Dr. Richard W. Schnee
Department of Physics
Electrical Engineering/Physics 223, Foundation 101
Professors Corey and Sobolev; Associate Professors Bai, French, Schnee and Strieder, Assistant Professors, Corwin, Oszwaldowski, and Reichenbacher; Lecturer Dowding; Emeriti Professors Detwiler, Foygel, and Helsdon.
The goal of a program of study in physics is to provide students with an understanding of the basic laws of physics and to develop skills that will enable students to further explore physical phenomena and to solve related problems.
Students should have a sense of curiosity about their surroundings and a strong desire, not only to find solutions to problems that are encountered, but also to develop a deeper understanding of the basic principles involved. Students will be expected to develop a high level of mathematical skills and to become proficient in oral and written communications. Laboratory skills are also emphasized.
At the bachelor of science level, students will not be expected to specialize in any branch of physics. However, the curriculum does have room for electives, providing an opportunity to develop a minor in other fields of science or in an engineering discipline. It provides a background in applications of physics for students seeking employment in industry and also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in physics or in other fields such as geophysics, meteorology, metallurgy, computer science, mathematics, materials science, and many branches of engineering.
Because physics is the basis of most engineering disciplines, understanding basic principles of physics can help one become a better engineer. An increasing number of students are choosing a double major, consisting of physics plus some field of engineering. Students going this route often end up in industrial research and development. In a rapidly changing economy where one field of engineering may be in a slump while others are not, understanding physics can assist students in moving across disciplines. For these reasons, students are encouraged to consider double majors.
Graduate studies leading to the degree of Master of Science in Physics and Materials Science and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Nanoscience are offered. Research is primarily in condensed matter and particle physics. At this level of study, students are expected to assume much of the responsibility for carrying out a research project. For details of graduate programs in physics, see the graduate section.