I thought electronics is mainly discussed in engineering majors. But in my university Electronics and Digital Electronics is also compulsory for physics majors.I searched other's syllabus, but I didn't found any electronics course. In MIT opencourseware also there is no electronics course in physics.

Is there any phenomenon in electronics which is fundamental in our understanding of universe?

  • $\begingroup$ Search for solid-state physics. Electronics is an engineering discipline. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter May 28 '13 at 11:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Knowledge of electronics is needed in many experiments, it's more like a tool than a fundamental element in our understanding of universe, like computer science $\endgroup$ – Ikiperu May 28 '13 at 11:31
  • $\begingroup$ A section of introductory physics is usually devoted to Kirchoff's laws based on the lumped-matter abstraction. A good course in network analysis is often the easiest way for many students to learn systems of ordinary differential equations and linear transforms. Including non-linear elements like diodes and transistors brings you into needing to solve nonlinear systems. Digital electronics I have no idea why you would require in a physics curriculum. $\endgroup$ – Wandering Logic May 28 '13 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ MacGyver was a physicist and he had a firm grasp of electronics. Don't you want to be like MacGyver? $\endgroup$ – Jim May 28 '13 at 14:05

In experimental physics it is required to use electronics as instruments. You must know how they work(amplifiers, ADC's, MCA's etc) in order to fully understand and design an experiment.

Usually, you don't need too much electronics(filters, amplifiers, transistors, digital electronics-boolean algebra) is more often than not, more than enough.

You need electronics in read out systems or trigger systems. But you need it in a know-how way rather that very deeply.

The field that understands and develops such ideas, is Microelectronics which can be an Applied Physics expertise.

However, the phenomena that build the eelctronics we know are pure electromagnetism! Actually, Farraday, Ampere et al(!) observed the bahaviour of simple electronic devices(such as capacitors). I have always been saying that electronics is Applied Electromagnetism!

As far as out universe awareness is concerned, electronics really help you understand the universe;in a indirect way, however. Great experiments(ATLAS, CMS, DELPHI, HERA, etc) have spent great money and time to build fancy electronic systems. The basic idea is to design trigger and read out, and tell the either the engineers or the MicroElectronic's Physicists to build them! Also NASA's and ESA's missions, can't live without electronics that are radiation hard! So it is a means, rather than a basic reasearch on electronics.

But when it comes to great experiments and large collaborations, sometimes the physicist becomes an engineer, from the pint of view of the electronics. In detector physics for instance, I know a lot of guys tha are physicists, but work on electronics, such us FPGA design, trigger logic etc


I have a couple courses in the atomic nature of analog and digital electronics next year. I'm in Engineering Physics, so I'm not exactly sure which side that confirms, though the courses are in the physics department. Eng Phys has its own courses as well, so if the physics department has these courses then I assume physics majors also have some use for these.

I think it's worth keeping in mind that not all physics is TOE-oriented, and getting down into the gritty atomic details of why and how electronic components work seems like perfectly good physics work to me. You need quantum mechanics in the discussion of how many modern circuits are made, so it seems like applied physics could easily be of use here.

If you're talking larger scale "design me an analog-digital filter" electronics, then probably not. You should still know how these things work though, because electronic equipment (especially university electronic equipment) never works ideally. If you don't know the influences your instrument has on your measurement then you're almost never going to be able to determine accurate results.


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