Physics & Astronomy

Why Macalester for Physics?

Research-infused curriculum:  The department offers a rigorous, research-infused curriculum that prepares students for graduate programs in physics, astronomy, and engineering, and careers in technology, medicine, and education. Course offerings include challenging core courses in the fundamentals of physics and astronomy, a range of elective courses, and a list of contemporary special topics courses.

Dedicated faculty: Our research-active faculty are continuously engaged in their field. Supported by external and internal grants, physics and astronomy majors have the opportunity to participate in state-of-the-art original research programs in exciting fields such as semiconductor physics, solar cells, graphene, terahertz spectroscopy, elementary particle physics, and galaxy formation. Physics and astronomy professors daily bring their expertise and enthusiasm to the classroom and are fully invested in the education and training of their students.

Excellent facilities: The department conducts its courses in the modern classrooms of Olin-Rice Science Center. Its teaching laboratories are stocked with up-to-date equipment including dual-use research/teaching scientific instruments. Further advanced characterization and imaging capability is available in the Keck lab facility of the science division. Astronomy emphasis majors are trained on a research grade telescope installed in the Sherman Schultz observatory on the roof of our building. An experienced and skilled machinist provides services in a well-equipped machine shop.

Periodic Table of the Sciences


Macalester Journal of Physics and Astronomy
The journal showcases original scientific research completed by Macalester physics and astronomy majors.

Physics & Astronomy Current News

Physics and astronomy major Erik Alfvin ’15 (Shorewood, Wis.) is celebrating the discovery of a new galaxy announced in a paper he co-authored with Macalester astronomy professor John Cannon and other investigators. News from Macalester College

Two Macalester physics graduates (out of 2000 applicants) are listed on the NSF website as recipients of the 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Congratulations Hallie Boyer ’08 and Elijah Bernstein-Cooper ’13!

News from the World of Physics