is devoted to the discovery and exploration of physical laws governing the material universe. The working physicist attempts to express these laws in their most elegant mathematical form, so that they can be applied to predict and understand the behavior of all forms of matter and energy, in physical systems that range from the subatomic level of quarks, gluons, nuclei, and atoms, all the way out way to the astrophysical level of planets, stars, black holes, galaxies, and larger scale structures of the universe.
Knowledge obtained in experimental and theoretical investigations
forms the foundation for many modern technologies. From the lasers used in high-speed communications and micro-surgery, to the plastic electronics used in modern computer displays, the magnetic behavior of the thin films used for computer hard drives, and the radiation detectors and optical elements used in the Hubble space telescope, the fundamental knowledge gained by physicists helps to shape and improve the quality of modern life.
When you have finished a physics major, you'll be able to confidently explain many aspects of the physical universe, such as:
- micro-lasers and superconductivity
- thermonuclear processes in stars
- radioactive decay and fusion power
- black holes, quasars, and cosmology
- electronic microchips and fiber optics
- quarks, gluons, and photons
You'll also gain valuable expertise in using scientific equipment such as computers, lasers, and electronic instrumentation to probe Nature's secrets and to advance technology.