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Rowan's Physics major balances general physics courses that develop analytical skills needed for any career direction with more advanced courses in highly technical areas. The department also offers coursework in astronomy and astrophysics. Personal attention is a hallmark of the program: enrollment in laboratory-based physics classes is limited to 24 students per section, and all lectures and labs are taught by faculty, not teaching assistants. Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, including the Atomic and Molecular Physics Laboratory and the Solid State Physics Laboratories. Physics majors can enter fields such as education, going on to teach at the secondary level, or pursue an advanced degree to become a college profesor and/or conduct research; others may enter fields such as busiess, computers, engineering, finance, law, and medicine.
Physics and Astronomy faculty members encourage students at all levels to collaborate in ongoing research projects, in order to prepare for their own research-related activities in the future. Many students present their work publicly at national conferences or collaborate on papers for publication. As a capstone experience, all Physics majors take part in an independent research project, which allows them to integrate the concepts learned in classes into a single activity.
The most obvious career tracks for Physics majors include secondary education, technical support for research & development (R&D) activities, sales representatives for "high-tech" companies, technical or scientific writing, and a variety of computer application and support opportunities. However, a degree in Physics provides strong preparation for any career where analytical and computational skills are important, such as economic analysis and actuarial work. Many students choose to pursue graduate study in physics, engineering, law, medicine, or business.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is located in Science Hall, a 44-million-dollar building where there are separate facilities for physics, astronomy, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. The building includes 27 teaching laboratories, a planetarium, and rooftop observatory with state-of-the-art telescope which all serve to further enhance the teaching of science at Rowan.
Physics students have access to the Atomic and Molecular Physics Laboratory which houses several lasers that provide light at a large range of wavelengths, enabling students to probe atomic and molecular phenomena. The Solid State Physics facilities include a variety of instruments used to evaluate the fundamental physics of different materials. Among the instrumentation in these labs are a microwave resonance apparatus and a superconducting electromagnet/cryostat system capable of reaching magnetic fields of six Tesla and temperatures as low as 1.8 Kelvin.
The Department has extensive data collection instrumentation in all laboratories. Each general physics laboratory features twelve experimental stations configured with computers and instrument interfaces which are used in introductory classes for data collection and analysis, allowing students to concentrate on physical phenomena rather than tedious measurements. Several general purpose computer labs are also located throughout the building. Research laboratories also take advantage of computer-interfaced data acquisition and analysis using additional Macintosh, Pentium and Unix/Linux computers.
Students who are interested in majoring in Physics should take a full range of high school math courses, including pre-calculus, as well as physics.
Rowan's Physics program begins with general physics courses geared toward the development of mathematical and analytical skills. Upper level courses refine these skills and shape the advanced problem-solving capabilities that are important to current areas of scientific inquiry and many carrer choices.