Department of Physics

About the Program

Physics careers in industry and academia can emphasize optics, electronics, thermodynamics, nuclear, and solid-state physics. In addition a physics major leads naturally to research and industry positions in nuclear, mechanical, aerospace, and electrical engineering and the emerging fields of biophysics and nanotechnology.

A solid background in the fundamentals of theoretical physics and hands-on experience with the latest in data-acquisition and data-analysis instrumentation -- these form the backbone of the physics major.

By combining interactive lectures, instructive demonstrations, and laboratory experiments, the faculty maximizes the educational opportunities for each student. Students receive a strong foundation in classical and modern physics and in applied mathematics. The upper division courses focus on both theoretical topics and experimental techniques. Small classes and close faculty supervision help ensure a personalized learning experience.

Facilities include an introductory laboratory with networked workstations, an optics lab with full-size optical bench and a variety of lasers, and a newly renovated laboratory featuring a range of modern instrumentation for measurement of various systems with sub-micron and nanosecond resolution. In addition the new bioengineering laboratory contains essential equipment for measurement and analysis in materials science.

Our continual emphasis during the physics education of our students is on the formulation, approximation, and solution of physical problems, using both theoretical and experimental approaches. These are the techniques which physics seniors then apply in their capstone course, culminating in an original research paper, which is often presented at a national meeting. Research topics of interest among the faculty include fluid mechanics, rheology, fracture, solid mechanics, condensed-matter physics, electronics, optics, and nuclear physics. Physics majors frequently receive paid research posts at major universities and local research corporations.

Teaching Credential

Candidates for a California Secondary Teaching Credential should contact the School of Education for a complete list of course requirements for a Single Subject Waiver in Science.