Physics and Astronomy

Interested in subatomic particles, gravitational waves, dark matter, and supernova explosions millions of light-years away? By studying Physics and Astronomy at Dordt University, you’ll explore the theories that describe physical reality, uncovering surprising and satisfying insights into the beauty of Creation. You’ll learn to design experiments, build mathematical and computer simulations, and create models that describe and predict physical behaviors of the world around us. Our program will prepare you for a career in research, in industry, or for a post-grad position in nanotechnology, medicine, or even law.

Program Options

The physics major requires a three-semester calculus-based introductory course sequence as well as upper-level courses on topics like classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics and modern physics, and the philosophy of science.

Students can do a double major or minor in areas such as chemistry, biology, theology, engineering, mathematics, or education.

The physics minor is an option for students who want to combine an interest in physics with another academic program.

Opportunities

Most Dordt physics majors work as laboratory or teaching assistants. They combine student employment with on-the-job training in research and teaching as they learn to run labs and help sessions for introductory-level courses.

Physics majors have opportunities to do summer research with faculty mentors on- or off-campus. Often these projects lead to national conference presentations or published journal articles. Some examples of recent student research activity include:

  • A research internship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • NASA-funded research on the dynamics and transport of air within the polar vortices of the stratosphere 
  • Studying laser light scattering through stretched polymer films
  • Investigation of the radiation dose on CT imaging-based measures of lung tissue mechanics
  • Analysis of chest impacts with and without chest protectors to understand the link between impacts and Commotio Cordis
  • Experimental modeling of various viscous fluids inside a cylinder rolling down a ramp
  • Simulations of dark matter particles accelerated by Fermi Boosting in Supernovae shock waves

Resources

The physics and astronomy program offers:

  • Two laboratories, one for introductory and one for upper-level courses and student projects
  • An optics lab
  • A 12-foot dome observatory on the roof of the science building
  • Computer workstations and experimental equipment to study such areas as holography and laser optics, high-temperature superconductors, nuclear radiation, acoustics, electro-magnetism, fluid mechanics, and astrophotography
  • Laboratory equipment for modern physics experiments such as atomic absorption spectrophotometer, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, Fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometer, fluorescence spectrometer, gas chromatograph, ultra-violet/visible spectrophotometer, high-pressure liquid chromatograph, and gas chromatograph.

Learn More

Check out our program strengths and get to know our facilities.

Jason Wyenberg

Jason Wyenberg
Instructor of Physics and Engineering

SB 2615
(712) 722-6285
Jason.Wyenberg@dordt.edu

Dr. Channon Visscher

Dr. Channon Visscher
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Planetary Sciences

SB 2623
(712) 722-6249
Channon.Visscher@dordt.edu

Dr. John Zwart

Dr. John Zwart
Emeritus Professor of Physics

SB 2612
(712) 722-6288
John.Zwart@dordt.edu

Tayler Hoekstra

Tayler Hoekstra
Instructor of Physics and Engineering

SB 2614
(712) 722-6306
Tayler.Hoekstra@dordt.edu

Donna De Vries

Donna De Vries
Science and Technology Administrative Assistant

SB 1623
(712) 722-6293
Donna.DeVries@dordt.edu