The Department of Physics & Astronomy is an acknowledged national leader in physics education for developing the Workshop Physics program, an innovative activity-based method for learning introductory physics. In classes, from the most basic to the most advanced, students engage in activities and projects instead of listening to traditional lectures. All upper-level students do research in a state-of-the-art building with facilities for projects in plasma physics, optics, magnetic fluids, materials science, astronomy and astrophysics. Students interested in astronomy help run the Kanev Planetarium and conduct research on the 24-inch telescope of the college’s Michael Britton Observatory. More than 40 percent of recent physics graduates are women, in contrast to the national average of 19 percent. Approximately half of all majors go on to graduate study in physics or astronomy.
In addition, the Department of Physics & Astronomy is home to the editorial office of the American Journal of Physics, where Professor David Jackson acts as the Editor.