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


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?

tracks through the major
majors conducting research
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.

Upcoming Physics Events

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 an stands in front of a movie screen with the words of the screen on his face and body.

This Week in Photos: January 22

January 22, 2020
In this photo series, we explore the art of cinema storytelling; go to an entrepreneurial boot camp; get intense with strings and Greek; go back to high school in Berkeley; stop by the freezer section in Kim’s Grocery & Carryout; get involved with dark matter; learn R for SPSS; join a dance class; design an archeological exhibit; get cozy with a wild beast; and much more.