Dr. Richard W. Schnee
Department of Physics
Professors Corey, Schnee, and Sobolev; Associate Professors Bai, French, Reichenbacher, and Strieder; Assistant Professors Martinez Caicedo, Paudel, Plum, and Wang; Lecturer Dowding; Emeritus Professors Detwiler, Foygel, Helsdon, and Petukhov.
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.
For the bachelor of science, students are not expected to specialize in a branch of physics. However, the curriculum has room for electives. Recommended electives are listed for students seeking employment or further studies in engineering, computational, medical, or atmospheric physics, The curriculum 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, medical physics, 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. Many students choose a double major, consisting of physics plus some field of engineering. Students going this route often find employment 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 interested in engineering are encouraged to consider double majors.
Physics majors interested in pursuing a career in high school teaching should take standard courses for a physics degree and apply to Black Hills State University’s Master in Secondary Education - Project SECOND. This program prepares students to earn initial certification in the fields of physics, math, chemistry, and sometimes biology. Information at: http://www.bhsu.edu/Academics/Graduate-Programs/Secondary-Education-Project-Second#Course-Schedule-686. Another option for physics students interested in teaching would be to double major in physics at Mines and Education at Black Hills State.
The department facilities are ample for all aspects of the department’s experimental work from the introductory laboratories through graduate research. They are equipped to enable students to observe physical phenomena, demonstrate physical principles, and learn techniques for making quantitative measurements in the fields of mechanics, heat, optics, electricity and magnetism, atomic, particle, and solid state physics. The equipment is the type that students will likely to encounter after graduation, with emphasis on computer-based data acquisition and control of experiments.