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
  • engineering physics 

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, Professional Track, B.S.

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

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    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's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

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

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; MATH 253 and MATH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

One of the following:
  • PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 490 - Topics

    PHYS 490 - Topics

    2.00-4.00 credit hours

    Advanced topics in physics, such as biophysics, astrophysics and cosmology, particles and nuclei, general relativity, advanced mechanics.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Varies by topic.

    Schedule Of Classes

300- or 400-level Physics

Four additional credit hours of Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:
  • MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations, systems of differential equations, matrix and vector algebra, systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Students may not receive credit for both MATH 255 and either MATH 300 or MATH 315.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253 and MATH 280.

    Schedule Of Classes

   

Physics, Interdisciplinary Track, B.S.

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

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    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's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

Six additional credit hours in Physics at the 300- or 400-level, not including PHYS 395 or internships.

Second Major or Minor

Completion of a second major or minor in a discpline, pre-approved by the department.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:
  • MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    MATH 255 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equation

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations, systems of differential equations, matrix and vector algebra, systems of linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Students may not receive credit for both MATH 255 and either MATH 300 or MATH 315.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253 and MATH 280.

    Schedule Of Classes

  

Engineering Physics, B.S.

The Engineering Physics major is designed for students who are participating in our dual-degree engineering program. Because many students in the dual-degree engineering program will typically spend three years at North Central College followed by two years at a partnering institution, the Engineering Physics major is designed to be completed in approximately three years at North Central College.

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

Major Requirements

  • PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    PHYS 160 - Einstein & Heisenberg: Physics of the Fast and the Small

    2.00 credit hours

    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's spin matrices.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 211 - Engineering Statics

    PHYS 211 - Engineering Statics

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 161 and MATH 152; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 251 - Mechanics of Materials

    PHYS 251 - Mechanics of Materials

    4.00 credit hours

    Analysis of stress and deformation of materials. Applications to the design of machine and structural elements subjected to static, dynamic and repeated loads.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 211 and MATH 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    PHYS 391 - Seminar I

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    PHYS 392 - Seminar II

    1.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    16 credit hours in Physics.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    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, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 110 - The Engineering Method

    ENGR 110 - The Engineering Method

    2.00 credit hours

    Methods and practices employed to develop, commercialize and distribute products and services dependent on engineering will be presented. Includes descriptions of the four major career paths available to engineers. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    ENGR 120 - Engineering Calculations

    2.00 credit hours

    Develops the student's ability to use MATLAB to solve various engineering problems. Lecture/Laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    MATH 300 - Linear Algebra

    4.00 credit hours

    Vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, Gram-Schmidt process and orthogonal transformations. Students may not receive credit for MATH 300 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253 and MATH 280.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations

    MATH 315 - Ordinary Differential Equations

    4.00 credit hours

    First and second order differential equations; algebraic, numerical and graphical solutions; series solutions; Laplace transforms; applications. Students may not receive credit for MATH 315 and MATH 255.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 253  and MATH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Second Major

Completion of a second major in an engineering discipline at a partnering institution.

  

Physics Minor

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

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 36 credit hours, including:

Introductory Classical Physics

One of the following Physics sequences:

  • PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Kinematics, Newton's Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 131 and Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • -or-

  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

Introductory Quantum Physics

One of the following:

  • PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    PHYS 263 - Physics III: Quantum Physics

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to quantum physics. Quantum phenomena, the Schrodinger equation, analysis of one-dimensional potentials, the hydrogen atom and the electronic structure of multi-electron atoms, spin-orbit coupling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162; MATH 253 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    4.00 credit hours

    Quantum theory, electronic structure of atoms and molecules, chemical bonding, computational chemistry, spectroscopic methods used to study molecular structure and reactions, statistical thermodynamics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162.

    Schedule Of Classes

Experimental and Advanced Physics

Eight credit hours to include:

One of the following:
  • PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    PHYS 200 - Electronic Instrumentation for Scientists

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    PHYS 264 - Experimental Quantum Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

At least one of the following:
  • PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    PHYS 300 - Computational Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws, projectile and charged particle kinematics, conservation laws and oscillations. Advanced methods in mechanics. Mathematical methods introduced as needed. Laboratory required, focuses on computation and modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 310 - Data Acquisition with LabVIEW

    PHYS 310 - Data Acquisition with LabVIEW

    2.00 credit hours

    Computer-assisted measurement and automation of experiments using the LabVIEW graphical programming platform. Hands-on experience through laboratory exercises and projects. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, MATH 151 and CSCE 160.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 320 - Physics of Solids

    PHYS 320 - Physics of Solids

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 263 or CHEM 345.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 340 - Thermal Physics I

    PHYS 340 - Thermal Physics I

    2.00 credit hours

    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 required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 132 or PHYS 162MATH 151; CHEM 122 or CHEM 125.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 341 - Thermal Physics II

    PHYS 341 - Thermal Physics II

    2.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; PHYS 340 or CHEM 340.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    PHYS 410 - Advanced Experimental Physics

    2.00 credit hours

    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. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 200, PHYS 263 and PHYS 264.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    PHYS 420 - Electromagnetic Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    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.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 162 and MATH 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    PHYS 440 - Quantum Mechanics

    4.00 credit hours

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

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 263 or CHEM 345; MATH 253 and MATH 300.

    Schedule Of Classes

Note:

PHYS 264 is a two credit course. If a student elects to take PHYS 264, another course must be taken from the options above.

Required Support Courses

  • CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    CSCE 160 - Introduction to Computer Programming

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to computer science and programming, emphasizing the development of algorithms and problem solving skills using both procedural and object-oriented approaches. Topics include data types; I/O; arithmetic, relational and logical operators; control structures; functions; simple data structures; different computing environments such as the Linux operating system are also explored. Integrated laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 253 - Calculus III

    MATH 253 - Calculus III

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of calculus with an emphasis on vectors, vector-valued and multiple-variable functions, partial derivatives, line and multiple integrals, vector analysis, Green's, divergence and Stokes' theorems.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    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.

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 catalog

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 for Scientists (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 and MATH 253.

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 credit hours in PHYS.

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.  Prerequisite: 16 credit hours in PHYS.

PHYS 395 Research (1-16)
Individual laboratory investigation of a current problem in physics or a closely related field.  Instructor consent required.

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
Susan Kempinger

Assistant Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5192
Ruth Van De Water
Ruth Van De Water

Visiting Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5178
Robert Potter
Robert Potter

Half-time Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5170
Elena Gamaliy-Snezhko
Elena Gamaliy-Snezhko

Physics Laboratory Manager and Instructional Support; Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5179
Mandy Rominsky
Mandy Rominsky

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5181
Scott Milkovich
Scott Milkovich

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physics
Physics
+1 630 637 5181
Troy Hammond

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

Faculty Emeriti

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

David Horner
Harold and Eva White Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts, Emeritus
Professor of Chemistry and Physics, Emeritus
dahorner@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.


Related Programs


News