Information for prospective Physics Majors
Many graduating Physics majors go on to Masters or Ph.D. programs, and on to careers at universities or research labs. Others move into a variety of industry or commercial jobs that range from labaratory research to stock market forecasting. Physics gives students broad-based technical skills including lab and computing experience that are sough after in most fields of technology.
- "Why physics?" was produced by a student at James Madison Univ. and shows some student responses to questions about what Physics is and what it's good for, from the perspective of a Physics student.
- Dr. Laird's presentation on Careers in Physics (lots of excellent links)
- Careers in Engineering (for those interested in Pre-Engineering)
- High school teaching (many private schools hire Physics rather than Education majors).
Physics Major Requirements and Course Information
Physics majors take a core of small courses and labs, plus some independent study research classes. All physics majors are encouraged to get involved in research with faculty members during the summer and academic year.
- Sample 4-year curriculum for Physics majors
- Sample 4-year curriculum for Physics minors
- Sample 2-year curriculum for Pre-Engineering (then transfer to a university granting Engineering degrees).
Physics & Astronomy Research Programs
Our department has three specializations: Materials Science, Computational Physics, and Astrophysics, with active research programs in each field.
- Materials Science
- Dr. Liangfeng Sun's research group builds and tests "nanoscale" (1-100 nm ~ 0.00001 mm sized) particles of semi-conductor materials for use in the next generation, high efficiency solar cells, LED lighting, and bio-imaging. Dr. Sun is new to BGSU and his group is growing fast, including several undergraduate researchers.
- Dr. Mikhail Zamkov's lab builds and tests similar nanoscale particles. A recent project involved a "synthetic leaf" that converts water and sunlight directly into hydrogen gas; a potential source for "green" fuel. Recent graduates from Dr. Zamkov's lab have gone on to Ph.D. programs at the Univ. of Maryland and the Univ. of Oregon, as well as staying at BGSU for a Masters degree.
- Note: BOSEF scholarships are available to students active in "green energy" research.
- Computational Physics
- Dr. Lewis Fulcher makes computational models of the motion of the vocal folds (cords) in the human larynx as part of a study human speech and how to correct communication disorders. Dr. Fulcher has mentored several summer research students funded through BGSU's SETGO program.
- Dr. Haowen Xi uses phyics concepts and computational methods to help understand and predict the behavior of economics including the U.S. stock market.
- Dr. Alexey Zayak recently came to BGSU from the Molecular Foundary at Berkeley Lab. He and his students make computing-intensive models of how specialized metals and materials change shape and size under the influence of external heat and magnetic fields for the next generation of micro-machinery (thus he studies Materials Science from a computational, rather than an experimental, viewpoint).
- Dr. John Laird studies the chemical makeup and space motions of old stars within the Milky Way galaxy. He observes the stars with some of the largest telescopes available to obtain spectra which contain the fingerprints of the stars' makeup as well as their speed through space toward or away from Earth. His work with stellar model atmospheres, the physics of how light passes through and is shaped by the outer layers of a star's gas, means he is also a Computational Physicist.
- Dr. Andy Layden observes variable stars -- stars that change brightness and color. These stars allow us to measure how much dust exists in the thin gas between the stars and how it affects the light from the stars. They also provide clues about the physics inside the stars that govern their size, temperature, and how and why they pulsate. He has mentored over a dozen undergraduates who have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Case Western Reserve, Univ. of Oregon, and Univ. of Western Ontario.
Physics students enjoy the Society of Physics Students lounge which includes comfy chairs, a fridge, study space, dedicated computers, and easy access to information on summer research, graduate schools, and careers. The Society of Physics hosts lectures and organizes trips to regional physics destinations like NASA Glenn in Cleveland and Fermilab near Chicago. Some years, they upgrade and race a ethanol-fueled go-kart in regional races. The SPS also does outreach and free physics tutoring. Some physics students join the Stargaze staff at the BGSU Observatory and Planetarium.
Last updated Nov 2012 by Andy Layden, Undergrad Advisor for Physics