Physics is the fundamental science, leading to our most basic understanding of the natural world and of human technological achievements.

Physics Home Feature
Observatory photo credit: Jason Duquette-Hoffman

The program is designed to integrate physics into the liberal arts curriculum, as well as to provide challenging courses and research opportunities for students majoring in physics. Courses and student research activities in astronomy are an integral part of the physics program.

Course offerings in the Physics Department reflect the needs of three categories of students: (1) those majoring in physics; (2) those majoring in another science who need a basic introduction to physics and the analytical skills it provides; and (3) those majoring in areas outside the sciences, who seek to explore the concepts of physics with a minimum of mathematics. Laboratory work is emphasized at all levels of our program, from first-year courses through senior thesis work. The Physics Department also conducts weekly “tea times” during the semester so students, faculty and staff can meet in an informal setting.

Physics students

Why Study Physics?

If you’re curious about nature, want to understand the universe from first principles, love math—both abstract and applied—and enjoy tinkering in the lab or constructing rigorous arguments, then you should explore the physics major.

Physics equipment

Facilities and Equipment

From an active astronomical observatory that is central to the community to state-of-the-art instruments and your own study room for casual interactions, our home in the majestic Bicentennial Hall has everything you need to immerse yourself in the world of physics.

Student working with instruments in a physics lab.

Research Opportunities

Laboratory work and student research are emphasized at all levels of our program, from first-year courses through senior thesis work. Read more about research.

Physics Events

  • Dr. Jon Habif Guest Lecture: Quantum limits to sensing our world: Hearing Mother Nature's quietest whispers

    Measurement of the faintest signals has become a vital part of disciplines as diverse as medicine, astronomy, interplanetary communications and intelligence gathering.  While our curiosity has driven us to probe ever-weaker signals in Nature, the framework and philosophy for our measurement tools has remained largely unchanged for centuries, entrenched in a classical interpretation of our world – which we know to be incomplete. In this talk I will present a holistic approach to sensing which combines quantum mechanics, information theory and measurement.

    McCardell Bicentennial Hall 216

    Closed to the Public

Observatory Events

  • Stargazing at Mittelman Observatory

    Mittelman Observatory will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 16, October 7, and October 28, from 8:30 PM until 10:00 PM, weather permitting.

    Mittelman Observatory (McCardell Bicentennial Hall)

    Open to the Public
  • Stargazing at Mittelman Observatory

    Mittelman Observatory will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 16, October 7, and October 28, from 8:30 PM until 10:00 PM, weather permitting.

    Mittelman Observatory (McCardell Bicentennial Hall)

    Open to the Public
  • Stargazing at Mittelman Observatory

    Mittelman Observatory will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 16, October 7, and October 28, from 8:30 PM until 10:00 PM, weather permitting.

    Mittelman Observatory (McCardell Bicentennial Hall)

    Open to the Public

Meet the Faculty

Office Hours

Explore the Major

Requirements

Find What You Need

Student Resources