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

Ben Koenigs'20 has won the 2017 Gateway Prize for excellence in writing in the science division for his paper "M Dwarf Planet Habitability," written as an assignment in Prof. John Cannon's "Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology" first-year course!

Macalester physics major Theo Jacobson receives honorable mention in Goldwater scholarship competition.

2017-01-AAS meeting students.jpg

Macalester students presented research results at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Grapevine, TX, 3-6 January 2017.

Front row, L to R:  Elizabeth Ruvolo, Karen Perez Sarmiento, Quinton Singer, Alex Gordon.

Back row, L to R:  Catie Ball, Kathleen Fitzgibbon, Brian Eisner, Masao Miazzo, Bridget Reilly.