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Why Physics?

Physics is everywhere!


Physics describes the world around us, from explaining the workings and making possible the conveniences of our modern world - smart phones, GPS, e-Books - to describing the motions of the galaxies in our universe.  Physicists enjoy asking questions (and are hopefully able find the answers!) about the world around us.  Their studies range from the tiniest particles of matter to the largest objects in our universe.

Physics underlies all other basic sciences.  It is the basis for much of technology because it is concerned with the most fundamental aspects of matter and energy and the laws that govern their interactions.  Scientists in other fields use the knowledge discovered by physicists to guide them in the study of their respective disciplines.  Much of the technological equipment and techniques used by other scientists were originally developed by physicists, such as x-rays, lasers, and MRI's.  From saving lives, to saving our environment, to promoting knowledge in other areas of sciences, physicists are key players in our future.  It will be you, the physics students of today, who will make contributions to improving the quality of life in many, many areas. 

Physics provides an in-depth understanding of how the physical world works.  It is intellectually stimulating and is a springboard for a rich diversity of career paths.  While nearly 2/3 of all physics majors go on to advanced degrees, students are by no means limited to traditional physics or astronomy research after graduation.  A remarkable variety of doors are open to physics majors.  Your skills and experiences are transferable to many other careers including engineering, medicine, patent law, education, biophysics, management, and journalism.  You might even consider starting your own company.  With your technical knowledge you could be poised to become an extremely successful entrepreneur in the ever-growing arena of high-tech business.

A major in physics will provide you with cognitive skills and intellectual discipline.  In a recent AIP (American Institute of Physics) report, roughly 90% of all physics majors said that the most commonly used skill at work is problem solving.  This was well ahead of computer skills and advanced mathematics.  These skills will help you acquire knowledge as your interests evolve during your lifetime and they will help you to react quickly to changes in the demands of the technical work place.

Where can you get more information?
Students interested in learning more about physics, what courses are available and what employment opportunities they may have, are encouraged to meet with one of the department members.  Any of the faculty members would be more than happy to discuss options and tailor a personalized program of classes and research.

If you want to learn more about what the physics majors do with their spare time here at DePauw, check out the Society of  Physics Students.  They regularly host seminars (both faculty and student speakers), go on field trips, and have lots of fun!



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