Bookmark and Share

Department of

Physics and Biophysics


The Shiley Center for Science and Technology opened in 2003, with all new spaces for its four new occupants: Physics, Chemistry, Marine & Environmental Studies and Biology. We were able to redesign many of our laboratory spaces, providing students and faculty with state of the art lab equipment.

Immediately below, one can see a panoramic view of our lower division laboratory spaces. Clusters of students work at the lab’s periphery. Students work in small groups of 2-4 students. All groups can see the instructors set up in the middle of the room and see data output on a digital chalkboard (Smartboard).

Tutoring Lab

We now have lab space for our upper division advanced lab course, a part of which is home to our new optical pumping apparatus.

Physics professor and students working

A partial list of our instruments includes:

  • Atomic force microscope (AFM) for nanometer-scale surface imaging
  • Laser spectroscopy laboratory (with diode lasers, optical parametric oscillators, gas lasers, monochrometer, etc.)
  • plasma vacuum chambers
  • High-vacuum pumping stations, including an oil-free turbo pumping stations
  • Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) apparatus
  • Up-to-date electronics laboratory
  • LabView data acquisition software for research and teaching labs
  • PASCO computer data acquisition apparatus for all teaching laboratories
  • Fully equipped machine shop, including digital mill and lathe
  • Study room for physics majors and minors with key access.

Physics student workingOther facilities include the laser spectroscopy laboratory, used for lower and upper division laboratory experiments, and the h-bar, the room in which physics majors often go to hang out, and in which physics majors offer tutoring for lower division courses. We also occasionally use the room for physics social gatherings. Pictured on the left is Emily Pertu (’07), a Goldwater Scholar, and double major in Physics and Chemistry, as she signs the Sigma Pi Sigma logbook during her installation ceremony into the national physics honor society.

We like to think of the faculty offices as important places where we foster meaningful relationships with our students. Our students often remark that they enjoy the openness they feel from the faculty, and how welcome they are to talk about physics, classes, their future studies, and about their lives!