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Department of Physics

Funds Received for Physics Instructional Equipment Upgrade

Instructional Laboratories in the Physics Department are being upgraded, modernized, and expanded thanks to over $125,000 of funding from the Provost's and Dean of Arts and Sciences' offices.   This all-encompassing investment improves the educational experience of over 2000 students per year.  Our introductory courses and lecture demonstrations benefit the most, but significant improvements were made in upper-level laboratories and in a newly developed laboratory component to the Descriptive Astronomy course.

The new equipment in Engineering Physics replaces 14 year old computer interfaces (originally purchased with a grant from the National Science Foundation) which allow students to make computer-based measurements of many physical properties quickly and display It immediately, improving their understanding of the measurement process.  Modernization of labs in our General Physics courses now allows students to learn interactively. These labs have been fully computerized and equipped with Vernier™ sensors, software and data acquisition hardware.  Students work in groups of 3 or 4 and conduct, analyze, discuss and write-up their labs in class, where they can get help and guidance from the instructor. Our Descriptive astronomy class has been redesigned to have an interactive lab component added to it.

The Optics lab(s) have added additional, new, lasers, mounting hardware and translational stages. Complete new experiments in Fourier Optics, Holography and Interferometry have also been added thanks to this funding.  The Advanced Lab was finally able to acquire some major pieces of equipment to replace aging versions.  Most notable is a beautiful new Pulsed/CW NMR apparatus.  In addition, several pieces of new test equipment, including oscilloscopes and precision function generators were provided with these funds.

Below are some of the items we have acquired with these funds.


Wimshurt MachineGeneral Physics Lab Room
New Wimshurst machines allow students to experience high voltage electrostatics in lab.

General Physics Lab rooms now have computers at every station.

Engineering Physics Studio interfacesFLIR thermal imaging camera

New interfaces and software nstalled in the Engineering Physics Studios replace equipment in use since the turn of the century.

FLIR thermal imaging camera will provide a whole new way to teach about thermal energy and its transfer.
NMR apparatus 
 Two of the components of our new NMR apparatus for Advanced Physics Lab replace 1960's equipment. 
Erbium-Barium-Cooper Superconductor WaferErbium-Barium-Cooper Superconductor Wafer
 The two pictures above show our new Erbium-Barium-Copper superconductor wafer which levitates above, and pins below, strong magnets.