Chair: Alexander Lisyansky
Graduate Advisors: For PhD candidates: Igor Kuskovsky;
for master’s degree candidates: Lev I. Deych
Department Office: Science Building B334, 997-3350
Department Website: http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Academics/Degrees/DNMS/Physics
The Physics Department offers
a full spectrum of courses in theoretical and experimental physics,
as well as research programs leading to the MA degree and the City University
of New York PhD degree. Students may participate in research via PHYS
A partial list of research
activities includes development of high coercivity magnetic materials
having wide application in microelectronics; experimental studies of
light propagation and localization in photonic band gap and disordered
materials; design, manufacturing, and characterization of periodic and
quasiperiodic mutilayered photonic structures, microdisk-based optical
resonators, and semiconductor multiple-quantum-well structures with
applications in sensing, optical logic elements, and new types of lasers;
experimental magneto-optical studies of quantum dots and quantum wires;
development of sophisticated diagnostic techniques for studying surfaces,
polymer thin films and interfaces; development of photonic nanostructures
for biosensing and solar cell applications; theoretical studies of optical
properties of resonant photonic crystals, coupled networks of optical
microresonators, random lasers, application of methods of condensed
matter physics to biophysical problems; theoretical studies of nanoelectromechanical
The department currently
has research funding from NSF, DOE, DOD, and other agencies.
Lisyansky, Alexander A., Chair, Professor, PhD
1977, Donetsk State University, Ukraine: condensed matter theory, phase
transitions, and critical phenomena
Deych, Lev I., Graduate Advisor, Associate Professor, PhD 1991, Kirensky Institute of Physics,
Russia: condensed matter theory, optics
Kuskovsky, Igor L., Graduate
Professor, PhD 1998,
Applied Physics, Columbia University: experimental solid state physics,
Cadieu, Fred J., Professor, PhD
1970, University of Chicago: experimental solid state physics, rare
earth transition metal magnetic systems
Genack, Azriel Z., Distinguished Professor, PhD 1973, Columbia University: experimental
solid state physics, light scattering and nonlinear optics
Klarfeld, Joseph, Associate Professor, PhD 1969, Yeshiva University: general
relativity, classical and quantum field theory
Menon, Vinod M., Associate Professor, PhD 2001, University of Massachusetts:
experimental solid state physics, photonics
Murokh, Lev, Assistant
Professor, PhD 1996,
Lobachevsky State University, Russia: quantum theory of nanostructures
Saini, Sajan, Assistant Professor, PhD 2004, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology: nano- and microphotonic devices
Schwarz, Steven A., Interim
Associate Provost, Professor, PhD 1980, Stanford University: secondary
ion mass spectrometry, polymer physics.
Program for the Master
of Arts Degree
Requirements for Matriculation
These requirements are in
addition to the general requirements for admission.
1. Candidate must have
a minimum of 16 credits in physics beyond the introductory college course
and six credits in mathematics beyond elementary calculus.
2. Letters of recommendation
must be written by individuals who are qualified to attest to the applicant’s
character and capacity to do graduate work in physics.
Requirements for the
Master of Arts Degree
These requirements are in
addition to the general requirements for the MA degree.
1. All candidates must
complete the following courses or their equivalents as determined by
the graduate physics committee:
PHYS 625. Introduction
to Quantum Mechanics (4 cr.)
PHYS 641. Statistical
Physics (4 cr.)
PHYS 635. Condensed
Matter Physics (4 cr.)
PHYS 637. Modern
Optics (4 cr.)
2. In addition,
candidates must take at least three courses at the 700 level or above.
3. A minimum grade
of B is required in any course taken to
fulfill the requirements for the MA degree.
The Master of
Arts is the first 30 credits of doctoral work in physics. The CUNY doctoral
program is described in the Bulletin of the Graduate Center.
Courses in Physics
PHYS 501. Modern Aspects
4 hr.; 4 cr. A course
for teachers providing discussion of selected topics in mechanics, electronics,
atomic and nuclear physics. Not open to candidates for the MA degree
PHYS 503. Selected Topics
in General Physics. 4
hr.; 4 cr. Prereq.: Matriculation for the MS in education and an undergraduate
major in biology, chemistry, or geology. Selected topics in the current
high school physics curriculum are studied, with special emphasis on
understanding of concepts, including recent developments and research;
on lecture demonstrations; and on laboratory experiments.
PHYS 601. Introduction
to Mathematical Physics. 3
hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: A course in mechanics and an approved mathematics
background. Selected topics in mechanics, thermodynamics, electrostatics,
magnetostatics, the electromagnetic field, and the restricted theory
of relativity. The mathematical methods developed include such topics
as linear and partial differential equations, the calculus of variations,
normal and curvilinear coordinates, expansion of a function as a series
of orthogonal functions, vector, tensor, and matrix analysis.
PHYS 611. Analytical
Mechanics. 3 hr.;
3 cr. Prereq.: An undergraduate course in mechanics and an approved
mathematics background. Analytical mechanics of particles and rigid
bodies. Free and forced oscillations; coupled systems; vibrating strings
and membranes; the top. Use of numerical integration and power series,
vector and tensor analysis, Lagrange’s and Hamilton’s equation.
Fourier series and Bessel functions.
PHYS 612. Fluid Dynamics. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 233, 234,
or MATH 223 or 224, and PHYS 122 or 146. A macroscopic description of
the physical properties of fluids. Topics include fluid equations for
inviscid compressible and incompressible flow, wave propagation, shock
waves and related discontinuities, stability and turbulence, and other
PHYS 615. Electromagnetic
Theory. 3 hr.; 3 cr.
Prereq.: An undergraduate course in electromagnetism and an approved
mathematics background. Electrostatic and magnetostatic boundary value
problems: systematic derivation of differential form of Maxwell’s
equations in vector notation. Plane electromagnetic waves. Wave guides
and cavity resonators. Spherical electromagnetic waves. Huyghens’
PHYS 621. Electronics. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: Undergraduate
course in electromagnetism and modern physics. Physical principles underlying
operation of solid state, vacuum, and gaseous electronic devices; theory
of rectifier, amplifier, and oscillator circuits; introduction to digital
PHYS 622. Physics of
Lasers. 3 hr.; 3 cr.
Prereq.: PHYS 355 or 312. Principles of operation of solid, liquid,
and gas lasers and application of lasers to research.
PHYS 625. Introduction
to Quantum Mechanics. 4
hr.; 4 cr. Prereq.: permission of the department, PHYS 260, or an equivalent course
in modern physics, and an approved mathematics background. Planck, Einstein,
Compton, and the light quantum. The Bohr atom, Bohr-Sommerfeld quantum
conditions, and interpretations by de Broglie waves. Solutions of problems,
including the free particle, particle in box, the harmonic oscillator,
and the hydrogen atom. Waves and the uncertainty principle. The Schrödinger
equation and the solution of the above problems. Transmission through
a potential barrier. Spin, identity of particles, exclusion principle,
statistics, exchange phenomena.
PHYS 635. Condensed Matter
Physics. 4 hr.; 4
cr. Prereq.: PHYS 260, or an equivalent course in modern physics; coreq.:
PHYS 625. An introduction to molecular and solid state phenomena. Molecular
structure and spectra of diatomic molecules, quantum theory of chemical
bonding and dipole moments, crystal structure, lattice dynamics,
free electron theory of metals, band model of metals, insulators, and
semiconductors, amorphous solids, polymers, liquid crystals, and phase
PHYS 636. Nuclear and
Elementary Particle Physics. 4
hr.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 260, or an equivalent course in modern physics;
coreq.: PHYS 625. The experimental facts and elements of the quantum
theories pertaining to: natural and artificial radioactivity; interaction
of charged particles and gamma rays with matter; nuclear structure;
emission of alpha, beta, and gamma rays; nuclear reactions and models;
the weak and strong nuclear forces; muons; pions; strange particles,
PHYS 637. Modern Optics. 4 hr.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 260, or
an equivalent course in modern physics; coreq.: PHYS 625. Electromagnetic
wave propagation in vacuum and in linear media including Fresnel’s
equations for reflection and transmission at interfaces, absorption
and dispersion, guided waves in waveguides, transmission lines and optical
fibers, geometric optics and imaging, matrix methods for complex optical
systems, interference, diffraction, coherence, principles of laser operation,
Gaussian beams, nonlinear optics, quantum theory of emission and absorption
PHYS 641. Statistical
Physics. 4 hr.; 4
cr. Prereq.: Undergraduate courses in advanced mechanics and advanced
thermodynamics. Maxwellian distribution of velocities, molecular motion,
and temperature; elementary theory of the transport of momentum (viscosity),
energy (heat), and matter (diffusion). Entropy and probability; Maxwell-Boltzmann
statistics, equipartition of energy and classical theory of heat capacity
of gases and solids. Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac statistics; quantum
theory of paramagnetism.
PHYS 657. Introduction
to Astrophysics. 3
hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: Undergraduate courses in mechanics, electromagnetism,
and modern physics. An introductory study of the spatial positions,
movements, and constitutions of the stars, star clusters, and nebulae.
PHYS 661, 662.
Computer Simulation of Physical Models. 3
hr.; 3 cr. each sem. Prereq.: A course in differential equations or
intermediate methods of mathematical physics. A seminar course in which
computer programming will be used to obtain solutions to a wide variety
of interdisciplinary problems such as the queuing problem in traffic
flow, population dynamics, cell proliferation and death. Fourier optics,
radiation shielding and safeguards, atomic motion in crystals and liquids.
PHYS 671, 672. Modern
Physics Laboratory. Hr.
to be arranged; 1 cr. Experiments selected from among the areas of atomic,
nuclear, solid state, molecular, and wave-optics physics. Depending
on the experiment, objectives will vary: to learn basic techniques,
to measure fundamental constants by repeating classic experiments; to
do preliminary reading and planning of procedures which are then to
be used in making the measurements.
PHYS 701, 702. Mathematical
Methods in Physics. 3
hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. each sem. Prereq.: For PHYS 701, PHYS 601; PHYS
702 , PHYS 701. Topics in complex variables; perturbation and variational
methods of solution of differential equations; Green’s functions;
eigenfunction expansions; integral transforms; integral equations; difference
equations, linear algebra; Hilbert space; tensor analysis; group theory;
higher algebra; numerical methods for solving equations.
PHYS 711. Analytical
Dynamics. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 601 or coreq.: PHYS 701. The Lagrangian formulation
including Hamilton’s principle; Lagrange equations; central force
motion; Kepler problems, scattering; rigid body motion; transformation
matrices, Eulerian angles, inertia tensor. The Hamiltonian formulation
including canonical equations; canonical transformations; Hamilton-Jacobi
theory. Small oscillations. Continuous systems and fields. Relativistic
PHYS 715, 716. Electromagnetic
Theory. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. each sem. Prereq.: For PHYS 715, PHYS 601 or coreq.: PHYS
701; PHYS 716, PHYS 715. Electrostatics, magnetostatics, and boundary
value problems; Maxwell’s equations; multipole radiation; radiation
from accelerated charges; scattering theory; special theory of relativity.
PHYS 725, 726. Quantum
Mechanics. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. each sem. Prereq.: For PHYS 725, PHYS 625, 601 or 701,
and 711; PHYS 726, PHYS 725. Historical foundations. The Schrödinger
formulation. Wave packets and uncertainty principle. Harmonic oscillator
and potential barrier problems. W.K.B. approximation. Operators and
eigenfunction. Central forces and orbital angular momentum. Scattering:
Born approximation, partial waves. Linear vector spaces. The Heisenberg
formulation. Spin and total angular momentum. Perturbation theory: bound
state, time-dependent. Systems of identical particles. Introduction
to relativistic quantum mechanics.
PHYS 730. Atomic Physics. 3 hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
716 and 725. Spin systems, angular momentum, spectra. Atomic beam resonance,
nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electronic paramagnetic resonance
(EPR), optical pumping, scattering, lasers.
PHYS 731. X-ray Diffraction. 2 hr. plus conf.; 3 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
636 and an approved mathematics background. The theory of X-ray diffraction
and its application to the study of the structure of matter. Topics
to be considered will include the physics of X-rays, the geometry of
crystals and of X-ray reflections, the theory of X-ray diffraction,
techniques for the production and interpretation of X-ray diffraction
data, and crystal structure determination.
PHYS 734. Introduction
to Relativity. 3 hr.
plus conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 711. A short exposition on the foundation
of the special and general theories of relativity. Topics include foundation
of special relativity; relativistic particle dynamics in flat space
time; differential geometry; the physical and mathematical foundations
of Einstein’s theory of gravitation; the Cauchy problem of field equations;
the spherically symmetric field and its topology; the classical experimental
tests; variational principle and conservation laws; equation of motion;
gravitational waves; cosmology and gravitational collapse.
PHYS 735. Nuclear Physics. 3 hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
725. Properties of stable nuclei; isotopes; mass formula; interactions
with matter; methods of detection; nuclear moments. Alpha decay; gamma
emission; level structure; nuclear models. Low-energy nucleon-nucleon
scattering, the deuteron, photodisintegration, tensor and exchange forces,
PHYS 736. Particle Physics. 3 hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
735. Pi mesons, pion nucleon scattering, resonance. Hadron level systematics
and decays, effective Hamiltonians, electromagnetic interactions and
form factors, higher symmetries. Scattering at very high energies. Weak
interactions, beta decay, discrete symmetries, T.C.P. Weak interactions
of pions and Kaons. Coherent regeneration, conserved vector current.
Leptonic decays of baryons, nonleptonic decays.
PHYS 741. Statistical
Mechanics. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 641, 725. Probability theory, ensembles,
approach to equilibrium, quantum and classical ideal and non-ideal gases,
cooperative phenomena, density matrices, averages and fluctuations,
and other selected topics, such as time-temperature, Green’s functions,
non-zero temperature variational and perturbation methods. Spring
PHYS 745. Solid State
Physics. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 725. Principles of crystallography; crystal
structure; lattice vibrations, band theory, and defects; study of ionic
crystals, dielectrics, magnetism, and free electron theory of metals
PHYS 748, 749. Theory
of Relativity and Gravitation. 3
hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. each sem. Prereq.: PHYS 711 and 716. An exposition
of the fundamentals of the special and general theories of relativity
and their applications to cosmology. Topics include foundations of special
relativity; formulation of physical theories in flat space-time; relativistic
particle and continuum mechanics, electrodynamics and classical field
theory, an introduction to differential geometry and topology; foundations
of Einstein’s theory of gravity; exact and approximate solutions;
observational tests; variational principle; conservation laws; initial-value
data and stability; ponderomotive equations; gravitational radiation;
introduction to relativistic stars, cosmological models, gravitational
collapse, and black holes; other theories of gravity.
PHYS 750, 751. Plasma
Physics. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. each sem. Prereq.: PHYS 641 or 741; 711, 715, 716. The
first semester will cover such topics as the motion of charged particles
in electromagnetic fields via the guiding center approximation; a discussion
of adiabatic invariance and particle motion in fields with spatial symmetry;
the Liouville equation and the BBGKY hierarchy in the plasma limit;
the Balescu-Lenard equation; the derivation of the Vlasov equation;
the plasma moment equations; and plasma transport phenomena. The second
semester will deal with waves in cold, uniform plasmas; the application
of the Vlasov equation to waves in warm plasmas; Landau damping; instabilities;
waves in spatially non-uniform plasmas; and the description of turbulent
plasmas and associated transport processes (anomalous diffusion, collisionless
dissipation, etc.). The topics of both semesters will be discussed in
relation to the problems of achieving controlled thermonuclear fusions
and the understanding of geophysical and astrophysical plasma phenomena.
PHYS 760. Cosmology. 3 hr. plus conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
641, 711, and 715.
PHYS 771, 772, 773. Graduate
Physics Laboratory. 3
hr.; 2 cr. each course. Prereq.: Permission of the graduate physics committee. Advanced experimental work in one or more fields of physics,
including the planning of experiments, the design and construction of
apparatus, and the evaluation of experimental results in the fields
of optics, X-rays, electronics, and atomic and nuclear physics. A student
may obtain from 2 to 6 credits starting with PHYS 771. Two courses of
the group may be taken concurrently.
PHYS 781. Theory of Quantum
Liquids. 3 hr. plus
conf.; 4 cr. Prereq.: PHYS 716 and 741. The theory of liquids covering
such topics as neutral Fermi liquids; response and correlation in neutral
systems; charged Fermi liquids; response and correlation in homogeneous
electron systems, microscopic theory of electron liquid; second quantization,
PHYS 782. Cryophysics. 2 hr. plus conf.; 3 cr. Prereq.: PHYS
741. A course designed to present and to interpret the quantum effects
occurring near the absolute zero of temperature. Topics to be considered
include principles and methods of attaining and measuring very low temperatures,
thermal and magnetic properties of matter at these temperatures, nuclear
paramagnetism, superconductivity, and the phenomena and theories of
liquid Helium Four and Three.
PHYS 788. Cooperative
Education Placement. Prereq.:
Approval by the physics department’s master’s advisor of a detailed
project description. Experiential learning through a job placement developed
by the Queens College Cooperative Education Program.
PHYS 788.1. 1 hr.; 1 cr.
PHYS 788.2. 2 hr.; 2 cr.
PHYS 788.3. 3 hr.; 3 cr.
PHYS 788.4. 4 hr.; 4 cr.
PHYS 788.5. 5 hr.; 5 cr.
PHYS 791. Colloquium. 1 hr.; 1 cr. Prereq.: permission of
the department. Attendance at all of the physics colloquia for one semester
is required. A report, discussing the topics selected by the supervisor,
must be submitted. This course may be taken in 2 different semesters
PHYS 798. Thesis. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: 20 credits at
the master’s level. Preparation and oral defense of a thesis under
the guidance of a faculty mentor.
PHYS 799. Graduate Research. Prereq.: Permission of the graduate physics committee. A course requiring investigation in depth of a field
approved by the graduate physics committee. Units of this course may
be repeated to a maximum of 12 credits.
PHYS 799.1. 1 hr.; 1 cr.
PHYS 799.2. 2 hr.; 2 cr.
PHYS 799.3. 3 hr.; 3 cr.
PHYS 799.4. 4 hr.; 4 cr.
PHYS 799.5. 5 hr.; 5 cr.
PHYS 799.6. 6 hr.; 6 cr.
Course in Astronomy
ASTR 501. Modern Aspects
of Astronomy. 4 hr.;
4 cr. Prereq.: permission of the department. A course for teachers providing
an introduction to general astronomy with emphasis on the structure
and evolution of the universe. Not open to candidates for the MA in physics.