In the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) that will be introduced in Delhi University from July 2013 Physics will be offered both as a primary discipline (DC1) and as a secondary discipline (DC2).

The DC1 track – which will effectively replace the three-year BSc (Hons) Physics – will provide a strong enough foundation in Physics for Honours graduates of the FYUP (i.e. those who leave after four years) to join a post-graduate programme in Physics directly. Mathematical Physics, traditionally the strength of Physics Honours, will continue to remain strong in the new programme, and will be buttressed by applied courses (ACs) in computational methods. Classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, thermodynamics, optics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, solid-state physics, and electronics will be taught at a level comparable to that in good undergraduate programmes throughout the world. There will continue to be a lot of lab time. In addition, in semesters 7 and 8, there will be opportunities for students to engage in research as part of their curriculum.

The DC2 track, for those who choose physics as a secondary discipline, will provide enough of an introduction to Physics for those who take it to get a good idea of the physicist’s view of the world.

Of course, what makes the Physics experience at St Stephen’s special, over and above the syllabus and course structure (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. And our students at their best keep their teachers and one another on their toes. The quality of the students and the atmosphere of the college give teachers the freedom to go beyond the confines of the syllabus. 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.

Outside the classroom we have the Physics Society. It organizes the annual Popli Memorial Lecture Series by a distinguished scientist. It has a problem-solving club, and once a year we have the Popli Memorial Aptitude test. There is the annual Meera Memorial Paper-presentation Competition for students. The Society runs a forum called the Feynman Club at which students, old students, and visitors present ideas and discoveries in physics. It has an Astronomy Club, which uses a couple of small telescopes to gaze at stars. 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. Stephanian Physics graduates have a roundedness and solidity that most fresh graduates do not. A significant fraction of our students do PhDs at places like IISc, TIFR, 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. To successfully complete the DC2 also Physics and Mathematics at the Higher Secondary level is essential.


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