About the Department

About the Department

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has 12 full-time faculty, 10 Masters level graduate students, and about 30 undergraduate physics majors.

The Department
Computational Physics Program
Research and Instructional Facilities

The Department

  • In 38 years of offering a graduate program, the Department has awarded over 160 graduate degrees.

  • External research support averages over $1.5 million per year.

  • Faculty have published over 30 refereed journal articles and papers in the past 3 years.

  • Teaching excellence in the Department is evidenced by nominations of two faculty members for the Outstanding Teacher Award several years running.

  • Operations of the BGSU Planetarium and Observatory extend the Department's and the University's outreach in science education - an average of 3,500 general public and 4,000 school children visit these facilities each year.

Computational Physics Program

  • The Computational Physics program reflects the ever-increasing use of computational methods in all areas of physics. Appropriate computational techniques are incorporated at all instructional levels, from introductory to masters level. Computational Physics also provides a unifying emphasis for much of the research in the Department.

  • The program has generated over $100,000 in external funding over the past 2 years.

  • The program has a strong link to the Ohio Supercomputer Center - G. C. Duncan is a member of several committees for the Center, and has served as chairman of the Allocations Committee and chairman of the State-Wide Users Group.

  • Research Challenge, other capital funding, and individual research grants have helped equip the Department with 8 Sun Microsystems and 15 Silicon Graphics workstations.

  • The Department houses a five-machine beowulf cluster providing powerful parallel computing capability plus access to similar clusters at the Ohio Supercomputer Center and around the state.

  • Our facilities and links with Ohio Supercomputer Center have served and continue to serve as a valuable resource for NW Ohio industry.


  • A number (5) of graduates of the program with earned doctorates currently hold faculty positions at well-known universities.

  • Two alumni of the program, Dr. John Swihart and Dr. Harold Davis, have been honored as outstanding alumni for their prominence in industry.

  • A total of 13 graduates of the graduate and the undergraduate programs have earned the doctorate (Ph.D, M.D.,D.V.M.), and at least 15 more are currently enrolled in doctoral programs.

  • Several incoming physics undergraduates earned National Merit Finalist or Semifinalist status.

Research and Instructional Facilities

  • Over $300,000 has been spent on upper and lower level instructional laboratory facilities in the past five years.

  • Every student in the introductory physics sequence receives hands-on experience with the techniques of physical measurement, including use of microcomputers for data acquisition.

  • The Department's Observatory houses a half-meter reflector telescope with CCD camera for enhanced electronic observation of the sky.

  • Research facilities include: femtosecond non-linear optics facility, a fully-equipped low-temperature laboratory, a CCD-based imaging system, Fast Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer for optical measurements on thin films, and a clean ultra-high vacuum evaporation system with resistive and electron-gun evaporation systems.

  • Computational facilities include: Sun and Silicon Graphics workstations; a five-machine beowulf cluster for parallel computing; a 1MB/sec link to the Ohio Supercomputer Center; 30 Apple Macintosh computers for laboratory-based instruction at both introductory and upper level; a wide variety of other microprocessors for specialized courses in interfacing, electronics and microcomputers.

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Physics and Astronomy Facilities

The Physics and Astronomy Department is equipped with modern equipment and facilities. All of the offices, research and instructional laboratories have been newly constructed or renovated within the past 10 years. Some of the special advantages for study in this department are:

  • Undergraduate laboratories all have networked computational facilities in the advanced, modern physics and wave labs.

  • Special emphasis is placed on computational physics, and the undergraduate major who wishes to complete the senior research project in this area has access to numerous modern workstations that are networked to the campus mainframes and to the Ohio Supercomputer (Cray YMP) via a high-speed link.

  • Astronomy facilities include of a 40 foot planetarium dome with Minolta projector, and

  • A roof-top observatory with a half-meter Cassegrain reflector fitted with a high speed CCD camera. Numerous smaller telescopes are also available for astrophotography work.

Experimental apparatus for research in solid state-condensed matter physics includes:

  • ion-pumped UHV system with a Fast Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer for study of infrared optical properties of thin films

  • Electron Spin Resonance system with 2 Tesla magnet for study of properties of magnetic thin films

  • several cryostats for research on metals and superconductors down to 1 K, including rf SQUID system (Superconductin QUantum Interference Device) for sensitive voltage measurements.

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