The Department of Physics & Astronomy

What is Physics & Astronomy?

Physics is the study of matter and energy at all scales, from the sub-nuclear to the dimensions of the universe. It is the fundamental science—all other sciences and technologies rely on the principles of physics.

Physics involves observing and understanding natural phenomena. It is evident in the world around us in everything from the seasons, the motion of objects, the flight of birds, the night sky and the weather, to lasers, electronics and the technology we rely on today.

Physics is very much a “hands-on” science, so the most effective way for you to learn the subject is to actually do physics.

Astronomy teaches you how to study objects at a distance and interpret the information gathered. This helps us begin to understand the universe we live in. The skills you will learn in Astronomy are also applicable to Remote Sensing and its application to environmental problems.

The Department offers a comprehensive Physics major. The foundation of this program is built in the first two years, as you study mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermal physics and modern physics.

In your third and fourth years, you will gain a deeper understanding of the fundamentals and delve into more advanced and specialized areas. Specialized topics may include the research interests of members of the Physics Department, as all faculty members are involved in rigorous research programs.

Faculty members also ensure you are provided with a wide view of physics, exposing you to all areas of the subject and describing a wide variety of applications. This enables you to make informed decisions when choosing the areas you may wish to pursue in the future.