Department Chair: Dr. Vahid Taghikhani, vahid.taghikhani@stthom.edu

All areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine rest upon physical principles of matter and motion, which is why physics is often called the base science. Physics is that branch of science that attempts to discover the laws underlying the natural world, from the smallest subatomic particle to the large-scale distribution of galaxies. Further, physics seeks to express these laws in a mathematical language in order quantitatively model and understand the past, present and even future state for a system.

Engineering has always been an in-demand field with a constant need for critical thinkers and problem solvers. In our engineering programs you will learn the fundamentals of what it takes to be a great engineer. The programs offer a wide array of learning opportunities from traditional classroom and laboratory settings to undergraduate research and engineering design-oriented courses.

Admission to all physics and engineering courses with prerequisites require a “C” or better in those prerequisites. This is true for prerequisites taken at the University of St. Thomas or their equivalents at another appropriately accredited institution. The decision on the adequacy of an equivalent rests with the department chair.

The Physics and Engineering Scholars seminar will enhance relevant concepts, techniques and problem-solving strategies needed in introductory Physics 1331 and Physics 2333 courses. The focus is on application of those concepts, techniques,and strategies to covered lecture topics in both Physics 1331 and 2333, such as motion in several dimensions, forces, energy, momentum, rotational motion, vibrations, and waves. This course is recommended for students who need to improve their quantitative reasoning and problem-solving skills to succeed in their introductory physics classes. Departmental Approval is needed to sign up for this course. This is a Pass/Fail course.

Students will learn advanced techniques in experimental design, data analysis, and process optimization, as applied to various unit operations, such as distillation, absorption, extraction, and reactor design. Topics covered include process control, instrumentation, and safety considerations in the laboratory setting. The course aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and execute experiments, analyze data, and optimize chemical processes in a laboratory setting.

This course provides an in-depth study of chemical reactors, which are key components in chemical processes that involve chemical reactions. Students will learn the principles of chemical reaction engineering, including reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, and reactor design. The course covers different types of reactors, such as batch, continuous stirred-tank, plug-flow, and packed-bed reactors, and their applications in various chemical processes. Students will also learn how to analyze and design chemical reactors based on reaction kinetics, mass and energy balances, and thermodynamic considerations. The course covers additional topics such as catalysts, reactor performance, and safety considerations in chemical reactors.

This course provides an introduction to the design of chemical plants, including the selection of processes, equipment, and materials, and the integration of these components into a coherent and efficient process. Students will learn the principles and techniques of process design, including process flow diagrams, equipment sizing, and cost estimation. The course covers topics such as safety, environmental considerations, and regulatory compliance in plant design, as well as the economic aspects of plant design, including capital and operating costs, profitability analysis, and risk management.

The course uses fundamental knowledge and skills acquired from previous courses including thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat, and transport courses to to design major equipment, tools and instrumentations used in chemical plants including pumps, heat exchangers, condensers, boilers, separation towers, pipelines and pipeline valves and fittings. Commercial process simulation software, ASPEN, will be used for the design and simulation of process equipment in processing plants. In addition to the equipment design, students will learn how to consider economic and safety factors in their equipment and process design. Major features of the process simulator are used for safety and economic considerations.

An introduction to using computers to study and model physical systems, particularly those problems which are difficult or impossible to solve analytically. The focus is on concrete problems arising in the Engineering industry and Physics fields, using programming languages (e.g. Python, Matlab, C++). Students are expected to design, implement, and verify their own code, as well as incorporate standard code libraries. Topics may include numerical integration, differential equations, linear systems, molecular dynamics, finite-element methods, working with large datasets, graphics and 3d visualization.

This course will cover fundamental concepts of nanotechnology. After introducing underlying theoretical concepts the relationship between structure, properties (mechanical, electrical, optical, chemical, magnetic), and performance of nanomaterials is investigated. Characterization and fabrication methods, as well as interdisciplinary applications such nanoelectronics, alternative energy production, drug delivery and therapy are discussed.

The Physics and Engineering Scholars seminar will enhance relevant concepts, techniques and problem-solving strategies needed in introductory Physics 1331 and Physics 2333 courses. The focus is on application of those concepts, techniques,and strategies to covered lecture topics in both Physics 1331 and 2333, such as motion in several dimensions, forces, energy, momentum, rotational motion, vibrations, and waves. This course is recommended for students who need to improve their quantitative reasoning and problem-solving skills to succeed in their introductory physics classes. Departmental Approval is needed to sign up for this course. This is a Pass/Fail course.

This course is an introduction to astronomy, primarily aimed at non-science majors. Students study the night sky, our solar system, stars, galaxies, black holes, the Big Bang and cosmology. The course also covers the development of astronomy as a science, from Earth's earliest civilizations through scientists such as Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. The emphasis throughout is on conceptual understanding of how we came to know what we know about the Universe. The accompanying laboratory will provide practical activities to reinforce the concepts introduced in class. In addition, the lab will provide an opportunity for enlightened star-gazing as students learn how to use telescopes to locate and identify various objects in the night sky.

This course is an introduction to astronomy, primarily aimed at non-science majors. Students study the night sky, our solar system, stars, galaxies, black holes, the Big Bang and cosmology. The course also covers the development of astronomy as a science, from Earth's earliest civilizations through scientists such as Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. The emphasis throughout is on conceptual understanding of how we came to know what we know about the Universe. The accompanying laboratory will provide practical activities to reinforce the concepts introduced in class. In addition, the lab will provide an opportunity for enlightened star-gazing as students learn how to use telescopes to locate and identify various objects in the night sky.

An advanced contemporary undergraduate treatment of the foundation and fundamental principles of Quantum Theory. Topics include the uncertainty principle, the wave nature of matter, Schroedinger's wave equation in one and three dimensions, the quantum nature of energy and angular momentum, harmonic oscillator, applications to atoms and molecules, and perturbation theory. Mathematical concepts are treated that arise in quantum mechanics, including operators, eigenvectors and eigenvalues, Hilbert space, Dirac notation and boundary value problems.

An introduction to using computers to study and model physical systems, particularly those problems which are difficult or impossible to solve analytically. The focus is on concrete problems arising in the Engineering industry and Physics fields, using programming languages (e.g. Python, Matlab, C++). Students are expected to design, implement, and verify their own code, as well as incorporate standard code libraries. Topics may include numerical integration, differential equations, linear systems, molecular dynamics, finite-element methods, working with large datasets, graphics and 3d visualization.

This course will cover fundamental concepts of nanotechnology. After introducing underlying theoretical concepts the relationship between structure, properties (mechanical, electrical, optical, chemical, magnetic), and performance of nanomaterials is investigated. Characterization and fabrication methods, as well as interdisciplinary applications such nanoelectronics, alternative energy production, drug delivery and therapy are discussed.