Welcome . . .

to the UWRF Physics Department, part of the University of Wisconsin System's Center of Excellence for Undergraduate Physics and Chemistry. 

We are dedicated to helping students learn physics by providing a rigorous curriculum within a supportive environment.

Our mission includes excellent teaching, individualized advising, quality scholarship and public outreach.  (Prospective student letter)document

Latest News . . .

UWRF's Direct Measurement Videos make a Splash

Matt Vonk (UWRF Physics) and Peter Bohacek (Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, MN) have teamed up to make what they call Direct Measurement Videos, or DMV's, which are short videos of real events that are shot in such a way (high resolution, good lighting, fast frame-rates, uncluttered backgrounds, appropriate camera angles, etc.) so that students can make measurements from them.  

Dr. Vonk describes it this way, "Instead of handing students a word problem that describes a car skidding on the ice, we actually take a car out and slide it on the ice."  From rocket launches, to water jetpacks, to rollercoaster loop-the-loops, the DMV video collectionlink has steadily grown since the project received a National Science Foundation grant in the fall of 2013.  

The DMV's were featured in MIT's free online Mechanics Review MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) led by Nobel Laureate Dave Pritchard. 

The project was recently featuredlink on National Public Radio's Marketplace.  

DMV's are also available on the course management platform WebAssign, one of the leaders in the industry.  

"I'm really excited about how quickly the project has taken off" said Vonk, "and it provides such a nice complement to the transition to active learning that is happening in the introductory mechanics classes at UWRF."  

In the future, Vonk hopes to make the videos even more interactive by allowing students to change important parameters (mass, radius, etc) and to branch off into other disciplines like geology and biology.  "Physics is everywhere" he adds, "we just have to make it visible." 

"First Mondays Under the Dome"

Planetarium presentations will be given on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 PM.  The presentations are free, open to the public, and suitable for all ages.  Seating is limited to 50 people.

Undergraduate Astrophysics Research Bloglink - Summer 2014

Physics World 2013 Breakthrough of the Year

On Friday, December 13, 2013, London-based publication Physics World honored IceCube as the 2013 Breakthrough of the Yearlink for the first observation of cosmic neutrinos and success in construction of the observatory.  Physics World hosted a Google hangout Friday at 4pm UTC/10am CST with Francis Halzen in Madison, Wisconsin and James Roth at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.  The hangout is archived on their youtube pagelink.

UWRF ranks in top 10% nationally for future Physics PhDs (9th of 221 public non-PhD, 24th of 279 public incl. Engineering PhDs, 70th of 795 overall) from NSF data 1966-2009.

UWRF earned 3rd place in Wisconsin's 2013 NASA Collegiate Rocket Competition, engineering division, and won 1st place in the 2011 non-engineering division. Two teams are currently designing rockets for the 2014 event.

UWRF hosted the Science Olympiad Border Battle, Jan. 26, 2014.

Check the Astronomy Talks and Observatory Scheduledocument for our next stargazing session.

Scholarship opportunities exist to help support your studies. 

What does a physics major do?

Check out the incredibly diverse careers using physicslink.

 Angela Ludvigsen working with Argon Laser

Conducting research on individual water droplets using the argon laser.

Monday, November 3 - 7:00 PM

"First Mondays Under the Dome, Planets" - Planetarium, Agricultural Science Building,

Monday, December 1 - 7:00 PM

"First Mondays Under the Dome - Constellations: Circumpolar and Zodiac" - Planetarium, Agricultural Science Building