Do you like to get lost in the stars or try to figure out why objects move the way they do through time and space? Are you curious about electrons, laser holograms, computer chips, electronic gadgets, satellites, radios or superconducting magnets? A major in physics at Central College might be a fit for you. Physics, the most fundamental physical science, is concerned with the basic principles of the universe. It is the foundation on which engineering, technology and other sciences are based.
The physics program at Central College prepares students for graduate school and research, teaching, jobs in industrial and governmental engineering and other technical areas. Students benefit from the one-on-one attention provided by faculty devoted to their teaching. Graduates have gone on to become physicists, engineers, teachers and researchers. Interested in engineering? Central also offers a pre-engineering program.
Looking for experience? An internship might be the answer. When it comes to future employment or entrance into graduate school, students with internship experience have a proven track record in a professional environment. In today’s competitive job market, proven experience is a priceless commodity. Many students turn their internship into employment after graduation. Past internships include:
Learn more about internships at Central.
Central offers courses in physics theory, problem-solving skills and experimental techniques with an emphasis on science as a method for learning about the world. Students are prepared to be able to reason from the general fundamental principles to specific applications in physics and engineering. A student trained in physics will be able to work in a variety of specialties.
Curious about what courses you’ll be taking your first year at Central as a physics major? A typical first-year schedule includes:
Get more details from the course catalog! (Note: this is a PDF file)
The physics department is located in the Vermeer Science Center, which recently went through a $20-million renovation and expansion. Every classroom contains a ceiling-mounted projector, computer, document camera, VCR/DVD player and flex camera. The faculty members of the physics department introduce the latest technologies to students in the classroom and laboratory. Students will see demonstrations, simulations and application software in classes.
Numerous physics laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment are available to students. In the lab for the general physics course, students can utilize specially designed equipment to test and explore physics concepts. They also use advanced devices and computers to collect and analyze data. The recently redesigned lab for the electronics course allows students to experiment with analog circuits, digital circuits and even build microcomputers by themselves. The advanced labs offer a large variety of experiments including cloud chamber, stereo amplifier, laser optics, bomb calorimeter, radio isotopes and speed of light for students to enhance their knowledge from experimental investigations.
The physics department is licensed by the state of Iowa to own and use a plutonium-beryllium neutron source and a cesium gamma-ray source for experiments in nuclear physics. Our observatory with an 11-inch reflector telescope is located at an optimum site for students to observe stars and other celestial objects. Students can use an x-ray diffractometer and a high-vacuum system with a mass spectrometer to conduct research projects. The physics program is supported by a mechanical shop with a mill, a lathe and welding equipment.
Central’s physics department maintains its own website with even more information about majoring in physics and Central's pre-engineering program.
No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization that you’ll want to join! Physics students might be interested in Central’s Physics Club, Society of Physics Students and SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment).
Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s eight international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with Central’s Chicago program and the Washington, D.C., program. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.