Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 619-5106
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Website Update

Greetings from Department Chair Karl Saunders 2018

Karl Saunders

Dear Friends of the Physics Department, 

I write to you as the new department chair, having stepped into Bob Echols’ big shoes, and would like to start by thanking and commending Bob for his dedicated service as chair.

I am thrilled to share news of three prestigious awards received by professors Brian Granger, Stephanie Wissel and Themis Mastoridis. These three provide perfect examples of the Physics Department’s active engagement in expanding human understanding of the universe. 

Stephanie works at the frontier of particle physics studying high-energy neutrinos, a topic that saw groundbreaking discoveries this year. Brian co-leads an international software development team that has created Project Jupyter, the go-to tool for data analysis in research, education, journalism and industry. Themis’ computer models will contribute to the coming upgrade to the world’s largest particle collider at CERN. 

With such accomplished faculty leading the way, our undergraduate research experiences continue to shine. Over the last summer, 82 students engaged in hands-on research with 25 of our faculty members. Projects ranged from the evolution of galaxies to biosensing with carbon nanotubes, and took place in locations from right here on campus, to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, to deep underground at CERN in Switzerland. 

Not only are our students doing this world-class research, but they are also presenting their results at international conferences and as coauthors of journal publications. We are so proud to provide our students such authentic, start-to-finish research experiences. 

Moreover, I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to us that 43 of our summer research students were supported by the generosity of donors. Without the generosity of all of our donors, we simply could not provide our students with such amazing classroom, laboratory and research experiences. 

Excellent curricular instruction also continues to be a point of pride for our faculty, staff and, more recently, for the large number of our majors who serve as Learning Assistants. Our LAs help students succeed in the classroom while also learning and growing as teachers themselves.

We know our alumni are making contributions to the world, and we’d love to hear about them. If you’re ever on campus, drop by the department office in the Baker Center.


Please keep in touch,

Karl Saunders

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