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. Volume 3 with 2015 graduates now online.

Physics & Astronomy Current News

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!

Macalester physics alum Alyson Brooks, now an astrophysics professor at Rutgers University, has received a Sloan Foundation award for early career achievements. Congratulations to Alyson!

News from the World of Physics