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 experimental or theoretical physics, engineering, computational modeling, and science education. 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.
Many of our graduating seniors go on to pursue advanced degrees in physics, astrophysics, materials science, computer science, and various fields of engineering, including aerospace, civil, electrical, and mechanical. 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, medicine, 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, 1120, 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.
Introductory 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).
Most of these eight courses carry Natural Science credit for the Hamline Plan and include a laboratory component.
All physics majors are encouraged to pursue summer research with a member of the department. Ideally, this occurs after the sophomore year, as we strongly encourage students to obtain an internship with a company during the summer after the junior year. Both of these opportunities can lead to students doing an independent or honors research project as part of their education. Hamline has several special endowed funds that provide money for 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; medical physics.
Bruce T. Bolon, associate professor. 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; musical acoustics.
Lifeng Dong, professor, department chair, 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. Research interests: nanostructured materials; nanoscale devices (i.e., solar cells, supercapacitors, batteries, fuel cells, field effect transistors, and biosensors).
Benjamin Gold, laboratory coordinator. BS 1997, Michigan State University; PhD 2005, University of California, Davis. Research interests: cosmology; statistics and data analysis; early universe physics.
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.