About the Department
Students of physics and astronomy learn how a few general principles can explain a vast range of phenomena - from the quantum mechanical behavior to the story of the cosmos. Faculty specialties range from theoretical quantum optics, to high energy and experimental atomic physics, to star and planet formation and more.
Astronomy is part of the physics program (not a separate degree) and is accessible to majors and non-majors alike. Students interested in concentrating their studies in astronomy are encouraged to major in physics and take certain electives for that major. For those interested in teaching careers, the program offers teaching assistant positions to majors and non-majors alike.
A hallmark of a physics and astronomy education at Bucknell is one-on-one interaction between students and faculty.
With an average of eleven students per graduating class and a faculty of thirteen, the department's majors receive incredibly close personal attention from faculty and form strong bonds with their peers.
Small upper-level classes allow faculty members to tailor course content and pace to students' interests.
Vibrant Research Opportunities
Research experiences are an important component of a Bucknell physics and astronomy education.
- Our professors are active researchers who often include undergraduates as collaborators and co-authors.
- Students are encouraged to participate in research activities during the school year and especially during the summer.
- Students and faculty regularly conduct their research at national and international facilities.
- We operate a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site for students interested in summer research opportunities. The nationally-competitive program attracts undergraduates from Bucknell and many other universities to the Bucknell campus during the 10-week summer program. Most of the funding is provided by the National Science Foundation and Bucknell University.
On-campus facilities include and observatory with optical and radio telescopes, as well as laboratories for studies of anti-matter, quantum optics and nonlinear dynamics.
Recognized Academic Quality
Physics faculty members hold grants from:
- NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- National Science Foundation (faculty grants)
- National Science Foundation (Research Experiences for Undergraduates program)
- Spitzer Space Telescope Research Gran
Bucknell physics course recognized as Best Practices Course.
One of our own won an Apker Award for undergraduate research
Bucknell University 2005 graduate Matt Paoletti won the 2005 LeRoy Apker Award for undergraduate research. The Apker Award is given by the American Physical Society for the best undergraduate research in the nation.