Probing nature with experiments, physicists try to find basic principles, usually stated as mathematical models that explain as economically as possible the phenomena they encounter. Anyone can gain an appreciation for physics at the descriptive level, but the field appeals most to people who enjoy solving problems, constructing models, and experimenting with nature.
At Emory & Henry, we allow students to learn physics by doing physics. We keep lectures to a minimum. Our general physics course and many of our advanced courses are based on the philosophy that you must construct your own understanding.
As a physics student, you will work in teams in the laboratory using an activity guide that asks you to make predictions, carry out experiments, analyze the results, and write about the experience. Instructors work with teams and individuals, asking questions, helping you to solve problems, and offering guidance. In advanced courses such as analytical mechanics, modern physics, and electronics, a significant part of class time is spent working problems at the board, hooking up circuits, or performing computer analyses.
Two tracks of study are offered in the Physics Department in which either the B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned. The B.A. degree program provides background in basic physics, emphasizing laboratory skills and knowledge that you will need in industrial or government employment, providing knowledge of the computer, and stressing mathematical skills.
The B.S. program teaches basic physics to prepare you for graduate school, offering mathematics and research experiences integrated with physics concepts.
Either a B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned in physics with support work in the sciences or business. This concentration provides career-oriented skills based on the offerings of other departments.
An internship is required as part of the B.S. degree, and students are encouraged to apply to summer research programs throughout the country.
A background in mathematics and basic computer skills is helpful. Mathematics and chemistry combine well with physics as a second major or a minor concentration.
Emory & Henry offers an opportunity to begin an engineering program in a liberal arts setting. The bachelor’s degree program is completed in cooperation with a selected engineering school, with a choice of three combinations leading to a degree from Emory & Henry or from both schools over a period of five to six years. Most recently, Emory & Henry students have continued their study of engineering at Virginia Tech, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Rose-Hulman University.
Although this program is oriented mostly toward students in the physical sciences, a combined degree program in certain fields is available to students from the life sciences, behavioral sciences, and humanities. The basic engineering program is intended to prepare you for any of the engineering fields, providing the fundamental coursework for the fields of chemical, civil, electrical, electronic, or mechanical engineering. Students interested in pursuing biomedical engineering take additional courses in biology and/or chemistry.
A computerized general physics laboratory allows students to use motion detectors, force probes, timing devices, radiation counters, and other computer-based instruments as they work through the many laboratory-based activities. Apparatus available to students includes the Observatory, a CCD camera for astrophotography, a holographic optical bench, multipurpose data acquisition equipment, electronics prototyping boards, a darkroom, and a machine shop. Software includes Maple, Graphical Analysis, Voyager 4, Logger Pro and a variety of simulations and analysis programs.
Internships are required of majors, and summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) with participating universities and national laboratories are encouraged. Special studies have involved examining the effects of dynamical noise on symbol statistics, solving theoretical physics problems using the Mathematica language, and studying nonlinear dynamics (chaos) from the physicist’s perspective.
William Garrison, ’10, candidate for the M.S., aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Andrew Giordani, ’10, candidate for the M.S., mechanical engineering, North Carolina State University.
Justin Lamb, ’10, candidate for the Ph.D., materials science, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Kyle Clark, ’09, candidate for the Ph.D., materials science, University of California, Berkeley.
Justin Dennison, ’09, candidate for the Ph.D., mathematics, University of Florida.
Joel Font, ’09, candidate for the Ph.D., mathematics, Kansas State University.
Andrea Overbay, ’08, candidate for the Ph.D., mathematics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Adam Ryan, ’09, candidate for the M.S., nuclear engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Anne Ryan, ’06, candidate for the Ph.D., statistics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Nathan Tuck, ’02, M.S., aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Beverly Clark, ’99, Ph.D., physics, North Carolina State University.
Mary Margaret (Maggie) Brewer, ’97, assistant professor of physics, William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.; Ph.D., astrophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jeffery Bary, ’95, assistant professor of physics, Colgate University; Ph.D., astrophysics, Vanderbilt University.
Charlie Henry (Buddy) Dawson, ’95, lead engineer, SAIC; Ph.D., electric engineering, University of Alabama.
Michael Lane, ’95, assistant professor of chemistry, Emory & Henry College (formerly at IBM Corporation); Ph.D. Stanford University.
Michael G. Duffy, email@example.com
B.S., Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Duffy has taught physics and computer science at two colleges, Emory & Henry and Vassar. His thesis research was in theoretical solid-state physics (how the vibrations of crystal lattices depend on temperature). His current research includes astrophysics (the size and structure of the universe) and writing pedagogical software for analytical mechanics. His primary interest is in finding ways to help students come to grips with the act of learning so they too can see the wonder and beauty of the universe.
Ruili Wang, firstname.lastname@example.org
B.S., M.S., Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China, M.S., Ph.D., Georgia State University.
Our newest addition to the physics faculty, Dr. Wang taught for 15 years in China before attending Georgia State where her doctoral and postdoctoral research in biophysics involved the study of photosynthesis and the detection of viral infection in cells, all using infrared spectroscopy. She continues to be interested in using her knowledge of physics to study biological processes. She also loves teaching physics and working with students.
James A. Warden, email@example.com
B.S., Rhodes College, M.S., Ph.D., University of South Carolina. Dr. Warden is an experimental physicist whose career has included research in high-energy physics, management of computing centers, and teaching appointments at three liberal arts colleges. Although his experimental background serves him in teaching his advanced courses such as modern physics, electronics, and optics, he enjoys teaching a wide range of topics, including astronomy, workshop-based general physics, computer science, and science in the elementary school. He is currently interested in developing apparatus and methodology for teaching physics, and in alternative energy systems.