Why Study Physics?
Physics is the most basic of the sciences and helps us understand the world around us. Physics attempts to discover and explain laws describing the forces of nature, such as gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear interactions. The usefulness of physics is evident in products such as lasers, computers, mobile devices, high speed levitated trains, superconducting magnets, high energy particle accelerators, medical MRIs, etc. As a physicist, you might use your knowledge to design missions to other worlds, develop new theories to explain fundamental particles of matter, the motion of galaxies, and the evolution of the universe itself. If you like being challenged, then you want to be involved in an exciting field that will provide many opportunities; that will allow you to be creative; and one where you can make a difference! Physicists enjoy a great variety in their careers that include the areas of Astronomy, Biophysics, Computational Modeling, Engineering and Applied Physics, Industrial Research and Development, Medical Physics, Molecular Electronics and Optics.
Why choose Purdue Northwest?
The Bachelor of Science in Physics at Purdue University Northwest prepares students for careers in industry, government, or education. Students can choose to major in physics or concentrate their studies in Computational Physics, Engineering Physics, or Nuclear Science. Additionally, there is opportunity for non-physics majors to minor in astrophysics and physics. All options involve rigorous coursework including hands-on laboratory work.
The Engineering Physics concentration allows students to take courses in electrical and mechanical engineering and materials science in addition to the physics core courses. It is appropriate for students who are interested in working in industry or continuing their study of applied physics or engineering in graduate school. The Nuclear Science concentration is appropriate for students contemplating careers in fields, such as medical diagnostics, agriculture, counter terrorism, research, energy and nuclear power. Successful nuclear science graduates have the option to transfer directly to the nuclear engineering graduate program at Purdue West Lafayette. The Computational Physics concentration is particularly appropriate for students contemplating a dual degree in Physics and Computer Science, or for careers in electronics industries.
The PNW physics degree provides a sound basis in physics and mathematics, with opportunities to take electives and participate in faculty-mentored research. Smaller class sizes offer an opportunity for individual attention, undergraduate research with faculty mentors, who are internationally known experts in their fields, and collaborators at other universities and laboratories including Fermilab and Argonne. Our faculty are engaged in research in experimental high-energy physics; in the exciting field of astronomy supported by an NSF-funded remote observatory NIRo; in computational models of dense star clusters using supercomputers; in theoretical condensed matter physics; in renewable energy & nuclear science research; and other areas. In addition, student have the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research with faculty in other units including engineering, mathematics, chemistry and biological sciences. Student research is often supported either through college or institution wide competitive awards or through their faculty mentor’s grants. Students frequently present their research at regional and national scientific meetings.
Dr. Aaron Warren is an Associate Professor of Physics at Purdue Northwest. He earned his B.A from Vassar College with a triple-major in physics, astronomy, and mathematics, where he won awards for outstanding thesis work in mathematics and also in physics & astronomy. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he worked in high-energy theory and in physics education research. He has published over 20 articles in several fields, including computational astrophysics, physics education research, and theoretical high-energy physics. Students at PNW have long been involved in Dr. Warren’s astrophysics research, creating simulations of neutron star and black hole mergers, and analyzing their gravitational wave signatures. His work in physics education research has featured applications of network analysis, as well as ARIMA & Bayesian time-series analysis to model information flow and learning. His most recent work has focused on helping students become independent learners by engaging them in Bayesian updating. Dr. Warren’s specialty in high-energy physics is the study of non-perturbative dynamical properties of strings and D-branes using K-theory.
With a BS degree in Physics or Engineering Physics students can pursue a broad range of science, engineering and technology careers. The Nuclear Science option can lead to an exciting and rewarding career in the expanding fields of Nuclear Science and Power. Other examples of nuclear related career choices include: archaeology and paleontology, art appraisal and authentication, crime investigation, Homeland Security, policy making, and science education.
Possible Career Choices:
- Applications Engineer
- Data Analyst
- High School Physics Teacher
- Lab Technician
- Research Associate
- Software Developer
- Web Developer
- Environmental Scientist
- Health Physicist
- Investment analyst
Direct admission to the BS in Physics program requires consideration of standardized test scores and performance in mathematics additional to general University admissions requirements. Interested students who are not directly admissible to Physics may be admitted to a general admission program in which they can prepare for acceptance into the Physics program in the College of Engineering and Science.