At Willamette, physics students tickle atoms with light and freeze molecules to explore quantum physics; use the observatory at Zena Forest to discover what’s happening inside a variable star; and wield lasers to explore the inner workings of molecular motor proteins.

The physics department’s large number of ongoing research programs is rare for a small liberal arts college like Willamette. Through projects that often start in their freshman year and culminate in a full senior year of independent research, students enjoy the exceptional opportunity to hone their skills in experimental physics. This takes place in Willamette’s renowned, friendly and collaborative environment. Faculty members mentor, inspire and challenge students — and show they enjoy teaching introductory classes as much as upper-level, specialty topic courses.

Students curious about how the universe works will find answers here. The knowledge, skills and experience they acquire will open up a world of exciting possibilities in diverse career fields.