Physics - it’s about what matters.
Physics is the most fundamental of sciences, taking as its domain all forms of matter and energy. The study of physics seeks to discover the laws that govern motions of material objects and waves and the interactions between particles. Application of these universal laws to systems ranging from atoms and molecules to clusters of galaxies gives rise to challenging problems whose solution requires creative insight alongside logical rigor and mathematical reasoning.
As a student of physics, you learn to understand the scientific method and its implications. You also come to appreciate the aesthetic dimensions of a scientist’s work and the interrelationship of physics with other areas of knowledge. In our educational approach, laboratory work complements your study of theoretical principles. We also emphasize computation at all levels.
If you choose to major in physics, you might consider careers in industrial research, engineering, medicine or teaching. You might also consider a minor in Earth and Planetary Science.
Recent physics graduates have gone on to successful careers in scientific research, patent law, secondary education and engineering.
Top 5 Reasons to Study Physics
Here are just a few of the reasons why our physics program might be right for you.
1. We epitomize “small.”
All Washington College students benefit from small classes and the personal attention of professors, but that’s especially true in the Physics Department. For some upper-level courses, you may be in class with just one or two other students.
2. You’ll gain a broad education.
We offer special topics and independent studies courses from all areas of pure and applied physics. Because of our size, we are responsive to your particular interests and readily collaborate with you on research projects. We can also point you to well-paying off-campus summer research opportunities.
3. You’ll become technically proficient.
Our students develop varied computer competencies, from hardware interfacing and experiment control to modeling, simulation and programming.
4. The program encourages academic cross-pollination.
Our graduates have pursued minors in almost every field, as well as second majors in art, drama, economics and mathematics.
5. Physicists play well with others.
In spite of the rigorous curriculum, physics majors can fully participate in campus life. Recent graduates have been varsity athletes in baseball, women’s basketball, field hockey, soccer and swimming.
How often do you listen to your favorite song and think about the physics behind it? Chances are, you never really gave the sound waves involved a thought. But while many students don’t make an instant connection between music and physics, Katie Gordon ’17 considers it a pitch-perfect combination.
When she volunteered to help commission the College’s new MASS Spec lab, Sarah Winters ’14 had no idea it would lead to a summer research fellowship and a trip to an international conference in San Francisco.
Speaking Dec. 3, physicist Frank Narducci will explain his work with “the coldest stuff on Earth,” super chilled atoms.
Jamie Frees '12