Major program: Participation in research and proficiency in the main subject areas of physics are the twin goals of the physics program.  The major program is designed to develop competency in quantum theory, electromagnetism and optics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, classical dynamics, and condensed-matter physics.  Preparation in mathematical and computational methods is an integral part of the program. 

Interested and qualified students may pursue several opportunities for advanced work, including graduate courses and participation with graduate students and faculty in research.  The department encourages its students to "do physics" at the earliest opportunity by making arrangements to work with one of the research groups or by arranging an independent research tutorial.  Research may be experimental or theoretical and may, but need not, result in a senior honors thesis.  Most majors who intend to write a thesis begin research no later than the junior year and continue it through the summer into the senior year.  Current research interests include chaos theory, soft condensed-matter physics, granular flow, third sound in superfluid films, laser plasmas, spectroscopy and collision studies involving excited atoms and molecules, and wave transport in complex media.

Special Program: Combined 3-2 programs in science and engineering. Wesleyan maintains a 3-2 program with Columbia and the California Institute of Technology for students wishing to combine the study of engineering with a broad background in liberal arts.

Sample Courses: Introductory Physics I/II;General Physics I/II sequence; Physics for Future Presidents; Newton to Einstein: The Trail of Light; Waves and Oscillations; Special Relativity; Chaos; Classical Dynamics; Quantum Mechanics I/II; Experimental Optics; Thermal and Statistical Physics; Electricity and Magnetism; Computational Physics: Algorithms and Clusters; Electronics Lab

Number of Professors: 10

Physics Building
Title: Faculty Spotlight
Physics Building

Francis Starr

Assistant Professor of Physics


Research Interests: Computational soft condensed matter, biophysics and nanotechnology: functionalized nanoparticles, complex liquids, water, glass formation, and polymeric materials.