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 5 with 2017 graduates now online.


Physics & Astronomy Intranet (login required)

Physics & Astronomy Current News

  • Our weekly departmental TEA is held on Wednesdays at 3 PM in alternating ends of the OLRI first floor atrium this year. See you then!
  • John Cannon promoted to rank of full professor on 2 May 2018!
  • Check out Macalester’s very own Radio Astronomy Talk Show
  • Seeking a Better LED┬áIn Professor James Heyman’s lab, Dona Pantova researched a new material for LEDs for tech firm Lightwave Photonics.
  • Congratulations to the MacRocketry team! On 12 November 2017, QFT1 flew as designed, with the dual deploy parachute system performing flawlessly. MacRocketry team Sary Wyne, James Cannon, Robert Ford, and Maya Wills, pose with QFT1 just before the successful launch.