About Physics

The basic science

Physics is the most basic science of the universe. It involves the study of everything in physical existence, from the smallest subatomic particles to the entire universe as a whole. This includes studies of the natural laws which govern, for example, all chemical, biological, nuclear, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and gravitational processes. Since these laws are the basis for all sciences, a B. S. degree in physics provides a solid foundation from which to launch almost any career in a scientific or technical area.

Other Sources of Information about Physics

What can you expect?

Students who major in physics at Tennessee Technological University have the opportunity to learn their physics in small classes, all taught by Ph. D. physicists. Students also have easy access to the faculty outside of class. This tutorial atmosphere allows for a great deal of personal attention to be given to each student, an environment which is further enhanced through student participation in research. A study room is available in the department for students majoring in physics; this allows 24-hour access to a quiet study area and to two Internet-connected personal computers.

Each student is carefully and individually advised to assure that he/she receives the best possible preparation, at the proper pace, for his/her career and life objectives and completes the program of study in a timely manner.


Student Achievements

The quality of our program can be judged from the achievements of our students.

  • In 1986 one of our graduates was selected as one of five finalists for the prestigious Apker Award, the only national award for outstanding research achievements in physics by an undergraduate student. No other Tennessee institution, public or private, has produced an Apker Award Finalist.
  • In 1997, one of our majors was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship after a highly competitive, nationwide evaluation.
  • Also in 1997, an alumnus flew as a NASA payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia,
  • In 2002 another major spent his junior year engaged in study and research at Oxford University in England and then went on to complete his PhD there.
  • In 2006 another alumnus was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award in recognition of his work at Oak Ridge National Lab.
  • Our graduates have been accepted for admission into some of the finest physics graduate programs in the country, including Duke, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Yale, SUNY-Stony Brook, Notre Dame, UC Berkeley, Oxford (UK) and others.
  • A 1960 graduate rose to become CEO of aerospace companies McDonnell Douglas and, later, Boeing.
  • In 1990, one of our graduates became the first ever female assistant managing editor at the New York Times newspaper.
  • Other physics graduates have been employed by high-tech corporations such as IBM and Texas Instruments.