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The Department of Physics and Astronomy

We provide students a complete and rigorous undergraduate education in physics culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree. Our curriculum provides the ideal preparation for physics or engineering graduate school, careers in scientific research, or professions as educators. We are a dedicated faculty that is passionate about teaching and we are committed to the meaningful involvement of undergraduates in research. With small class sizes and varied research opportunities, we offer a unique learning opportunity for students interested in the natural sciences.

Physics & Foam: Falling Rocks and Glowing Things
Saturday, August 18 @ Loveland Aleworks 2-3pm

Most everyone knows that a meteorite impact killed the dinosaurs but do we need to worry about the same fate? Dr. Charles Kuehn from the University of Northern Colorado will tell us about how often meteorites hit the Earth, how much damage they can do, can they actually be helpful, and what can be done if a big one is headed our way (hint, the movie Armageddon got it wrong). Then Dr. Cynthia Galovich will talk about radiation, when it can be dangerous and just how dangerous, and when it can be helpful. Join us for fascinating science, trivia and prizes, and great beer. There will also be a chance to hold an actual meteorite and to use a Geiger counter to examine some common, everyday objects.

physics & foam UNC seminar at loveland aleworks

Join FSI student researchers and their mentors for the 2018 Frontiers of Science Institute student research presentations (Tuesday July 24 and Wednesday July 25) and the poster and awards sessions (Friday July 27).

UNC atom bear

Loveland Aleworks

Physics & Foam: Fire And Ice
Saturday, June 2 @ 2:30pm

Everyone knows that there is nothing better than a cool beverage on a hot Summer day and with that in mind, join us at Loveland Aleworks on Saturday, June 2nd at 2:00 pm where Physics and Foam will be taking on the idea of hot vs cold. First up is Fire and Ice: An interactive physics presentation on what’s hot and what’s not by Adam Pearlstein from Colorado State University's Little Shop of Physics. Then our own Dr. Charles Kuehn will tell us about whether the universe will end in fire or ice. Demos, trivia, prizes, and free liquid nitrogen ice cream will be available!

 loveland aleworks


Congratulations to the 2018 Physics & Astronomy Academic Scholar Award winners: (top L-R) Joshua Fender, John Ringler, (bottom L-R)  Clayton Orback, Andrew Roth, (not pictured) Rydell Stottlemeyer, Caleb Dahlke.

2018 ASA Winners UNC Physics

Congratulations to Prof. Matt Semak!!

Dr. Semak was awarded the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award at the NHS Excellence Awards Ceremony held on February 1, 2018.

UNC Physics Semak Award

UNC Physics presented three talks and four posters at the APS Four Corners Section Annual Meeting held at CSU: 

Doing Research with Undergraduates in a Bachelor's-only Physics and Astronomy Department: Challenges and Successes (Dr. Semak), Ionization Dynamics in Intense Bicircular Laser Fields (Dr. Chaloupka), Thermodynamic Studies of Phase Transitions in Inflationary Cosmology  (Dr. Mallory), Measuring Atmospheric Muon Flux during the 2017 Solar Eclipse (Fender, Ringler, Morse), Electroencephalography and the Mechanical Operation of an Exoskeletal Arm (Helms, Zadina), Postural Control: A Sample Entropy Approach to One-Legged Stance (McMillan), Biomimicry: Designing and Building a Multilegged Robot (Sweitzer).

APS Physics

UNC Physics teamed up with CU-Boulder, publishing their recent work on "Observation of Ionization Enhancement in Two-Color Circularly Polarized Laser Fields" in Physical Review A.

counter rotating fields trajectories

UNC Physics was well represented at the Colorado-Wyoming Section Meeting of the AAPT, where students presented FIVE posters:

Biomimicry: Design and Construction of a Mulitlegged Robot (Sweitzer), Investigating the Impact of a Solar Eclipse on Atmospheric Radiation (Fender, Ringler, Morse, Angstead), Postural Control: A Sample Entropy Approach to One-Legged Stance (McMillan, Semak, Heise), Electroencephalograpy and the Mechanical Operation of an Exoskeletal Arm (Helms, Zadina), Psychoacoustics: Understanding Sonic Intelligibility (Briggs)

 UNC Physics at 2017 CoWy AAPT

Congratulations to the Physics & Astronomy Academic Scholar Award winners, seen here with Professor Matt Semak at the NHS College event. (top, L-R): Semak, William Mendoza, Ryan Fabian, Arick Sweitzer, (bottom, L-R): Alexandra Briggs, Kourteney Zadina, and Zachary Rossiter.

UNC Physics Academic Scholars 2017

Bears Go Big

UNC Bears go out into the world to do BIG and significant work. Meet Adam Wilson, BS Physics, 2010 and Founder of Sphero.

UNC helped me prepare for my success [and] gave me the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research.

See other Bears going big.