2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION] Use the dropdown above to select the current catalog.
Department of Physics
Professors Lynn (Chair), Breznay, Connolly, Donnelly, Eckert, Esin, Gallicchio, Gerbode, Ilton, Lyzenga, Saeta, Sahakian, Shuve, Sparks, and Townsend.
The physics program at Harvey Mudd College provides depth and breadth in both classical and modern physics through lecture-discussion courses, laboratories, and joint student-faculty research. The program is designed to serve as a strong foundation for graduate work or employment in physics and other technical fields.
A set of core courses is required of all physics majors; in addition, a variety of elective courses enable students to select a program to suit their interests and their educational and employment objectives. Laboratory courses in both introductory and advanced physics include experience with electronics, classical and modern optics, solid-state physics, and atomic and nuclear physics. Special courses and reading courses provide the opportunity for study in advanced areas normally offered only in graduate programs.
Each student is encouraged to do individual experimental or theoretical research in an area of her or his special interest, in conjunction with a faculty member. Current student-faculty research areas include observational astronomy, astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, computational physics, field theory, general relativity and cosmology, geophysics, laser and high-energy-density physics, magnetism, particle physics, quantum optics, quantum theory, soft-matter physics, and solid-state physics. In some of the optional programs, physics majors may elect to do research in biology or chemistry or participate in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics Clinic team projects.
Changes in any of the major programs listed below may be made by petition to the Department of Physics.
Most physics majors go on to graduate work in physics; in allied fields such as astronomy, biophysics, geophysics, oceanography, and optics; or in applied areas such as computer science, electronics, or engineering. Others undertake advanced study in medicine or law or seek immediate employment in a variety of technical fields. Students who intend to go on to graduate study are advised to include PHYS154 HM and/or PHYS156 HM and either PHYS161 HM or PHYS168 HM in their program.