Office of the Registrar
Faculty of Science (2011/2012)
9.9 Physics and Physical Oceanography

Physics courses are designated by PHYS.


Introductory Physics I

(F) & (W)

is a non-calculus based introduction to mechanics. This course may be completed by someone who has no physics background provided some extra effort is made.

CO: Mathematics 1090

CR: PHYS 1050

LH: 3; six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: optional tutorials will be available, on average one hour per week

PR: Level III Advanced Mathematics or Mathematics 1090. It is recommended that students have completed at least one of level II and level III high school physics courses


Introductory Physics II

(F) & (W)

is a non-calculus based introduction to fluids, wave motion, light, optics, electricity and magnetism.

CO: Mathematics 1000

LH: 3; normally there will be six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: optional tutorials will be available, on average one hour per week

PR: PHYS 1020 or 1050 and Mathematics 1090 or 1000


General Physics I: Mechanics

(F) & (W)

is a calculus based introduction to mechanics. The course will emphasize problem solving. For more details regarding PHYS 1050, see Note 4 under Physics and Physical Oceanography.

CO: Mathematics 1000

CR: PHYS 1020

LH: 3; normally there will be six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: optional tutorials will be available, on average one hour per week

PR: Mathematics 1000


General Physics II: Oscillations, Waves, Electromagnetism (F) (W) & (S)

is a calculus based introduction to oscillations, wave motion, physical optics and electromagnetism.

CO: Mathematics 1001

LH: 3; normally there will be six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: optional tutorials will be available, on average one hour per week

PR: PHYS 1050, or 1021, or 1020 (with a minimum grade of 65%) and Mathematics 1001


Fluids and Thermal Physics


examines elasticity, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics.

CO: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051


Electricity and Magnetism


examines Gauss' Law, the electrostatic potential, capacitance, magnetic forces and the magnetic field, electromagnetic induction, magnetic materials, ac circuits, superconductivity, the displacement current and Maxwell's equations.

CO: Mathematics 2000

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 2000 and PHYS 1051


Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics

(F) & (W)

covers atomic structure and spectra. The sun: radiation, energetics, magnetic field. Stars: distance, velocity, size, atmospheres, interiors. Variable stars, multiple stars, clusters and stellar associations. Stellar evolution, interstellar matter, structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. Exterior galaxies, quasi-stellar objects, pulsars. Cosmology.

PR: 6 credit hours in Mathematics courses at the first year level


Modern Physics


covers special relativity, quanta of light, atomic structure and spectral lines, quantum structure of atoms and molecules, nuclei and elementary particles.

CO: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051

CR: PHYS 2056

PR: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051


Computational Mechanics

(F) & (W)

covers newtonian dynamics and celestial mechanics, numerical differentiation and integration, numerical solutions to mechanics problems, data and spectral analysis, Fourier series and normal modes, oscillations and vibrations, linear and non-linear oscillators, nonlinear dynamics and chaos.

CO: Mathematics 2000

LC: 5

LH: 5

PR: PHYS 1051, Mathematics 2000


Physics of Device Materials


is structures of crystalline and amorphous solids. Excitations and transport in metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics; electronic band structures. Physics of multi-material devices including photodiodes, solid state lasers, and field-effect transistors.

PR: PHYS 2055 or registration in Academic Term 3 of the Electrical Engineering Program


Astrophysics I


is a review of macroscopic and microscopic physics. The sun: luminosity, mass, spectrum, photosphere, corona, interior. Principles of stellar structure; radiative and convective transport of energy. The virial theorem. Thermonuclear fusion; temperature dependence; the solar neutrino problem. Nucleosynthesis; the curve of binding energy; the synthesis of heavy elements. White dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; degenerate electron and neutron gases; Chandrasekhar's Limit. Population I and Population II stars; the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram; relationships among luminosity, mass, and effective temperature for main sequence dwarfs. Evolution of post main sequence stars.

PR: PHYS 2053, 2750 (or 2056), and 2820


Astrophysics II

covers stellar spectra and classification of stars. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram; equations of stellar structure for a star in equilibrium; temperature and density dependencies of nuclear processes. Formation and classification of binary stars; mass and energy transfer in binary star systems; semidetached binaries; cataclysmic variables, pulsars, etc. Galaxies and galactic structure; active galactic nuclei; cosmological redshift. Cosmology.

PR: PHYS 3150 and 3220


Classical Mechanics I


covers kinematics and dynamics of a particle. Moving reference systems. Celestial mechanics. Systems of particles.

CO: PHYS 2820 and Mathematics 3260

PR: PHYS 2820 and Mathematics 3260


Classical Mechanics II


covers rigid body motion. Lagrange's equations. Hamilton's equations. Vibrations. Special theory of relativity.

PR: PHYS 3220 and 3810 (or Mathematics 3202) and Mathematics 3260


Introduction to Physical Oceanography


deals with the physics of processes in the ocean, but provides an integrated view of the whole field of oceanography. The importance of physical processes to other aspects of oceanography is treated.

PR: PHYS 2053 and Mathematics 2000


Principles of Environmental Physics

will explore the basic physical principles of light, heat, energy and sound in the natural environment. Several key aspects of physics in the environment will be covered including climate and the physical evolution of the planet and the present role of the atmosphere and ocean spectroscopy in the atmosphere and measurement and observation of the atmosphere; principles of energy generation and pollution transport in the atmosphere and ocean.

PR: Mathematics 2000 and PHYS 2053




covers the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Entropy. Thermodynamics of real substances. Kinetic theory of matter. Introduction to statistical mechanics.

PR: Mathematics 2000, PHYS 2053 and PHYS 2750 or 2056


Electromagnetic Fields I


examines electrostatic Field: field, potential, Poisson's equation, Laplace's equation, capacitance, dielectrics, polarization, electric displacement, boundary conditions. Magnetic Field: electric current and magnetic field, vector potential, Lorentz force and relativity, changing magnetic field, inductance, magnetic materials, magnetization. Maxwell's equations.

PR: PHYS 2055 and 3810 (or Mathematics 3202)


Electric Circuits


covers circuit elements. Simple resistive circuits. Techniques of circuit analysis. Topology in circuit analysis. Operational amplifiers. Reactive circuit elements. Natural response and step response of RL, RC and RLC circuits. Circuits driven by sinusoidal sources. Mutual inductance. Series and parallel resonance. Laplace transforms in the analysis of frequency response.

CO: Mathematics 3260

CR: Engineering 3821

LC: 6

LH: 6

PR: Mathematics 2050, Mathematics 3260, PHYS 2055


Analogue Electronics


is a review of network analysis. Feedback. Electron tubes. Semiconductor diodes. Introduction to transistors. Introduction to amplifiers. Small signal models. Small signal analysis of amplifiers. Operational amplifiers. Selected topics in circuit design such as biasing, voltage regulators and power circuits, noise. This course is recommended for students with an interest in experimental Physics.

LC: 6

LH: 6

PR: PHYS 3550 and Mathematics 3260


Optics and Photonics I


covers geometrical Optics: thin lenses, mirrors, optical systems. Two-beam and multiple-beam interference phenomena. Fraunhofer Diffraction. Introduction to Maxwell's Theory: reflection, transmission, and polarization. Modulation of light waves. Fibre-optical light guides: intermodal dispersion, index profiles, loss mechanisms, single mode fibres. Optical communication systems: free space and fibre systems, emitters, detectors, amplifers, wavelength-division multiplexing, integrated optics.

PR: Mathematics 2000 and PHYS 2055


Quantum Physics I


covers wave-particle duality of nature. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Schrödinger equation. One electron atoms. Quantum statistics.

CO: PHYS 3220 and 3810 or Mathematics 3202

PR: PHYS 2750 (or 2056), 3220 and 3810 (or Mathematics 3202)


Quantum Physics II


covers multielectron atoms. Molecules. Solids - conductors and semiconductors. Superconductors. Magnetic properties. Nuclear models. Nuclear decay and nuclear reactions. Properties and interactions of elementary particles.

PR: PHYS 3750


Computational Physics

is a project-based course intended to train students to become functional in computational methods, by writing and compiling computer code (C/Fortran) in a Unix environment to solve problems drawn from different areas of physics. Students will complete several projects selected from different areas of physics. Projects will introduce the students to a particular class of numerical methods. Lectures and tutorials will cover the theory that underlies the computational methods and background for code development and the application of the required numerical methods.

CO: Any two 2000-level Physics course plus at least one other 3000-level Physics course

LC: 5

LH: 5

PR: Computer Science 1510, PHYS 2820, Mathematics 3202, Mathematics 3260


Mathematical Analysis


- inactive course.


Mathematical Physics III


examines the functions of a complex variable; residue calculus. Introduction to Cartesian tensor analysis. Matrix eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Diagonalization of tensors. Matrix formulation of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanical spin. Vector differential operators in curvilinear coordinate systems. Partial differential equations of Mathematical Physics and boundary value problems; derivation of the classical equations, separation of variables; Helmholtz equation in spherical polar coordinates.

PR: Mathematics 3260 and PHYS 3810 (or Mathematics 3202)


Physics Laboratory I


is a selection of experiments based primarily on material covered in the third year courses.

LH: 6

PR: at least two of PHYS 2053, 2820, 2055, and PHYS 2750 (or 2056)


Solid State Physics

covers crystal structure and binding, phonons and lattice vibrations, thermal properties of solids. Electrons in solids, energy bands, semi-conductors, superconductivity, dielectric properties. Magnetic properties of solids.

PR: PHYS 3400 and 3750 or waiver approved by the instructor


Classical Mechanics III

- inactive course.


Introduction to Fluid Dynamics

(same as Mathematics 4180) covers basic observations, mass conservation, vorticity, stress, hydrostatics, rate of strain, momentum conservation (Navier-Stokes equation), simple viscous and inviscid flows, Reynolds number, boundary layers, Bernoulli's and Kelvin's theorems, potential flows, water waves, thermodynamics.

CR: Mathematics 4180

PR: PHYS 3220 and either Mathematics 4160 or the former PHYS 3821 or waiver approved by the instructor


Continuum Mechanics

- inactive course.


Introduction to general Relativity

(Mathematics 4130) studies both the mathematical structure and physical content of Einstein’s theory of gravity. Topics include the geometric formulation of special relativity, curved spacetimes, metrics, geodesics, causal structure, gravity as spacetime curvature, the weak-field limit, geometry outside a spherical star, Schwarzschild and Kerr black holes, Robertson-Walker cosmologies, gravitational waves, an instruction to tensor calculus, Einstein’s equations, and the stress-energy tensor.

CO: Mathematics 4230

CR: Mathematics 4130

PR: Mathematics 3202 and one of PHYS 3220, Mathematics 4230 or waiver approved by the instructor


Advanced Physical Oceanography


covers fundamental properties of seawater and techniques of oceanographic measurement. The dynamical equations of oceanography are derived and solutions explored by comparison with oceanic observations. Properties of waves in rotating and non-rotating fluids. Linear and non-linear wave theory are developed.

PR: PHYS 3300 and 3820 or registration in Academic term 6 of the Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering program, or waiver approved by the instructor


Topics in Physical Oceanography

- inactive course.


Modelling in Environmental Physics

covers the basic principles underlying environmental modelling will be developed and techniques for modelling presented and applied. Techniques for numerical modelling will be developed and simple numerical models will be developed for use in terrestrial, atmospheric and oceanic environments. Free and forced systems will be discussed and the transition to chaos and some aspects of chaotic dynamics.

PR: PHYS 3340 and PHYS 3820 or waiver approved by the instructor


Statistical Mechanics


covers ensembles. Classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Statistical mechanics of phase transitions. Advanced topics in statistical mechanics.

CO: PHYS 3750

PR: PHYS 3400 and 3750


Electromagnetic Fields II

covers multipole expansions, electrostatic fields as boundary value problems, polarizability of molecules in dielectric media, Clausius-Mossotti relation, gauges. Electromagnetic Waves: Poynting's theorem, reflection and transmission of electromagnetic waves, cavity resonators, wave guides. Electromagnetic Radiation: dipoles, antennas, quantum mechanics and electro-magnetic interactions. Selected topics in electrodynamics and applied electromagnetism.

PR: PHYS 3500 and 3820 or waiver approved by the instructor


Optics and Photonics II

is a review of basic topics in wave optics. Phase sensitive imaging. Electromagnetic waves in anisotropic media. Scattering of electromagnetic waves. The physics of light sources and applications. Non-linear optics and applications.

CO: PHYS 3751

PR: PHYS 3500, 3600, and PHYS 3751 or waiver approved by the instructor


Atomic and Molecular Physics

- inactive course.


Nuclear Physics

- inactive course.


Mathematical Physics III


covers further topics on partial differential equations of Mathematical Physics and boundary value problems; Sturm-Liouville theory, Fourier series, generalized Fourier series, introduction to the theory of distributions, Dirac delta function, Green’s functions, Bessel functions, Legendre functions, spherical harmonics.

PR: PHYS 3820


Quantum Mechanics


examines postulates of quantum mechanics. Operators and operator algebra. Matrix representations. Spin and magnetic fields. Approximation methods: WKB method, time independent perturbation theory, time dependent perturbation theory, variational methods. Elementary scattering theory.

PR: PHYS 3230, 3750, 3820 or waiver approved by the instructor


Advanced Quantum Mechanics


covers general formulation of quantum mechanics, measurement theory and operators. Hilbert spaces. Advanced topics selected from: electron in a strong magnetic field and the Aharonov-Bohm effect; advanced scattering theory; systems of identical particles; Feynman path integral formulation of quantum mechanics; relativistic quantum mechanics; second quantization; symmetry and group theory; density matrix and mixtures.

PR: PHYS 4850 and the former 3821 or waiver approved by the instructor


Physics Laboratory II


is a selection of experiments at the senior level.

LH: 6

PR: PHYS 3900


Honours Physics Thesis

is required of the Honours program.


Underwater Acoustics

covers basic theory of sound, sound in the ocean environment, wave equation, ray tracing, sonar system operation, transducers, applications.

PR: PHYS 3810 (or the former Mathematics 3220) and 3220, or waiver approved by the instructor


Ocean Climate Modelling

covers numerical techniques, finite difference, finite element and spectral methods. Introduction to the climate system. Ocean climate models. Box models. Variability on interdecadal, centennial and geological scales. Zonally averaged models. 3-D ocean modelling. Thermohaline circulation. General circulation models. Climate modelling and global warming.

PR: PHYS 3810 (or Mathematics 3202), PHYS 3300 and the completion of any 15 credit hours in core courses at the 3000 or 4000 level in the Faculty of Science or waiver approved by the instructor

AR = Attendance requirement; CH = Credit hours are 3 unless otherwise noted; CO = Co-requisite(s); CR = Credit can be retained for only one course from the set(s) consisting of the course being described and the course(s) listed; LC = Lecture hours per week are 3 unless otherwise noted; LH = Laboratory hours per week; OR = Other requirements of the course such as tutorials, practical sessions, or seminars; PR = Prerequisite(s); UL = Usage limitation(s).