Physics Major

Study the fundamental properties of energy, matter and the universe using some of the most advanced equipment available to undergraduate students.

Our innovative curriculum explores topics ranging from “the six ideas that shaped physics” and the physics of music to general relativity and cosmology. Theses are required, and majors are encouraged to elect independent research projects.

A highlight of our department is the incredible access students have to research-grade equipment including the Table Mountain 1-meter telescope, a scanning electron microscope and a tunneling microscope.

To meet diverse interests, the physics major includes multiple tracks: physics, astrophysics, astronomy, and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences.

Our graduates are problem-solvers and include research scientists, astronomers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, computer programmers and movie technicians.

Prof. David Tanenbaum discusses the benefits of the Physics and Astronomy Department.
In class with Professor Thomas Moore
In class with Professor Thomas Moore
Adaptive optics research with Professor Philip Choi
Adaptive optics research with Professor Philip Choi
In the lab with Professor Dwight Whitaker
In the lab with Professor Dwight Whitaker

What You’ll Study

    • Current models in both Classical and Quantum Mechanics
    • Topics in Electricity and Magnetism, and Statistical Mechanics
    • A broad range of experimental and data-analysis techniques
    • Design and construction of circuits and experimental devices
    • Research methods for conducting and presenting research clearly, logically and ethically 
The new Millikan Hall, a state-of-the-art home for Physics and Astronomy, opened in 2015.

Researching at Pomona

Rohan Lopez ’22

Toroidal Air Plasma Project

Rohan Lopez ’22 [pictured] and Jeremy Adams ’21 have been working on a toroidal air plasma project for the past few years. Last year, they determined the optimal configurations for vortex ring formation and maximum thrust for applications in small spacecraft propulsion.

Christina Dong ’22

Speckle Imaging

Christina Dong ’22 participated virtually in an NSF REU at Harvey Mudd College with Professor Josh Brake at the Biophotonics Lab. With other REU and HMC students, they started a project to create a speckle imaging system that could image through scattering media. Speckle imaging is a type of computational imaging system, which images things without a lens and utilizes a computer to reconstruct an image of an object.

Yaru Luo
Yaru Luo '24

As an FLI student, I deeply care about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), particularly towards making this field accessible to students of minority backgrounds, and this is a value that the Physics Department shares. It’s really easy to feel daunted by such a white- and male-dominated field like physics and self-select out of it, but I have felt supported by department-wide curriculum and student-driven initiatives that seek to acknowledge these issues of DEI in physics.

Faculty & Teaching

Our eight permanent faculty do research in a variety of areas, including nanotechnology, Bose-Einstein condensates, biophysics and observational astrophysics using both ground-based and space telescopes.

Professor Thomas Moore

Being a physics or astronomy major means discovering how a handful of deep physical principles illuminates the universe at levels ranging from the subatomic to the cosmic. During this voyage, a major also learns powerful thinking and problem-solving skills applicable to every area of life, becoming empowered to embrace the whole incredible universe and say, ‘This truly amazing place is my home.’