From the tiniest bits of matter to the enormity of the universe, there exists a structure that is based on a surprisingly small number of far-reaching fundamental principles. It is the goal of physics to discover these fundamental principles, often called the "laws of nature," and to describe all natural phenomena in terms of these principles. 

Guided by the University Mission, and driven by a commitment to the common good and to the education of the whole person, it is the goal of the physics department to be a learning community that fosters thought, discussion, and exploration through meaningful interactions among students and faculty. A centrally located student lounge, an accessible faculty, courses that stress active participation, hands-on experiences in modern laboratory and research facilities, and student-faculty research opportunities are all integral parts of this learning community. 


Department Highlights

  • The physics department is proud to announce the creation of a new program in Engineering Physics that combines courses in physics, mathematics, and engineering.  The program is intended for students who want a solid foundation in physics and a rigorous set of engineering courses that will allow them to pursue an engineering related career or an advanced degree in engineering.  More information can be found under the Programs tab.

  • Physics major Vince Shaw presented the results of his research on "The Effects of Turbulence on Cosmic-Ray Diffusion in Young Stellar Systems" (with Dr. Marco Fatuzzo) at the 2014 April meeting of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held in Lexington, KY.  A list of past  student presentations by Xavier physics majors can be found here.



  • Each academic year, the faculty of the Physics Department assesses the originality, quality, and presentation of each senior research project, and awards the student deemed to have performed the highest quality independent research with an Outstanding Senior Research in Physics Award.  The physics department is proud to announce that this year's winner is Teckla Akinyi for her research project titled:  Single molecule observation of cyclization of short DNA duplex.  Please find additional information in the Senior Research Award page.

  • Three students from the department of physics presented their research at the 2014 March meeting of the American Physical Society held in Denver, Colorado. This international conference is the largest physics meeting of the year, bringing together over 9,000 physicists, scientists, and students from all over the world to share groundbreaking research from industry, universities, and major labs. Physics major Laura Kaiser (second from right) presented her work completed at Purdue University on "Fluid Manipulation Utilizing Electrowetting Techniques" and was presented with the "Outstanding Presentation of Undergraduate Research Award" by the Society of Physics Students. Physics major Teckla Akinyi (far right) presented her work completed at the University of Illinois on "Single Molecule Observation of the Cyclization of Short DNA Duplex." Biophysics major Dana Davis (second from left) presented a poster on her research at Xavier with Dr. Heidrun Schmitzer, Dennis Tierney, Dr. Justin Link (far left), and physics alumni Timothy Horton titled "Studying the Transfer of Optical Orbital Angular Momentum to a Helical Bacterium."  A list of past  student presentations by Xavier physics majors can be found here.

  • Four of our 16 women physics majors attended the Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, held at Penn State between Jan 17 - 19, 2014.  Our attendees this year, pictured at the banquet, were Jenna Graham, Lauren Lopez, Angela Sims, and Emma Bradford.