Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff


Patrick F. Kelly, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics
Patrick F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Education: B.Sc., University of Waterloo; M.Sc., Ph.D., University of Toronto.
Office: Henkels Academic Bldg 3053
Phone: (239) 280-1607
Fax: (239) 280-1637


Dr. Patrick Kelly is an Associate Professor of Physics.  He came to Ave Maria University via faculty posts at Ave Maria College and North Dakota State University.  Prior to these he undertook post-doctoral studies at the Center for Theoretical Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at the Winnipeg Institute for Theoretical Physics.  He specializes in the areas of theoretical particle and gravitational physics.  His interests include mathematical and computational physics as well.  In addition, he is currently writing a university-level textbook.


Last revision: August 14th, 2011.
Prior revision: October 14th, 2010.
Previous revision: September 06th, 2010.

Current Physics Classes

PHYS 211 PHYS 221 PHYS 323 PHYS 361
College Physics I University Physics I University Physics III Quantum Mechanics I
Syllabus Syllabus Syllabus Syllabus
Problem Sets Problem Sets Problem Sets Problem Sets
221/211 Labs  
Talk Back

Forthcoming Physics Classes [Spring 2012]

PHYS 212 - College Physics II Course Description
PHYS 222 - University Physics II Course Description
PHYS 362 - Quantum Mechanics II Course Description
PHYS XXX - T.B.A. Course Description

The Physics Minor Programme

The minor in Physics consists of (at least) six courses in physics along with (at least) two mathematics prerequisites MATH 151, 250, Calculus I & II. 

Three Courses are prescribed:

PHYS 221 - U.P. I Course Description
PHYS 222 - U.P. II Course Description
PHYS 323 - U.P. III Course Description

The remaining three may be chosen from among the following:

PHYS 330 - Intermediate Mechanics Course Description
PHYS 341 - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Course Description
PHYS 350 - Electricity and Magnetism I Course Description
PHYS 361 - Quantum Mechanics I Course Description
PHYS 362 - Quantum Mechanics II Course Description
PHYS 401 - Advanced Laboratory I Course Description
PHYS 415 - Special Topics Course Description
MATH 491 - Undergraduate Research Course Description

Q: So, what good is a minor in Physics? 
A: This is like asking, "What good is breathing?"
But seriously, there are several reasons to earn a minor in Physics as part of one's studies.
  • One may wish to study physics as a cognate area for a technical or quantitative field such as mathematics or economics. The mathematical modelling of physical systems is an efficacious means of skills-building and preparation for advanced work in the particular discipline.
  • One may wish to study physics as a cognate area for philosophy or theology. The modern sciences grew from Natural Philosophy and, of the sciences, Physics remains most close in spirit to these disciplines. Both the content — Nature's wonder and economy — and the process — model building — can be of considerable worth and utility to those who study philosophy and theology. Those whose sights are set on obtaining advanced degrees will find the study of physics especially beneficial.
  • Some intend to proceed from Ave into a technical career, perhaps engineering or one of the many applied sciences. Persons with these intentions should take the minor in order to acquire the content knowledge and training which will facilitate their further studies or direct entry into technical fields.
  • An often overlooked, but rewarding, career is Patent Law. 
    [There was a fella who worked as a patent clerk in Bern (Switzerland) about a hundred years ago. Things turned out rather well indeed for that chap.]
  • There is strong demand for secondary school teachers of mathematics and the physical sciences. The minor programme in physics prepares and equips one to teach the content of high school and AP physics courses.
  • Students intending to go to graduate school in biology will do well to take as many of the physics course offerings as their schedule permits. Modern biology relies heavily on experimental techniques and equipment, as well as theoretical and computational tools, that were originally designed and constructed to advance physics investigations.
  • Music is nothing more than the propagation of correlated wavelike disturbances through a fluid medium. Music majors, take note!
  • And finally, there are those who just think that Physics is really cool. These people should take PHYS classes for the sheer joy of it!


The physics minor programme can augment most degree programmes at AMU with few scheduling repercussions. 
The conventional strategy is the "SLOW and STEADY" approach, wherein one takes Calculus I and II in the Freshman year, University Physics I and II to satisfy one's Core Science (with lab) requirement in the Sophomore year, and then one (or more) upper-year physics class in each semester of one's Junior and Senior years. 
At most this might require a wee bit of juggling to open up an elective slot in the final semester of one's Senior year, i.e., pushing a major elective forward to the Junior year, or redistributing the PHIL/THEO 400 classes across the Fall and Spring terms.
One is permitted/encouraged to take two classes in the Fall Semester of one's Junior year, i.e., taking an elective concurrently with PHYS 323. This strategy also makes it possible to participate in the study-abroad programme.

The canonical means of inserting Calculus II into the Spring semester of the Freshman year which involves sliding the THEO 105/205 sequence back one term and taking HIST/POLT 203 in either semester of the Junior year. 
An alternative and less desirable strategy is to overload — Who needs sleep, anyway?

More juggling - and some overload - is required of Biology and Music majors. Our recommendation is to take as many physics classes as your schedule allows and not worry about getting the minor. If your heart is set on getting the minor, then start planning early. [Transfer or AP credit will certainly help.] 
Biologists: Take both CHEM 211/212, and PHYS 221/222 in your second year. It might prove necessary to overload in one (or more) term(s) to meet all of the AMU Core, Biology major, and Physics minor requirements. 
Music majors: Please consult with your advisor (and PK) about how we might push the Core Science (Physics) classes forward into the Sophomore year, and shift music electives from the Junior to the Senior year. 

Physics Phun Stuph

Nobel Prizes in Physics Awarded


The 2010 Prize went to the blokes, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who successfully produced graphene, a genuinely two-dimensional material. Graphene possesses exotic properties owing to a number of quantum mechanical effects and has tremendous promise for technological advances. 


The 2009 Prize was awarded in honour of two revolutionary breakthroughs in optical technology. One-half of the prize went to Charles Kao for the development of the optical fibres now widely used in telecommunications. The other half was shared between Bill Boyle and George Smith for their invention of the "charge-coupled device" employed to capture light signals in digital-electronic form (i.e., digital cameras). 


The 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for investigations of symmetry breaking in elementary particle physics. One half of the prize went to Y. Nambu, for his seminal investigations of spontaneously broken symmetry in the context of elementary particles. Spontaneous breaking of a symmetry of the putative Higgs field is invoked to provide mass to the various constituents of the so-called Standard Model of elementary particle physics. The other half of the prize was shared by M. Kobayashi and T. Maskawa for their discovery of a means of describing elementary particles which incorporated a manifest breaking of the CP [matter--anti-matter , left--right mirror] symmetries. CP non-invariance is a pre-condition for the existence of a matter-dominated state of the universe (rather than equal quantities of matter and anti-matter), and is observed via subtle longevity enhancements of certain short-lived mesons


The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared equally by Fert and Gruenberg for their independent discoveries of the phenomenon of Giant Magnetoresistance. Giant Magnetoresistance has had tremedous technological spin-off by enabling ever-increasing bit density in magnetic storage devices. Equally important, it constitutes an application of both nanotechnology and spintronics


The 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics was shared equally by Mather and Smoot for their leading contributions to cosmology through the COBE [COsmic Background Explorer] satellite precise observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

~ Links ~ 
  • The Physics (now math, computer science, and others too) pre-print archive,    www.arxiv.org     is the best site in the internet.
  • The    American Physical Society    website has news and other useful information.


P.F. Kelly, Lectures on University Physics Volume I: Mechanics MAPS Mechanica Ars Physica Scientia.

Volume II: Materials SPAM Scientia Physica Ars Mechanica.

Volume III: E & M AMPS Ars Mechanica Physica Scientia.

`Einstein, 1905, and All That,' a lecture series celebrating the World Year of Physics: 
The Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, 
The Existence of Atoms and Molecules, 
The Special Theory of Relativity.

R.T. Hammond, P.F. Kelly and Terry Pilling, `Antisymmetric Tensor Contribution to the Muon g-2', General Relativity and Gravitation 36 (2004) 2131-2138.

C. Gruver, P.F. Kelly, R.T. Hammond, `Scalar-Tensor Torsion', Modern Physics Letters A16(2001) 113-119.

P.F. Kelly and Terry Pilling `Physically Inspired Analysis of Prime Number Constellations.' www.arXiv.org/hep-th/0108241.

P.F. Kelly and Terry Pilling `Characterization of the Distribution of Twin Primes.' www.arXiv.org/math.NT/0103191.

P.F. Kelly, R. Kobes, and G. Kunstatter, `Parameterization Invariance and the Resolution of the Unitary Gauge Puzzle', Physical Review D50 (1994) 7592-7602.

P.F. Kelly, Q. Liu, C. Lucchesi, and C. Manuel, `Classical Transport Theory and Hard Thermal Loops in the Quark-Gluon Plasma', Physical Review D50 (1994) 4209-4218.

P.F. Kelly, Q. Liu, C. Lucchesi, and C. Manuel, `Deriving the Hard Thermal Loops of QCD From Classical Transport Theory', Physical Review Letters 72 (1994) 3461-3463.

P.F. Kelly, `Expansion of Nonsymmetric Gravitational Theories About a GR Background', Classical and Quantum Gravity 8 (1991) 1217-1229; 
erratum, Classical and Quantum Gravity, 9 (1992) 1423.

J. Gegenberg, P.F. Kelly, G. Kunstatter, R.B. Mann, R. McArthur and D. Vincent, `Quantum Properties of Algebraically Extended Sigma Models', Physical Review D40 (1989) 1919-1924.

J. Gegenberg, P.F. Kelly, R.B. Mann and D. Vincent, `Theories of Gravitation in Two Dimensions', Physical Review D37 (1988) 3463-3471.