Fall 2024

Oscillations and Waves

Listed in: Physics and Astronomy, as PHYS-125


David Hanneke (Section 01)


Phenomena that repeat over regular intervals of time and space play a fundamental role in physics and its applications. This course explores oscillations and waves in contexts from a simple mass on a spring to mechanical waves in solids, liquids, and gasses as well as electromagnetic waves. It emphasizes broadly applicable phenomena including superposition, boundary effects, interference, diffraction, coherence, normal modes, and the decomposition of arbitrary wave amplitudes into normal modes, as with Fourier analysis. The laboratory experiments on oscillations, mechanical waves and optics provide hands-on experience of the concepts discussed in the rest of the course. Three hours of lecture and discussion and one three-hour laboratory per week. The lab component is a half credit course.

Requisite: PHYS 116/123 and MATH 121 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 24 students. Fall semester: Professor Hanneke.

How to handle overenrollment: Physics majors have priority, then sophomores, then first-year students.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: quantitative work, lab work and working in groups

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024