Vintage airplanes in flight during fall.


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. 

Latest News . . .

Astrophysics Internships at UW-River Fallslink

UW-River Falls Physics alumna Yvette Richardson published in Physics Today - "What we know and don't know about tornado formation"link

UW-River Falls named in American Physical Society list of Highest Numbers of Undergraduate Physics Degree Institutions 2010-2012document

National Science Teachers Association Reports "The Evolution of Upward Bound".document  UW-River Falls Physic department Chair, Jim Madsen and Steve Stevenoski are featured under "Sophisticated STEM"document

"First Mondays Under the Dome"document

Presentations are given in the UW-River Falls Planetarium 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. Recent and/or upcoming titles:
March 2 - Constellations: Spring and Summer
April 6 
- Galaxies
May 4 - Constellations: Southern Hemisphere

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." 

Undergraduate Astrophysics Research Bloglink - Summer 2014

UWRF hosted the Science Olympiad Border Battle, January 25, 2015.

Check the Observatory & Stargazing Information page for scheduled astronomy talks and stargazing sessions.

Scholarship opportunities exist to help support your studies. 

What does a physics major do?

Check out the incredibly diverse careers using physicslink.

Contact Us

Physics Department
Phone: 715-425-3235
Fax:   715-425-0652