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Physics Research

Hands-on research begins in your first year

The faculty of Simpson College consider student research to be a vitally important component of a complete undergraduate experience.

Research underlies everything relating to physics. During your four years at Simpson, you will gain increasing skill in computational methods for mathematical modeling and solving complex problems in physics and engineering.

Starting in your first year, you will have the opportunity to participate in project-based labs and research projects to obtain a first-hand appreciation of physics beyond the textbook. You will gain hands-on experience with a wide range of electronic and laboratory instrumentation transferrable to physics research and industry.

You will be encouraged to work with faculty on faculty-student research projects. Research topics have included experimental research in lasers, atomic physics and quantum optics, or theoretical or computational research in elementary particle physics and dark matter.

Research at Simpson College may take several forms.

  • Short term projects. Short term projects (normally completed within one semester) might involve constructing some instrument or apparatus or a quantum mechanical calculation. Examples include: building an external cavity diode laser system, measuring lifetimes of laser-induced excited states in rubidium vapor, calculating collision rates in a bi-atomic gas.
  • Long term projects. You may also get involved with faculty in deeper ongoing research over several semesters. Physics faculty have done research in the areas of Atomic and Laser Spectroscopy and Computational Nano-science and Self-assembly.
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Many of our students apply for summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) where they work alongside professors and graduate students at large universities or national labs. These programs typically include room and board and a $4,000-$5,000 stipend.