Physics Physics Physics Physics Physics

College of Arts & Sciences

Physics

Questions?

Nick Mauro

630-637-5178

namauro@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.

B.A. 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. 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. 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

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

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 the Division of 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

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, B.S.

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

B.S. 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. 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. 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 the Division of 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 -or-
     

    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. 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. 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 the Division of 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.

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. 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. 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 the Division of 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 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 (Lab) (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. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 105 The Physics of Music (Lab) (3.50)
In this class we use concepts of physics to understand musical instruments, musical recordings, and musical acoustics. Students will become familiar with the production and propagation of sound, the physical principles underlying selected musical instruments, including the human voice and methods scientists use to study problems. The focus is on conceptual, rather than highly mathematical, understanding. Laboratory required. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 115 College Physics I (Lab) (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, oscillations, waves and sound. 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). May not take PHY 115 after PHY 141 or 142. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 116 College Physics II (Lab) (4.00)
The second in a sequence of two algebra-based physics courses. Topics include thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, electricity and magnetism, geometric and wave optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of the following sequences: PHY 115 and 116 or PHY 141, PHY 142 and 143 (PHY 143A or PHY 143C). 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. Core: Science.

PHY 122 Principles of Astronomy (Lab) (3.50)
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. Full laboratory experience includes the study and practice of observational techniques for the night sky as well as exploration of physical principles relevant to astronomical and astrophysical application. May not take both PHY 121 and PHY 122. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 141 Physics I (Lab) (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. May not take PHY 141 after PHY 115. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 142 Physics II (Lab) (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. May not take PHY 142 after PHY 115 or 116. Core: Science (Lab).

PHY 143A Physics III - Algebra Based (Lab) (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. May not take both PHY 143A and PHY 143C.

PHY 143C Physics III - Calculus Based (Lab) (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. 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.

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.

PHY 244 Physics IV (Lab) (2.75)
A continuation of PHY 143C. Fluid mechanics, thermal physics, kinetic theory, introduction to statistical mechanics, origins of quantum physics. Laboratory.

PHY 245 Physics V: Quantum Physics (Lab) (2.50)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

PHY 316 Intermediate Mechanics (Lab) (3.50)
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.

PHY 325 Mechanics of Materials (3.00)
Analysis of stress and deformation of materials. Applications to the design of machine and structural elements subjected to static, dynamic and repeated loads.

PHY 340 Thermodynamics (Lab) (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.

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.

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

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

PHY 416 Advanced Mechanics (3.00)
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.

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.

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.

PHY 450 Advanced Laboratory (0.50-3.00)
Students work independently on experiments in physics undertaken with guidance of a faculty member. May be repeated with new content.

PHY 495 Research (0.50-3.00)
Techniques of literature searching, laboratory investigation, and data reporting; intensive work with the instructor on a problem chosen by mutual agreement. May be repeated up to a maximum of six credit hours.

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

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

Paul Bloom

Associate Professor of Physics
PHY
630-637-5196
David Horner

Harold and Eva White Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts; Professor of Chemistry and Physics
CHM,PHY
5192
Nicholas Mauro

Assistant Professor of Physics; Interim Director of Undergraduate Research
PHY
(630) 637-5178
Troy Hammond

President; Professor of Physics
PHY
630-637-5454

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.  

  • Study Abroad

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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