## Physics Courses For Distribution Requirement purposes,
all PHY courses are classified as SCIENCE courses. Books listed in course descriptions will not necessarily be the texts
for the course, but do indicate the level of presentation. More detailed and
current information on courses is available through the Physics Department
website. Pre- and co-requisites are recommendations which may be waived
in
special circumstances - students should consult the Department prior to
the beginning of term. |

Undergraduate seminar that focuses on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular Faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first year students. It may serve as a distribution requirement course; Details here..
In 1915 Einstein presented a quartet of papers that revolutionized our understanding of gravity. He commented: “Hardly anyone who has truly understood this theory will be able to resist being captivated by its magic.” The General Theory of Relativity is not the only theory of physics that is magical, and Einstein was not physics’ only magician. We uncover the wonders of the classical and the quantum world courtesy of Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, Heisenberg and others. Topics include planetary motion, chaos, the nature of light, time travel, black holes, matter waves, Schrödinger’s cat, and quarks. No mathematics is required, and any necessary elementary classical physics is reviewed.
The universe is not a rigid clockwork, but neither is it formless and
random. Instead, it is filled with highly organized, evolved structures that
have
somehow emerged from simple rules of physics. Examples range from the
structure of
galaxies to the pattern of ripples on windblown sand, to biological and
even social processes. These phenomena exist in spite of the universal tendency
towards disorder. How is this possible? Self-organization challenges the
usual reductionistic scientific method, and begs the question of whether
we can ever
really understand or predict truly complex systems.
A first university physics course primarily for students not intending to pursue a Specialist or Major program in Physical or Mathematical Sciences. Topics include: momentum, energy, force, work, power, angular momentum, classical kinematics & dynamics, friction, thermal properties, gases, liquids, viscosity.
The second university physics course primarily for students not intending to pursue a Specialist or Major program in Physical or Mathematical Sciences. Topics include: oscillations, waves, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, special relativity.
The first physics course in many of the Specialist and Major Programs in Physical Sciences. It provides an introduction to the concepts, approaches and tools the physicist uses to describe the physical world while laying the foundation for classical and modern mechanics. Topics include: mathematics of physics, energy, momentum, conservation laws, kinematics, dynamics, and gravity.
The second physics course in many of the Specialist and Major Programs in Physical Sciences. Topics include special relativity and electromagnetism.
A limited enrollment seminar course for First Year Science students interested in current research in Physics. Students will meet active researchers studying the universe from the centre of the earth to the edge of the cosmos. Topics may range from string theory to experimental biological physics, from climate change to quantum computing, from superconductivity to earthquakes. The course may involve both individual and group work, essays and oral presentations.
Exceptional first year students, for example those who have scored very high on the Canadian Association of Physics High School Exam, may be allowed direct enrollment in Physics Second Year Courses. Contact the Physics Undergraduate Office.
ALL 200-series PHY courses except PHY201H1 and PHY205H1 require MAT135Y1/MAT137Y1/MAT157Y1.
A conceptual overview of some the most interesting advances in physics and the
intellectual background in which they occurred. The interrelationship of the
actual practice of physics and its cultural and intellectual context is emphasized.
An introduction to the physics of everyday life. This conceptual course
looks at everyday objects to learn about the basis for our modern technological
world. Topics may include anything from automobiles to weather.
An introduction to the theory and practice of holography. Human perception & 3D visualization; fundamentals of 3D modeling; ray and wave optics; interference, diffraction, coherence; transmission and reflection holograms; color perception; stereograms. Applications of holography in art, medicine, and technology. Computer simulation, design, and construction of holograms.
Develops the core practical experimental and computational skills necessary to do Physics. Students tackle simple physics questions involving mathematical models, computational simulations and solutions, experimental measurements, data and error analysis.
An introductory course for students interested in understanding the physical phenomena occurring in biological systems and the applications of physics in life sciences. Topics may include physical processes inside living cells and systems; medical physics and imaging.
See “Centre for Environment”
Point charges; Coulomb’s Law; electrostatic field and potential; Gauss’ Law; conductors; electrostatic energy; magnetostatics; Ampere’s Law; magnetostatic energy; Lorentz Force; Faraday’s Law; Maxwell’s equations.
The quantum statistical basis of macroscopic systems; definition of entropy in terms of the number of accessible states of a many particle system leading to simple expressions for absolute temperature, the canonical distribution, and the laws of thermodynamics. Specific effects of quantum statistics at high densities and low temperatures.
The course analyzes the linear, nonlinear and chaotic behaviour of classical mechanical systems such as harmonic oscillators, rotating bodies, and central field systems. The course will develop the analytical and numerical tools to solve such systems and determine their basic properties. The course will include mathematical analysis, numerical exercises using Python, and participatory demonstrations of mechanical systems.
Failures of classical physics; the Quantum revolution; Stern-Gerlach effect; harmonic oscillator; uncertainty principle; interference packets; scattering and tunnelling in one-dimension.
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. Details here.
Students taking 300-series courses are invited to attend the Thursday
afternoon Department colloquia.
Principles of Human Physiology with tutorials on the biophysical concepts applied to physiological processes. Restricted to students enrolled in the Biophysics and Physiology (Theoretical) programs.
Introduction to methods for remote sensing of buried archaeological remains, (magnetics, resistivity, electromagnetics), dating (Carbon 14, TL, ESR, etc.) and analysis (X-Ray, INAA) of ancient materials. Application of methods and interpretation of results in archaeological contexts. Issues of art and authenticity are also addressed. Course includes a laboratory component. (Given by the Departments of Physics and Anthropology)
Topics in the history of physics from antiquity to the 20th century, including Aristotelian physics, Galileo, Descartes, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, relativity, quantum physics, and particle physics. The development of theories in their intellectual and cultural contexts.
A modular based practical course that further develops the core experimental and computational skills necessary to do Physics: Mathematical models, computational simulations and solutions, experimental measurements, data and error analysis.
[24L, 18P] A course for students interested in a deeper understanding of physical phenomena occurring in biological systems. Thermodynamics, diffusion, entropic forces, fluids, biological applications.
Review of vector & tensor calculus, transformation properties of vectors & tensors, electrostatics, basic formulae of magnetostatics, electrodynamics (Maxwell’s Equations), gauge transformations of scalar & vector potentials, retarded potentials, Liénard-Wiechert potentials, radiation, special theory of relativity, relativistic mechanics and relativistic electrodynamics.
Review of Maxwell’s equations; electric fields in matter; magnetic fields in matter; electromotive force; electromagnetic induction; electromagnetic waves in vacuum; waves in dielectric and conductive materials, skin effect; waves in dispersive media: polarization phenomena; Fresnel equations; reflection and refraction from an interface; Brewster angle, total internal reflection; interference, coherence effects; interferometers; Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction; waveguides, optical fibres, radiation.
Symmetry and conservation laws, stability and instability, generalized co-ordinates, Hamilton’s principle, Hamilton’s equations, phase space, Liouville’s theorem, canonical transformations, Poisson brackets, Noether’s theorem.
The general structure of wave mechanics; eigenfunctions and eigenvalues; operators; orbital angular momentum; spherical harmonics; central potential; separation of variables; hydrogen atom; Dirac notation; operator methods; harmonic oscillator and spin.
The subatomic particles; nuclei, baryons and mesons, quarks, leptons and bosons; the structure of nuclei and hadronic matter; symmetries and conservation laws; fundamental forces and interactions, electromagnetic, weak, and strong; a selection of other topics, CP violation, nuclear models, standard model, proton decay, supergravity, nuclear and particle astrophysics. This course is not a
Quantum theory of atoms, molecules, and solids; variational principle and perturbation theory; hydrogen and helium atoms; exchange and correlation energies; multielectron atoms; simple molecules; bonding and antibonding orbitals; rotation and vibration of molecules; crystal binding; electron in a periodic potential; reciprocal lattice; Bloch’s theorem; nearly-free electron model; Kronig-Penney model; energy bands; metals, semiconductors, and insulators; Fermi surfaces. This course is not a
An individual study program chosen by the student with the advice of, and under the direction of, a staff member. A student may take advantage of this course either to specialize further in a field of interest or to explore interdisciplinary fields not available in the regular syllabus.
The role of radiation in the generation, maintenance and evolution of planetary atmospheres and climate: Radiation laws, absorption and emission. Simple radiative exchange processes and atmospheric models. Energy balance. Radiation and climatic change. Comparative radiation studies in planetary atmospheres. Pollution and man-made effects.
Designed for students interested in the physics of the Earth and the planets. Study of the Earth as a unified dynamic system; determination of major internal divisions in the planet; development and evolution of the Earth’s large scale surface features through plate tectonics; the age and thermal history of the planet; Earth’s gravitational field and the concept of isostasy; mantle rheology and convection; Earth tides; geodetic measurement techniques, in particular modern space-based techniques.
An instructor-supervised group project in an off-campus setting. Details here.
It is recommended that students consult the Physics Undergraduate Associate
Chair before enrolling in PHY 470-472, PHY 478-479. Students taking 400-series
courses are invited to attend Thursday afternoon Department colloquia.
Introduction to the principles behind archaeometric methods for remote sensing, dating, and analysis of archaeological materials, and interpretation of results. Course includes both field and in-house laboratory components. Offered in conjunction with JPA305H1. (Not offered every year) (Given by the Departments of Physics and Anthropology)
The laboratory functions as an integrated lecture course/laboratory program. Passive linear circuits: theorems, networks, and equivalents; meters, transient and steady responses, power, transformers, transmission lines. Digital devices: gates logic, Boolean algebra, minimization, flip-flops, counters, delays. Op-amps: dependent sources, amplifiers, integrators, feedback, slew rate, filters. Diodes: peak detector, rectification, regulators. Noise: sources, grounding, shielding, ground loops. Transistors: characteristics, analysis, amplifier design.
Problem solving with computers, using both algebraic and numerical methods. After a brief introduction to the basic techniques, various physics problems are treated with increasingly more sophisticated techniques. Examples include the physical pendulum, heat equation, quantum mechanics, Monte Carlo simulation, differential equation, and graphical presentation of results.
The analysis of digital sequences; filters; the Fourier Transform; windows; truncation effects; aliasing; auto and cross-correlation; stochastic processes, power spectra; least squares filtering; application to real data series and experimental design.
Experiments in this course are designed to form a bridge to current experimental research. A wide range of exciting experiments relevant to modern research in physics is available. The laboratory is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
These courses are a continuation of PHY326/424, but students have more freedom to progressively focus on specific areas of physics, do extended experiments, projects, or computational modules.
An introduction to the physical phenomena involved in the biological processes of living cells and complex systems. Models based on physical principles applied to cellular processes will be developed. Biological computational modelling will be introduced.
An introduction to the geophysical exploration of the subsurface. Topics covered include gravity, seismic, magnetic, electrical and electromagnetic surveying and their application in prospecting, hydrogeology, and environmental assessments. This course is intended primarily for geological engineering and geology students.
Complex nature of the scientific method; connection between theory, concepts and experimental data; insufficiency of reductionism; characteristics of pathological and pseudo-science; public perception and misperception of science; science and public policy; ethical issues; trends in modern science.
Classical and quantum statistical mechanics of noninteracting systems; the statistical basis of thermodynamics; ensembles, partition function; thermodynamic equilibrium; stability and fluctuations; formulation of quantum statistics; theory of simple gases; ideal Bose and Fermi systems.
Quantum dynamics in Heisenberg and Schrödinger Pictures; WKB approximation; Variational Method; Time-Independent Perturbation Theory; Spin; Addition of Angular Momentum; Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory; Scattering.
Thermal equilibrium and temperature; the three laws of thermodynamics; entropy and free energy, phases and phase transitions; Fluid dynamics; the Euler and Navier-Stokes equations; vorticity, waves; stability and instability; turbulence.
Nonlinear oscillator; nonlinear differential equations and fixed point analysis; stability and bifurcation; Fourier spectrum; Poincare sections; attractors and aperiodic attractors; KAM theorem; logistic maps and chaos; characterization of chaotic attractors; Benard-Rayleigh convection; Lorenz system.
These self-study courses are similar to PHY371Y1/PHY372H1, at a higher level.
An introduction to research in Physics. For further information contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies.
The Department of Physics offers senior undergraduate students a set of specialized optional courses. NONE of these courses are required to complete a Specialist Program in Physics but taking several of these courses is recommended strongly to students wishing to pursue graduate studies. Most Advanced Courses are offered every year, but some are not. Please check the Physics Department website for current offerings.
It is the student’s responsibility
to ensure they have adequate preparation for any of the Optional Advanced
courses.
Please contact the course instructor or the Associate Chair, Undergraduate
Studies
for more information.
Basis to Einstein’s theory: differential geometry, tensor analysis, gravitational physics leading to General Relativity. Theory starting from solutions of Schwarzschild, Kerr, etc.
Applications of General Relativity to Astrophysics and Cosmology. Introduction to black holes, large-scale structure of the universe.
Maxwell's equations in media, basic optics and imaging, manipulations of polarization, coherence and diffraction theory, Gaussian beams, laser resonators, simple semiclassical laser theory. End-of year student seminars from the range of modern areas of research, e.g., laser cooling, photonic bandgap structures, extreme optics, quantum information, and other topics.
Introduction to the concepts used in the modern treatment of solids. The student is assumed to be familiar with elementary quantum mechanics. Topics include: crystal structure, the reciprocal lattice, crystal binding, the free electron model, electrons in periodic potential, lattice vibrations, electrons and holes, semiconductors, metals.
This course surveys the experimental basis and theoretical framework of the “Standard Model” of Particle Physics and its possible extensions. Topics include the standard electroweak model, scattering and parton distributions, strong interactions.
Review of conventional, textbook quantum mechanics. Formal measurement theory and wave function collapse; quantum states and nonseparability, violation of local causality, Bell theorems, “quantum tricks”, decoherence and the emergence of classical behaviour. Hidden variables, deBroglie-Bohm theory and generalizations, many-worlds interpretation and other theories of “beables”. Consistent histories approach of Omnes and Gell-Mann and Hartle; nature of “True” and “Reliable” statements.
A preparatory course for research in experimental and theoretical atmospheric physics. Content will vary from year to year. Themes may include techniques for remote sensing of the Earth’s atmosphere and surface; theoretical atmosphere-ocean dynamics; the physics of clouds, precipitation, and convection in the Earth’s atmosphere.
This course covers wavefield and ray approximation methods for imaging the interior of the Earth (including hydrocarbon reservoirs and mineral deposits) using seismology.
How to investigate Earth structure at depths ranging from metres to tens of kilometres using gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic and nuclear geophysical methods. Current methodologies and the theoretical basis for them are presented.
This course deals with the numerical analysis of data associated with space geodesy, earthquake seismology, geomagnetism and palaeomagnetism, isotope geochronology, as well as numerical simulations of a wide variety of geodynamic processes (e.g. mantle convection, post-glacial rebound, Earth tides).
A laboratory course (with introductory lectures) dealing with physical methods for exploring Earth structure; i.e., seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic, and nuclear methods. It is designed to give “hands on” experience with the techniques of geophysical data analysis as well as data acquisition. |