Professor and students together
Professor John Cannon and his astronomy students use data from ground- and space-based observatories to study nearby, low-mass galaxies. more
Seeking Better Solar Cells
Yifei Sun explored a new, more environmentally desirable solar cell material.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Ned Molter '15 puts his research and scientific writing skills to work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Asra Nizami ’16 (Karachi, Pakistan) interned with the Space Telescope Science Institute, an affiliate of NASA.
Seeing What’s Never Been Seen
Alex Gordon observed and analyzed dwarf galaxies with the help of the Hubble and other powerful telescopes.
The new atomic force microscope in Olin-Rice Science Center provides researchers with amazing images at near-atomic scale.
Rivers of Electricity
Noah Lupu-Gladstein explored cutting-edge thermoelectrics research in Professor James Heyman’s physics lab.
Why Macalester for Physics?
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.
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.
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.
Physics & Astronomy Current News
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.
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.