Physics of Materials

Working alongside our experienced faculty, our students push the boundaries of science, applying their advanced skills to hands-on experiments and simulations in our laboratories.

Student working on a laptop

Revolutionize the modern world

You'll study the breakthrough innovations that revolutionize our modern world — like artificial skin and faster computers — while critically understanding the surrounding universal laws of nature.

The specialization or minor in physics of materials perfectly complements all pre-med and science majors. Our graduates go on to a variety of careers and graduate study in the high-tech and medical field.

20 credits chosen as follows:

  • PHYS 112 Fundamentals of Physics I
  • PHYS 113 Fundamentals of Physics II
  • PHYS 201 Wave Phenomena and Introduction to Modern Physics

Chose eight credits from the following (at least one 300-level):

  • PHYS 120 Materials: Properties (2 credits)
  • PHYS 121 Materials: Structure (2 credits)
  • PHYS 220 Materials Modeling (2 credits)
  • PHYS 233 The Physics of Medical Imaging
  • PHYS 245 Biophysics
  • PHYS 226 Electrical, Magnetic, and Elastic Properties of Materials
  • PHYS 300 Mechanics
  • PHYS 305 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 310 Material Research Methods I
  • PHYS 311 Materials Research Methods II
  • PHYS 331 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • PHYS 332 Quantum Mechanics and Molecular Structure
  • PHYS 333 Advanced Topics in Modern Physics

Research and internships are key elements of our program. You'll grow in skill level and confidence as you master applied physics in the classroom, at the bench and out in the field.

Our students:

  • Conduct independent research as a senior and write a thesis
  • Are awarded summer fellowships
  • Attend graduate or medical school

Recent REU programs and summer fellowship sites that students attended:

  • University of Washington
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Columbia University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Oregon State
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of Colorado
  • Cornell University

Our physics majors/minors recently attended or are attending graduate programs or medical school at:

  • Auburn University
  • University of Western Australia
  • NY Medical College
  • Columbia University
  • Northeastern University
  • McGill University
  • Tufts University
  • George Washington University
  • Washington University
  • University of Oregon
  • Boston University
  • Emory University School of Medicine

Student thesis topics since 2004

  • Degradation of [Ir(ppy)2(dtb-bpy)]PF6, Heather Bankowski
  • A Study of Thermal Noise for Enhanced LIGO, Lucienne Merrill. (The experimental work was carried out at MIT under the supervision of Dr. Gregg Harry.)
  • A Green Process to Depolymerize PLA, Jennifer Boice.
  • Characterization of Poly(lactic acid) in Various Standard Acidic Conditions by Scanning Electron Microscopy, Lauren Morrell.
  • Microfluidics: Electrowetting, Regina Yopak
  • Panasonic Research Laboratories Internship, Juliana Barile.* This work was done at under the direction of the company's research scientists.) The work was proprietary (as is the title)
  • Dynamic light scattering analysis of aggregation processes in ß-amyloid fibrils, Kathy Chaurasiya.
  • Templating the growth and nucleation of calcium oxalate monohydrate on gold via microcontact printing, Tania M. Cabrera.
  • Identification of steroids by post-source decay fragmentation MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, Sheri Benson.
  • Synthesis and Aggregation of New Colloidal Particles, Pamela Sahota.
  • Synthesis, Characterization and Use of Bipyridyl Ruthenium Complexes in Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, Erica Gunn.
  • Characterization of an FSIR Sensor, Emily Coombs
  • A Validation of Two Forensic Procedures for the Detection of Salivary Amylase, Hannah Knowles

So you know that Simmons is a great place to be, you've learned about our programs, maybe even come for a you're ready to apply! Let's get started.

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