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Physics Professor Nate Thompkins

What is physics?

A Wabash College physics major studies the fundamental laws governing our universe while engaging in research to apply these laws to real-world problems. The Wabash physics department benefits from the close personal interaction unique to a small college, with energetic and committed faculty teaching physics within a liberal arts framework. Wabash physics classes uncover the mathematical language that defines the foundation of the world in which students live and act. For specific courses in physics at Wabash, check out our curriculum.

Why go to college for physics?

Wabash physics majors learn how to solve difficult problems with mathematics and computers while gaining a deeper understanding of how the world works. They learn how to work effectively in teams to design experiments to answer questions. They then learn how to communicate the results of their work through technical papers, presentations, and posters. Even in our introductory courses, students are able to develop projects of their own design, while in the junior/senior advanced lab, majors tackle research-level problems. Students can do cutting-edge research with our faculty in nuclear physics, micro-fluidics, and theoretical fundamental physics. Many Wabash physics majors are co-authors of papers in physics journals. One freshman asked a question in our first semester introductory course that led to a publication that he co-authored!

What can you do with a Wabash physics degree?

A Wabash physics degree certainly leads to careers in physics, but the basic problem-solving, computer, and communication skills our physics students learn will apply to almost any career. Roughly 45% our majors enter engineering-related academic programs or jobs for a physics major. The job titles of recent graduates include: Director/Online Services, Web Developer, Product Strategy Analyst, Irrigation Co. Owner, Support Specialist, Sr. Component Design Engineer, Patent Attorney, Senior Database Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Senior Systems Engineer, Senior Assessment Manager, Scientist, Associate Actuary, Brew Pub Owner, Systems Engineer, 3D Designer, Pharmaceuticals Finance Director, Acoustical Consultant, Bank Vice President, HS Teacher.

Here are some additional resources for physics students. For recent events, check out our Facebook page, or peruse our 2020 Department Newsletter.