Hands-On Courses

perera and student w spectrom
Our students have ample opportunity for hands-on lab work.



At Illinois Wesleyan, we know how powerful it can be for physics students to amplify the  "theoretical" through actual hands-on lab work. That's why we offer our students such a wide range of upper-level lab courses -- more than almost any other undergraduate institution in the country.

We've seen how access to our top-notch lab equipment, along with supportive guidance from our esteemed faculty in a small class setting amplifies our students' understanding.

Fun in the Laboratory

IWU students find our upper-level labs are much more engaging than other physics labs that they have experienced in the past. Some of them include: 

  • Modern Physics lab where students verify the predictions of relativity using gamma-ray detectors
  • Intermediate Experimental Methods  where students directly test quantum mechanics using sensitive instrumentation
  • Electronics where students learn to transmit audio signals (music) using light  
  • Optics where students build interferometers that can measure distances the size of a molecule 
  • Materials Physics where students become familiar with superconductivity and other exotic states of matter
  • Nonlinear Systems & Chaos  where students experimentally observe different routes to deterministic chaos in dynamical mechanical, electronic and chemical systems
  • Scientific Imaging where students use lasers to see how fluids move around living creatures
  • Momentum of the Photon  where students perform single-photon measurements, as well as measurements of the energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum transmitted by laser beams
  • Experimental Physics  where students design and build fully automated experiments on their own---
  • Not to mention our offerings involving engineering design where students build working prototypes of new products they've conceived

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