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.


Macalester Journal of Physics and Astronomy
The journal showcases original scientific research completed by Macalester physics and astronomy majors. Volume 3 with 2015 graduates now online.

Periodic Table of the Sciences

Physics & Astronomy Current News

PHYS 440 at the Very Large Array The students enrolled in PHYS 440 (Observational Astronomy) visited the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope near Socorro, New Mexico in April 2016. The students are analyzing new VLA observations as part of their coursework.

Ken Moffet award ceremony Ken Moffett, scientific instrumentation technician for the science division, was awarded the prestigious Staff Outstanding Service Award by President Brian Rosenberg on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Congratulations to Ken for this well-deserved recognition!

Eli Lilleskov at the Division of Nuclear Physics annual meeting

Eli Lilleskov '17 attended the Junior attended the Division of Nuclear Physics annual meeting on 10/26/2015.

Our weekly departmental TEA will be held on Wednesdays at 3 PM this year, starting on 9 September. See you then!

2013 alum Allison Einolf received an honorable mention for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship this year. Congratulations! Allison also recently went on a research cruise out of Svalbard. Check out her blog:

TonnisKatyIngrid-200x100.jpgTot ziens (bye-bye) from Tonnis, Katy, and Ingrid. They have moved to the Netherlands for AY 2015-16 sabbatical leaves at the University of Groningen. Wishing them all the best for an enjoyable and productive year!

News from the World of Physics