Goucher College 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalogue 
    Sep 25, 2022  
Goucher College 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalogue PLEASE NOTE: This is an archived catalog. Programs are subject to change each academic year.

Physics and Astronomy Department

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The Physics and Astronomy Department offers a major in physics with two distinct tracks: advanced studies and applied studies in physics and astronomy. In the applied studies track students can choose concentrations in astronomy, computer science, materials science, or premedical studies. In addition, the Physics and Astronomy Department offers minors in physics and astronomy and six dual-degree programs in electrical and computer science engineering, materials science engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, and chemical engineering. Students may also elect to take specialized courses in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The goal of the Physics and Astronomy Department is to prepare students to acquire a high level of analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities through in-depth study of challenging physical concepts, both theoretical and experimental.

The core curriculum in both tracks prepares students for graduate school and/or careers in physics, such as science education, research and development, design and manufacturing, government, and information technology. Recent studies by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) have reported physics success stories in a variety of fields such as acoustics, computers, consumer goods, energy efficiency, environmental science, global positioning systems, the Internet, lasers, liquid crystals, medical imaging, nanotechnology, quantum computing, information systems, telecommunications, and transportation.

Students have the opportunity to conduct scientific research with Goucher College physics and astronomy faculty in experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, materials science, atomic/molecular physics/optics and astronomy. Other areas of research are available at the JHU Department of Physics and Astronomy. Students present the results of student/faculty research collaborations at poster sessions within the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Goucher College. In the past, such work has also been presented at professional conferences and has been published in scientific journals with students as lead or co-authors.

International studies in physics and astronomy are available through semester or year-long programs at the University of Sussex (UK) or through a three-week intensive program in Granada, Spain. Off-campus internships and summer research programs provide valuable experience in work settings that often lead to informed career choices. A minor in physics prepares students for graduate work in applied sciences or for entrance into professional schools, as well as for the 3+2 Engineering Program. For more detailed information on the Physics and Astronomy Department faculty members, physics curriculum and collaborative student/faculty research, please visit our website at http://www.goucher.edu/physics.

Science and Engineering Program

Goucher College has established a dual-degree program through which students earn both a bachelor of arts degree from Goucher and a bachelor of science degree from the Fu foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University. The dual-degree program enables students to explore the liberal arts and sciences, while developing professional knowledge and experience in a specific field of engineering. Students in the program are admitted initially by Goucher College, where they will typically spend three years fulfilling general education requirements and completing major requirements for the B.A. degree in physics. Successful students then complete an additional two years at Columbia University, during which requirements are completed for the B.S. degree in one of the following disciplines: Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Earth and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management Systems, Industrial Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Interested students should contact director of the program, Dr. A. Bakhshai in the Physics & Astronomy Department at abakhsha@goucher.edu.

Department Faculty


Ali Bakhshai, (experimental condensed matter physics), Sasha Dukan, chair (theoretical condensed matter physics)

Assistant Professor

Marin Pichler (experimental atomic, molecular, and optical physics), Ben Sugerman (astronomy)

Physics Courses Offered at the Johns Hopkins University

The following courses are offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University:

  • PHY 171.209 - Wave Phenomena with Biological Applications (4)
  • PHY 171.304 - Theory of Quantum Mechanics II (4)
  • PHY 171.313 - Introduction to Stellar Physics (3)
  • PHY 171.314 - Introduction to Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei (3)
  • PHY 171.310 - Biological Physics (3)
  • PHY 171.408 - Introduction to Experimental Particle Physics (3)



Majors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are encouraged to strive for Honors in the major at the graduation. Departmental honors will be awarded on the basis of outstanding course work and additional independent research achievements. Students who wish to be considered for Honors in the major should plan their schedule to include independent research as described in the guidelines below.

A minimum grade point average of 3.50 in the major computed from all courses taken within the department of physics and astronomy, and a high level of achievement in either two semesters of independent research work or one summer independent research work plus one semester of independent research work under the supervision of a faculty member from the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Results of independent work should be presented either at open seminar attended by students and faculty or in Senior Thesis graded by the physics and astronomy faculty members. Final selection requires the approval of the majority of the faculty members in the Department of Physics.

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