Physics

Major | Minor

Discover how the world works. Sharpen your analytical skills. Take part in active research. Push the boundaries of our knowledge of the universe.

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Why Study Physics?

Are you always wondering how things work, asking why things are as they are? How do airplanes stay aloft? How do magnets work? Why does time flow only in one direction? How do we know the properties of fundamental particles or what happened after the Big Bang? What are the limits to our knowledge?

Studying physics equips you to ask interesting questions and gives you the tools to reveal the answers. You’ll solve complex problems and unearth new questions to ask. Majoring in physics will give you a foundation of creative problem-solving. It will open the door to a wide array of employment settings. Or pursue graduate study and continue to develop your knowledge and hone your technical skills.

Why Study Physics at Luther?

Studying physics at Luther opens doors to your future through a combination of coursework and in-depth research experiences with faculty. Your professors will be active scholars working at the forefront of the field. They care about your education and will help you focus on your goals.

Become part of a close-knit community asking interesting questions about the world. Our classrooms encourage conversation and thought. Our laboratories allow you to explore, test, and solve problems. Whether your future plans include work in engineering, physics, or related scientific fields, Luther will prepare you for success.

 

Program Highlights

Research Opportunities

Research is at the heart of physics. Our faculty members are active researchers in various fields of physics. Their work lies at the cutting edge of current research, creating unique, graduate-level experiences for you as a student.

Study Astronomy

Astronomy is an active field of study within the physics department. Utilize Luther’s impressive facilities to study the night sky. Take part in a long-term stellar monitoring project measuring the apparent brightness of 1,600 stars.

Impressive Facilities

As a physics student, you’ll spend much of your time in Valders Hall of Science. You’ll have access to many instructional laboratory spaces and research laboratories—like a six-telescope rooftop observatory and labs devoted to studying computational physics and elementary particle physics.

What You’ll Learn

Luther’s physics department provides a collegial and friendly environment that encourages curiosity about and appreciation of the physical universe. As a physics major or minor you will gain:

  • An understanding of the physical universe and the roles of theory and experiment in developing knowledge
  • Skills in performing conceptual and quantitative analysis
  • The technical and analytical skills required in today’s workforce and graduate programs
  • Expertise in designing and performing experiments to investigate physical problems and draw justifiable conclusions
  • The ability to effectively communicate scientific ideas

Most physics majors join professors and other students in collaborative research projects. Many also secure off-campus internships to explore other areas of physics and engineering.

Curriculum

Nicholas Behrens
From the very beginning, [my professors] have inspired me to envision myself as a physicist, by exploring the frontiers of science and becoming actively engaged in this close-knit community.
Nicholas Behrens '21
PHYSICS MAJOR
Learn more about Nicholas

Careers and Outcomes

What do Luther physics grads do after graduating? Many go on to pursue advanced MS and PhD degrees, while others gain employment in a variety of careers.

Career Fields

  • Physicist
  • Engineer
  • Medical Physics Resident
  • Computer programmer/engineer
  • Data Analyst
  • Secondary School Teacher

Graduate Studies

  • Physics
  • Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Environmental sustainability

International Research in Particle Physics

Luther College physics students take part in a global research project—a long-term particle physics experiment based at KEK in Japan. Luther is the only undergraduate college involved in this experiment.

Rossing Physics Scholars

Each year, the Thomas D. Rossing Fund for Physics Education awards scholarships to exemplary students in physics. Luther College has a long tradition of producing Rossing Physics Scholars. In the last 10 years, 12 Luther physics students received the award, speaking to the strength of our program. These scholarships are a good indicator of excellent outcomes after graduation.

“The monetary benefit of being a Rossing Physics Scholar is easily quantifiable. What’s less quantifiable is the personal meaning behind the award. Winning the Rossing Scholarship was incredibly affirming, a statement that I was capable of the things my older peers had done, which I aspired to do myself.” —Colin Weber ’20

Read about what Rossing Physics Scholars are doing now

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