About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in physics, as well as a major for teaching physics. The four full-time faculty all hold the Ph.D., and teach all laboratory sessions as well as regular coursework.
Augustana physics students hold an annual outreach to children, such as the "Physics of Toys."
- According to the 2008 American Institute of Physics report, Augustana's physics program ties for 12th in the nation for the number of bachelor degrees in physics it grants each year. While the numbers rank Augustana's program with schools like Williams College, Gustavus Adolphus, Carleton, Grinnell and Oberlin, the success of the physics department isn't based on numbers alone: a recent graduate won the first-place award in the physics category from the U.S. Department of Energy's inaugural Science and Energy Research Challenge, involving top undergraduate researchers from colleges and universities across the country.
- Physics facilites include the college's John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble observatory, along with four area-specific laboratories in the Science Building: basics lab, optics and modern physics lab, electronics and acoustics lab, and the scanning electron microscopy lab.
Outside the classroom
- Augustana has a chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. The college also has a physics and engineering society, which raises awareness of physics outside the department through demonstrations, projects and talks. In all, the college offers more than 150 various extra-curricular organizations and student interest clubs.
- Augustana's physics graduates generally continue in a graduate program in physics or engineering. Recent alumni are currently doing graduate work in such fields as medical physics, physics, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering and civil engineering. However, because of the flexibility of the program, physics majors also sometimes pursue careers in such fields as technology, medicine or teaching.
- Physics majors who want to pursue engineering can take advantage of the college's coordinated degree programs with some of the most elite engineering schools in the Midwest: Purdue University, Iowa State, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through these programs, a student can earn both a bachelor of arts degree from Augustana and a technical bachelor of science degree in engineering from the university.
What students and recent graduates say
Rose Davidson '09, physics and secondary education major, biology minor:
"Stumbling upon Augustana in the midst of my college search was the greatest act of serendipity I have ever experienced. Although I started my college experience as a shy, quiet student, the small classes and genuinely caring professors provided me with the confidence and knowledge I needed to succeed. With this support, I was able to become intricately involved in the Augustana physics club through which I have had the opportunity to participate in extraordinary events such as a pyrotechnician course, in which we learned how to make and safely set off fireworks and became certified pyrotechnicians."
Gabriel Caceres '08, physics, mathematics and philosophy majors:
"Augie provides great opportunities for driven and committed students. The close ties with professors and outstanding classes led me to triple major in three subjects I was very passionate about. One possible difficulty of attending a small liberal arts college is the lower number of technical courses offered, but this can be easily made up thanks to the faculty, who in my personal experience always have time to meet students and even work together on directed/independent study courses. The training and support from my professors helped me get outstanding research experience, participating in various physics internships, one summer at the University of Chicago and later two more summer projects at Fermilab, where I was even able to publish a paper! The skills and knowledge I have gained have certainly prepared me for graduate school: in fall ‘08 I began my graduate work at Penn State for a Ph.D. in astrophysics."