B.Sc. Physics (Hons.)
In New Delhi
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Physics Honours is a rigourous three-year programme designed to train students to become scientists. A three-year sequence in mathematical physics supports courses in classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, thermodynamics, optics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and solid-state physics. Theory courses are reinforced by labs. Physics is complemented by pure mathematics, electronics, and chemistry.
What makes the physics experience at St Stephen's special, over and above the syllabus (the same in all of Delhi University), are - the dedication of its teachers, the quality of its students, and the unique atmosphere of the college. At their best our teachers require their students to learn honestly, think independently, recognize quality, and develop the confidence to create rather than merely reproduce. At their best our students keep their teachers and one another on their feet. The quality of the students gives the teachers the freedom to go beyond the confines of the syllabus, whether in practical matters like computational physics and error analysis or recondite matters like path integrals in quantum mechanics. Students do projects to explore areas off the charted path. Teachers and students alike work hard and think hard. And yet, there is an atmosphere of joyful camaraderie in the department. Though the pressure of tests and projects cannot be denied, it is not relentless - there is time enough for discussion and dreaming, for participation in extra-curricular activities, and for fun and fellowship. In keeping with Stephanian tradition physics students get a lot of personal attention from teachers, an important source of encouragement and guidance.
Outside the classroom we have the Physics Society. It organizes an annual lecture series by a distinguished scientist. Students compete at paper presentation and problem solving. It runs a forum called the Feynman Club at which students, old students, and visitors present ideas and discoveries in physics. It owns a couple of small telescopes, much used in some years. It organizes trips to national labs and observatories (and hill stations!).
The Stephanian physics experience reaches beyond the College into the research institutes - IISc, IMSc, HRI, SINP, JNCASR, and others - where many of our students get a taste of real science through summer projects.
At the end of three years at St Stephen's our better students have a roundedness and solidity that most recent graduates do not. A significant fraction of our students do PhDs at places like TIFR, IISc, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Oxford and Cambridge, and go on to become scientists. The analytical skills learnt by our students prove useful also to those who move into fields like computer science, engineering, geophysics, economics, and finance.
A student wishing to join BSc (Hons) Physics needs to have done physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the higher secondary level. Familiarity with differentiation and integration is required, as all first-year courses are calculus-based.
B.Sc. Physics (Hons.)