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Two students work on a project involving lasers in a lab.

Department of Physics

Welcome to the Physics Department

The Physics Department at the University of St. Thomas emphasizes a broad understanding and appreciation of physics while cultivating the problem-solving skills essential for a successful career grounded in science.

We provide a high degree of personal attention to foster a familial, yet rigorous, educational atmosphere conducive to enjoyable and meaningful learning. Your analytical, experimental, computational and communication skills will flourish as you work your way through the curriculum. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on research projects during the school year and over the summer.

Whether you are preparing for graduate school, an industrial or professional position, or simply taking physics to enhance your general education, we have a path for you.

A Physics Degree to Match Your Goals

The Physics Department has three degree offerings that build on a common core of courses, but with significant differences between them. We design our four-year plans for students with different mathematical backgrounds. Your own path will depend on your math placement.

Facilities

Our facilities include our offices in Owens Science Hall, three classrooms, seven laboratories, a student machine shop, computer room, a commons study area and the observatory on top of the Anderson Parking Facility.

St. Thomas Observatory at sunset.

Observatory

Our robotic observatory is equipped with a 17-inch telescope on a German Equatorial mount. It is used for classroom and research projects, as well as community events.

Observatory Events
The physics machine shop.

Laboratories and Machine Shop

Our research laboratories and machine shop are equipped with a range of instrumentation, electronics equipment, CNC machinery and computer hardware.

Student commons for physics students in the Owens Science Hall.

Classroom and Study Spaces

Our space includes three classrooms, a computer room, teaching laboratories, the observatory and a commons study area. Beakers Coffee Shop is nearby, on the second floor.

Alumni

Our graduates are successful. Many have earned PhDs at prominent institutions and have won prestigious Goldwater Scholarships and national fellowships. Others are working in engineering firms and high-tech companies such as 3M, Medtronic, Honeywell and Google; and in government agencies and national laboratories. Additionally, former students are teachers, doctors, medical physicists and attorneys.
Portrait of Sarah Millholland

Sarah Millholland

The stars and the way Earth fits into the universe’s bigger picture intrigue many people. It’s pretty rare, though, for someone to be on the cutting edge of finding the planets that fill out that picture. That’s exactly what Sarah Millholland ’15 started at St. Thomas and now continues at Yale University.
Discover more about Sarah
Portrait of Greg Ogin

Greg Ogin

Greg Ogin '04 is one seriously smart Tommie. Need evidence? When talking with him about his life and career path, terms such as “quantum optics,” “coefficient of expansion” and “computational simulations of the neural cortex” get sprinkled in because, well, that’s just the kind of stuff he does.
Discover more about Greg
Photo of Jill Schleicher

Jill Schleicher

As Mount Kilauea continues to spew lava across Hawaii's big island, observers around the world are being reminded of the terrible destructive power volcanoes possess. For Shoreview, Minn., native Jill Schleicher '11, the past six years of her life have been dedicated to understanding that power.
Discover more about Jill

Physics Faculty and Staff

Shelley Blilie
Cathy Fasching.
Adam Green
Physics faculty member Jeff Jalkio.
Physics faculty member Marty Johnston.
Physics faculty member Marie Lopez del Puerto.
Physics adjunct professor Brita Nellermoe.
Physics faculty member Paul Ohmann.
Physics faculty member Gerry Ruch.
Physics lab manager and adjunct faculty Rich Schuler.
Physics adjunct faculty Richard Thomas.
Physics faculty member Mike Wood.

Contact Information

Questions? Please feel free to reach out to learn more about our department.

Mailing Address

2115 Summit Ave.
OWS 153
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Campus Location

We are located on the first floor of Owens Science Hall