Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy!
What is Physics?
Physics is the study of the universe and how it works. Questions in physics range from the very big (evolution of the universe) to the very small (atoms and quantum physics), and from the very fast (relativity) to the very slow (laser cooling). As physicists, we attempt to infer underlying physical principles from the world around us.
Three features distinguish us:
- Advanced laboratories, where students design and conduct individualized experiments.
- Student participation in internationally recognized research with our faculty.
- A strong foundation in both physics and the liberal arts to best prepare you for a wide range of opportunities.
We offer both B.S. and B.A. degrees in physics and a minor in astronomy.
In the Classroom – Access and Opportunity
The department offers over 16 courses per year, from introductory physics and astronomy to astrophysics, optics, quantum mechanics, and the advanced seminar. Denison thrives on the close student-faculty connection, with about 20-30 students per introductory class and about 10 in advanced classes.
Unique to our program is an emphasis on “doing physics.” In advanced lab, students design and conduct individualized experiments. Recent examples include: building an AM radio, measuring the speed of light, stellar photometry, and seismology.
Outside the Classroom – Real-World Research
Each of our students is required to be involved in some sort of research during their time at Denison. These projects contribute to new knowledge and often lead to co-authored professional papers and presentations. Recent examples of research include: laser spectroscopy of single-electron interferometers; simulation of clumpy and turbulent star formation; observations of fast variations in radio jets in active galaxies; photoluminescence of carbon nanotubes; and biomechanics of baseball pitching.
Beyond the Classroom – Expanding Horizons
Our students are a close-knit group who are among the top students in the college, participating in theatre, orchestra, varsity athletics, and service organizations. They work hard and organize many of our departmental activities including movie nights, science olympics, outreach activities, and field trips to places like Fermilab.