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Physics

PHYSICS OFFERS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE – AND THE COOLEST MYSTERIES – OF ALL THE NATURAL SCIENCES. ARE YOU READY TO WRESTLE WITH THE SECRETS OF NATURE AND THE UNIVERSE?

TAKE THE CHALLENGE

As a physics major at ONU, you will study properties of two-dimensional crystals formed by charged particles in a dusty plasma, you will spend nights exploring the sky with modern telescopes, you will investigate the geometry of crystal surfaces by using powerful computers, and you will immortalize your favorite toy as a hologram.

Large universities just can’t provide the individualized attention and opportunities you will find here. Throughout your four years, you will explore classical and modern physics using experimental, mathematical and computational tools leading to a capstone experience where you will research a problem on the frontier of physics. You will work on independent projects, and assist professors on grant-funded research. Most physics students present their research at bi-annual conferences of the Ohio-region Section of the American Physical Society (OSAPS).

From the time you arrive on campus until you graduate, you will be steered by a faculty advisor. You’ll enjoy small class sizes and amazing friendships with your fellow physics majors. Our dedicated professors will get to know you. They will support you in your coursework, research at ONU and outside, post-graduate or career preparations. They will become personally invested in your success – in college and beyond.

From taking a field trip to a cyclotron lab to co-authoring an academic paper, from heading up a student organization to interning at a major research lab – the opportunities open to you are truly incredible!

Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to make important scientific contributions. You’ll be armed with the knowledge, hands-on experience, and critical-thinking skills needed for success – no matter where your path leads you.

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OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS

STAR GAZING

With wide-open space and little light pollution, Ada, Ohio, offers fantastic views of the night sky. And the ONU Observatory is the place to be. With a roll-off roof, three permanently mounted telescopes, and high-tech CCD equipment to connect the telescopes with computers and monitors, students can witness comets, lunar eclipses or whatever the sky has to offer. 

SCIENTISTS IN THE HOUSE

Every year, we bring renowned science scholars to campus to share their discoveries – and their journeys – with students. ONU also is part of a speaker-exchange program that brings physicists from Denison University, Ohio Wesleyan University, College of Wooster and Oberlin College to campus to share their research and discuss physics topics.



Courtney Buckey

THINK SUCCESS

BS WITH A MAJOR IN PHYSICS ’07

“Physics was a great major for me because I never outgrew the ‘why’ stage. It allowed me to challenge myself to understand the underpinnings of the world around me. There’s nothing more exciting than understanding how the world functions and brainstorming ideas for making it better,” she says. “Today, my work has an immediate and direct impact on patients who come to us for cancer care. Every plan we generate is custom-designed to meet the specific needs that the patient’s doctor has laid out. It’s a lot of responsibility but also a joy to do.”

Courtney Buckey majored in physics to explore the world and study what she describes as “very, very small and very, very big topics.” She also majored in Spanish and minored in applied mathematics and art. While at ONU, she participated in two summer research experiences at the Cleveland Clinic, working in therapeutic medical physics and diagnostic imaging physics, and one summer research experience sponsored by the National Science Foundation at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also served as president of the Society of Physics Students and was active in Amnesty International. Her final year at ONU, she studied abroad in Spain and Costa Rica. After graduation, she completed a Ph.D. in therapeutic medical physics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Today, she is a board-certified medical physicist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She also is an assistant professor of radiation oncology at Mayo Medical School. 

OUTCOMES AND COURSES

SOLID OUTCOMES

  • Over the past five years, 100 percent of our physics majors were employed full-time in their field or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduating.
  • Our physics students consistently obtain impressive Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) for the summer – beating out their peers at other institutions for these coveted spots. Recent students have completed REUs at Louisiana State University, Argonne National Labs, Ohio State University, Cyclotron Institute at Texas A&M, University of Akron and University of Toledo.
  • Our graduates get accepted into top-notch graduate schools, including Ohio State University, Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, West Virginia University, Pennsylvania State University Louisiana State University; and the University of Toledo.

COURSES

Here are some courses you will take as a physics major:

  • Modern physics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Analytical mechanics
  • Solid state physics
  • Atomic and nuclear physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Statistical mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Advanced lab

WHERE COULD YOU END UP?

POSSIBLE JOBS

Studies show that physicists earn higher salaries than other types of scientists. A degree in physics is a launch pad for a successful career in many different fields, including:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Energy
  • Space
  • Environment and climate
  • Law
  • Business and investment

ALUMNI SUCCESS

Check out where some of our physics graduates have ended up: assistant professor of physics at the Citadel College in South Carolina, medical physicist at ProMedica in Toledo, business development manager at Koverse in Washington, D.C., science teacher at Lima Senior High School. 

Physics and Astronomy

Erin B. Swick

419-772-2320
e-swick@onu.edu
Science Annex 107A
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
Monday: 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Wednesday: 8 p.m.-11:30 a.m.
Thursday: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed