The physics program at Rollins provides students with the opportunity to pursue a degree in physics in a vibrant, liberal-arts environment. Physics majors at Rollins receive an excellent education in physics, while enjoying a special relationship with their faculty mentors. Our state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories ensure a challenging and rewarding classroom environment, while providing opportunities for you to interact closely with faculty. An example of this is our computerized introductory physics laboratory.
As a physics major, you will receive a strong foundation in all areas of classical and modern physics. Challenging classes and well-equipped laboratories ensure that every student receives a solid education and has the opportunity to become well versed in such areas as electronics, mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and quantum mechanics. Typically, upper-division classes consist of less than ten students and provide an unparalleled opportunity for close cooperation between the professor and the student.
Although our program in physics is broadly based, we place special emphases on optical and computational physics. Optical physics forms the basis of all areas of applied optical science, including the rapidly growing area of optical communications. In addition, the application of modern lasers to research in physics, chemistry, and biology radically changed our understanding of complex atomic and molecular systems, and led to the discovery of Bose-Einstein condensation as well as to new areas of research in quantum computing. Through courses, independent-study projects, and student-faculty collaborative research, we provide students with a strong foundation in optics and laser physics.
The use of the computer is fundamental to all areas of modern science. However, an understanding of advanced computational tools and methods is absolutely essential to research in all areas of experimental and theoretical physics. Beginning with our first-year courses, we employ computers and various computational methods to do experimental analysis of data and empirical modeling of physical systems. In more advanced courses and in student-faculty research projects, students have the opportunity to see how computational methods are applied to solve important problems in theoretical physics.
However, it is the opportunity to work closely with the faculty that really sets Rollins College apart from many other schools. Our faculty members are active scientists with strong research programs in computational atomic physics, acoustics, optics, and science pedagogy. Typically, over 75% of the physics students will become involved in a research program, with most beginning as early as the summer following their first year. As a physics student at Rollins College, you will have the opportunity to get involved in student research during the summer (with housing and stipend provided); make presentations at regional, national and international scientific meetings (with all expenses paid by the College); write papers for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals; and, most importantly, interact on a daily basis with your faculty mentors.
An important aspect of our current research program in optical physics is its interdisciplinary nature. It focuses on the area of musical acoustics and integrates optics, laser physics, acoustics, and vibrational analysis. We use high-power lasers, state-of-the art computer technology, and high quality acoustic instrumentation to study the physics of musical instruments. But more importantly, our musical acoustics research group includes music students as well as physics students. This interdisciplinary approach to research emphasizes the connections between physics and the arts, while fostering a cross fertilization of ideas not possible at most colleges.
We also have vibrant ongoing collaborations with other institutions. Our research program in computational atomic scattering theory is supported by the Department of Energy and involves close collaboration with colleagues from Auburn University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Students with an interest in computational physics have the opportunity to participate in this exciting area of physics, using massively parallel computers run by the Department of Energy.
Rollins physics majors have received advanced degrees at such graduate schools as MIT, Yale, Rochester, Purdue, Johns Hopkins, the University of Texas, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Florida State. Others have continued their education in schools of engineering, medical schools, graduate programs in medical research, graduate programs in marine science, and MBA programs. Among our graduates are high school teachers, university professors, medical doctors, engineers, research scientists, managers in business and industry, and even CEO's.
At Rollins, opportunities to pursue a quality program in physics abound. Our students learn in an environment of challenging classes, close-working relationships with the faculty, and a variety of research opportunities, all within a strong broadly based liberal-arts program. We hope that this is the type of atmosphere that you are looking for. If so, you should make arrangements for a visit. You will then be able to attend some of our classes and see our facilities. More importantly you will be able to talk to students who have taken advantage of the opportunities that Rollins has to offer in physics. If you are also exploring engineering as a possible major in college, you should visit our Pre-Engineering Web page.