We are a small and friendly department where faculty, staff, and students know each other well and enjoy interacting and socializing in and out of the classroom and lab. We take pride in mentoring our students toward career paths in the courses we teach and with their involvement in our own research. We offer several Awards and Scholarships each year derived from the longtime generosity of our friends of the department.
We have almost 90 majors and 25 masters students and we graduate about 10 students each year mostly into careers in industry and secondary education as well as into PhD programs. Physics teaches a wide range of scientific skills and technologies while developing solid critical-thinking tools that bridge a variety of industries, including engineering, electronics, communication, defense, and life sciences. Some 20% of our majors graduate with a minor or double major in math or another science. Our Dan Black Program offers a business-emphasis degree option that substitutes some upper-division physics electives with accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurial courses. When graduation nears, faculty work hard helping our students develop resumes and statements of purpose and writing personalized letters of recommendation.
Department research interests include observational astronomy and astrophysics (Cheng) and gravitational-wave astronomy with LIGO (Smith), surface and condensed-matter science, theory (Tifrea), atomic and molecular collision science, experiment (Khakoo, Childers) and theory (Feagin), fiber- and quantum-optical science, experiment and theory (Wanser, Fearn), string theory and general relativity (Fearn, Woodward), and physics education research (Loverude, Nanes). These activities generate a good deal of ongoing federal grant funding to support student involvement in the research.
Josh Smith has been funded to establish a new CSUF Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center GWPAC with a mission to support and grow gravitational-wave research on campus. Jocelyn Read and Geoffrey Lovelace are two new faculty members and theoretical gravitational-wave physicists who have joined GWPAC. Mike Loverude is the director of the CSUF Catalyst Center for Advancement of Research in Teaching and Learning.
Department life revolves around our ‘grad room’ which offers office space and computer resources for our TAs and majors as well as a well-stocked kitchen maintained by the Physics Club. We completed renovation this past year of a comprehensive lab facility featuring state-of-the-art instrumentation (teachspin.com) for teaching our upper-division advanced labs, funded largely through the generous commitment of Dan Black.
Greg Childers is our bachelor program coordinator, and Ionel Tifrea our masters program coordinator. Greg Childers the department vice-chair. Sheree Traub in the front office helps track the progress of our majors and is happy to lend a sympathetic ear. Lynn Washatka coordinates administrative tasks across the department.
We believe we offer a unique and personable department with solid educational opportunities for careers in physics. Please have a look around our web pages, and let us know if you’d like to tour the department personally. We look forward to meeting you!
The department office is located on the 6th floor of McCarthy Hall, room 611 (on the map look for MH on the south end of campus). For parking information and permits, call the department office and look here.
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