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Department of Physics

Four smiling scientists stand in a lab lit with blue light

The Department of Physics prepares majors for graduate education or careers in diverse fields such as astronomy, medicine, engineering, architecture, acoustics, science education, science policy, and physics. Courses focus on the physical phenomena and properties of the universe: gravitation, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear structure, fundamental particles, light and energy, and the properties of matter. Faculty research interests include atom and quantum optics, Bose-Einstein condensates, condensed matter (including superconducting qubits, ultracold matter in optical lattices, and nanomagnetism), particle physics, cosmology and general relativity, physics education, quantum information theory, quantum computing, and quantum teleportation.

Educational facilities include introductory and advanced laboratories equipped with modern technology and multiple teaching spaces tailored to foster interactive learning. Although not a formal requirement of the major, most physics majors participate in undergraduate research experiences through paid internships and independent studies.


Please see our degree pages for details about the BS in physics, the minor in physics or applied physics, and the undergraduate certificate in applied physics.

As a student in our department, you can

  • learn the analytical, quantitative, technical, and critical thinking skills sought by a vast array of employers
  • gain exposure to cutting-edge science, modern technology and prepare for grad school in diverse fields
  • interact meaningfully with faculty members in small upper-level classes, paid teaching and research assistantships, and an active Society of Physics Students
  • obtain internships at national organizations including NASA, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Academies of Science


  • April 25: Physics Phestival Party in DMTI 111, 4 to 6 p.m.

  • Nathan Harshman won a Reviewer Excellence award from the American Association of Physics Teachers for the contributions he has made to the American Journal of Physics.

  • Boncho Bonev received $42,850 from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for his project "Ground-Based Studies of Comets Using High-Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy."