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Department of

Physics and Biophysics

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Welcome to the Physics & Biophysics Department

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences, exploring the universe from its smallest to grandest scales. Physics attempts to understand nature in both its greatest simplicity and its most uncontrollable complexity. Physicists are model-builders of everything from the architecture of the cosmos, to the substructure of the nuclei, the complexity of life, and even the hidden patterns of the stock market.

Biophysics, lying at the intersection of physics, biology and chemistry, focuses on applying the understanding, methods and quantitative skills gained in physics to a vast array of biological systems in order to gain new insights into biological problems ranging from brain function, vascular networks, and DNA synthesis to biomedical devices, drug delivery and aquatic animal migration.

Courses in physics and biophysics allow you to explore the interactions of matter and energy from the simplicity of a swinging pendulum to the complexity of nuclear fusion, galaxy formation, the human brain and the chaos of weather patterns and storms. A deep understanding of physics involves problem solving, reasoning and experimental skills that are valuable not only to scientists and engineers, but also to every member of society as we move towards a more technological world.

Our dedicated faculty members do research in a variety of exciting areas including plasma physics, the foundations of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, molecular and cellular biophysics, biomaterials, astrophysics, and physics education. We pride ourselves on including undergraduate researchers and assistants at every level of our research, and we encourage all students to take advantage of the invaluable opportunity to do physics research.

Our graduates, successfully pursuing a wide range of professions, include research scientists, medical doctors, computer programmers, engineers, teachers and even theologians. As evidenced by our graduates, the USD physics and biophysics programs provide the foundations for a truly expansive range of experiences and careers.

Department Highlights

Summer 2014 Physics

Student research summer 2014

Warren Mardoum, Savanna Blair, Robert Fitzpatrick



Why Major in Physics at USD?

Considering Physics for your Degree?

Why you should Major in Physics at USD