Physics Physics Physics Physics Physics

College of Arts & Sciences

Physics

Questions?

Paul Bloom

630-637-5196

pcbloom@noctrl.edu

Physics is the study and application of the laws of nature at their most fundamental level. By majoring in physics, you will gain excellent preparation for graduate school, positions in industry, teaching at the secondary education level, or engineering. We offer degree tracks in

  • physics
  • physics teaching
  • dual-degree engineering

Our comprehensive program includes laboratory training in electrical and optical measurements, analog and digital electronics, and advanced experimental physics. Many physics majors gain valuable work experience through an internship at a nearby corporate or government research laboratory.

Physics, B.A.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Physics.

Major Requirements

29.5 credit hours of physics, including:

  • PHY 141 - Physics I

    PHY 141 - Physics I

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142, and 143 (PHY 143A or PHY 143C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141/MTH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 142 - Physics II

    PHY 142 - Physics II

    3.00 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 141. Static equilibrium, rotational motion, conservation of angular momentum, oscillatory and wave motion, sound, geometric and physical optics. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 116.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 141 or PHY 115; MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    3.75 credit hours

    A continuation of the PHY 142. Topics include fluid mechanics, thermal physics, electromagnetism, DC electric circuits, radioactive decay. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (PHY 143A or C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 244 - Physics IV

    PHY 244 - Physics IV

    2.75 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 143C. Fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    2.50 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Statistical interpretation of the wave function, the Schrödinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, introduction to the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of atoms. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 244 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    3.50 credit hours

    Classical mechanics at the intermediate level. Topics include Newton's Laws, Projectile and Charged Particle Kinematics, Conservation Laws and Oscillations. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory focuses on computational methods based on MATLAB. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 254; CSC 150 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

    • An additional nine credit hours of physics at the 200-level or above

Required Support Courses

  • CSC 150 - C++ Programming for Science and Engineering

    CSC 150 - C++ Programming for Science and Engineering

    3.50 credit hours

    An introduction to computing for students of Science and Engineering using C++ in a Unix Environment. Concepts covered include use of the Unix command line, C++ data types and control structures, algorithmic problem solving, object oriented software development and an introduction to numerical methods. Programming exercises and examples will be drawn from a variety of scientific disciplines. Extensive programming required. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 151.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 151 - Calculus I

    MTH 151 - Calculus I

    3.00 credit hours

    Fundamental concepts of calculus including limits, continuity and differentiation with applications. The Calculus I, II and III sequence is recommended for students in science as well as for students in other divisions desiring a strong preparation in mathematics. Students may not receive credit for MTH 151 and any of the following: MTH 130, MTH 140 or MTH 141.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 121 and MTH 122; or four years high school math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 152 - Calculus II

    MTH 152 - Calculus II

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus I with emphasis on integration and its applications. Required for the B.S. degree in any department.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 153 - Calculus III

    MTH 153 - Calculus III

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus II with an emphasis on infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 152.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    3.00 credit hours

    Functions of two or more variables, partial derivatives, multiple integrals and line integrals. Vector analysis, divergence and Stokes's theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153.

    Core

    Mathematics.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics, B.S.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Physics.

Major Requirements

Option 1. Teaching Track

 32.75 credit hours of physics, to include at least 23 credit hours at or above the 200-level:

  • PHY 141 - Physics I

    PHY 141 - Physics I

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142, and 143 (PHY 143A or PHY 143C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141/MTH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 142 - Physics II

    PHY 142 - Physics II

    3.00 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 141. Static equilibrium, rotational motion, conservation of angular momentum, oscillatory and wave motion, sound, geometric and physical optics. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 116.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 141 or PHY 115; MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    3.75 credit hours

    A continuation of the PHY 142. Topics include fluid mechanics, thermal physics, electromagnetism, DC electric circuits, radioactive decay. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (PHY 143A or C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 210 - Electronics

    PHY 210 - Electronics

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Two hours of lecture and two 3-hour laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143A or PHY 143C; MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 244 - Physics IV

    PHY 244 - Physics IV

    2.75 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 143C. Fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    2.50 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Statistical interpretation of the wave function, the Schrödinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, introduction to the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of atoms. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 244 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

    • An additional 11.75 credit hours of physics at the 200-level or above
One of the following:
  • PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    Advanced classical mechanics. Topics include LaGrange's and Hamilton's formalisms, mechanics in non-inertial reference frames, the general problem of rotational motion, coupled oscillations and other advanced topics.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 316.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    3.00 credit hours

    The theory of electromagnetic fields and waves, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady and time varying currents, dielectrics and Maxwell's equations.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C and MTH 254.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 245 or CHM 341; MTH 254; MTH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • BIO 151 - Biological Investigations I

    BIO 151 - Biological Investigations I

    4.00 credit hours

    The first in a two-course integrated study of the major principles at the core of modern biology: information, evolution, cells, emergent properties and homeostasis. These principles will be examined by exploring current biological problems from the perspective of molecules, cells, organisms, populations and ecological systems. Includes investigative, hands-on laboratory and field experience and development of skills in experimental design, data analysis, scientific writing and presentation. The course is intended for first-year biology and biochemistry majors. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    High school biology and chemistry.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 152 - Biological Investigations II

    BIO 152 - Biological Investigations II

    4.00 credit hours

    The second in a two-course integrated study of the major principles at the core of modern biology: information, evolution, cells, emergent properties and homeostasis. These principles will be examined by exploring current biological problems from the perspective of molecules, cells, organisms, populations and ecological systems. Includes investigative, hands-on laboratory and field experience and development of skills in experimental design, data analysis, scientific writing and presentation. The course is intended for first-year biology and biochemistry majors. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 151.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 141 - General Chemistry I: Bio-organic Molecules

    CHM 141 - General Chemistry I: Bio-organic Molecules

    3.75 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems, such as simple organic compounds, synthetic polymers, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, bonding energies, hybridization, acid/base chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, steroechemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One year of high school chemistry; two years of high school algebra or MTH 095.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 142 - General Chemistry II: Environmental Chemistry

    CHM 142 - General Chemistry II: Environmental Chemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base and buffers.

    Prerequisite(s)


    CHM 141.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 151 - Calculus I

    MTH 151 - Calculus I

    3.00 credit hours

    Fundamental concepts of calculus including limits, continuity and differentiation with applications. The Calculus I, II and III sequence is recommended for students in science as well as for students in other divisions desiring a strong preparation in mathematics. Students may not receive credit for MTH 151 and any of the following: MTH 130, MTH 140 or MTH 141.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 121 and MTH 122; or four years high school math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 152 - Calculus II

    MTH 152 - Calculus II

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus I with emphasis on integration and its applications. Required for the B.S. degree in any department.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 153 - Calculus III

    MTH 153 - Calculus III

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus II with an emphasis on infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 152.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    3.00 credit hours

    Functions of two or more variables, partial derivatives, multiple integrals and line integrals. Vector analysis, divergence and Stokes's theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153.

    Core

    Mathematics.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:
  • MTH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MTH 300 - Linear Algebra

    3.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153; MTH 280 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations with Applications

    MTH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations with Applications

    3.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations; algebraic, numerical and graphical solutions; series solutions; Laplace transforms; applications.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 254; MTH 300 strongly recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

Licensure for Secondary Education in Science

Licensure for secondary education in science requires a degree in Biology, Chemistry or Physics as well as a supplemental major in Secondary Education. The B.A. degree in Biology or Chemistry is recommended for education students; in Physics, education students should choose the B.S. Teaching Track. A student will need over 120 total credit hours to complete this degree, although licensure requirements in anatomy, astronomy and geology may be met by successful completion of an exam, reducing the total number of credit hours required. Consult the Education Department Handbook for all licensure requirements.

Option 2. Professional Track

42.5 credit hours of physics, including:

  • PHY 141 - Physics I

    PHY 141 - Physics I

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142, and 143 (PHY 143A or PHY 143C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141/MTH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 142 - Physics II

    PHY 142 - Physics II

    3.00 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 141. Static equilibrium, rotational motion, conservation of angular momentum, oscillatory and wave motion, sound, geometric and physical optics. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 116.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 141 or PHY 115; MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    3.75 credit hours

    A continuation of the PHY 142. Topics include fluid mechanics, thermal physics, electromagnetism, DC electric circuits, radioactive decay. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (PHY 143A or C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 210 - Electronics

    PHY 210 - Electronics

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Two hours of lecture and two 3-hour laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143A or PHY 143C; MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 244 - Physics IV

    PHY 244 - Physics IV

    2.75 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 143C. Fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    2.50 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Statistical interpretation of the wave function, the Schrödinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, introduction to the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of atoms. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 244 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    3.50 credit hours

    Classical mechanics at the intermediate level. Topics include Newton's Laws, Projectile and Charged Particle Kinematics, Conservation Laws and Oscillations. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory focuses on computational methods based on MATLAB. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 254; CSC 150 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 340 - Thermodynamics

    PHY 340 - Thermodynamics

    4.00 credit hours

    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 required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 152; PHY 143A or PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    Advanced classical mechanics. Topics include LaGrange's and Hamilton's formalisms, mechanics in non-inertial reference frames, the general problem of rotational motion, coupled oscillations and other advanced topics.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 316.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    3.00 credit hours

    The theory of electromagnetic fields and waves, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady and time varying currents, dielectrics and Maxwell's equations.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C and MTH 254.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 245 or CHM 341; MTH 254; MTH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 450 - Advanced Laboratory (minimum of four credit hours)

    PHY 450 - Advanced Laboratory

    0.50-3.00 credit hours

    Students work independently on experiments in physics undertaken with the guidance of a faculty member. May be repeated with new content.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 210 and PHY 245.

    Schedule Of Classes

Two of the following:
  • PHY 251 - Physics of Solids

    PHY 251 - Physics of Solids

    2.00 credit hours

    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(s)


    PHY 245.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 252 - Nuclei and Particles

    PHY 252 - Nuclei and Particles

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 151; PHY 245 or CHM 341.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 253 - Astrophysics and Cosmology

    PHY 253 - Astrophysics and Cosmology

    2.00 credit hours

    Introduction to the sub-disciplines of astrophysics and cosmology. A phenomenological survey of topics that may include celesial mechanics and orbital dynamics, stellar evolution and structure, galactic evolution and structure, exotic objects, big bang theory, the standard model of cosmology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 151; PHY 245 or CHM 341.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • CHM 141 - General Chemistry I: Bio-organic Molecules

    CHM 141 - General Chemistry I: Bio-organic Molecules

    3.75 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems, such as simple organic compounds, synthetic polymers, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, bonding energies, hybridization, acid/base chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, steroechemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One year of high school chemistry; two years of high school algebra or MTH 095.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CSC 150 - C++ Programming for Science and Engineering

    CSC 150 - C++ Programming for Science and Engineering

    3.50 credit hours

    An introduction to computing for students of Science and Engineering using C++ in a Unix Environment. Concepts covered include use of the Unix command line, C++ data types and control structures, algorithmic problem solving, object oriented software development and an introduction to numerical methods. Programming exercises and examples will be drawn from a variety of scientific disciplines. Extensive programming required. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 151.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 151 - Calculus I

    MTH 151 - Calculus I

    3.00 credit hours

    Fundamental concepts of calculus including limits, continuity and differentiation with applications. The Calculus I, II and III sequence is recommended for students in science as well as for students in other divisions desiring a strong preparation in mathematics. Students may not receive credit for MTH 151 and any of the following: MTH 130, MTH 140 or MTH 141.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 121 and MTH 122; or four years high school math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 152 - Calculus II

    MTH 152 - Calculus II

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus I with emphasis on integration and its applications. Required for the B.S. degree in any department.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 153 - Calculus III

    MTH 153 - Calculus III

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus II with an emphasis on infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 152.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    3.00 credit hours

    Functions of two or more variables, partial derivatives, multiple integrals and line integrals. Vector analysis, divergence and Stokes's theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153.

    Core

    Mathematics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MTH 300 - Linear Algebra

    3.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153; MTH 280 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations with Applications

    MTH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations with Applications

    3.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations; algebraic, numerical and graphical solutions; series solutions; Laplace transforms; applications.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 254; MTH 300 strongly recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

Typical Course Sequence

Assumes the student has the necessary prerequisites.

  FALL WINTER SPRING
FIRST YEAR:
  • PHY 141 
  • MTH 151 
  • PHY 142 
  • MTH 152 
  • PHY 143C 
  • MTH 153 
SECOND YEAR:
  • PHY 244 
  • MTH 254 
  • PHY 245 
  • MTH 315 
 

 

Physics Minor

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Physics.

Minor Requirements

19-25 credit hours of physics, including:

  • PHY 141 - Physics I

    PHY 141 - Physics I

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142, and 143 (PHY 143A or PHY 143C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141/MTH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 142 - Physics II

    PHY 142 - Physics II

    3.00 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 141. Static equilibrium, rotational motion, conservation of angular momentum, oscillatory and wave motion, sound, geometric and physical optics. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 116.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 141 or PHY 115; MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 143A - Physics III (Algebra-Based)

    PHY 143A - Physics III (Algebra-Based)

    3.00 credit hours

    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, phases transitions and radioactive decay. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (A or PHY 143C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • -or-

  • PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based) and

    PHY 143C - Physics III (Calculus-Based)

    3.75 credit hours

    A continuation of the PHY 142. Topics include fluid mechanics, thermal physics, electromagnetism, DC electric circuits, radioactive decay. Calculus is used. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and PHY 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (PHY 143A or C).

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 244 - Physics IV

    PHY 244 - Physics IV

    2.75 credit hours

    A continuation of PHY 143C. Fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

  • PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    PHY 245 - Physics V: Quantum Physics

    2.50 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Statistical interpretation of the wave function, the Schrödinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, introduction to the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of atoms. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 244 and MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 341 - Kinetics, Quantum Theory and Spectroscopy

    CHM 341 - Kinetics, Quantum Theory and Spectroscopy

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of experimental and theoretical physical chemistry, including methods for determining rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, quantum theory of atomic structure and chemical bonding and spectroscopic methods used to determine molecular structure. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Seven credit hours in chemistry; MTH 152; one of PHY 143A or PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

  • PHY 210 - Electronics

    PHY 210 - Electronics

    3.00 credit hours

    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. Two hours of lecture and two 3-hour laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143A or PHY 143C; MTH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    PHY 316 - Intermediate Mechanics

    3.50 credit hours

    Classical mechanics at the intermediate level. Topics include Newton's Laws, Projectile and Charged Particle Kinematics, Conservation Laws and Oscillations. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory focuses on computational methods based on MATLAB. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 142 and MTH 254; CSC 150 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

  • PHY 251 - Physics of Solids

    PHY 251 - Physics of Solids

    2.00 credit hours

    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(s)


    PHY 245.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 252 - Nuclei and Particles

    PHY 252 - Nuclei and Particles

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 151; PHY 245 or CHM 341.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 253 - Astrophysics and Cosmology

    PHY 253 - Astrophysics and Cosmology

    2.00 credit hours

    Introduction to the sub-disciplines of astrophysics and cosmology. A phenomenological survey of topics that may include celesial mechanics and orbital dynamics, stellar evolution and structure, galactic evolution and structure, exotic objects, big bang theory, the standard model of cosmology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 151; PHY 245 or CHM 341.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

  • PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    PHY 416 - Advanced Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    Advanced classical mechanics. Topics include LaGrange's and Hamilton's formalisms, mechanics in non-inertial reference frames, the general problem of rotational motion, coupled oscillations and other advanced topics.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 316.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    PHY 420 - Electricity and Magnetism

    3.00 credit hours

    The theory of electromagnetic fields and waves, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, steady and time varying currents, dielectrics and Maxwell's equations.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 143C and MTH 254.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHY 441 - Quantum Mechanics

    3.00 credit hours

    The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. Topics include the Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.

    Prerequisite(s)


    PHY 245 or CHM 341; MTH 254; MTH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • MTH 151 - Calculus I

    MTH 151 - Calculus I

    3.00 credit hours

    Fundamental concepts of calculus including limits, continuity and differentiation with applications. The Calculus I, II and III sequence is recommended for students in science as well as for students in other divisions desiring a strong preparation in mathematics. Students may not receive credit for MTH 151 and any of the following: MTH 130, MTH 140 or MTH 141.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 121 and MTH 122; or four years high school math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 152 - Calculus II

    MTH 152 - Calculus II

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus I with emphasis on integration and its applications. Required for the B.S. degree in any department.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 141 or MTH 151.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 153 - Calculus III

    MTH 153 - Calculus III

    3.00 credit hours

    Continuation of Calculus II with an emphasis on infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 152.

    Core

    Mathematics.
    IAI

    M1 900

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    MTH 254 - Calculus IV

    3.00 credit hours

    Functions of two or more variables, partial derivatives, multiple integrals and line integrals. Vector analysis, divergence and Stokes's theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)


    MTH 153.

    Core

    Mathematics.

    Schedule Of Classes

NOTE: This page contains all of the regular course descriptions for Physics, effective Fall 2019.  Academic credit for each course is noted in parenthesis after the course title. Prerequisites (if any) are noted following each course description. Not all courses are offered every year.

See the 2018-2019 Catalog for descriptions of current courses.  Check Merlin, our searchable course schedule, to see which courses are being offered in upcoming terms.

4-year course plan for Physics B.S. students 

Physics courses, 2019-2020

PHYS 105 Introductory Musical Acoustics (4) 
Physics of sound, musical instruments, and musical recordings. Production and propagation of sound waves, physical principles underlying pitch and timbre of musical instruments and the human voice, digital audio. Laboratory required.  Prerequisites:  High school algebra 2, ability to read music.

PHYS 110 Astronomy (4)
Celestial phenomena, the sun and solar system, and the observable universe with emphasis on astronomy as a scientific activity relevant to the perception and comprehension of our world. Laboratory includes observational techniques and physical principles.  Prerequisite:  Precalculus (algebra and trigonometry) competence.

PHYS 131 Physics I (non-calculus) (4)
Kinematics, Newton’s Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.  Laboratory required. Prerequisite:  Precalculus (algebra and trigonometry) competence.

PHYS 132 Physics II (non-calculus) (4)
Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics.  Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162. Laboratory required.  Prerequisite: PHYS 131, precalculus (algebra and trigonometry) competence.

PHYS 160 Einstein and Heisenberg:  Physics of the Fast and the Small (2)
Introduction to the special theory of relativity:  Galilean relativity, spacetime diagrams, Lorentz transformations, relativistic collisions and conservation of four-momentum.  Introduction to the principles of quantum physics, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, Pauli spin matrices.  Prerequisite:  Precalculus (algebra and trigonometry) competence.

PHYS 161 Physics I: Mechanics and Heat (4)
Newton’s Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics.  Laboratory includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling.  Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.  Prerequisites:  CSCE 160; completion of or concurrent registration in MATH 151.

PHYS 162 Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves, and Optics (4)
Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics.  Laboratory includes experimental physics and computational modeling.  Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 161, MATH 151, CSCE 160.

PHYS 200 Electronic Instrumentation (4)
Survey of electronics with focus on application to scientific instrumentation. Topics include digital principles, combinational and sequential logic, digital applications, DC and AC circuits, discrete semiconductors, operational amplifiers.  Focus is on applied learning in the laboratory.  Laboratory required.  Prerequisites: MATH 151; completion of or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 132 or PHYS 162.

PHYS 211 Engineering Statics (4)
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, virtual work, hydrostatic pressure.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 161, MATH 152, completion of or concurrent enrollment in MATH 253.

PHYS 251 Mechanics of Materials (4)
Analysis of stress and deformation of materials. Applications to the design of machine and structural elements subjected to static, dynamic and repeated loads.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 211, MATH 152.

PHYS 263 Physics III: Quantum Physics (4)
An introduction to quantum physics.  Quantum phenomena, the Schrödinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 162, completion of or concurrent registration in MATH 253.

PHYS 264 Experimental Quantum Physics (2)
An exploration of the experimental foundations of quantum physics.  Selected experiments from the photoelectric effect, electron impact spectroscopy, Bragg scattering and x-ray diffraction, single photon two-slit experiment, molecular spectroscopy, muon decay, and others.  Laboratory.  Prerequisites:  Completion of or concurrent registration in PHYS 263.

PHYS 300 Computational Mechanics (4)
Newton’s Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics.  Mathematical methods introduced as needed.  Laboratory focuses on computation and modeling.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 162, MATH 253, CSCE 160.

PHYS 310 Data Acquisition with LabVIEW (2)
Computer-assisted measurement and automation of experiments using the LabVIEW graphical programming platform.  Hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and projects.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 200, MATH 151, CSCE 160.

PHYS 320 Physics of Solids (2) 
Properties of crystalline solids.  Crystal structure, reciprocal lattice, x-ray diffraction, electrical conduction, band theory, semiconductors and semiconductor devices.  Other topics may include thermal properties, magnetic properties of solids.  Prerequisites:  MATH 151, either PHYS 263 or CHEM 345.

PHYS 340 Thermal Physics I (2) 
Interrelationships among temperature, energy, entropy, and other properties of a physical system, examined at the macroscopic level using the tools of thermodynamics.  Topics covered include equations of state, the laws of thermodynamics, energy, enthalpy, entropy, Gibbs energy, Maxwell relations, phase equilibrium.  Laboratory.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 132 or PHYS 162, MATH 151, either CHEM 122 or CHEM 125.

PHYS 341 Thermal Physics II (2) 
Interrelationships among temperature, energy, entropy, and other properties of matter, examined at the microscopic level using the tools of statistical mechanics.  Topics include macrostates and microstates, entropy, Boltzmann and quantum distribution functions; selected applications from paramagnetism, Einstein solids, blackbody radiation, and others.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 263 or CHM 345; PHYS 340 or CHEM 340.

PHYS 391 Seminar I (1)
Professional development topics such as ethics, job seeking skills, and safety.  Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.  Same as CHEM 391.  Prerequisite: 16 PHYS credits.

PHYS 392 Seminar II (1)  
Students learn to search the scientific literature, read primary literature, and orally present a journal article. Students, faculty and guest presenters discuss research results in the format of a scientific meeting.  Same as CHEM 392.  Prerequisite: 16 PHYS credits.

PHYS 397 Internship (1-16)
Instructor consent required.

PHYS 399 Research (1-16)
Individual laboratory investigation of a current problem in physics or a closely related field.  Prerequisite:  Instructor consent.

PHYS 410 Advanced Experimental Physics (2) 
An exploration of advanced experimental techniques and concepts in physics.  Experiments selected from optical spectroscopy, x-ray spectroscopy; magnetic  resonance;  vacuum  techniques;  solid-state  physics;  laser  physics;  nuclear physics.  May be repeated for credit with new content.  Laboratory required.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 200, PHYS 263, PHYS 264.

PHYS 420 Electromagnetic Theory (4) 
The theory of electromagnetism, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, and electrodynamics.  May include applications to electromagnetic waves, guided waves and transmission lines, plasmas, radiation theory and relativistic electrodynamics.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 162, MATH 253.

PHYS 440 Quantum Mechanics (4)
The physical interpretation and mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics.  Schrödinger equation, one-dimensional and three-dimensional potentials, angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, operator methods, matrix mechanics, Dirac notation and approximation methods.  Prerequisites:  PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; MATH 253; MATH 300.

PHYS 490 Topics (2-4)
Advanced topics in physics, such as biophysics, astrophysics and cosmology, particles and nuclei, general relativity, advanced mechanics.  Prerequisites vary by topic. 

Paul Bloom

Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5196
David Horner

Harold and Eva White Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts; Professor of Chemistry and Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5192
Troy Hammond

President; Professor of Physics
Office of the President
+1 630 637 5454
Robert Potter
Robert Potter

Half-time Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5170
Ruth Van De Water
Ruth Van De Water

Visiting Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5178

Faculty Emeriti

Mary Yueh Ping Liaw
Professor of Physics Emerita
myliaw@noctrl.edu

Take advantage of some of the many opportunities to enrich your education outside the classroom! Below are some examples; follow the links for more information.

  • Gain "real-world" experience through an Internship

Many physics & engineering students work part-time in the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program at Argonne National Laboratory. Co-op students work 15-19 hours per week during the school year and often work full-time during summer and break periods.  

Recent physics students have studied at the University of Glasgow and Dundee University in Scotland and Macquarie University in Australia.

  • Get your hands on Research

Physics students can do research with North Central faculty during the academic year and summers, and many physics majors spend fall of their senior year doing research at a national laboratory through the Department of Energy's SULI program.  Students present their research at North Central’s annual Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research, and many present at the annual Argonne Symposium and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.


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