Topic outline

  • General

    Circuits & Optics (Spring '11)


    NSC 573 -- variable credits -- Intermediate

    Course Information:
    • Time: Tuesday afternoons (1:00-ish - 5:00-ish), or maybe a different day by mutual consent; also occasionally on your own time
    • Place: Sci 117B (aka "the physics lab")
    • Text: none required
    • Faculty: Travis Norsen

    Course Overview: This course exists to give intermediate-level physics students some hands-on exposure to electric circuits and optics. But its informal structure allows it to be used also as a vehicle for students with less (or no) background in physics. Basic topics include, on the circuits side, resistance, capacitance, inductance, principles of DC and AC circuits, filtering, diodes, and transistors -- and, on the optics side, reflection, refraction, lenses, geometrical optics and image formation, magnification, diffraction and interference. More advanced possible topics include digital electronics, signal processing, interferometry, applications to photography, astronomy, electronic music, etc.

    Students should expect to learn some theory (through discussion, discovery, and/or interaction with texts), though the idea of the course is that this will be driven primarily by hands-on exploration.

    Since the content and credits are highly negotiable, individual students will need to construct a plan of action for the semester. This should include a (tentative, but still reasonably clear) schedule of work to be done, as well as a proposal for how it should be concretized and assessed and how many credits it will all be worth. This can be put together during/after a kind of "open house" day to occur on Tuesday Jan. 25, with course work starting in earnest the subsequent Tuesday.

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