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Physics and Engineering Physics


Augustana physics students, including Andrew Kim '13, left, hold annual events for children.


  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

Augustana’s physics graduates generally continue in a graduate program in physics or engineering. Recent alumni are 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.

Recent graduates:

Gabriel Caceres '08 is a graduate student in the department of Astronomy and Astrophyics at Pennsylvanie State.

Augustana College offers a major and minor in physics, a major for teaching physics, and a major in engineering physics. The four full-time faculty all hold the Ph.D., and teach all laboratory sessions as well as regular coursework.

Physics majors study a range of physics topics, includingthermodynamics, mechanics, astrophysics, solid state and quantum physics.The engineering physics major is designed for students interested in the applied side of physics or the 3-2 program. 

Physics majors who want to pursue engineering can take advantage of the college's coordinated degree programs with engineering schools in the Midwest: Purdue, 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.

Augustana ranks in the top 10 percent of small colleges in the U.S. for its number of physics majors. 

Physics facilities include the college’s John Deere Planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory, along with four area-specific laboratories in the Hanson Hall of Science: basics lab, optics and modern physics lab, electronics and acoustics lab, and the scanning electron microscopy lab.

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.”

Video: Connecting science with history and arts

Dr. Pangratios Papacosta, professor of physics at Columbia College, Chicago, delivered his talk, "Enriching Science with its History/Biography and with the Arts" on Jan. 22. Papacosta discussed the idea that elements of history and biography, as well as the arts, can be integrated into the teaching of science in innovative ways. The linking of a scientific concept to an artifact, he says, reinforces learning and dissolves barriers between disciplines.

Dr. Carkner explains 'Season of Light'

Augustana's Dr. Lee Carkner, director of the John Deere Planetarium, talks with Paula Sands on KWQC about the annual "Season of Light" multimedia show. (Note: Scroll to the right in the KWQC episode menu below the video window to locate the "Season of Light" program.)

Augie's 'mad scientists' fire up curiosity of Scouts

Augustana College's "mad scientist" professors fired up their Tesla coils and plasma globes Friday night to ignite the love of physics, chemistry and biology in the hearts of local Girl Scouts.

Summer research: animals, cancer, media and more

This summer nine Augustana students are participating in full-scale scientific research projects under the guidance of their faculty advisors, gaining experience to utilize in graduate school and careers after college. Each summer research project is funded through an Augustana Summer Student Research Fellowship.

Dr. Carkner talks asteroids and meteors

After a powerful meteor strike in Sibera and with a close pass by an asteroid looming, reporters had some questions for Augustana's Dr. Lee Carkner, director of the John Deere Planetarium.
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