Physics is the science of the elementary laws of nature, which can be seen as the alphabet in which the words and stories of nature are written, - in the language of mathematics, according to Galileo Galilei. Physicists are often people who do love mathematics, who find joy in the emergence of patterns in facts and data, and who like to try out all kinds of different ways to tease secrets from our world. Physicists often find that this is hard work, which requires attention to detail and a particularly skeptical way of critiquing their own knowledge.
Traditionally, this science is divided into the fields of mechanics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. Other fields in physics combine or further develop the ideas of the fundamental three:
- statistical physics and thermodynamics
- atmospheric physics
- experimental physics
- computational physics
- nuclear physics
- solid state physics
—to name a few that students may chose to study while majoring in physics at Morris.
Where are physicists needed in today’s society? The laws of physics form the basis for virtually all of the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These fields have been identified as the most important in a country’s economic and technological strength. Scientists and engineers with a solid physics background are needed to achieve and maintain scientific leadership. Mankind cannot face the big problems of energy, water, climate, environmental quality, technology, and resource exploration on earth and in space without a solid understanding of physics. It is our calling to educate a generation of young people who are scientific thinkers—fluent in the laws of science, skilled in the use of modern technology, and able to apply this knowledge to the purpose and direction opened by the study of the liberal arts.
An undergraduate degree in physics from Morris provides a solid basis for young scientists to pursue careers in engineering, academia, research, teaching or industry.
The physics program offers a B.A. in physics, as well as a minor in physics. We develop students’ ability to solve quantitative physics problems, perform experimental work, and communicate effectively the results of that work.
With four full-time faculty members and about five graduates per year, the physics program readily provides interactions between students and faculty, and small classes as well as research opportunities and teaching assistantships.
Alumni from the UMM physics program have been successful in a wide variety of careers in industry, academia, the military and the school system. They have ranked the three most important qualities learned in the Morris physics program:
- Analytical problem solving skills
- Concrete experimental as well as data acquisition and analysis skills
- Scientific communication skills
We highly encourage involvement in scientific research as part of the undergraduate experience in physics. Research stimulates interest and confidence while supplementing course work.