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Physics (Ph) Graduate Courses (2016-17)

Ph 101. Order-of-Magnitude Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Emphasis will be on using basic physics to understand complicated systems. Examples will be selected from properties of materials, geophysics, weather, planetary science, astrophysics, cosmology, biomechanics, etc. Instructor: Phinney.
Ph 103. Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. This course will review the basic spectroscopy of atoms and molecules, with applications to astrophysics, the terrestrial atmosphere, and the laboratory. Species to be discussed include hydrogen and simple multielectron atoms such as carbon, diatomic and polyatomic molecules, and some solids. Mechanisms and effects determining linewidths and lineshapes will be discussed for laboratory, atmospheric, and astrophysical conditions. Not offered 2016-17.
Ay/Ph 104. Relativistic Astrophysics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course is designed primarily for junior and senior undergraduates in astrophysics and physics. It covers the physics of black holes and neutron stars, including accretion, particle acceleration and gravitational waves, as well as their observable consequences: (neutron stars) pulsars, magnetars, X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts; (black holes) X-ray transients, tidal disruption and quasars/active galaxies and sources of gravitational waves. Not Offered 2016-2017
Ph 105. Analog Electronics for Physicists. 9 units: first term. A laboratory course focusing on practical electronic circuits, with emphasis on analog electronics. The following topics are studied: RC circuits, electrical oscillations, operational amplifiers, diodes and transistors, combining circuit elements, and computer data acquisition. The course culminates in a two-week project of the student's choosing. Instructors: Rice, Libbrecht.
Ph 106 abc. Topics in Classical Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. An intermediate course in the application of basic principles of classical physics to a wide variety of subjects. Roughly half of the year will be devoted to mechanics, and half to electromagnetism. Topics include Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of mechanics, small oscillations and normal modes, boundary-value problems, multipole expansions, and various applications of electromagnetic theory. Instructors: Weinstein, Golwala.
APh/Ph 115. Physics of Momentum Transport in Hydrodynamic Systems. 12 units (3-0-9): second term. Contemporary research in many areas of physics requires some knowledge of the principles governing hydrodynamic phenomena such as nonlinear wave propagation, symmetry breaking in pattern forming systems, phase transitions in fluids, Langevin dynamics, micro- and optofluidic control, and biological transport at low Reynolds number. This course offers students of pure and applied physics a self-contained treatment of the fundamentals of momentum transport in hydrodynamic systems. Mathematical techniques will include formalized dimensional analysis and rescaling, asymptotic analysis to identify dominant force balances, similitude, self-similarity and perturbation analysis for examining unidirectional and Stokes flow, pulsatile flows, capillary phenomena, spreading films, oscillatory flows, and linearly unstable flows leading to pattern formation. Students must have working knowledge of vector calculus, ODEs, PDEs, complex variables and basic tensor analysis. Advanced solution methods will be taught in class as needed. Instructor: Troian.
APh/Ph/Ae 116. Physics of Thermal and Mass Transport in Hydrodynamic Systems. 12 units (3-0-9): third term. Contemporary research in many areas of physics requires some knowledge of how momentum transport in fluids couples to diffusive phenomena driven by thermal or concentration gradients. This course will first examine processes driven purely by diffusion and progress toward description of systems governed by steady and unsteady convection-diffusion and reaction-diffusion. Topics will include Fickian dynamics, thermal transfer in Peltier devices, Lifshitz-Slyozov growth during phase separation, thermocouple measurements of oscillatory fields, reaction-diffusion phenomena in biophysical systems, buoyancy driven flows, and boundary layer formation. Students must have working knowledge of vector calculus, ODEs, PDEs, complex variables and basic tensor analysis. Advanced solution methods such as singular perturbation, Sturm-Liouville and Green's function analysis will be taught in class as needed. Instructor: Troian.
Ph/APh/EE/BE 118 abc. Physics of Measurement. 9 units (3-0-6): first and second terms. This course focuses on exploring the fundamental underpinnings of experimental measurements from the perspectives of responsivity, noise, backaction, and information. Its overarching goal is to enable students to critically evaluate real measurement systems, and to determine the ultimate fundamental and practical limits to information that can be extracted from them. Topics will include physical signal transduction and responsivity, fundamental noise processes, modulation, frequency conversion, synchronous detection, signal-sampling techniques, digitization, signal transforms, spectral analyses, and correlations. The first term will cover the essential fundamental underpinnings, while topics in second term will include examples from optical methods, high-frequency and fast temporal measurements, biological interfaces, signal transduction, biosensing, and measurements at the quantum limit. Instructor: Roukes.
CS/Ph 120. Quantum Cryptography. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course is an introduction to quantum cryptography: how to use quantum effects, such as quantum entanglement and uncertainty, to implement cryptographic tasks with levels of security that are impossible to achieve classically. The course covers the fundamental ideas of quantum information that form the basis for quantum cryptography, such as entanglement and quantifying quantum knowledge. We will introduce the security definition for quantum key distribution and see protocols and proofs of security for this task. We will also discuss the basics of device-independent quantum cryptography as well as other cryptographic tasks and protocols, such as bit commitment or position-based cryptography. Instructor: Vidick.
Ph 125 abc. Quantum Mechanics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. A one-year course in quantum mechanics and its applications, for students who have completed Ph 12 or Ph 2. Wave mechanics in 3-D, scattering theory, Hilbert spaces, matrix mechanics, angular momentum, symmetries, spin-1/2 systems, approximation methods, identical particles, and selected topics in atomic, solid-state, nuclear, and particle physics. Instructors: Brandao, Cheung.
Ph 127 abc. Statistical Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. A course in the fundamental ideas and applications of classical and quantum statistical mechanics. Topics to be covered include the statistical basis of thermodynamics; ideal classical and quantum gases (Bose and Fermi); lattice vibrations and phonons; weak interaction expansions; phase transitions; and fluctuations and dynamics. Instructors: Refael, Motrunich.
Ph 129 abc. Mathematical Methods of Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. Mathematical methods and their application in physics. First term includes analytic and numerical methods for solving differential equations, integral equations, and transforms, and other applications of real analysis. Second term covers probability and statistics in physics. Third term focuses on group theoretic methods in physics. The three terms can be taken independently. Instructors: Porter, Chen.
Ph 135 abc. Applications of Quantum Mechanics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. Applications of quantum mechanics to topics in contemporary physics. First term: introduction to condensed matter which covers electronic properties of solids, including band structures, transport, and optical properties. Ph 135a is continued by Ph 223 ab in second and third terms. Second term: introduction to particle physics which includes Standard Model, Feynman diagrams, matrix elements, electroweak theory, QCD, gauge theories, the Higgs mechanism, neutrino mixing, astro-particle physics/cosmology, accelerators, experimental techniques, important historical and recent results, physics beyond the Standard Model, and major open questions in the field. Third term: an overview of modern Quantum Optics with particular emphasis on quantum measurement science, the quantum-classical interface, quantum networks, and quantum many-body physics with atoms and photons. The course will concentrate on the essential roles of manifestly quantum (i.e., nonclassical) and entangled states of light and matter. The course covers theoretical tools for analyses of coherent light-matter interactions including the quantum master equation, and will combine examples on both theory and experiment from the current research literature. This is a one-term class aimed at advanced undergraduates as well as beginning graduate students. Terms may be taken independently. Instructors: Yeh, Endres, Patterson.
Ph 136 abc. Applications of Classical Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. Applications of classical physics to topics of interest in contemporary "macroscopic'' physics. Continuum physics and classical field theory; elasticity and hydrodynamics; plasma physics; magnetohydrodynamics; thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; gravitation theory, including general relativity and cosmology; modern optics. Content will vary from year to year, depending on the instructor. An attempt will be made to organize the material so that the terms may be taken independently. Ph 136a will focus on thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, random processes, and optics. Ph136b will focus on fluid dynamics, MHD, turbulence, and plasma physics. Ph 136c will cover an introduction to general relativity. Instructors: Hopkins, Phinney, Vallisneri.
Ph 171. Reading and Independent Study. Units in accordance with work accomplished: . Occasionally, advanced work involving reading, special problems, or independent study is carried out under the supervision of an instructor. Approval of the instructor and of the student's departmental adviser must be obtained before registering. The instructor will complete a student evaluation at the end of the term. Graded pass/fail.
Ph 172. Research in Experimental Physics. Units in accordance with work accomplished: . Students registering for 6 or more units of Ph 172 must give a 15-minute oral presentation to the Physics Undergraduate Committee at the Physics Undergraduate Research Seminar Day. Approval of the student's research supervisor and departmental adviser must be obtained before registering. Graded pass/fail.
Ph 173. Research in Theoretical Physics. Units in accordance with work accomplished: . Students registered for 6 or more units of Ph 173 must give a 15-minute oral presentation to the Physics Undergraduate Committee at the Physics Undergraduate Research Seminar Day. Approval of the student's research supervisor and departmental adviser must be obtained before registering. Graded pass/fail.
CNS/Bi/Ph/CS/NB 187. Neural Computation. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. This course investigates computation by neurons. Of primary concern are models of neural computation and their neurological substrate, as well as the physics of collective computation. Thus, neurobiology is used as a motivating factor to introduce the relevant algorithms. Topics include rate-code neural networks, their differential equations, and equivalent circuits; stochastic models and their energy functions; associative memory; supervised and unsupervised learning; development; spike-based computing; single-cell computation; error and noise tolerance. Instructor: Perona.
Ph 199. Frontiers of Fundamental Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course will explore the frontiers of research in particle physics and cosmology, focusing on the physics at the Large Hadron Collider. Topics include the Standard Model of particle physics in light of the discovery of the Higgs boson, work towards the characterization and measurements of the new particle's quantum properties, its implications on physics beyond the standard model, and its connection with the standard model of cosmology focusing on the dark matter challenge. The course is geared toward seniors and first-year graduate students who are not in particle physics, although students in particle physics are welcome to attend. Not offered 2016-2017.
Ph 201. Candidacy Physics Fitness. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The course will review problem solving techniques and physics applications from the undergraduate physics college curriculum. In particular, we will touch on the main topics covered in the written candidacy exam: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics and quantum physics, optics, basic mathematical methods of physics, and the physical origin of everyday phenomena. Instructors: Refael, Endres.
Ph 205 abc. Relativistic Quantum Field Theory. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. Topics: the Dirac equation, second quantization, quantum electrodynamics, scattering theory, Feynman diagrams, non-Abelian gauge theories, Higgs symmetry-breaking, the Weinberg-Salam model, and renormalization. Instructor: Wise.
Ph 217. Introduction to the Standard Model. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. An introduction to elementary particle physics and cosmology. Students should have at least some background in quantum field theory and general relativity. The standard model of weak and strong interactions is developed, along with predictions for Higgs physics and flavor physics. Some conjectures for physics beyond the standard model are introduced: for example, low-energy supersymmetry and warped extra dimensions. Not offered 2016-17.
Ph/CS 219 abc. Quantum Computation. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. The theory of quantum information and quantum computation. Overview of classical information theory, compression of quantum information, transmission of quantum information through noisy channels, quantum error-correcting codes, quantum cryptography and teleportation. Overview of classical complexity theory, quantum complexity, efficient quantum algorithms, fault-tolerant quantum computation, physical implementations of quantum computation. Instructors: Kitaev, Preskill.
Ph/APh 223 ab. Advanced Condensed-Matter Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): second, third terms. Advanced topics in condensed-matter physics, with emphasis on the effects of interactions, symmetry, and topology in many-body systems. Ph/Aph 223a covers second quantization, Hartree-Fock theory of the electron gas, Mott insulators and quantum magnetism, bosonization, quantum Hall effects, and symmetry protected topological phases such as topological insulators. Ph/APh 223b will continue with BCS theory of superconductivity, Ginzburg-Landau theory, elements of unconventional and topological superconductors, theory of superfluidity, Bose-Hubbard model and bosonic Mott insulators, and some aspects of quantum systems with randomness. Instructors: Alicea, Chen.
Ph 229 abc. Advanced Mathematical Methods of Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms only. Advanced topics in geometry and topology that are widely used in modern theoretical physics. Emphasis will be on understanding and applications more than on rigor and proofs. First term will cover basic concepts in topology and manifold theory. Second term will include Riemannian geometry, fiber bundles, characteristic classes, and index theorems. Third term will include anomalies in gauge-field theories and the theory of Riemann surfaces, with emphasis on applications to string theory. Instructor: Ooguri.
Ph 230 abc. Elementary Particle Theory. 9 units (3-0-6): second, third terms. Advanced methods in quantum field theory. First term: introduction to supersymmetry, including the minimal supersymmetric extension of the standard model, supersymmetric grand unified theories, extended supersymmetry, supergravity, and supersymmetric theories in higher dimensions. Second and third terms: nonperturbative phenomena in non-Abelian gauge field theories, including quark confinement, chiral symmetry breaking, anomalies, instantons, the 1/N expansion, lattice gauge theories, and topological solitons. Not offered 2016-17.
Ph 236 abc. Relativity. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms. Classical Mechanics , or of Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics. A systematic exposition of Einstein's general theory of relativity and its applications to gravitational waves, black holes, relativistic stars, causal structure of space-time, cosmology and brane worlds. Not offered 2016-2017.
Ph 237. Gravitational Waves. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. The theory and astrophysical phenomenology of gravitational-wave sources (black holes, neutron stars, compact binaries, early-universe phenomena, etc.). Gravitational-wave detectors (LIGO, LISA, and others), and data analysis. Not offered 2016-17.
Ph 242 ab. Physics Seminar. 3 units (2-0-1): first, second terms. Topics in physics emphasizing current research at Caltech. One two-hour meeting per week. Speakers will be chosen from both faculty and students. Registration restricted to first-year graduate students in physics; exceptions only with permission of instructor. Graded pass/fail. Instructors: Stone, Refael.
Ph 250 abc. Introduction to String Theory. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second, third terms. The first two terms will focus largely on the bosonic string. Topics covered will include conformal invariance and construction of string scattering amplitudes, the origins of gauge interactions and gravity from string theory, T-duality, and D-branes. The third term will cover perturbative aspects of superstrings, supergravity, various BPS branes, and string dualities. Instructors: Gukov, Kapustin.
Ph 300. Thesis Research. Units in accordance with work accomplished: . Ph 300 is elected in place of Ph 172 or Ph 173 when the student has progressed to the point where research leads directly toward the thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Approval of the student's research supervisor and department adviser or registration representative must be obtained before registering. Graded pass/fail.