Physics faculty offices and laboratories are housed in the Hall of Science. Laboratories include those for general physics, electronics, the advanced physics lab, and a modern optics lab. Additional lab space is available for student research and projects. The department also supports a machine and carpentry shop, and an optical observatory on the roof of the building.
All laboratories use computers for some part of their operation. The general physics lab has eight PC’s using PASCO interfaces for computer data acquisition. Electronic circuit simulation with Electronics Workbench software is used in the electronics course. And the advanced physics laboratory uses computers for data acquisition via standard A/D boards, and for experiment control via the IEEE bus with HP instrumentation and industry standard LabVIEW software. All lab computers are part of the campus network.
Recent NSF ILI and state grants have resulted in new instrumentation for all of the labs. The department is well equipped with the basic instrumentation for undergraduate physics experimentation including digital oscilloscopes, synthesizers, counters, pulsers, nuclear instrumentation, power supplies, magnets, and meters. In addition, the department supports an optics/photonics laboratory for the study of optics and optical materials.
The department also maintains an observatory with a 16′ dome housing a computer-controlled 16″ DFM cassegrain telescope, along with a Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG) ST-1001E large format, megapixel CCD camera. The system is completely automated including dome rotation, and can be operated from a warm room inside the building. Dedicated computers for image processing and analysis are also available.
With grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the physics department hosts a high-performance computer server for numerical simulations and computationally intensive data analysis. Students learn how to use scientific computing software, such as Matlab and Mathematica, which are widely used in academia and industry.
All facilities are available for the express purpose of teaching students and for student undergraduate research.