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 complemented by interactive lectures.

All upper-level students do research in a state-of-the-art building with facilities for projects in optics, nonlinear dynamics of complex systems, plasma physics, pattern formation in magnetic fluids, material science, environmental physics and astronomy.

Students interested in astronomy help run the Kanev Planetarium and conduct research on the 24-inch telescope of the college’s Michael Britton Observatory.

Contact Info

Chair

Brett PearsonAssociate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Department Coordinator

Tonya Miller

Phone

717-245-1413

Fax

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Location

Tome Hall - Rector Science Complex Mailing Address

Department Features




Student Outcomes

Where Our Students Go From Here

Jobs:

  • Bank of America
  • NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Teach for America
  • Tesla
  • Owens & Minor, Inc.
  • Revenue Solutions, Inc.
  • U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
  • Raytheon Technologies
  • Quintiq
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Decisive Analytics Corporation

Graduate Schools:

  • University of Illinois
  • Dartmouth College
  • University of Colorado
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Florida, Gainesville
  • University of Michigan
  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • Columbia University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Wesleyan University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Clemson University
Where Our Students Have Done Research
  • Coherent, Inc. 
  • Vassar College 
  • University of Monash (Australia)
  • Princeton University 
  • Lehigh University 
  • Wellesley College 
  • Oak Ridge National Lab 
  • Fermi National Accelerator Lab
  • University of Maryland
  • Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education
  • Kanazawa University
  • NASA/JPL

Student Perspective

"The Dickinson physics curriculum—shout out to the incredible faculty!—uses small-group, inquiry-based courses to allow students to take ownership of the concepts covered during lectures through hands-on experimentation. Throughout my time at Dickinson, the physics department pushed us to make connections between the coursework concepts and the world around us. This approach provided me with the tools and knowledge necessary to explore a range of topics creatively and from different perspectives, and the liberal arts are an important aspect of this balance.”

 —Natalie Ferris ’18


Physics & Astronomy

Paul Kanev ’75 Provides Dickinson

Paul Kanev ’75 Provides Dickinson's Planetarium With a 'Huge Step Forward'

With a generous gift, the Kanev Planetarium allows students to look further into the universe than ever before. 

Evoking the Wonder of James Webb Space Telescope Through Sound

Evoking the Wonder of James Webb Space Telescope Through Sound

Discover the stellar inspiration behind Dickinson's fall 2022 choir concert, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13.

NASA

NASA's John Mather Named Dickinson's 2023 Priestley Award Winner

The Nobel Prize winner is the senior astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and senior project scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Graduate Story: Olivia Lanes

Graduate Story: Olivia Lanes '14, IBM Quantum Engineering

The former physics major followed her gut to a leadership role in tech giant IBM's quantum community.

Student Snapshot: Lia Gilmore ’25  

Student Snapshot: Lia Gilmore ’25  

Meet Lia Gilmore ’25, a physics major and social-media wiz who's studying astronomical data reduction.

Physics Major Graduate School Acceptances 2022

Physics Major Graduate School Acceptances 2022

Graduating seniors accepted to Drexel University and University of Chicago.