Department of Physics

Physics is the cornerstone of the sciences.

The fundamentals of physics permit us to understand much of nature -- not just the world surrounding us, but even the mysteries of the Universe at large. The work of physicists has improved the energy efficiency of our homes and has provided the basis for many tools of medicine. Physicists develop new materials and continue to provide technological advances. In the past, they have given us radio and television, radar, fiber-optics, lasers, atomic energy, and the semiconductor devices responsible for the information age. In addition, the discoveries that launched the telecommunications revolution, including the world-wide web, were the work of physicists. Most areas of technology are affected by developments in physics. Simply stated, physics will continue to shape our society in dramatic fashion.

Many of the fundamentals of physics can be readily understood by any high school graduate. Most graduates have already learned some of the basic concepts in physical science classes -- perhaps without realizing that they lead to an exciting and powerful arena of scientific inquiry. Some areas of physics are very general while others are highly specialized. Some use simple tools, while others require sophisticated mathematics or advanced technology. Knowledge of basic physics is universally recognized as necessary for a well-rounded education.