PHY 300
Waves and Optics
Fall 2017
Meeting time and place: Instructor:


MoWe 2:30-3:50 P-113  
Lab-01:    Th 4:00-5:50 A-124  
Lab-02: Th 6:00-7:50 A-124  
Lab-03: We 4:00-5:50 A-124

Prof. Dominik Schneble A-106 Office hours: We 12:30-2
TA: tba
tba Office hours: tba  
TA: tba tba Office hours: tba  



Free oscillations, driven oscillations and resonance, normal modes for discrete coupled oscillators and continuous media, traveling waves; Maxwell's equations and wave equation for light, polarization, reflection and refraction, coherence and interference, diffraction, ray optics, Gaussian beams.
Vibrations and Waves, by A.P. French (Norton)
Modern Optics, by G.R. Fowles (Dover)
Grading:   HW 20%, Midterm Exam 20%, Final Exam 30%, Laboratory work 30% (9 labs, see below)
Schedule and assignments
(subject to change, check web page regularly)
Wk   Lecture Lab* Homework*
1 Aug 28
Free oscillations
Aug 30

no lab - read lab introduction and lab rules

2 Sep  4 [no classes]
Sep 6 no lab
3 Sep 11
Driven oscillations
Sep 13
(1) Resonance
4 Sep 18
Coupled oscillators
Sep 20

5 Sep 25
Sep 27
Continuous systems
(3) Speed of sound

6 Oct 2
Oct 4
Wave properties of light

7 Oct 9
Oct 11
makeup lab

8 Oct 16
Oct 18 Midterm exam no lab  
9 Oct 23 Reflection and Refraction Oct 25 
(5) Polarization

10 Oct 30
Nov 1  Coherence and two-beam interference (6) Michelson interferometer

11 Nov 6 Multiple-beam interference Nov 8 
(7) Fabry-Perot interferometer
12 Nov 13
Nov 15
(8) Diffraction
13 Nov 20
14 Nov 27  Ray optics 
Nov 29

(9) Optical instruments


Dec 4   Fourier optics

Dec 6 Gaussian beams

makeup lab
16 Dec 12 TUES  Final exam [5:30-8:00pm in P-118]

*Regulations for lab and homework

HOMEWORK: The homework will be collected in class on the due dates indicated, and it will be graded.  You may work together on solving the problems, but cannot hand in the same solutions - we will be on the watch for this kind of problem. Solutions will be posted after the homework is collected. Therefore, late papers will NOT be accepted.

LAB RULES: You will be required to perform the experiments described in the laboratory manuals (download above). Before you begin these you must present a writeup as you enter the lab. Nobody can perform an experiment without presenting the writeup FIRST. Your writeup should describe the physical ideas you plan to explore, the way you will go about exploring them, and your anticipated results. It need not be more than a page or two, but it is not length-limited either. Write it into your lab notebook and have the lab TA sign it. This writeup will not be graded but the TA's approval and signature are required BEFORE you can start on the experiment.

After you have completed your measurements, recorded in your lab books immediately following the writeup you have prepared before, you have to analyze your results and compare with the expectations in your writeup. The full lab report must be submitted to the TA on the 7th day after the lab, before the Physics Department office closes at 4:30 PM. That is, you have not much time to complete it, so you need to be well-prepared beforehand. The lab report will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10. Your grade does NOT depend on whether you got agreement of your results with the expectation, but only upon how well you perform your work.
The report that you submit must be your own work. Submission of (partially) identical or overly similar lab reports counts as cheating and results in zero points for the lab for all parties involved.

You have to complete AT LEAST eight of the nine labs scheduled for this semester. If you miss a lab you can make up for this on one of the two scheduled make-up dates. If you have one of the 9 labs missing at the end of the semester this will be graded as zero score. If you have more than one lab missing you will  FAIL the course no matter how well you perform in the other parts of this course.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person’s work as your own is always wrong. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION: Email to your University email account is an important way of communicating with you for this course. For most students the email address is ‘’, and the account can be accessed here: *It is your responsibility to read your email received at this account.* For instructions about how to verify your University email address see this: . You can set up email forwarding using instructions here: . If you choose to forward your University email to another account, we are not responsible for any undeliverable messages.
See the policy statement regarding religious holidays at Students are expected to notify the course professors by email of their intention to take time out for religious observance. This should be done as soon as possible but definitely before the end of the ‘add/drop’ period. At that time they can discuss with the instructor(s) how they will be able to make up the work covered.
DISABILITIES: If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, you should contact the staff in the Disability Support Services office [DSS], 632-6748/9. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential. Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the website
CRITICAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the University Police and the Office of University Community Standards any serious disruptive behavior that interrupts teaching, compromises the safety of the learning environment, and/or inhibits students’ ability to learn. See more here:
last update 08/06/2017