physics & astronomy                                    



     Course List  /   Major / Minor Requirements   /   Introductory Sequence



PHYS V 1201-2, General Physics

This course is satisfactory preparation for medical school and is appropriate for most non-science major pre-medical students. This course, devoted to algebra-based physics, is taught at Columbia in a large lecture hall setting. It is not recommended for more advanced work in the field.


PHYS BC 2001, Physics I ;
PHYS BC 2002, Physics II

This is a two-semester, calculus-based introductory sequence in physics. Characterized by modest class sizes, it is designed specifically for Barnard women with a serious interest in any of the natural sciences or mathematics. Moreover, it is especially appropriate for majors in physics, chemistry, or biochemistry, premedical or not. PHY BC 2001 concentrates on Mechanics, while PHY BC 2002 covers Electricity & Magnetism.


PHYS C2801, Accelerated Physics I

Prerequisite: Advanced placement in mathematics or some knowledge of differential and integral calculus and permission of the departmental representative.


PHYS BC 3001, Physics III

This is the third-semester course on Waves & Optics, which is a follow up of Physics I & II. Barnard students contemplating a major in physics or astronomy should take PHY BC 2001-2 in their first year, if possible, or in their second at the latest, to be followed by the third semester course, Physics III.


PHYS BC 3006, Quantum Physics


Wave-particle duality and the Uncertainty Principle. The Schröder equation. Basic principles of the quantum theory. Energy levels in one-dimensional potential wells. The harmonic oscillator, photons, and phonons. Reflection and transmission by one-dimensional potential barriers. Application to atomic, molecular, and nuclear physics.




PHYS BC 3086, Quantum Physics  






       PHYS BC 3088, Advanced  

       Electromagnetism Laboratory






       ASTR BC 1753, Life in the Universe &
       ASTR BC 1754, Stars, Galaxies and


Experiments illustrating phenomenological aspects of the early quantum theory-(i) Hydrogenic Spectra: Balmer Series & Bohr-Sommerfeld Model; (ii) Photoelectric Effect: Millikan's Determination of h/e; (iii) Franck-Hertz Experiment; and (iv) Electron Diffraction Phenomena. Substantial preparation required, including written and oral presentations, as well as an interest in developing the knack and intuition of an experimental physicist. This course is best taken concurrently with PHYS BC3006 Quantum Physics.

This course studies classical electromagnetic wave phenomena, including-(i) Michaelson and Fabry-Perot Interferometry, as well as a thin-film interference and elementary dispersion theory; (ii) Fraunhofer Diffraction (and a bit of Fresnel); (iii) Wireless Telegraphy I: AM Radio Receivers; and (iv) Wireless Telegraphy II: AM Transmitters. Last two labs pay homage to relevant scientific developments in the period 1875-1925, from the discovery of Hertzian waves to the Golden Age of Radio. Complements PHYS W3008 Electromagnetic Waves and Optics.

This is an introduction to astronomy, taught at Barnard, intended primarily for non-science majors. The courses can be taken in any order. Life in the Universe will include the topics of origin of life on Earth, impacts and mass extinctions on Earth, conditions on the early Earth, planetary orbits, the exploration of the Solar System, the recent discovery of extrasolar planets, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology covers topics such as, the properties of stars, star formation, stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and the cosmological origin and evolution of the universe.



For other course offerings check the online Barnard course catalog