Department of Physics

Studying Physics at Xavier

Every generation faces new and complex challenges. A physics education, with its strong emphasis on the analysis and solution of complex problems, provides students with the skills and tools required to help meet those challenges. In content, physics seeks to understand the properties and behavior of the fundamental constituents of nature— matter and energy— leading to an exploration spanning from the subatomic scale of atoms and nuclei (particle physics) to the cosmic scale of galaxies and the Universe (astrophysics and cosmology). But the critical thinking skills that students master through their analysis of these various complex physical systems are transferable toward the solution of all complex problems. For this reason, a physics education provides a strong foundation upon which numerous career and research paths can begin— be they in the sciences, humanities or business.

The Xavier Physics Community

Xavier physics majors, along with our seven full-time faculty, form a cohesive and supportive community dedicated to academic rigor and excellence and committed fully to the undergraduate experience. The focal point of this community is the Lindner Family Physics Building. Built in 1991, this building houses faculty offices, classrooms, research and teaching laboratories and an observatory. A centrally located student lounge equipped with several computers, a microwave and refrigerator and a large table and couches provides students with a place to study, engage in lively academic debate, socialize or just relax.

A Flexible Curriculum

Each student has a unique set of individual goals and aspirations. For that reason, we offer our students different curricular choices. The Bachelor of Science in Physics degree is designed for those students who wish to pursue a professional career in physics and plan on attending a graduate level education in physics or closely related subject. The Bachelor of Science in Biophysics degree is highly interdisciplinary, providing students with the background and techniques of biology, chemistry and physics necessary to enter this rapidly growing field. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics degree 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. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics is designed for students who wish to integrate a strong physics background with alternative career choices, be they in the medical field (Natural Sciences Option) or a field not traditionally associated with a physics background (Alternate Concentration). An option for students who wish to pursue a teaching career is also offered in cooperation with the Department of Education.

Student Research

The Lindner Family Physics Building houses a variety of research facilities, including a holography lab, atomic and nuclear labs, optics lab, superconductivity lab, atomic force microscope lab, a thin-film deposition system and an astronomical observatory. Physics majors are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in one of the numerous research programs being conducted by our faculty. And given our diverse areas of expertise, students can perform research in one of many fields of physics.

Contact Us

Dr. Heidrun Schmitzer, Chair
Department of Physics
110 Lindner Hall
Phone: 513 745-4963