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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 have opportunities to 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, you will delve into the new field of quantum computing, 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, theoretical 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.

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Curriculum

Major
Minor
Preprofessional Program
Concentration
Pathway

OPPORTUNITY ABOUNDS

A SKILLED EXPERIMENTALIST

Plasma physics studies one of the most energetic states of matter where the electrons have enough energy to leave the atoms producing a high temperature glowing gas. In the ONU plasma lab, you will conduct various experiments on dusty plasmas including plasma clusters, plasma dust rings, chaotic transitions in plasmas, fluid and crystalline dusty plasmas, and supersonic dust particles.

The direct conversion of sunlight (photons) into electricity (voltage) is often described as a photovoltaic (PV) energy conversion. You will synthesize useful materials for the photovoltaic applications, characterize these materials and eventually seek their application in solar cell fabrication.

A RESOURCEFUL COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICIST

In astronomy, you will work on computational projects in the field of extragalactic astronomy. You’ll analyze data from major observatories to study galaxy kinematics, supermassive black holes, and clusters of galaxies.

Surface physics deals with phenomena happening within the first few atomic layers of a material. Find out the structure of a surface by analyzing LEED (Low-Energy Electron Diffraction) experimental data using existing software.

AN INSIGHTFUL THEORETICIAN

Understanding the foundations of quantum mechanics is a challenging task: eighty years after its inception and scientists are still trying to understand the meaning of this theory. And equally challenging and exciting are its applications, quantum computing being one of the more recent ones.



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. 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, Cleveland State University, University of Akron and University of Toledo.

• Our graduates get accepted into top-notch graduate schools, including Georgia Tech, Ohio State University, Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, West Virginia University, Pennsylvania State University Louisiana State University, and New Mexico State University.

COURSES

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

• Modern physics

• Atomic and nuclear physics

• Quantum mechanics

• Introduction to quantum computing

• Solid state physics

• Astrophysics

• Electromagnetism

• Advanced lab

• Physics of photovoltaic materials

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:

– Industry

– Medical physics

– High School teaching

– Space exploration

– Software development

– Environment and climate research

– College professor career

– Energy industry

– Finance and investment

– Science journalism

ALUMNI SUCCESS

Check out where some of our physics graduates have ended up: research scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute, GA, medical physicist at ProMedica in Toledo, business development manager at Koverse in Washington, D.C., Postdoctoral Fellow at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C.

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 a.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