Why Study Physics?
Physics is the examination of the natural world at its most fundamental level, serving as the foundation for all of science and engineering. But, more than anything, physics is a way of thinking that aims to understand complex phenomena from first principles. This is why you will find physicists working in nearly every field and industry. A major or minor in physics will cultivate strong analytic and research skills that can lead to a wide variety of careers and graduate programs:
Careers focused on basic and applied research in astrophysics and space science, atomic and nuclear physics, photonics, medical physics, computational physics, biophysics, mathematics and statistics, material science, quantum information science, and geophysics.
Engineering careers in a variety of disciplines, such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, nuclear engineering, aerospace engineering, manufacturing/design engineering, and systems engineering.
Careers in the education profession, such as K-12 teachers, community college and university professors, and education research.
Careers in the business and financial sectors, such as quantitative economics, business analytics, technical consulting, product development, and other entrepreneurial activities.
Careers in computational fields like software engineering, data analytics, computational science, quantum computing, and data visualization.
Graduate education at the Master's and Ph.D. level in a variety of fields, such as theoretical and experimental physics, mathematics, chemistry, astrophysics, biophysics, neuroscience, computational and data science, and many engineering specializations.
The following links provide valuable information pertaining to careers accessible to physics majors: APS - Why study physics?, APS - Careers in physics, AIP - Career statistics, and SPS - Career resources.
Quantum Optics Laboratory
The physics department houses a quantum optics laboratory in which students use a 405 nm laser to create photons through a process known as parametric down-conversion. Using research-grade single-photon detectors, students probe some of the most counterintuitive features of quantum theory, such as superposition and entanglement. It is these phenomena that are exploited in the rapidly emerging field of quantum technology, which promises revolutionary computational power, unconditionally secure cryptography, and dramatically improved magnetometers, gravimeters, and atomic clocks.
Geographic Information Systems Laboratory
The GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Laboratory is designed for collaborative research that makes use of remote sensing techniques and satellite-based and aircraft-based datasets to study environmental systems. Students learn to use industry-standard software (ArcGIS Pro) to implement various mapping and machine learning techniques to search for relationships among natural systems, such as geographic variation in the mating signals of birds to examine evolutionary trends and climate effects revealed by the relationship between forest structure and albedo, along with multiple geophysics applications. This laboratory allows physics majors to apply their knowledge across traditional disciplines while being accessible and relevant to students from a variety of majors and grade levels.
The Izart Observatory is the home of astronomy at Saint Anselm College and is only a short walk from the Goulet Science Center. The observatory houses the department’s collection of optical and radio telescopes and is the site of many events throughout the semester, ranging from course-related observing exercises to public observing nights and lectures.
Hands-on experience is helpful to many students making the transition from college into the workforce or graduate school. Our paid internship program aims to make this process as easy as possible by giving students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in private industry, research laboratories, and academic institutes. Often our students participate in research over the summer at Saint Anselm College or at another institution as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU program). In addition, students have earned academic credit while interning at the UMass Lowell Radiation Lab, DEKA Research & Development Corp., ENCON Evaporators, Merrill Lynch, and Next Step. For more information, please contact Professor Guerra.
Throughout the semester the physics department hosts leading scientists from many different fields of physics, astronomy, and engineering to discuss their research with our students. This creates the opportunity for students to engage with researchers in a small personal setting, leading to conversations about their work and career path.
Society of Physics Students
SPS is both a branch of the National Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the on-campus Physics Club. Members can get involved with our physics communities both locally and on the national scale through planning physics-based events and accessing various internships, networking opportunities, and scholarships. With events such as movie watch parties, collaborations with other clubs, astronomy telescope nights, inviting speakers to talk about physics and career opportunities, SPS creates a strong community for anyone involved in the department!
The Saint Anselm Physics Department is proud to support our students in a variety of learning opportunities that encourage them to apply their skills off-campus. This includes the ability to travel and participate in national physics and astronomy conferences and the option to gain work experience off-campus through our internship program.