To better understand the physical universe in both a qualitative and a quantitative way, physics attempts to describe, through physical and mathematical models, the fundamental properties of the world in which we live. The Physics Department offers courses for students interested in pursuing careers in engineering, physical modeling and simulation, science education, as well as more advanced work in experimental or theoretical physics or astrophysics. A strong emphasis is placed on laboratory-based instruction to allow students to experience the concepts presented in class rather than just hear about them.
A large percentage of our graduating seniors go on to pursue advanced degrees in physics, electrical engineering, civil or mechanical engineering, computer science, astrophysics, and aerospace or material sciences. Physics provides a framework of knowledge based on fundamental principles and problem-solving skills that opens up opportunities for joint study in a number of fields including chemistry, biomedical engineering, biological sciences, mathematics, psychology, music, and law. Students not specializing in physics will find a variety of courses that illuminate the relationships between physics and other fields presented in a manner that allows them to apply their knowledge directly to their lives.
Opportunities for Nonmajors
Physics courses for non-science majors: PHYS 1110, 1130, and 1140. These courses are intended for students planning to major outside the sciences and who have a background only in high school algebra.
General physics courses for both science and non-science majors: PHYS 1150, 1160. These courses are intended for biology and non-science majors who have the necessary prerequisite of high school algebra and elementary trigonometry.
Physics courses for physics majors, science, and non-science majors: PHYS 1230, 1240. These courses are intended for physics majors and all other students who have the necessary prerequisite/co-requisite of calculus (MATH 1170, 1180).
All seven courses carry Natural Science credit for the Hamline Plan and include a laboratory component.
Students interested in engineering, applied physics, or working in industrial laboratories have several options. They can major in physics, orienting their coursework toward working in industry; or they can do graduate work in physics or engineering and then work in industry in applied physics or in an engineering position. Because the courses for the two-year pre-engineering program are essentially the same as those for a physics major, students can easily shift from one program to the other should their directions change.
All students are strongly encouraged to pursue an independent or honors research project as part of their education. Hamline has several special endowed funds that provide equipment and stipends for student-based research. These efforts can lead to undergraduate theses or publications, and provide a student with a unique experience to “do” physics at its most intensive (and satisfying) level.
Student Activities and Honor Societies
Hamline is the home to a chapter of the Society of Physics Students. This group sponsors outings and activities for physics majors as well as the entire campus. Membership in the society can provide lifelong contacts and opportunities within physics and engineering disciplines.
Jerry L. Artz, professor. BS 1965, University of Cincinnati; MS 1966, Stanford University; PhD 1974, Florida State University. Research interests: nuclear physics and energy, energy policy, physics of the environment, radiation safety.
Bruce T. Bolon, associate professor, chair. BS 1991, Southwest Missouri State University; MS 1994, Iowa State University; PhD 2000, University of Missouri-Columbia. Research interests: magnetic properties of multilayered thin films, including determining the suitability of various materials for potential use in spintronic devices.
Lifeng Dong, professor, Emma K. and Carl R. N. Malmstrom Endowed Chair. BS 1993, MS 1996, Qingdao University of Science and Technology; MS 2002, PhD 2005, Portland State University.
Theodore W. Hodapp, professor. BS 1981, PhD 1988, University of Minnesota. Research interests: optical modeling, laser ablation, quantum optics, atomic physics, laser cooling of atoms, diode laser applications to spectroscopy.
Fred R. Kroeger, lab supervisor. BA 1969, Hamline University; PhD 1974, Iowa State University. Research interests: general electronics, instrumentation, instructional lab development.
Andy R. Rundquist, professor. BA 1993, St. John’s University; MS 1995, PhD 1998, Washington State University. Research interests: ultrafast optical pulse generation, characterization, and optimization, next-generation particle accelerators, modeling.