Facilities and Resources
Ursinus physics majors work with state of the art equipment both on campus and at national facilities.
Our advanced laboratory spaces in the basement of Pfahler Hall enable students to …
- measure the speed of light
- demonstrate discrete atomic energy levels via the Franck-Hertz experiment
- use gamma-ray detectors to study collisions between photons and electrons (Compton scattering)
- measure the flux and angular distribution of muons produced by cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere
- study atomic systems through spectroscopy of visible and ultraviolet light
- measure the elementary unit of charge (Millikan oil-drop experiment)
- measure crystal structure via X-ray diffraction
- investigate quantum optics with entangled photons
- study analog and digital electronics
Located on the roof of Pfahler Hall, Marsteller Observatory houses two modern telescopes with tracking and astrophotography capabilities. Students use these telescopes in astronomy and astrophysics courses. There are also observing nights open to campus.
The department is home to a 256-core supercomputer funded by the National Science Foundation. Students pursue research in atomic and nuclear physics on the machine. Recent work includes simulations of particle detectors and models of many atom quantum mechanical interactions.
As part of their work with research groups at Ursinus, students travel to several external laboratories, including
- the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) located at Michigan State University, which is also the site of Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) which is currently under construction and is slated for commissioning in 2022.
- the John D. Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator Laboratory at Florida State University.
the ultracold atomic physics lab at Bryn Mawr College.
Ursinus also uses National Science Foundation supercomputers for research. These machines are located across the country but we use them from Ursinus. Time on these machines is provided through grants within the XSEDE program.