Our strengths include facilities and faculty supporting student projects and success. Students can explore introductory and advanced lessons in our learning labs while attaining hands-on experience in our research laboratories that are often not available at other institutions on the undergraduate level.

Planetarium show in Shineman Center


​The department operates a Spitz digital planetarium with a 24-foot projection dome that can seat 35 people and has a 180 degree field of view. This facility in the Shineman Center is fully digital and has a built-in 5.1 surround sound system. We actively use the planetarium in teaching and educational outreach.


Students walking

Computational Laboratory

​The Computational Astrophysics Lab deals with computational and statistical methods, mainly with variable stars in astrophysics and their applications to fundamental problems in cosmology — such as the universe's age and distance scales. Available codes include a 3D adaptive mesh magnetohydrodynamic code, a state-of-the-art stellar evolution and linear non-adiabtaic pulsation code, access to a nonlinear non-adiabatic pulsation code, various period detection algorithms and programs to carry out Fourier transforms. This lab has access to a number of large astronomical databases and is the U.S. lead for the Joint Indo-U.S. Center for the Analysis of Variable Star Data.

Students walking

Nanotechnology Laboratory

The Nanoscale Technology in Sustainable Energy Laboratory (Nanolab) in G07 Shineman Center provides learning, teaching and comprehensive research on nanotechnology with emphases on nanomaterial synthesis and growth, in-depth studies of nanoscale interfaces, device fabrication, educational outreach and course development, with full student participation in each activity. Projects include creation of nanomaterials, third-generation solar cells and rechargeable lithium ion batteries. We use a wide array of characterization techniques including, UV-VIS spectroscopy, photoluminescence, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray, atomic force microscopy, X-ray diffraction, electrical conductivity, Hall Effect and magnetization.

Students walking

Thin Films Laboratory

The Thin Films Laboratory explores molecule adsorption and desorption from thin films, capillary condensation transitions and vibrational spectra calculations of pentacene derivatives. The projects may have theoretical, computational and experimental parts. Samples are fabricated by Langmuir-Blodgett technique or by spin coating technique and analyzed in the ultra-high vacuum chamber. The lab also enables electrical transport measurements of various films and devices.

Outside of Rice Creek Observatory

Observatory at Rice Creek Field Station

Our Observatory is fully automated — a rarity for a college of our size. This stargazing facility contains a 12.5-inch telescope outfitted with an H-alpha filter for solar viewing.

Other facilities

Include our Condensed Matter Physics Laboratory and these

Teaching laboratories

  • Quantum physics

  • Optics lab

  • Modern physics lab

  • Introductory physics lab