scientific papers. The skills learnt would be key to project work later in the degree programme. Topics to be covered will include types of bibliography and referencing, elements of scientific methods, experimental; design techniques, sampling and data analysis using statistical tools.
MET 308: COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN METEOROLOGY
This course is designed as an intense introduction to some of the technological tools and techniques used by meteorologists in the analysis and display of meteorological and environmental data. Students will learn programming methodology and become proficient in the use of a number of open source and commercial software packages.
PHY 302: CLASSICAL MECHANICS
This course deals with the set of physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. It describes the motion of macroscopic objects as well as astronomical objects. It enables the student to make tangible connections between classical and modern physics – an indispensable part of a physicist’s education.
PHY 304: PHYSICAL OPTICS
Physical Optics shifts the treatment of propagation of light energy along straight-line segments (Geometrical Optics) to that which propagates as a wave and the consequences of the behaviour. This helps to account for important phenomena such as interference, diffraction and polarisation. The course also lays the foundation for an understanding of such devices and concepts as interferometer, thin-film interference, antireflection (AR) coatings. Polarizes, quarter-wave plates. A laboratory component will run concurrently with the theory to provide hands-on experience with handling optical instruments.
PHY 306: COMPUTING AND NUMERICAL METHODS
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the basic concepts in solving numerical problems using computer languages. Students will learn to code in languages such as Fortran, MatLab and Octave. This willenable students to simulate physics concepts.
PHY 308: INTRODUCTORY MATHEMATICAL METHODS II
This course builds on the first semester course PHY 305 and introduces mathematical techniques which are crucial to the formulation and solution of fundamental theories in Physics. It is biased towards the application of Mathematics in solving problems rather than the development of rigorous Mathematics. It is aimed at enabling students to solve Physics problems through complex analysis and extend the definition of special functions to the complex plane. Key topics treated include functions of complex variables, Bessel, Gamma, Beta and Error functions, Integral transforms, and Legendre Polynomials.
PHY 310: SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY
The course gives an introduction to the Special Theory of Relativity, with emphasis on some of its consequences. It covers phenomena such as the slowing down of clocks and the contraction of lengths in moving reference frames as measured by a stationary observer. The relativistic forms of momentum and energy as well as some consequences of the mass-energy relation, E = mc2 are also considered. The following are the details of the topics to be covered.
Brief introduction to the course, Classical Principle of Relativity: Galilean Transformation Equations, Michelson-Morley Experiment, Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, Lorentz Transformations, Velocity Transformation, Simultaneity of events, Lorentz contraction of lengths, Time Dilation ,Experimental Verification of Length Contraction and Time Dilation, Interval between events, Doppler’s Effect Relativistic Mechanics, Relativistic Expression for Momentum: Variation of Mass with Velocity, The Fundamental Law of Relativistic Dynamics, Mass-energy Equivalence, Relationship between Energy and Momentum, Momentum of Photon, Transformation of Momentum and Energy, Verification of Mass-energy Equivalence Formula.
PHY 401: NUCLEAR AND PARTICLE PHYSICS
The course would provide a general introduction into subatomic Physics and this includes the structure of nuclei and particles, scattering theory and nuclear models, radioactivity, symmetries and conservation laws, the standard model (strong and electro-weak interactions), nuclear astrophysics and cosmology. The course is the basis for advanced courses in nuclear and particle Physics. Students would learn the biological effects of ionizing radiation as natural radioactive effects. Basic nuclear and particle Physics relations would be used to solve mathematical problems
PHY 403: QUANTUM MECHANICS I
This is a computation-oriented course aimed at enabling students to solve problems relating to square wells (finite and infinite), harmonic oscillators, the hydrogen atom and angular momentum. The computation includes calculating average values and obtaining possible outcomes of measurements for systems. It establishes the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and how they differ from classical mechanic. The Schrodinger equation will be used to solve one-dimensional problems and to predict the existence of phenomena like tunnelling and energy band gaps.
PHY 405: ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD THEORY I
Students will be taken through Basic Field Concepts; Review of Equations in Electrostatics; Magnetostatics and Electromagnetic induction, Maxwell’s Equations, Electromagnetic Wave Equation; Poynting Theorem; Reflection and Refraction; Propagation in conducting and in Ionised Media; The Ionosphere.
PHY 407: STATISTICAL PHYSICS
3 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 303
The pre-requisite for this course is PHY 303 (Thermal Physics). The course begins with the microscopic basics for thermodynamics; that is, explaining large system properties from properties of individual particles in order to formulate the important fundamental concepts: entropy from Boltzmann formula, partition etc. through the presentation of quantum statistics, Bose statistics and Fermi-Dirac statistics are established, including the special classical situation of Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics.
PHY 409: SEMICONDUCTOR DEVICE PHYSICS
In this course emphasis would be on the Physics of semiconductor devices and the principles of their operation. The course would establish a solid understanding of electrical conduction in semiconductors. The main part of the course would focus on types of metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETS) and metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) devices which are the main type of semiconductor devices on the market. The use of transistor devices and their design and optimisation for integrated circuit applications will be presented in detail. Nanoscale transistor dimensions and the effect of such dimensions on transistor behaviour will be presented. The physical limits to the scaling of CMOS devices will be discussed in detail.
PHY 413: METEOROLOGICAL PHYSICS
This course introduces students to important phenomena and physical processes that occur in the earth’s atmosphere, as well as to the basic concepts and instruments used to study atmospheric problems. Topics discussed include atmospheric radiation, thermodynamics, moisture, stability, clouds, and precipitation. It also focuses on atmospheric dynamics, wind systems of different origin and scale, and thunderstorms. Emphasis is put on how weather is forecast and how it relates to everyone’s life.
PHY 421: FIBRE OPTICS AND PHOTONICS
This course will introduce students to optical principles governing optical fibres, its characteristics and types. Review of basic properties of light, and how to couple light in fibres for simple optical systems. Students will learn types of fibres such as single-Mode and graded-index fibre structure as well as holey fibres. Topics would include, signal degradation in optical fibres, optical transmitters and receivers. In this course emphasis will also be on optical communication systems, with an aim to produce students with a foundation and working knowledge of modern photonics concepts/terminology, major opto-electronic devices/components and device measurement/handling.
PHY 429: ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS
This course covers the application of Physics to the study of the atmosphere. It attempts to model the earth’s atmosphere and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations, chemical models, radiation balancing, and energy transfer processes in the atmosphere (as well as how these tie in to other systems such as the oceans). It is closely related to Meteorology and Climatology and also covers the design and construction of instruments for studying the atmosphere and the interpretation of the data they provide, including remote sensing instruments.
PHY 431: SOLAR ENERGY
This course provides the Physics of solar energy production and utilisation; a ubiquitous, inexhaustible, clean, and highly efficient way of meeting the energy needs of the twenty-first century. It is designed to give the students a solid footing in the general and basic Physics of solar energy. Specific topics include: the solar energy resource, modelling and simulation, thermal and photovoltaic collectors, solar energy systems, and special applications (solar lasers, material processing.
PHY 439: MICROPROCESSOR TECHNOLOGY
This is an introductory course in microprocessor software and hardware; its architecture, timing sequence, operation, and programming; discussion of appropriate software diagnostic language and tools. Topics would include the organisation, construction, and application of stored programme LSI computers, both hardware and software; microprocessor architecture: processor, memory, I/O; the bus concept, RAM, and ROM, instruction sets for processors, programming and I/O for open-and closed-loop control, and the laboratory application of concepts using systems with extensive troubleshooting experience. Devices, circuits, and systems primarily used in automated manufacturing and/or process control including computer controls and interfacing between mechanical, electrical, electronic, and computer equipment. Students would learn how to present of programming schemes, digital control loops and their application in process control, microprocessors for controlling and monitoring of sensing devices for pressure, level, flow, temperature, and position.
PHY 402: SOLID STATE PHYSICS
This course is designed for level 400 undergraduate Physics students. The main objectives of the course include describing simple structures in terms of a lattice and unit cell, understanding the cohesive energy between these structures and outlining how they may be determined. The course also treats basic features of coupled modes of oscillation of atoms in crystal lattice using the one-dimensional chain as a model and relates crystal properties (specific heat, thermal conductivity) to the behaviours of these oscillations. The free electron model and how it provides an explanation for many features of metallic behaviour is also revised. The course also explains the basic features of semiconductors and relates this to simple semiconductor devices.
PHY 404: QUANTUM MECHANICS II
3 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 405
This course prepares students to understand symmetries and invariance; Angular Momentum in Quantum Mechanics; Systems of identical Particles; Pauli Exclusion Principle; Invariance and Conservation Theorems; Approximation Methods; Stationary Perturbations; Time-Dependent Schrödinger Equation; the Variational Principle; field Quantization.
PHY 406: ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD THEORY II
3 Credit(s)Pre-requisite: PHY 405
The course is meant to provide a thorough coverage of advanced principles of electromagnetic theory with focus on transmission line sub-systems and high frequency data transmission. Besides enhancing general electromagnetic theory covered in previous courses. It introduces the fundamental of high frequency circuit analysis and design, from electromagnetic theory to microwave systems. Starting with a concise presentation of the electromagnetic theory, the course leads to passive and active microwave circuit. It also provides the concept of wave propagation in different transmission media and the wave reflection from a media interface. The use of the Smith Chart, understanding of different concepts of impedance matching and optical properties of electric fields.
PHY 412: ENVIRONMENTAL PHYSICS
This course covers the description and analysis of physical processes that establish the conditions in which all species of life survive and reproduce. The subject involves a synthesis of mathematical relations that describe the physical nature of the environment and the many biological responses that environments evoke. Topics include impact of human activities on the terrestrial environment; Population distribution and growth; Energy balance of the earth Energy; Land and water use; the water cycle; effects of chemical and physical pollutants on water and the atmosphere.
PHY 422: ENERGY PHYSICS
This course provides an introduction to the physical principles behind one of the most important concerns of our society: the generation of energy, its transport, the uses, storage and its impact on the environment. Topics covered include non-renewable sources (fossil and nuclear fuels) and renewable sources (solar, hydro, wind), and how they are harnessed.
PHY 428: PHOTONICS / LASER PHYSICS
This course prepares students to understand the general concepts of Photonics; Principles and Properties of Lasers; Pumping Process; Types of Lasers; Output Characteristics of lasers; Theory of Laser Oscillation; Laser modulation; demodulation and detection, Laser Applications in metrology, holography medicine, military etc.
PHY 499: PROJECT WORK
Independent Research conducted under the supervision of departmental academic staff. Project topics will be selected from any Physics and engineering related areas of interest in keeping with the research interests and capabilities of the staff of the department.
*With prior approvals from the Head of Department, a supervisor from another department may be used.