Division of Natural Sciences

The Division of Natural Sciences contains the following disciplines: biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics.

Applied Mathematics

Beginning in fall 2008, Applied Mathematics will be offered as an area of concentration at New College.

The (minimal) course work for a slash degree in Applied Mathematics includes the following:

1.       Calculus 1, Calculus 2, Calculus 3

2.       Linear Algebra

3.       Ordinary Differential  Equations

4.       Mathematical  Modeling

5.       Numerical  Analysis

In addition, a course in Programming is highly recommended.

The (minimal) course work for a major in Applied Mathematics includes the following:

1.       The requirements for a slash degree in Applied Mathematics.

2.       Partial Differential  Equations

3.       Probability/Statistics

4.       Advanced Linear Algebra

5.       A course in programming.

In addition, a course in Complex Analysis is highly recommended.

Other requirements for the major include:

1.       A two semester introductory sequence (or two semesters of more advanced material) in either Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.

2.       Three semesters of Math Seminar.

3.       A senior thesis involving Applied Mathematics.

Course Descriptions

Intro to Scientific Programming

Introduction to Programming with Matlab and C++. Fundamental concepts and skills of programming in a high-level language. Flow of control: selection, iteration, subprograms.  Data structures:  strings, arrays, records, lists, tables. Algorithms using selection and iteration (decision making, finding maxima/minima, searching, sorting, simulation, etc.) Good program design, structure and style are emphasized.  Testing and debugging.  The first part of the course is going to concentrate on Matlab. Then we move to C++ and continue with C++ in the next term.

Prerequisites:  Permission of instructor.

Introduction to Numerical Methods

This is a survey course of the basic numerical methods which are used to solve practical scientific problems, important concepts such as accuracy, stability, and efficiency and convergence are discussed. The course provides an introduction to MATLAB, an interactive program for numerical linear algebra. Objectives of the course: Develop numerical methods for approximately solving problems from continuous mathematics on the computer. Examine the accuracy, stability, and failure modes of these methods. Implement these methods in a computer language MATLAB).

Prerequisites:  Permission of instructor.

Calculus I*

Calculus is a means for calculating the rate of change of a quantity which varies with time and the total accumulation of the quantity whose rate of change varies with time. Although calculus is only about three centuries old, calculus ideas are the basis for most modern applications of mathematics, especially those underlying our technology.  The development of the calculus is one of the great intellectual achievements of Western civilization.  A balance will be struck between presenting calculus as a collection of techniques for computation, and as a handful of difficult but very powerful concepts. Wherever possible, we will motivate the ideas as ways of answering questions about real world problems.

Prerequisites:  Complete the math placement exam.

Calculus II

This course takes up where Calculus I leaves off. The topics covered include integration techniques, sequences, series, Taylor series, complex numbers, areas and volumes. This course is recommended for students pursuing interests in the physical sciences, applied mathematics and economics.

Prerequisite:  Calculus I and instructor's permission.

Calculus III

This class is a continuation of Calculus I and II. We will cover the calculus in n-dimensional Euclidean space. The topics covered during the course of the semester include the fundamental constructions of the calculus of multivariable functions (vector fields, gradients, line integrals, surface integrals etc) and the associated fundamental results (Green's Theorems, Gauss' Theorem, Stokes' Theorem, etc). The course will focus on application and computation and will include an introduction to differential equations.

Prerequisite:  Calculus II.

Calculus with Theory I

This course is the first in a two semester sequence designed as a rigorous introduction to the calculus. This class targets students that want a deep understanding of the theoretical under-pinnings of calculus and the ability to reprove the classical theorems of calculus. This course will cover considerably more detail than a regular calculus course and includes an introduction to writing proofs. The first semester will cover differential calculus with an in-depth look at limits, continuity, and differentiability as well as applications such as optimization and linear approximation.  We will complete the course by rigorously developing the Riemann integral and proving the fundamental theorem of calculus.

Prerequisites:  Permission of Instructor.

Calculus with Theory II

This is a continuation of Calculus with Theory 1. This course will continue with techniques of integration, logarithms and exponential functions, infinite sequences and sums and power series. If time remains the course will touch on Fourier series. Prerequisites:  Calculus with Theory 1.

Linear Algebra*

This course is an introduction to the theory of vector spaces and linear transformations and to their representation by means of matrices. The topics that will be covered are: matrices and linear systems of equations, algebra of matrices, determinants, vector spaces, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, matrix diagonalization, and inner product spaces. Prerequisites:  Calculus or the consent of instructor.

Computational Ordinary Differential Equations

This course will focus on differential equations and computational methods using Matlab/Maple.  It is intended for Mathematics and Science students who are going to apply these techniques in their coursework.  Reflecting the shift in emphasis from traditional methods to new computer -based methods, we will focus on the mathematical modeling of real - world phenomena as the goal and constant motivation for the study of differential equations. Topics covered include some material on complex numbers and matrix algebra, first and second order linear and non -linear systems with applications, introductory numerical methods, and Laplace transform techniques.

Prerequisites:  Calculus I and II.


The course will consist of two parts. In the first part, we will begin by studying discrete spaces and simple games of chance. We will introduce and study the basic notions of probability including random variables, distribution, expectation, and variance. We will study continuous distributions as they relate to approximations of various discrete objects. In the second part of the course we will use our knowledge of simple games of chance to construct discrete models of simple physical systems. The models and the ideas behind their construction have found applications in many different areas (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, etc.). Time permitting; we will study several such examples in detail.

Prerequisite:  Calculus.

Discrete Dynamical Modeling

An important problem in science is to predict the behavior of systems that change in time. Such systems are called dynamical systems. This course introduces students to a set of mathematical methods used to model dynamical systems. It focuses on discrete dynamical models in which time is viewed as a sequence of steps. Students will learn how to translate real world problem into mathematical equations and they also learn how to use mathematical and computational methods to analyze the problem and make prediction. Mathematical concepts on steady states, cycles and chaos will be introduced.  Concrete examples will be drawn from biology when possible.

Prerequisite:  Calculus

Mathematical Modeling I

Mathematical modeling plays a central role in understanding of complex systems that are changing in time. Such systems are called dynamical systems. This course is designed to introduce students to the elements of dynamical systems. Both continuous and discrete systems will be covered. In the course of the term, students will come to understand how mathematical models are formulated, and how their short and long term behaviors can be uncovered through a combination of analysis and computer simulation.

Qualitative, quantitative and graphical techniques will be used to analyze and understand mathematical models and to compare theoretical predictions with available data. Mathematical concepts of steady states, cycles and chaos will be introduced.  Examples will be given from physics, biology, chemistry and economics.

Prerequisites:  Calculus and differential equations (or the approval of instructor).

Mathematical Biology

This course introduces the study of nonlinear interactions in biology and medicine. We consider physical problems which are well modeled by systems of coupled ordinary differential equations and develop techniques to obtain qualitative information about such systems. Mathematical concepts on nonlinear dynamics and chaos, qualitative and quantitative mathematical techniques as local and global stability theory, bifurcation analysis, phase plane analysis, and numerical simulation will be introduced.  Concrete and detailed examples will be drawn from molecular, cellular and population biology and mammalian physiology.

Prerequisite:  Calculus, Differential Equations. Programming experience preferred.

Advanced Linear Algebra

Linear algebra is a critical mathematical tool in all of the sciences.  Therefore, an in-depth knowledge of linear algebra is useful not only to mathematicians, but also to any scientist using mathematics.  Topics to be covered include a review of basic linear algebra, the Moore -Penrose Pseudoinverse, singular value decompositions, generalizations of matrix equations, projections  and inner products, least squares problems, Jordan canonical form, linear differential equations  and the matrix exponential,  and difference equations.

Prerequisite:  Linear Algebra or permission of the instructor.

Complex Analysis

Complex numbers were introduced in the study of the roots of polynomial equations and have found applications in nearly every branch of modern mathematics.  This course will develop the notion of a function of a complex variable and the corresponding calculus. The theorems and applications to be discussed are some of the most beautiful results of modern mathematics.  Topics for the course include analytic functions, complex integration and the Cauchy integral formula, series representations, residues, the Dirichlet problem, and conformal mappings.

Prerequisites:  Real Analysis I or permission of instructor.

Partial Differential Equations

This course is designed to prepare students for advanced work in geometry and mathematical physics by developing the knowledge of partial differential equations common to both topics. Topics covered during the semester include: Laplace equations, wave equations, heat equations, Hamilton-Jacobi equations, Fourier theory, and the theory of distributions. Prerequisites:  Calculus III and Ordinary Differential Equations.

Computational Fluid Mechanics

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to Computational Fluid Mechanics. The course focuses on physical and mathematical foundations of computational fluid mechanics with emphasis on applications.  We will consider solution methods for model equations  and the Euler and the Navier-Stokes equations; the finite volume formulation  of the equations; classification  of partial differential equations  and solution techniques;  truncation errors, stability, conservation,  and monotonicity.  The main programming language is Matlab.

Prerequisites:  Calculus III, Ordinary Differential Equations.

Computational Partial Differential Equations

This course will focus on applied partial differential equations and their computational methods. It is intended for math and science students who apply these techniques in their work. Topics we will consider include, but are not limited to heat, wave, and Laplace equation, harmonic functions, Fourier series expansions,  separation  of variables, spherical and cylindrical Bessel functions, and Legendre polynomials.  For each topic we will study numerical and computer algebra approaches with Matlab and Maple.

Prerequisites:  Calculus III, Ordinary Differential Equations.

Mathematics Seminar

Math Seminar has been a traditional forum for students interested in mathematics.  The purpose of this seminar is to cover many interesting or advanced topics in mathematics that cannot be titled under one subject. Students enrolled in this seminar are expected to present several lectures prepared under supervision of the math faculty.

Prerequisites:  None

Biology AOC

A concentration in Biology begins with course work in General Biology. Critical thinking and writing skills are a part of all undertakings in this concentration.  A well-rounded biologist will build on basic concepts with study in core areas: ecology, cell and developmental biology, organismal biology and genetics. Course offering supplemented by tutorials allow students to accomplish this. In the current curriculum, for example, Methods in Field Ecology, Plant-Insect Interactions, and Coral Reef Ecology allow study of ecological principles beyond General Biology. Cell and developmental biology begins with a foundation course (with lab) in cell biology. Advanced courses such as Plant Developmental Biology, lab tutorials, internships, and seminars give the student an opportunity to shape interests. Organismal biology is represented in several course offerings, including Organismic Biology, Botany, Fish Biology, Invertebrate Zoology, Plant Physiology, and Entomology.  Genetics (with lab) introduced  the field that can be explored at advanced  levels through work in biochemistry and through seminars focused on various levels of genetics from molecular  to organismal, as well as through tutorials and internships.

Course work in biology should include three semesters of laboratory experiences beyond General Biology; two Independent Study Projects, a senior thesis in Biology, and a successful baccalaureate exam complete the expectations for biology Area of Concentration.  The curriculum is flexible to accommodate needs and interests. The sub-disciplines offered regularly by faculty include marine biology, neurobiology and environmental studies. Each assumes completion of general biology and the incorporation in an individual's curriculum of the core areas of study.

Marine Biology includes Coral Reef Ecology, Invertebrate Zoology, Fish Biology, Methods of Field Ecology, Animal Behavior, Aquatic Botany/Marine Plants, study at a marine field station, and selected tutorials. Students interested in this area typically work with faculty in educational activities at the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center located at the Bayfront.

Neurobiology has two options: Option 1 - Neurobiology, Brain Behavior and Evolution, and Vertebrate Neuroanatomy with at least two of the labs associated with these courses; Option 2 - two of the above courses with labs and one of the Social Sciences offerings in neurobiology.

Biology students should also complete the basic courses in physics, calculus and chemistry, and be able to use the computer as a research and presentation tool. Statistics and the command of a modern language other than English make important contributions to a biologist's education.

Representative senior theses in biology:

·          Minilivestock:  A Study in Insect Rearing and the Determination of Protein Contents of Two Insects

·          Canavan Disease: A Clinical, Biochemical, and Genetic Perspective

·          Preliminary  Electrophysiology of Tecto -telenchephalo-tectal pathway in Lagodon rhomboides

·          Cytoarchitecture of the Telencephalon  of a Cichlid Fish: Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum

·          The Effect of Cortisol Administration on Learning and Memory in the Pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides

·          Dot Spot and PCR Techniques  Detect Tomato Mottle Geminivirus in Developing Tissue Following Localized Inoculations in Tomato Plants

·          Social Behavior of Coenobita clypeatus

·          The Effects of Stress on Physiology  and Cognition

Faculty in Biology

Alfred Beulig, Jr.
Amy Clore
Sandra L. Gilchrist
Elzie McCord, Jr.
Tyrone Ryba
Katherine M. Walstrom
Diana Weber (Visiting 2010-14)

Chemistry AOC

The chemistry program at New College encourages and develops independence, scientific judgment, and a high level of performance.   From the beginning, students work closely with faculty in a non -competitive environment, learning the skills and techniques necessary for scientific work.  Tutorials, Independent Study Projects, and the senior thesis provide opportunities for intensive study on specific topics and original laboratory research.

Laboratories are well equipped for organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry projects as well as for biochemistry and molecular biology. Students also have access to research grade instruments in laboratory courses and research projects. Research facilities include a 60 MHz and a 250 MHz NMR spectrometer, several FTIR and UV-visible spectrophotometers, a fluorimeter, high-pressure liquid chromatographs, an inert atmosphere glove box, electrochemical equipment, a GC-MS, a room-temperature microwave spectrometer, and a real-time PCR machine.

Courses offered in the core program in chemistry include General Chemistry  I and II, Organic Chemistry  - Structure and Reactivity  I and II, Inorganic Chemistry,  Physical Chemistry  I and II, and Biochemistry  I.  General, Organic, Inorganic, and Physical Chemistry are each accompanied by separate laboratory courses.  Other courses offered include Chemistry and Society, Environmental Chemistry, Advanced Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry II, Biochemistry Laboratory, and Bioinorganic Chemistry.  Recent tutorials have been conducted in Structure Elucidation, Green Chemistry, Transition Metal Organometallic Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Virology, and Enzyme Kinetics. Many opportunities are available for laboratory research tutorials.

A concentration in chemistry begins with a two-semester (fall and spring) General Chemistry sequence, along with General Chemistry Laboratory during Spring Semester.  During the second year, students take two semesters of Organic Chemistry - Structure and Reactivity, along with the Chemistry Inquiry Laboratory in the fall and Organic Laboratory in the spring.

For students with little experience in the natural sciences, Chemistry and Society presents chemistry within the context of society and the environment.   Chemistry and Society and General Chemistry I satisfy the Liberal Arts Curriculum requirement.

An Area of Concentration in chemistry normally includes the General and Organic Chemistry sequences; Physical Chemistry I and II (with lab); Inorganic Chemistry  (with lab); Biochemistry  I; one additional advanced  chemistry course; one Independent  Study Project in chemistry; and a senior thesis. Calculus I, II, and III and Physics I and II (with lab) are also required.  Students typically complete other advanced courses or tutorials in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, or languages, and often do a second ISP in chemistry.  Joint and double areas of concentration may be accomplished by arrangement with the chemistry faculty.

Representative senior theses in Chemistry:

·          Examination of RNA Helicase A function in small regulatory RNA pathways of the Caenorhabditis elegans germline

·          The Search for MicroRNAs Encoded by the Influenza A Virus

·          TACN and jibing toward synthetic models of oxalate degrading metalloenzymes

·          Partial Synthesis of Fe(III) - Tetraamido Macrocyclic Ligands as Potential Green Oxidation Catalysts

·          Bdippza: Synthesis and Metal Complexes of a New Monoanionic [N20]
Heteroscorpionate Ligand

·          Mn-doped (CdS)ZnS Quantum Dots as Sensitizers for Sensitized Solar Cells

·          The Microwave Spectroscopy of Small Molecules with Methyl Rotors

·          Purification and Characterization of C. elegans Mitochondrial Malate Dehydrogenase

·          Towards the Synthesis of 1,4-Dibenzyl-1,4,7-Triazacyclononane-7-Monoacetate for a Potential
Mimic of Oxalate Degrading Enzymes"

Biochemistry: Students interested in the interface between chemistry and biology may choose a concentration in biochemistry.   Requirements  include the General and Organic Chemistry  sequences;  Biochemistry  I and II (with one semester of lab); one semester of Physical Chemistry  with lab; Cell Biology with lab; Genetics with lab; Calculus I, II, and III and Physics I and II with lab.  Students must also complete a chemistry or biochemistry ISP and a biochemistry thesis.  The thesis prospectus must be signed by two chemists and one biologist.

Representative senior theses in Biochemistry:

·          Analysis of the ATPase activity of C. elegans RNA helicase A

·          Purification and kinetic characterization of C. elegans malate dehydrogenase

·          The relevance  of a conserved ATPase domain to the overall function of Caenorhabditis elegans RNA Helicase A

Faculty in Chemistry

Paul H. Scudder
Suzanne E. Sherman
Steven Shipman
Katherine M. Walstrom

Computational Science

Computational Science is a dynamic interdisciplinary field of academic study and research. Here at New College, students combine their work in Computational Science with work in another established discipline, completing what we call a "joint disciplinary" Area of Concentration. Students thus enhance their interdisciplinary work in Computational Science with a solid grounding in a complementary discipline (such as Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, etc...). In addition to the requirements below, students are encouraged to take foundational courses in several different disciplines, so that they can build on that grounding as they develop their own Computational Science curriculum in consultation with their sponsors. Students should complete minimal requirements below early in their academic career and use the list of more advanced courses to track their progress toward fulfilling the requirements in consultation with affiliated faculty members.

The (minimal) course work for a joint disciplinary degree in Computational Science includes the following:

1.       Introduction to Programming

2.       Introduction to Object Oriented Programming

3.       Introduction to Applied Statistics Programming  (may be replaced with upper level Probability  and Statistics)

4.       Networks  and Algorithms

5.       Introduction to Scientific Computing

Other requirements for the major include a selection of courses/tutorials approved by corresponding discipline out of the following list:

1.       Data Structures - required for Bioinformatics Databases - required for Bioinformatics Systems Biology

2.       Artificial Intelligence Discrete Mathematics Recursive Programming

3.       Probability  and Statistics (more advanced  Calculus -based) Mathematical  Modeling

4.       Numerical  Analysis

5.       Calculus 1-3

6.       Linear Algebra Differential Equations Computational  Fluids

7.       Computational  Partial Differential  Equations

8.       Computational Physics Theoretical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, etc... (Physics faculty approval) Computational  Chemistry

9.       Physical Chemistry I, II, etc... (Chemistry  faculty approval) Bioinformatics Genomics, etc...(Biology  faculty approval) Informatics

10.    (Or two semesters of more advanced material) in either Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, or Mathematics.

Faculty in Computational Science

David Gillman

Mathematics AOC

(See also Applied Mathematics)

The Mathematics Area of Concentration at New College is both challenging and exciting. The governing principles of New College's educational policy are reflected in the mathematics program which emphasizes freedom of choice for the individual student and allows each individual to direct his or her own education. Well before graduating, majors are able to work on advanced material often found in graduate school offerings.

The core program for students electing a major in mathematics  includes three semesters of calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, two semesters of modern abstract algebra, two semesters of real analysis, and complex analysis. In addition, students are encouraged to take courses in topology, discrete mathematics, graph theory, and number theory as well as computer science and other sciences.  Finally, students are applauded for forays into other liberal arts courses in the humanities and social sciences.

There is a great deal of flexibility involving course work for advanced students. An essential element of the mathematics program is participation in the Math Seminar, a longstanding New College tradition. Math Seminar, offered every semester, provides a forum for math majors as well as non -majors to present a talk on a mathematically -related topic to an audience of students and the math faculty. One of the most important roles of the Math Seminar has been to build a sense of community in the program in addition to honing students' communication skills. Students majoring in mathematics are encouraged to participate in summer research programs.

For students interested in a joint concentration in mathematics, the minimum requirements are courses in Calculus I and II; Differential Equations or Calculus III; Linear Algebra, two semester taken from Abstract Algebra I and II and/or Real Analysis I and II and at least one Math Seminar.

Computer Science: A limited number of courses are offered in this subdiscipline to enable interest students to study computer science and to apply computers in many areas of study. The introductory courses are: Great Ideas in Computer Science, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, and Discrete Mathematics.  All these courses satisfy the "liberal arts curriculum requirement."  They are broad-based and open to all students. None of these courses teaches computer programming and programming experience is not necessary for taking these classes. Advanced Courses: Theory of Computation and Data Structures and Algorithms.  Typically students would need at least Discrete Mathematics for the Theory of Computation course, and programming experience in some imperative high-level language (e.g. C, C++, Python, or Java) for Data Structures and Algorithms.

A "minor" in computer  science would normally require the above 5 courses (Great Ideas, Intro AL, Discrete Math, Theory of Computation,  Data Structures and Algorithms) plus demonstrated  proficiency  in a modern high-level programming  language like C, C++, Python, or Java. A "major" in computer science (area of concentration) can be designed to fit the needs of the student, and must be negotiated with Professor Henckell. It would normally include all the requirements for a "minor", plus other work to be specified; some off campus study of computer science at a major university is recommended.

Recent theses titles:

·          Differential  Geometry of Manifolds, the Gauss-Bonnet  Theorem, and Polygonal Approximations

·          A Historical and Semi-Markov  Approach to Liver Allocation  Modeling

·          Stock Option Pricing: From Binomial to Black-Scholes  and (Slightly) Beyond

·          Mycroft: An Automated  Predicate Logic Theorem Prover

·          A New Class of Graphs with a-Labelings

·          Modeling Microtubule  Dynamics

·          On Integer Flows in Cayley Graphs: Excursions in Tutte's 3-edge-coloring Conjecture

·          Total Characters of Dihedral Groups

·          Optimal Transitional  Labelings of Graphs: A Polarization Approach

·          Percolation  on a Random Tree

·          Designs and Codes in Odd Graphs

·          Average Exit Time Moments of Geometric Graphs with Boundary

·          Fractional Domination

Faculty in Mathematics

Karsten Henckell
Patrick T. McDonald
David T. Mullins (On Leave 2013-14)
Eirini Poimenidou
Necmettin Yildirim
Travis Lee (Visiting 2013-14)

Natural Sciences AOC

The Natural Sciences faculty have agreed that a student desiring to list "Natural Sciences" as an Area of Concentration should have a diverse enough background to be reasonably called a natural scientist and, at the same time, should have attained some level of mastery in one of the following disciplines:  biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics.  These goals are normally achieved by meeting the following requirements:

1.      Satisfactory completion of at least 8 courses with the Division of Natural Sciences.  These courses are to be distributed among at least three disciplines.  The minimum that must be done in each is the successful completion of all the introductory sequence in that discipline.

2.      A minimum of two semester courses beyond the introductory sequence in one discipline.  The faculty will entertain requests for exceptions to these specific requirements as long as work of sufficient breadth and depth has been done in the division.

3.      At least one Independent Study Project in the Natural Sciences.

4.      A senior thesis in some area of the natural sciences, sponsored by a faculty member of the Natural Sciences Division.

Representative senior theses for a Natural Sciences concentration:

·         A Language Independent  Text Editor

·         Ribulose-1,5-Biphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase Hermit Crab Attraction to Gastropod  Predation Sites Simulated Annealing from Random Graphs

Physics AOC


The physics program is designed to provide a thorough grounding in the central areas of physics, allowing for flexibility in pursuing individual interests in depth. It addresses the needs of both majors and non -majors through courses and tutorials in theoretical, experimental, and computational physics.  Students participating in the physics program become familiar with the facts and processes of physics and learn to think logically. Those whose interests expand beyond the introductory level will find small classes, intensive work, and challenging projects. They will also find state of the art equipment  for doing research in the laboratory, including an atomic force microscope,  a micro-Raman  spectrometer,  an X Ray diffractometer,  an X Ray fluorescence  spectrometer,  micro-spectrophotometer, and a Q switched Nd:YAG laser with second and fourth harmonic emission.  Joint or double areas of concentration with other disciplines are possible. For example, combinations of physics with mathematics or chemistry are common. Some of our graduates go on to work for industry or government, but most continue their education in graduate school.

Course of Study

We offer an Area of Concentration (major) in physics. Required courses include the two-semester Introductory Physics sequence (with two semesters of lab), Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Modern Physics (with lab), Optics, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics. We offer the introductory physics sequence every year, and the upper level physics courses every other year. We also periodically  offer the electives Advanced Quantum Mechanics, Advanced Physics Laboratory, Essential Electronics,  Mathematical  Methods for Physicists, and Solid State Physics. We also require Solid State Physics for students planning to do a thesis in Professor Sendova's laboratory.  An essential part of our program is undergraduate research leading to the completion of the senior thesis. We are experienced and well equipped to offer projects in a wide range of areas; see our list of recent senior thesis titles below, for example. In addition, our students routinely do paid summer research at universities and government laboratories around the country as part of the NSF funded REU program.

We also offer Joint Areas of Concentration.  Quite common at New College are areas of concentration combining two disciplines, with study in each not necessarily sufficient for a major in either (e.g. Physics/Mathematics). For a joint area of concentration, we require: the two semester Introductory Physics sequence (with two semesters of lab), Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Modern Physics (with lab). The senior thesis should be related to physics.

The physics faculty teach Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC) outreach courses for non -majors. In addition to the introductory physics sequence, taken by most science students, the physics faculty periodically offer for all students: Descriptive Astronomy, The Structure of Nature, and Seeing the Light.

Area of Concentration Requirements in Physics include:

1.       Two semesters of Introductory  Physics

2.       Two semesters of Introductory  Physics Lab

3.       Classical Mechanics Electricity and Magnetism Modern Physics

4.       Modern Physics Lab

5.       Optics

6.       Quantum Mechanics

7.       Statistical Mechanics

8.       Solid State Physics (for students planning to do a thesis in Professor Sendova's laboratory)

9.       Co requisite courses in mathematics,  are Introductory  Calculus I and II, Multivariable  Calculus III, Differential  Equations, and Linear Algebra

10.    An Independent  Study Project in an advanced area Physics

11.    A Senior Thesis and Baccalaureate  Exam

Representative Theses in Physics

·          Surface Plasmon Resonance of Noble Metal Nanoparticles in Thin Film Dielectric Matrices. Star Formation and Metallicity in Irregular Galaxies.

·          The Physics of Tachyons. Carbon Nanoparticles.

·          Sequestration and Stabilization: Taming the Black Hole.

·          Using Homotopy Groups to Detect Topological Defects with Applications to a Lorentz -Violating Theory. Quantum Chemistry & Applications of Density Functional Theory to the C1-/Benzene Adduct.

·          Curved Periodic Crack Patterns in Sol-gel Films.

·          Coil Impedance in the Presence of an Axially Symmetric Conductor.

Faculty in Physics

Don Colladay
George Ruppeiner (On Leave 2013-14)
Mariana Sendova
Eric Greenwood (Visiting 2013-14)

Office of the Provost
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, Florida  34243

Phone: (941) 487-4200
Fax: (941) 487-4201