Physics studies are centered in the brand new Anderson Hall, with spacious teaching laboratories, research areas, and computer facilities. Students have ready access to modern research equipment, including extensive electronic instrumentation and laboratory computers, a high-purity-germanium gamma detector, a seven-inch laboratory electromagnet, an optical spectrograph, multipurpose diffractometer, an ultra-high vacuum system, a variety of lasers, and a cryogenic system. Staff members with electronics and computational expertise maintain the experimental and computational tools and assist students and faculty members with special projects.
The physics instrument shop features the services of an experienced instrument maker. Students can work with a 3-D printer, lathes, a drill press, a CNC milling machine, and other equipment to build almost anything they can imagine. Students can participate in the Robotics Club, take AutoCAD classes, and work with various levels of research robotics, as well.
Students with a special interest in astronomy normally complete a physics major, with emphasis on courses and projects relevant to astronomy. Goodsell Observatory, where many of these activities are carried out, was built in 1887. It contains a 16 inch Brashear visual refractor and an 8-inch Alvan Clark refractor which can be converted to do digital photography. Other equipment includes eight 8-inch and one 10-inch portable Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes with optional computer control, seven CCD cameras and a spectrograph. Students work in an imaging lab equipped with 6 roll-out computer stations to link to the portable telescopes and cameras.
On the roof of Watson Hall sits a radio telescope for research. In addition, students have the opportunity to do computer analysis of optical and radioastronomical data gathered at various U.S. national observatories and to travel to these facilities for observations.