North Central College - Naperville, IL

Physics Courses

NOTE: This page contains all of the regular course descriptions for this discipline or program. Academic credit for each course is noted in parenthesis after the course title. Prerequisites (if any) and the general education requirements, both Core and All-College Requirements (ACRs), which each course fulfills (if any) are noted following each course description. Not all courses are offered every year. Check Merlin, our searchable course schedule, to see which courses are being offered in upcoming terms.

PHY 100 Principles of Physics (3.50)
As an introduction to the concepts of physics, this course is intended for non-science majors. Utilizing a conceptual approach, selected topics in mechanics, sound, electricity, and light that relate to our daily experience are explored. Does not count toward a physics major. May not be taken after successful completion of any higher level physics course. Laboratory. Prerequisite: MTH 095 or H.S. algebra. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 115 College Physics I (4.00)
The first in a sequence of two algebra-based physics courses. Topics include the study of motion using Newton's Laws and the conservation of energy principle, rotational motion, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Laboratory. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and 116 or PHY 141, 142, and 143 (A or C). Prerequisites: MTH 121, MTH 122; MTH 140; or H.S. algebra and trigonometry. May not take PHY 115 after PHY 141 or 142. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 116 College Physics II (4.00)
The second in a sequence of two algebra-based physics courses. Topics include electricity and magnetism, optics, waves, and sound. Laboratory. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and 116 or PHY 141, 142, and 143 (A or C). Prerequisite: PHY 115. May not take PHY 116 after PHY 142 or 143. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 121 Principles of Astronomy (3.00)
The study of celestial phenomena, the sun and solar system, and the observable universe with emphasis on astronomy as a scientific activity with great relevance to the perception and comprehension of our world. Laboratory experiences include the study and practice of observational techniques for the night sky with emphasis on the interplay of observation and theory and applications in the science of astronomy. Prerequisite: MTH 122 or H.S. trigonometry. Core: Science.

PHY 141 Physics I (3.00)
The first in a sequence of introductory physics courses. The study of motion using Newton's Laws and the conservation laws for energy and linear momentum. Calculus is used. Prerequisite: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in MTH 141 or MTH 151. May not take PHY 141 after PHY 115. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 142 Physics II (3.00)
A continuation of PHY 141. Static equilbrium, rotational motion, conservation of angular momentum, oscillatory and wave motion, sound, geometric and physical optics. Calculus is used. Prerequisites: PHY 141 or PHY 115; MTH 141 or MTH 151. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 115 or 116. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 143A Physics III - Algebra Based (3.00)
A continuation of PHY 142. Electrical and magnetic forces and phenomena are described using the concept of the field. Introduction to electrical circuits. Other topics include fluid mechanics, heat, temperature, phase transitions, and radioactive decay. Prerequisite: PHY 142. May not take both PHY 143A and PHY 143C.

PHY 143C Physics III (3.75)
A continuation of PHY 142. Electrical and magnetic forces and phenomena are described using the concept of the field. Coulombs law, the electric and magnetic fields, electric potential, electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations, DC electrical circuits, radioactive decay. Calculus is used. Prerequisites: PHY 142, MTH 152. May not take both PHY 143C and PHY 143A.

PHY 151 Introduction to Special Relativity (1.00)
Introduction to the theory of special relativity. Topics will include the Principle of Relativity, Lorentz transformations, relativistic energy, and momentum. Prerequisite: PHY 141.

PHY 210 Electronics (3.00)
Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include an overview of DC and AC circuits, diodes, transistors, operational amplifiers, logic gates, and digital applications. The course focuses on applied learning in the laboratory. Prerequisites: MTH 152; PHY 143A or PHY 143C.

PHY 244 Physics IV (3.00)
A continuation of PHY 143C. AC circuits, fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory. Prerequisite: PHY 143C.

PHY 245 Physics V: Quantum Physics (2.00)
An introduction to quantum physics. Statistical interpretation of the wave function, the Schroedinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, introduction to the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of atoms. Prerequisites: PHY 244, MTH 152. MTH 254 or concurrent enrollment required.

PHY 251 Physics of Solids (2.00)
Introduction to the electrical, thermal, and magnetic properties of materials, with emphasis on the role played by quantum mechanics. Topics include quantum statistics, thermal properties of solids, band theory, electrical conduction, semiconductors, magnetic properties of solids. Prerequisite: PHY 245 or CHM 341.

PHY 252 Nuclei and Particles (2.00)
Introduction to the sub-disciplines of nuclear and particle physics. A phenomenological survey of topics that may include nuclear interactions and processes, models of the nucleus, introduction to the standard model of particle physics, introduction to experimental methods in nuclear and particle physics, physics beyond the standard model. Prerequisites: PHY 151 and one of PHY 245 or CHM 341.

PHY 253 Astrophysics and Cosmology (2.00)
Introduction to the sub-disciplines of astrophysics and cosmology. A phenomenological survey of topics that may include celestial mechanics and orbital dynamics, stellar evolution and structure, galactic evolution and structure, exotic objects, big bang theory, the standard model of cosmology. Prerequisites: PHY 151 and either PHY 245 or CHM 341.

PHY 297 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

PHY 299 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

PHY 315 Engineering Statics (3.00)
Classical mechanics with application to engineering problems. Topics include equivalent systems of forces, centroids, analysis of trusses and frames, machines, and forces due to friction. Prerequisites: MTH 254, PHY 141.

PHY 321 Classical Dynamics (3.00)
The study of Newtonian mechanics using intermediate level mathematics. Topics include the harmonic oscillator, gravity and planetary motion, motion of rigid bodies and systems of particles, and an introduction to the Lagrangian formalism. Mathematical and computer techniques are used to solve complex problems. Prerequisites: PHY 142, MTH 254, MTH 256.

PHY 340 Thermodynamics (4.00)
A study of the relationship of temperature to other properties of matter, using both macroscopic and microscopic viewpoints. Applications to chemical equilibrium, phase transitions, and thermal properties of gases and solids. Laboratory. Same as: CHM 340. Prerequisites: MTH 152; PHY 143A or PHY 143C.

PHY 355 Applied Mathematical Techniques (3.00)
Topics in applied mathematics, including series solutions, systems of linear and nonlinear differential equations, integral transforms (Fourier or Laplace transforms), Fourier series, partial differential equations, and a survey of applications from the physical sciences, the life sciences, and economics. Same as: MTH 355. Prerequisite: MTH 254, MTH 256; or MTH 315.

PHY 397 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

PHY 399 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

PHY 420 Electricity and Magnetism (3.00)
The theory of electromagnetic fields and waves, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady and time varying currents, dielectrics, and Maxwell's equations. Prerequisites: PHY 143C, MTH 254.

PHY 441 Quantum Mechanics (3.00)
The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schroedinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation, and approximation methods. Prerequisites: PHY 245, MTH 254; MTH 256 or MTH 300.

PHY 450 Advanced Laboratory (1.00-3.00)
Students work independently on experiments in physics undertaken with guidance of a faculty member. May be repeated with new content. Prerequisites: PHY 210, PHY 245.

PHY 490 Research (1.00-3.00)
Techniques of literature searching, laboratory investigation, and data reporting; intensive work with the instructor on a problem chosen by mutual agreement. This course may be repeated.

PHY 497 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

PHY 499 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.