Why Physics at Guilford?
“For all those considering physics, the best kept secret of Guilford’s Physics department is the profound relationship that develops between students and professors.”
- David Jackman ’09
Physics is the study of how nature works from the tiny parts that make up atoms to the largest structures in the universe. It forms the foundation of knowledge used in astronomy, computers, electronics, engineering, and has numerous applications in biology, chemistry, geology, and medicine. Physics also represents a way of solving problems that relies on clear, analytical, and often abstract thinking. This discipline is grounded in reality as demonstrated by experiment.
At Guilford, the physics program emphasizes active experimentation and student-driven research throughout its curriculum. The laboratory sequence stresses experimental techniques and collaborative research as well as communication skills. As students progress, they learn how to design their own experiments, write proposals, and present their work to fellow students in the department’s weekly department-wide seminar. Through this process, faculty work closely with students and help them develop necessary critical thinking and problem solving skills.
As a capstone experience, students create, design, and carry out their own original thesis projects. Students present their work both as a written paper and as a public talk and frequently also present their thesis at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) or other conferences. Graduate schools and employers are attracted by applicants who can work independently, effectively address and solve complicated problems, and communicate well with others. This thesis experience—unusual for undergraduate students—prepares our graduates for success in a wide range of fields and sets them apart from other applicants.
Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and have a broad spectrum of interests and career goals. The department maintains a strong alumni network that provides numerous employment opportunities; graduates come back every two years to share research and work experience and scout for potential colleagues among current Guilford physics students. Our graduates know how to think critically and solve complicated, long-term projects. You can find them obtaining advanced degrees in computer science, engineering, geography, mathematics, medical physics, medicine, and security studies. Other alumni are running software companies, doing research in academia and industry, teaching high school math and physics, or serving in AmeriCorps.