Mark Rupright

Mark Rupright

Associate Professor of Physics


Stephens Science Center 122

Contact Information:

Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4875
Office Fax: (205) 226 3078
E-mail: [email protected]

Personal Web Page

Brief Career Background:

  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Birmingham-Southern College, 2007-present
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, 2000-2007
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Elon University, 1999-2000
  • Postdoctoral Research, The University of North Carolina, 1998-1999

Educational Background:

PhD - Physics, The University of North Carolina, 1998
BS - Physics and Mathematics, The University of Tennessee, 1992

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • Gravitational Physics
  • Computational Physics
  • Physics Laboratory Pedagogy

Courses Taught:

AS 101 General Astronomy (1)
An introductory course in descriptive astronomy with laboratory. The Meyer Planetarium and telescopes owned by the College are used as instructional aids. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.

AS 105 Principles of Astronomy (1)
An introduction to major topics of modern astronomy, focusing on the fundamental physical principles underlying astronomical phenomena. Topics include the origin, structure, and evolution of the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the universe. Three lectures per week.

PH 103 Energy and the Environment (1)
An introduction to the physical principles underlying energy production, use, and environmental impact. Topics include electrical power generation and transmission; the design and efficiency of heat engines; and environmental effects such as pollution and resource depletion. One lecture and one laboratory period per week.

PH 121 General Physics I (1)
Mechanics of linear and rotational motion, oscillations, and waves, using vectors and calculus. The sequence PH 121122 fulfills the requirements of students who are majoring in physics, chemistry, or mathematics. This sequence is a prerequisite for all physics courses of higher number. Two lectures and one laboratory period per week. Tutorial sessions are offered each week. Prerequisite: credit in or current enrollment in MA 231.

PH 122 General Physics II (1)
Thermodynamics, electricity, and magnetism, electrical circuits, and geometrical optics of lenses and mirrors. Two lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: PH 121.

PH 301 Modern Physics (1)
Special relativity, quantum theory of light, and wave mechanics of matter. Applications of wave mechanics to atomic and molecular physics. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: credit in or current enrollment in PH 201.

PH 303 Optical Physics (1)
Electromagnetic waves: reflection, refraction, dispersion, and absorption. Geometrical optics of lens and mirror systems. Physical optics of polarization, coherence, interference, and diffraction. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: credit in or current enrollment in PH 201.

PH 304 Thermal Physics (1)
Classical and quantum statistical mechanics of many-particle systems. Statistical ensembles and probability distribution functions. Applications to thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, solid-state physics, and low-temperature physics. Prerequisite: credit in or current enrollment in PH 201.

PH 412 Quantum Mechanics (1)
The postulates of quantum mechanics, solutions of the Schrödinger equation for systems in one and three dimensions, matrix representations, angular momentum operators, approximation methods, and time dependence. Prerequisite: PH 402.

HON 493 Honors Project (½ or 1)
An independent study in general education in preparation or completion of the Honors  Independent Project. All Honors projects require approval by the Harrison Honors Committee. Typically, the Honors Project is begun the spring of the junior year and completed the fall of the senior year. HON 493 may be repeated with consent. Prerequisite: Harrison Honors Program.

HON51 Science, Pseudoscience, and Skepticism (Exploration Term)
In our modern scientific era, should we be surprised that many people still embrace pseudoscientific beliefs? How can we distinguish between science and non-science? Isn't skepticism just a form of denialism? We will explore many issues relating to these questions, exploring logical and scientific reasoning, evidence vs. anecdote, the prevalence of pseudoscientific beliefs in our society, and the role of skepticism in scientific inquiry. Topics will include creation science, homeopathy and pseudomedicine, investigations of paranormal claims, and many more. Prerequisite: Harrison Honors Program.

PH69 Travels In Spacetime (Exploration Term)
This course will focus on the physics of motion through space and time. We will investigate how relative motion affects the observation of physical quantities and how special relativity fundamentally differs from Newtonian physics. We will also investigate gravity as a manifestation of the curvature of spacetime. An important component of this approach is discussion and careful analysis of the apparent "paradoxes" that arise in the study of relativity.