a teacher and student examining material in a small test tube.
Professor of Physics Yumi Ijiri works with a student in her lab during a summer research experience. Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97
Program Overview

Physics

Program Type: Major, Minor
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department: Physics and Astronomy

The physics major at Oberlin is a diverse academic program. We offer a rich selection of physics, astrophysics, and astronomy courses and ample opportunities for active student research involvement.

Why Study Physics at Oberlin?

3
tracks through the major
80%
majors conducting research
1
whole universe to study, from atoms to galaxies
two students use machines o collect data in a science lab
Physics students review data in an ongoing research project involving dark matter in Associate Professor of Physics Jason Stalnaker’s laser lab.

Winter Term

Oberlin’s winter term allows students to explore interests outside of their traditional academic program through a four-week immersive venture of their choosing, individually or with a group. These physics students worked on campus using optical magnetometers to search for dark matter as a part of the Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic Physics (GNOME) collaboration.

exterior image of dome of the Oberlin observatory
The dome atop Peters Hall. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Observatory and Planetarium

Oberlin College Observatory is atop Peters Hall at the center of campus. Peters was built in the 1880s and the dome was installed in 1929, along with a Gaertner 6-inch f:15 refractor telescope. The current telescope is a 14" Meade LX200. The observatory is actively used for introductory astronomy classes, for individual student projects, by the Oberlin Astronomy Club, and for public viewing.

Browse the observatory

Sample Courses

  • PHYS 111 - Electricity, Magnetism and Thermodynamics 4 credits
  • ASTR 100 - Introductory Astronomy 4 credits
  • PHYS 316 - Waves and Optics 4 credits
  • PHYS 411 - Electrodynamics 2 credits

Physics Faculty

Physics and astronomy faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. Their academic and research areas include radio astronomy, optics, materials physics, gravitational physics, pulsars, and theoretical physics.

Explore Faculty within Physics

Physics News

A student stands with his hands in his pockets.

Exploring Interstellar Waves

October 12, 2020
Jakob Faber ’21 explored ways to broaden the scope of branched flow with the goal of introducing work that has been done in radio astronomy and radio geophysics into the field.