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Academic Structures and Issues

Currently the Reed physics curriculum devotes the first two years (four units) to an introduction to the standard foundational topics: Newtonian mechanics, electrodynamics, thermal physics, special relativity, optics, quantum mechanics, and atomic physics, with applications to representative physical systems. Students learn to use one or more programming languages or symbolic programming environments, typically C and Mathematica, in the lab, and they study electronic circuits consisting of passive elements, transistors, and operational amplifiers. These courses are divided into three one-hour lectures per week accompanied by three-hour labs. The first year course also meets in small conferences one and half-hours per week, the second year course for a one-hour weekly conference.

Required courses for juniors and seniors include electrodynamics (two units), classical mechanics (1) quantum mechanics (1), advanced (junior) lab (two half-units), and thesis (two units). Classical II, Quantum II, and Thermal Physics are strongly recommended, and taken by most majors, along with an assortment of electives.

The Reed Physics Department
The Era of Experimentalists: 1911-1963
The Era of Theoretical Physics: 1963-1897
Achieving Balance: 1987-Present
Academic Structure and Issues
Junior Qual
Senior Thesis
The Role of Research and the Integration of Research and Teaching
The Curriculum
Relations with Students
Teaching Style
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