Overview

Why major in physics at a liberal arts college like The College of Wooster?

Using the language of mathematics, physicists try to understand the patterns and rhythms of nature, from atoms to galaxies. Majors can take their careers in a lot of directions after graduation. Majoring in physics at a liberal arts college like Wooster gives students the opportunity to learn in small classes and conduct original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. The multidisciplinary atmosphere at Wooster allows physics majors to double major or participate in a pre-professional program in preparation for graduate or professional schools. Many physicists work as engineers, and many engineers have physics degrees, but physics majors can be found in a number of fields. The problem-solving abilities and analytical skills provided by a physics education equip physics majors to work in schools and on college campuses, in corporate settings and government labs, in the astronaut corps, or even on Wall Street.

Physics at The College of Wooster

With one-on-one guidance from a faculty mentor, each physics major has the opportunity to experience the excitement and rewards of a year-long research project, culminating in a senior independent study thesis. The labs and facilities at Wooster range from a state-of-the-art computer-based lab for introductory physics courses to a scanning probe microscope used in student and faculty research. In the past, three Wooster physics majors have been selected as finalists for the American Physical Society’s national LeRoy Apker Award for outstanding undergraduate research in physics, as a result of their senior independent study work. In addition, seven students won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for college sophomore and juniors and five students won a Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award from the National Science Foundation, which provides three years of support for their graduate education.


Faculty

Robin Bjorkquist

Robin Bjorkquist

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

rbjorkquist@wooster.edu

Sarah Bolton

Sarah Bolton

President of The College of Wooster and Professor of Physics

president@wooster.edu

Laura DeGroot

Laura DeGroot

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

ldegroot@wooster.edu

Manon Grugel-Watson

Manon Grugel-Watson

Visiting Instructor and Laboratory Coordinator of Physics

mgrugel-watson@wooster.edu

Cody Leary

Cody Leary

Associate Professor of Physics; Pre-Engineering Advisor

cleary@wooster.edu

Susan Y. Lehman

Susan Lehman

Victor J. Andrew Professor of Physics

slehman@wooster.edu

Niklas Manz

Niklas Manz

Associate Professor of Physics, Department Chair of Physics

nmanz@wooster.edu

Jhony Mera

Electronics & Instrument Technician - Biology, Chemistry, Physics

jmera@wooster.edu

Dawn Parker

Dawn Parker

Administrative Coordinator of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Physics

dparker@wooster.edu

Timothy Siegenthaler

Timothy Siegenthaler

Instrument and Lab Tech/Machinist - Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics

tsiegenthaler@wooster.edu


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Major

A Physics major provides a rigorous grounding in the scientific process and a firm scientific understanding of the world. It fosters critical thinking and provides broad practical training in science and technology. It can lead to graduate study and basic research (in a variety of disciplines), to stimulating jobs in industry, or to challenging and rewarding careers in teaching. Our faculty is engaged in original research, and our students are drawn early into collaborative research projects with faculty.

Fifteen courses in math and physics are needed to complete the requirements for a physics major.

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Minor

Six courses in math and physics are needed to complete the requirements for a physics major.

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Independent Study

The yearlong senior thesis project, or senior Independent Study (I.S.), allows you to experience the beauty and cohesiveness of physics by working on an extended project closely with a faculty advisor. There are few projects, even though narrow in scope, that do not require a breadth of understanding and a dependence on the lecture and laboratory material covered in the major courses. Thus, the senior thesis is an integral part of your education. It can provide a stimulating climax to your college career while, at the same time, it can be a defining introduction to your profession.

 

 

 

 

 

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Alumni

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Prizes & Scholarships

  • In 2003, 2007 & 2009, the Wooster Physics Club’s Outreach Program won the Marsh White Award from the Society of Physics Students of the American Institute of Physics. Also in 2007, our Outreach Program won a national Blake Lilly Prize and was awarded this prize again in  2009 and 2013, and yet again in 2014. In both 2008, 2009 and 2019, we were named an Outstanding SPS Chapter.
  • In 1996, 1998, 2002, & 2006, four of our physics majors received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the premier undergraduate awards of their type in the fields of mathematics, science and engineering.
  • From the classes of 2001, 2003, 2007, & 2008, five other of our physics majors received National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.
  • In 2001, 2003, 2004, & 2008 (four of eight consecutive years), a physics major was awarded Wooster’s Notestein Prize for highest scholarship and was selected as commencement speaker for the graduating class.
  • In 2003, 2007, and 2016, three of our seniors were finalists for the national Apker Award for outstanding undergraduate achievement in physics.
  • In 2000, one of our faculty was the recipient of the American Physical Society’s prize for Research in an Undergraduate Institution.

Faculty Emeriti

gray silhouette outline of a person

Shila Garg

Professor Emerita, Physics

gray silhouette outline of a person

Donald T. Jacobs

Professor Emeritus, Physics

John Lindner

John Lindner

Professor Emeritus, Physics

jlindner@wooster.edu