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Thomas Moses

Professor & Chair of Physics

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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B.A., B.S., Minor

How We Work

  1. We're better together. With our small class sizes and close-knit program, students are able to help each other and work collaboratively on problem sets. It's easy to ask questions in class—sometimes, it's easier to have the whole class at the blackboard.
  2. We don't know if it's going to work, but we're going to try it, anyway. Science is about experimentation (and failure!), and, as Professor Thomas Moses puts it, "if you only take the good steps, you don't see how smart those steps are." Take Jeff Smith '01, who built a tabletop particle accelerator while at Knox. It wasn't quite fully functional, but he must have learned a lot from the process—Jeff went on to get a Ph.D. in accelerator physics at Cornell University. Students are introduced to self-designed experiments in their sophomore research lab, and many build onto ongoing projects that are more than a decade old (ask us about our wind tunnel!)
  3. We are literally always building. The revival of Knox Engineering club started with a small group of students who took over some abandoned storage space... and they never stopped expanding. Now they have 3D printers, a CNC mill, a laser cutter, a metal lathe, soldering stations, and more. Of course, if community service and programming are more your thing, our students are also mentors at Techno Ferrets (a local high school robotics club). And we're always looking to collaborate with others: Knox Engineering built a hydroponic system in the greenhouse as a joint project with the biology and chemistry departments.
  4. We offer you options. As a physics major, you can pursue a traditional bachelor of arts degree, or a bachelor of science degree that provides a more comprehensive undergraduate experience in physics. If your interests gravitate more toward engineering, we also offer a 3-2 program where you complete a bachelor's degree (of arts or sciences) along with engineering degrees in just five years. And our students get research experience all over the country, including places like Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Kitt Peak National Observatory.
  5. Our grads find success. Tomomi Sunayama '09 completed her Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics at Yale. Paulo Pirondi '00 went on to graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis and is now at JR Automaton.


Estimated Salary of Alumni with Physics Degrees


Introductory physics is a three-term sequence covering mechanics; heat, waves, and light; and electricity and magnetism. Additional 100-level courses consider topics such as astronomy, physics of sports, and the physics of music. Advanced courses include classical dynamics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism and quantum physics.

Students intending to enter graduate programs in physics may elect to participate in up to three Senior Seminars -- a year-long series of discussion-style classes that cover the more advanced topics in the field -- analytical mechanics, electrodynamics and quantum mechanics.


Equipment located in the Adeline Cummings Longden Physics Wing includes:

  • Laser laboratory
  • Mössbauer spectrometer
  • SQUID Susceptometer
  • NQDR Spectrometer (Quantum Design 5.5T MPMS)
  • NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer
  • Eight-inch and ten-inch telescopes, including computer control and CCD camera

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022