Physics Department Undergraduate Newsletter


posted August 20, 2019 (last updated on August 20, 2019)

(items added since the original posting date are marked in red)

(Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, G. Chottiner at , for more information about any of these postings or to submit additional items.)


Department News

Jobs - General Information

Alumni News
Course & Program Announcements Jobs -  academic year Standing News
Meetings, Conferences, Professional Societies, etc. Jobs - on campus, summer Old News
Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, Contests, etc.
Jobs - off campus, summer LINKS
Fellowships & Scholarships for life after CWRU Jobs - permanent HUMOR
Graduate School Information Jobs - co-op  


(posted August 19) COMINGS & GOINGS

We welcome Prof. Shulei Zhang to our faculty this fall. Prof. Zhang is a condensed matter theorist; you can read more about his interests at  He will be teaching PHYS 481, Quantum Mechanics I, this fall.

Prof. Petschek retired (to Maine) this summer.

Professor Cyrus Taylor resigned as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the beginning of this calendar year. He continues as a member of the Department of Physics but is on leave for the fall 2019 semesters.  He will be teaching PHYS 324, Electricity & Magnetism I, in spring 2020.

(posted August 19)

The new May semester study abroad course: "Science and Technology in France:  Yesterday and Today", PHYS 333 and crosslists will be offered again in May, 2020.  Prof. Charles Rosenblatt (PHYS) and  Prof. Cheryl Toman (DMLL) jointly teach this short-term study abroad course that is an exploration of the development of science and technology in France, its rise in the 18th and 19th century, its subsequent decline until the mid-20th century, and its more recent renaissance -- from both a scientific and humanities perspective. A significant component focuses on the contributions of women to science in France. Students visit historical sites such as Marie Curie's, Gustave Eiffel's, and Louis Pasteur's laboratories and the Foucault pendulum, as well as current research facilities such as the Soleil Synchrotron outside of Paris and the Large Hadron Collider in France / Switzerland.  To supplement these site visits, readings will come from the fields of science and technology (e.g., popular journals such as Scientific American), history, and French literature, either in French or English translation as appropriate for the student. There is no French language proficiency required. This course also counts for Global and Cultural Diversity credit.  Please see or contact Prof. Rosenblatt for details.


(posted July 3)
Prof. Kathleen Kash stepped down as department chair effective June 30 and she will be on leave for the fall 2019 semester. Replacing her required two people!  Copied below is a message sent by our new co-chairs, Profs. Corbin Covault and Glenn Starkman.

_ _ _

Broadly, on matters pertaining to strategic direction and how the department interacts with the external world - other departments, the College, the rest of the University, ... - Glenn will take the lead.   On internal matters, Corbin will take the lead. Exactly where those divisions fall will become clearer over the course of the next few months.    Of course, on many matters, both of us will be involved, and, whenever one of us is unavailable, the other will be fully empowered to act.  As we wrote, please regard us as we do each other as equal partners.
In order to facilitate this arrangement, we have set up two email aliases:   - will be delivered to Kim Chapple.  Kim will read the email and send it on to whichever of us she believes is most appropriate.  We expect that, since she will do this on a daily basis, she will quickly be better at making this determination than any of us.  Our goal is that communications sent to this email will be responded to by one or the other of us within one business day.  Please note that that means that neither Kim nor we will respond over the weekend as a matter of course.  - will be delivered to Kim, Corbin and Glenn.  We ask that this pleased be used only for truly urgent matters that requires our attention before the next business day.
If there is a confidential (as opposed to urgent) matter that, for some reason, cannot be shared with Kim, then and only then please email us directly at and   Hopefully this will minimize the possibility of important business falling through the cracks by getting buried in our individual email accounts.
We expect that we will use the Chair's office for all departmental business, while each retaining our research offices for our other responsibilities. We would very much like to make this a clear separation, and it will help us to serve you better as co-chairs.  Therefore, for non-urgent department business, please use the physics-chair email address rather than tracking one of us down in our research offices.  We have promised one another that people who forget this request will be gently reminded of its importance to us and to the smooth functioning of the department.
We are optimistic that this division of responsibilities will allow greater opportunity for both urgent and important departmental business to get done.
This seems particularly important at a time when strategic decisions are being made within the university, and when it is crucial that the department
move forward energetically and strategically on many fronts.   We look forward to working together with all of you - students, staff, faculty - over the coming months and years.
Your new co-chairs,
Corbin and Glenn

(posted May 24, 2019 & updated July 3) From the May 23 The Daily: Phase transitions: the math behind the music
Next time you listen to a favorite tune or wonder at the beauty of a natural sound, you might also end up pondering the math behind the music. You will, anyway, if you spend any time talking with Jesse Berezovsky, an associate professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University. The longtime science researcher and a part-time viola player has become consumed with understanding and explaining the connective tissue between the two disciplines—more specifically, how the ordered structure of music emerges from the general chaos of sound.

See also

and the actual paper:

From the June 28 The Daily: Statistical mechanics meets music theory

Physics Today: Jesse Berezovsky, associate professor of physics, conducted research explaining patterns found in music.
(posted May 17, 2019) From the May 17 The Daily: Philip Taylor receives Hovorka Award
Philip Taylor's legacy at Case Western Reserve University would be secure even if only reckoned by sheer numbers: The award-winning renowned scientist-researcher has been on the faculty for 55 years - for more than a quarter of the 193-year-old institution's existence, as he likes to point out. But raw data-even if extraordinary-can't capture the career and charisma of this 81-year-old theoretical physicist, who also has a penchant for words and a lyricist's wit. Taylor is already a Distinguished University Professor, who has mentored more than 50 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and is a frequently published scientist with a half-dozen physics terms bearing his name, including the "Taylor Singularity." Now, Taylor has been named the 2019 winner of the Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize, an award presented annually to an active or emeritus faculty member whose exceptional achievements in teaching, research and scholarly service have benefited the community, nation and world. Taylor will be honored during commencement Sunday, May 19.


(posted May 1, 2019)

Professor Brown requested the posting of a picture of the lunch he hosts each semester for his PHYS 339 seminar class. The picture caption is "Once again this class was fed up, this time at the famous Tommy's on Coventry!"


(posted April 22, 2019) From the April 22 The Daily: "What is inside a black hole?"
Reader's Digest: Benjamin Monreal, associate professor of physics, commented on the importance of the first photo ever captured of a black hole, as well as what astrophybelieve is insidsicists e a black hole.
(posted April 19, 2019) From the April 19 The Daily: "Senior Megan Masterson wins prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship"
To senior Megan Masterson, astronomy is "curiosity about the world on the largest scales." That curiosity has driven her studies at Case Western Reserve University in the classroom, in the lab and through outreach efforts. Masterson, who will graduate from Case Western Reserve University in May with degrees in astronomy and mathematics and physics, will delve even deeper into the subject next year at the University of Cambridge's Churchill College, thanks to a prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship. Earlier this year, Masterson was named one of 34 students in the United States to earn the scholarship, which emphasizes academic intellectual ability, leadership potential and social commitment.
(posted April 11, 2019) From the April 11 The Daily: "A physics master's degree opens doors to myriad careers"
Our department's Ed Caner is quoted in an article that appeared in Physics Today: Ed Caner, director of Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Programs and instructor of physics, talked about the university's master's degree in physics for entrepreneurship and the types of students the program attracts. See
(posted April 10, 2019)
Raymond Adkins earned a B.S. degree in our department in spring of 2018, after which he headed to the University of California at Santa Barbara to study experimental biophysics. Raymond informed us yesterday that he has earned a prestigious   National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, telling Prof. Rosenblatt "I am sure that the research experience that I gained working with you helped immensely."



(posted August  20, 2019)

If you are interested in a combined bachelors/masters degree at CWRU, you should be aware that the state of Ohio is requiring changes in how those programs are handled.  The details are not yet settled but the good news is that all current CWRU students will be allowed to follow the policies currently in place; only students who matriculate in or after fall 2020 will have to follow the new policies.


(posted August  20, 2019)

The May study abroad course  "Science and Technology in France:  Yesterday and Today", taught by Prof. Rosenblatt and Prof. Cheryl Toman, now has a physics designation:  PHYS 333.  Students may register using this designation, or the FRCH, WLIT, or WGST designations.  Please contact Prof. Rosenblatt for details.


(posted May 7, 2019)

Effective for the entering class of fall 2019, the requirements for our BS degree in physics, including the mathematical physics and biophysics concentrations, have been reduced from 127 to 120 credits, the same as for our BA degree.  This change was motivated by a recommendation of the Provost's Commission on the Undergraduate Experience that departments reduce the academic requirements of our BS degrees.  A similar change for the BS in Mathematics and Physics is in process.  Students who matriculated at CWRU before fall 2019 can switch to a newer set of policies by changing the Requirement Term in the Major Declaration Form .  The reduction in credits comes at the expense of Open Electives that students were formerly required to take just so they could accumulate 127 total credits.  Physics BS majors are still welcome to take additional open elective courses of their choosing but this is no longer a degree requirement.


(posted March 13, 2019)
We have received formal approval to offer PHYS 321, Advanced Computational Physics, in fall, 2019. Dr. Copi will teach this course, which builds on the content of PHYS 250.


( posted January 3, 2018)

The department's collection of academic advising wisdom posted at was updated on December 1, 2017.


(posted July 7, 2011)

There's a new resource available to our majors. Syllabi for physics courses are now being archived at You can search for syllabi by course, instructor and/or semester. Links to this resource will be available via the course listing page.


Students often request changes in course schedules. The instructor is free to change the schedule as long as all the students enrolled in the course (or likely to enroll) agree to the new time; this time must also fit the official university course time slots, which you can view at . Since it is generally very difficult to find a time that works for all the parties; the instructor may ask the student(s) requesting the schedule change to do much of the work of finding a mutually acceptable time.


If you have questions about what physics courses are likely to be offered in the coming academic year, you can ask the Director of Undergraduate Studies, G. Chottiner, or the Director of Graduate Studies, C. Covault. Most courses that are required for a degree are offered every year during the same fall and/or spring semester. We try to offer other courses on a regular schedule but sometimes changes are necessary to accommodate the availability of faculty to teach those courses. You can review the normal schedule via the online schedule of classes, which shows whether each class was offered at some particular time.

Meetings, Conferences, Professional Societies, etc.

Watch this space for announcements of meetings and AIP/APS postings relevant to Case undergraduates.  Many meetings are still announced via paper.  Postings for these meetings can be found on bulletin boards throughout the department. Regular meetings of the American Physical Society, including its Ohio Chapter, and other professional societies may be accessed via their web sites (listed at the end of this newsletter ).
(posted April 9, 2019)
The AIP Statistical Research Center has released the 2019 Women in Physics and Astronomy Report, an update of the 2005 Women in Physics and Astronomy Report.   This report provides a comprehensive overview of the representation and participation of women in physics and astronomy fields.  It examines representation of women across multiple academic stages including high school physics enrollment, bachelor's and doctoral degree completions, and faculty employment.  In addition, the report identifies potential points of attrition between academic career stages, and provides updated data on the representation of minority women. For the first time, the report has included new analyses comparing employment outcomes between men and women in salary, job satisfaction, opportunities, family influences, and resources.  

(March 5, 2019)
The AIP Statistical Research Center recently published three Spring 2019 Physics Trends flyers: Who's hiring Physics Bachelors? ; Common Job titles of new physics bachelors ; What Physics PhDs are doing the year after they get their degree. You can view these flyers at,65RKJ,EMUF06,O8DR7,1

(October 29, 2018)
The AIP Statistical Research Center recently posted two new publications. Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2017  and 
Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2017 . These reports provide a detailed, department by department listing, with Fall 2017 enrollments and 2016-17 degree data for each degree-granting physics and astronomy department in the US.

(October 22, 2018)
Several CWRU physics physics majors will be attending the annual Women in Physics Conference from Friday, January 18 through Sunday afternoon, January 20, 2019.  The Midwest site this year is Michigan State University. See for more details.

Two faculty members and at least two physics majors plan to attend the 2018 National Society of Black Physicists Annual Meeting on November 4-7 in Columbus, OH. See  for more details.

Undergraduate physics majors are encouraged to join the Society of Physics Students; you can learn more about this organization at .

Some students will be interested in special groups of physic students and physicists, such as:
The Women in Physics program of the American Physical Society -
The National Society of Black Physicists -
The National Society of Hispanic Physicists -
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society -

The American Physical Society , part of the American Institute of Physics is should be of interest to everyone studying physics in the US but other countries and regions have their own physics organizations.  For example:
The Physical Society of Japan -
The Chinese Physical Society -
The European Physical Society -

(posted April 20, 2018) From the AIP
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center has recently produced another set of Physics Trend Flyers. They cover which employers have recently hired new Physics PhDs.,typical starting salaries for physics bachelors and the representation of African-Americans among physics bachelor's degree recipients. You can find these flyers at,5L6HG,EMUF06,LPED3,1.

(posted December 27, 2016)

The Journal of Young Investigators, an Undergraduate Research Journal, is soliciting students to serve in executive and non-executive positions.  You can yearn more at .


(posted November 8, 2016) From the AIP
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication that may be of interest to you:  Physics Bachelors: One Year After Degree.

The year after receiving their degree, physics bachelors from the classes of 2013 and 2014 followed one of three main initial career paths:


(posted October 22, 2015) From Patrick Mulvey, Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics:
"The AIP Statistical Research Center has posted two new publications: Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2014 and Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollments and Degree Data, 2014 . These reports provide a detailed, department by department listing, with Fall 2014 enrollments and 2013-14 degree data for each degree-granting physics and astronomy department in the US."

You can access the data at .  Prof. Brown has scanned this data and reports " I looked at the list and per capita we would perhaps be in the top 5."  In other words, we have a lot of physics majors for a university our size.


(posted July 14, 2015) From the AIP

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication, Physics Bachelor's Initial Employment

This report looks at the initial employment of physics bachelor's from the classes of 2011 and 2012. 

Over half (61%) of new physics bachelor's who entered the workforce accepted positions in the private sector.  The majority of these positions were in STEM fields and had a median starting salary of $51,000.  In addition to sector, field of employment and salary, this focus on also presents data on, skills used in the work place and job satisfaction.

(posted January 26, 2015) From the AIP

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted two new reports on high school physics teachers:
  Who Teaches High School Physics?
  What High School Physics Teachers Teach

Approximately 27,000 teachers taught at least one physics class in US high schools during the 2012-13 school year. About one-third taught only physics courses; 40% taught a majority of their courses in a subject other than physics. 'Who Teaches High School Physics?' presents a closer look at the academic backgrounds of the teachers.

In 'What High School Physics Teachers Teach', we take a closer look at the types of physics classes and the classes in other subjects that high school physics teachers teach. We find that teachers with a degree in physics or physics education are likely to be teaching a majority of their classes in physics.

To read these reports, and others about high school physics in the US, please visit


(posted December 10, 2014)

From the American Institute of Physics

Physics Doctorates One Year After Degree This report examines what new physics PhDs are doing the year after receiving their degrees. New physics doctorates follow two main initial career paths: accept a temporary position (mostly postdocs) or accept a potentially permanent position. For the classes of 2011 and 2012 more than half (56%) of the new physics PhDs were employed in a postdoctoral fellowship in the winter following the year they received their degrees.


(posted July 7, 2014)

From the Institute for Broadening Participation.

The Institute for Broadening Participation is a National Science Foundation and NASA grantee working to promote resources for students in STEM. Their website,, features a wealth of programs, resources and search tools to help students bridge to future STEM opportunities including:

  650+ Paid summer research experiences for undergraduates
  300+ Graduate fellowships, mentoring and professional development opportunities
  250+ Post-doctoral opportunities

Sign up online (at to automatically receive information customized to your interests about funding, research and professional development opportunities and upcoming deadlines.


(posted January 28, 2014)

From the Society of Physics Students:

Toni Sauncy, PhD, Director, Society of Physics Students & Sigma Pi Sigma, American Institute of Physics, Education Division, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD, 20740, Tel: 301-209-3013, Email:, Web:


(posted January 8, 2014)

The AIP Statistical Research Center has recently posted a new publication: focus on MCAT, LSAT and Physics Bachelor's.  You can find the report at . This report shows that, as a group physics, physics bachelor's achieve very high scores on the MCAT and LSAT exams. A physics degree can be an excellent entry point for a wide range of programs outside of physics.


(posted November 13, 2013 ) From Patrick Mulvey, Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics

The Statistical Research Center has produced another set of Physics Trends flyers. The Fall 2013 flyers show:

1)  Physics bachelor's degrees hit new high
2)  Time to degree for physics and astronomy PhDs
3)  Type of initial employment accepted by new physics PhDs

You can view and download the flyers at:


(posted January 12, 2012 )

The Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics collects and posts information about the profession that should be of great interest to physics majors. These postings are updated regularly. Check it out at and view the collection of flyers at ; this includes

Starting salaries for physics degree recipients in the private sector.

Broad interests of physics students, a look at common double majors.

Trends in first-year graduate student enrollments at PhD-granting physics departments.

Starting salaries for recent physics bachelor's in five different employment sectors.

What physics bachelor's said about whether they would still major in physics if they had the opportunity to be undergraduates again.

The starting salaries for recent physics PhD's employed in five types of positions.

The number of PhD's awarded recently in a dozen subfields of physics.


(posted November 5, 2008 ) from the APS

To: Members of the American Physical Society
Thousands of physicists have now signed up for weekly email alerts from Physics , the new, free, online publication from the APS, and many more get timely notice of new features via RSS feeds. Your colleagues and fellow APS members have discovered the brief, clear, original commentary on exceptional papers from Physical Review Letters and the Physical Review series that you'll find in Physics. Expert-written commentaries, called Viewpoints, place selected PRL/PR papers in context and add explanatory detail; Trends provide a concise overview of an area of research which is of high, topical interest; Synopses summarize important papers that merit wider attention.
See for yourself whether Physics interests you:



If you find Physics worthwhile, please forward this message to your interested colleagues. To provide feedback on Physics, contact us at
Arthur Bienenstock
2008 APS President


Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, Contests, etc.

Physics majors are encouraged to apply for a variety of national and international awards and prizes. Many professional groups, such as the American Physical Society, have special awards for undergraduate physics majors for things like the best paper at a conference or the best thesis in some area.

The Office of Undergraduate Studies assists students in applying for prestigious national and international awards. You can learn more at  . The following physics majors have won such awards.


Megan Masterson, class of 2019, Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Megan Masterson, class of 2019, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention in 2018
David Hathcock, class of 2017, NSF Fellowship.
Benjamin Kuznets-Spect, class of 2018, Goldwater Scholar.
Nathaniel Starkman, class of 2018, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention in 2016 & 2017
Zaraah Mohamed, class of 2015, elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Todd Norton, class of 2014, Fulbright
Todd Norton, class 2014, Goldwater Scholarship
Jason Tabachnik, class 2013, Gates Cambridge Scholarship & Goldwater Scholarship
Bryan Weinstein, class 2012, DOE Graduate Scholarship
Stephen Fleming, class 2011, Churchill Scholarship
Gareth Kafka, class 2010, Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention
Michael Davidson, class 2008, Fulbright
Karen Vaughn, class 2008, NSF Fellowship & National Defense Fellowship
Amy Orsborn, class 2007, NSF Fellowship
Kristin Poinar, class 2007, NSF Fellowship
Stephanie Bush, class 2004, Goldwater Scholarship & Churchill Scholarship
Mark Winkler, class 2004, NSF Fellowship
Thomas Bing, class 2003, NSF Fellowship
David Hanneke, class 2001, DOD Graduate Fellowship
David Olson 2000 Goldwater Scholarship NSF Graduate Fellowship for Princeton
Dan Aubertine 1999 Goldwater Scholarship for Stanford (Mat. Sci.)
Neil Rubin, class 1997, Churchill Scholarship & NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford
Travis Brooks 1997 NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford
Erik Kangas 1995 NSF Graduate Fellowship for MIT
Darren Pierre 1994 NSF Graduate Fellowship for MIT
Erik Raines 1991 Churchill & NSF Graduate Fellowship for Harvard
Christopher Rella 1990 NSF Graduate Fellowship for Stanford


1995: Frederick Reines, professor and chair of physics.

1960: Donald Glaser (September 21, 1926 – February 28, 2013) was an American physicist, neurobiologist, and the winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the bubble chamber used in subatomic particle physics. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Glaser completed his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from Case School of Applied Science in 1946.

1955: Polkcarp Kusch, who earned a BS in physics in 1931.

1907: Albert Michelson (chair of the Department of Physics) is named first American scientist to win the Nobel Prize in physics.



2002 Richard Garwin, 1947 graduate of CIT,  "author of first hydrogen bomb design"


The Department of Physics awards various prizes to junior and senior majors. For a list of these awards dating back to 1994, see AwardsHistory.pdf. The following awards were given in the spring of 2019.

The Albert A. Michelson Prize awarded upon completion of the junior year to a physics major who has demonstrated superior performance to Rebecca Lalk, Hannah Messenger, Gundeep Singh & Brendan O'Donnell.

The Donald E. Schuele Award for an outstanding junior majoring in Engineering Physics to Shreyas Kamath.

The Richard F. Sigal Physics Scholarship to a physics student who has demonstrated excellence in their studies and intends to pursue a career in physics to  Joshua Holmes.

The Leslie L. Foldy Award to the outstanding senior in physics to Stephen Kerby.

The Donald A. Glaser Award to an outstanding mathematics and physics students to Megan Masterson, Calvin Pozderac & Foster Thompson.

The Elmer C. Stewart Memorial Award
to the outstanding senior in Engineering Physics to Theodor Letsou & Timothy Yee.

The Polykarp Kusch Prize to an outstanding senior in physics for the best thesis to Michael Douglass, Annika Gabriel, Stephen Kerby, Calvin Pozderac & Michael Saavedra

The Richard L. Garwin Award for service and scholarship in physics to Stephen Kerby.

The James C. Wyant Award for research accomplishments outside the senior project to Foster Thompson & Christopher Carr.


SOURCE   - The Office for Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors  is charged with supporting and promoting the research and creative efforts of our undergraduate students.  Dr. Sheila Pedigo   is the director. SOURCE offers various awards and prizes for activities they sponsor.

Graduate School Information

(posted August 24, 2018)

The CWRU Department of Physics offers a Master of Science in Physics, Entrepreneurship Track. The curriculum can be tailored to your personal needs, and includes a core sequence in innovation, technology commercialization, and venture finance. You will also have many opportunities to tackle real-world projects along the way. The program will connect you with mentors, advisors, partners, funding sources and job opportunities, as well as help you build a network of peers and professors that will last a lifetime. For more information, contact Ed Caner @ or visit

(posted December 14, 2012)

Don't forget to get your free physics GRE flash cards - see for details.

You can see where our majors have gone to graduate school at . The Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Chottiner, has a file that shows which of our majors were accepted or rejected from various graduate programs as a function of their GPA's and their GRE scores. Current majors may make an appointment with Prof. Chottiner to view this information in order to inform their decisions about where to apply. This file is not publicly available in order to protect the identies of students who contributed their personal information.

(posted October 20, 2014 ) From the AIP

The American Institute of Physics is pleased to announce that the 2015 edition of has been released online. The print directory 2015 Graduate Programs in Physics, Astronomy, and Related Fields will be shipped to your chapter in a couple of weeks. You can search, browse and view all the graduate program profiles at: . Othe useful information can be found at:

(posted April 14, 2014 )

If you would like more information about the physics GRE exams, check out the postings at

A faulty member at RPI has posted a presentation on GRE exams and graduate student admissions data at . This posting is similar to information presented in our PHYS 352 SAGES Department Seminar.

(posted April 15, 2014 )

Graduate School acceptance rates for almost 200 physics departments are posted at

(posted April 22, 2014 )

The AIP has recently posted a new report: focus on Graduate Physics Degrees: Largest Departments and Degree Distribution. This report examines the size of PhD and master's granting physics departments in the U.S. as measured by the number of graduate degrees awarded.  It also identifies the departments that recently awarded the most graduate degrees.  Physics PhD production has been increasing and there are now twice as many large departments (awarding 15 or more PhDs a year) than there were eight years earlier. 

You can access this report at

(posted August 25, 2010)

We were asked to post the following two links by someone who contacted the department by email. We don't know who is behind these web sites and whether they represent commercial interests, so approach these postings with the appropriate degree of caution.

Jobs  - School Year, Summer & 'Permanent'

General Information

Students looking for either summer or school-year jobs in the physics department should send a SHORT paragraph describing interests and experience. Be certain to mention if you are in the work/study program. You can email this information to . As Director of Undergraduate Studies, I maintain a database of students interested in jobs and forward this information to faculty and staff who contact me looking for student help.  I keep submissions for about one year. 

Many faculty do NOT contact me when they have open positions; rather they fill them with students who have contacted those faculty members directly.  Students should feel free to approach faculty and staff with whom they'd like to work - in fact, this is how most jobs are filled.  A personal contact, i.e. a knock on the door, is probably better than an email.  You should however, follow up with an email that reviews your interests and experience.

(March 11, 2019)
Joseph Corrigan of 'Ziprecruiter' occasionally provides updates regarding their job search app.  This app might be of interest to our majors and is available at,OH


(December 3, 2018)
The American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center recently updated their posting Who's Hiring Physics Bachelor's?This posting contains state by state lists of some of the employers who have recently hired new physics bachelor's.   The lists may be useful to job seekers in identifying the variety of companies that hire physics bachelor's and to physics departments wishing to strengthen contacts with local employers. You can find the state by state listing of employers at,5Z83A,EMUF06,NFC9Z,1 . Information about jobs for physics Ph.D.'s is available at,5Z83A,EMUF06,NFC9Z,1 .

(posted April 13, 2018)
The Society of Physics Students has announced a new "Careers Toolbox":  "The Careers Toolbox focuses on undergraduate physics students entering the workforce after graduation. But even students who choose to go to graduate school will eventually be looking for a job! Many of these tools can be applied to finding internships, research positions, or even entrance into graduate programs."  You can learn more at


(posted December 7, 2017)

The list-server we used in previous years to distribute job announcements sent to the department electronically has been replaced by a Goggle Group in which all current majors and minors are automatically enrolled.  If you are a graduate of our department and would like to have access to this group, contact G. Chottiner,

(posted December 7, 2017)


WHO'S HIRING!??!?!!? Of course physicists and other STEM professionals have a diverse range of talents, but WHERE can those skills be most appreciated? The Statistical Research Center (SRC) of the American Institute of Physics tracks employment trends at each degree level, compiling invaluable data by surveying hiring employers and recent degree recipients, among others.

Discover which employers recently hired physics bachelors, with detailed listings by state demonstrating exciting possibilities down the street, across the country, or somewhere in-between. If an advanced degree is your aim, or if you already have one, learn which employers recently hired new physics PhDs. This unique resource also includes information on job titles, sectors of employment, and skills frequently used by these scientists.

While earning an advanced degree may be years away, career planning is essential to career success! For a complete listing of available data on physics employment and careers, visit this section of the SRC website.


(posted April 26, 2017)

The AIP (American Institute of Physics) has published: Physics Bachelors: Initial Employment   This report looks at the initial employment of physics bachelors from the classes of 2013 and 2014. The private sector continues to hire the majority (65%) of new physics bachelors who enter the workforce.  The majority of these positions were in STEM fields and had a median starting salary of $55,000. In addition to sector, field of employment and salary, this report also presents data on, skills used in the work place and job satisfaction. 


(posted 12/8/2016)
See for a wide variety of career paths for physicists.


(posted November 30, 2016)

The AIP (American Institute of Physics) has a web page devoted to careers in physics; see .  This posting includes links to job postings, assistance in identifying positions in the workforce, profiles of physicists in various jobs and links to career advice from AIP member organizations in fields such as acoustics, medicine, astronomy and teaching.

(posted October 17, 2016) From today's The Washington Post

The article "Want college to pay off? These are the 50 majors with the highest earnings." lists physics as #16. Note, however, that most CWRU physics majors continue their studies and earn higher starting salaries.  See some of the postings below for details.

(posted January 6, 2016)

Undergraduate Intro Lab Helpers needed for the summer and following school year.  Responsibilities include setting up and tearing down the intro labs, fixing some broken equipment, making replacement parts, re-ghosting computers and keeping them running, troubleshooting equipment and computers.  A regular schedule and punctuality are a must. If you are interested, contact Diana Driscoll

You can see where our graduates have found jobs at

(updated September 14, 2015)

The Plain Dealer posted an article about the best and sorts majors for a lucrative career.  Physics was #6 or 128 majors. See .  The original article was a Kiplinger publication.  From :

Best College Majors for Your Career 2015-2016

6. Physics

slideshow image


Starting salary: $57,200

Mid-career salary: $105,100

Annual online job postings:72,732

Best related job: Physicist

Projected 10-year job growth:11.3%

It won't take much force to accelerate a physics major toward a lucrative career (regardless of his mass). While physicist may be the most obvious related occupation, you typically need to get an advanced degree to go that route. (Physicists do have a promising projected job growth rate and a generous median annual salary of more than $110,000.) Other jobs to consider with a bachelor's in physics include aerospace engineer, computer engineer or civil engineer - all of which offer above-average growth projections and pay.

Various physics classes -such as computational, modern and nuclear physics - obviously will fill your schedule. According to Payscale, other skills employees with bachelor's degrees in physics report using in their work include material science, strategic planning and C++ programming expertise.


(updated March 24, 2015)

The AIP's Statistical Research Center has posted a new report on its web site titled:  Fact Sheet - Connecting Physics Students to Career Opportunities.

This report is a guide created by the Career Pathways Project (CPP) and is designed to enhance the work being done by career services professionals with physics undergraduates and physics faculty members. This document provides tips on resume writing, identifies some of the skills developed during the typical undergraduate physics experience, lists common job titles held by recent physics bachelor's degree recipients, and offers suggestions for effective career advising of physics undergraduates.

The CPP was a collaboration of the Education Division and the Statistical Research Center, both of the American Institute of Physics.  The Career Pathways Project was supported by the National Science Foundation.

You can find this publication at:

Respectfully, Roman Czujko, Director, Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740


(posted February 24, 2015)

The Washington Post, on Feb. 23, published an article titled "These are the best college majors if you actually want a job after graduation". You can read it at


(posted October 21. 2014)

Physics Today has a jobs search resource Most of the listings are for faculty and postdoc positions but you can, for instance, search for summer jobs


(posted September 29. 2014)

The Washington Posted published an article today "Want proof college is worth it? Look at this list of the highest-paying majors". This article quotes a study that includes the chart shown below that shows the lifetime 'value' of a degree in physics. This chart only includes undergraduate degrees but most CWRU physics majors also earn a graduate degree in physics or some related field. This leads to an initial drop in lifetime earnings, which are relatively low while in graduate school, but also leads to a higher salary afterwards. You can compare the value of an advanced degree, which increases the (relative) earning power of most physicists, using the interactive app



(posted August 27, 2014) From The Washington Post, August 26, 2014

"The college majors most and least likely to lead to underemployment"



(posted July 9, 2012)

U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren't there

The title of this Washington Post article (July 7, 2012) certainly seems discouraging at first glance, but the article's focus is on the life sciences. The following paragraph is quite encouraging for physics majors:

"Two groups seem to be doing better than other scientists: physicists and physicians. The unemployment rate among those two groups hovers around 1 to 2 percent, according to surveys from NSF and other groups. Physicists end up working in many technical fields — and some go to Wall Street — while the demand for doctors continues to climb as the U.S. population grows and ages."


(posted June 20, 2012)

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes some interesting data; see . The BLS tracks wages in 800 possible fields. Physics comes in at #19. Use your physics background as a stepping stone into science management and you'll rise to #11. Note that 7 of the professions listed higher are in the medical field.

Highest Paying Occupations

Highest paying occupations: 20 occupations (out of ~ 800) with the highest median annual pay in 2010.


Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.

Physicians and Surgeons

Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.


Equal to or greater than $166,400 per year.

Chief Executives

$165,080 per year.

Dentists, All Other Specialists

$161,020 per year.

Dentists, General

$141,040 per year.

Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates

$119,270 per year.

Architectural and Engineering Managers

$119,260 per year.


$118,400 per year.


$118,030 per year.

Natural Sciences Managers

$116,020 per year.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

$115,780 per year.

Petroleum Engineers

$114,080 per year.

Marketing Managers

$112,800 per year.


$112,760 per year.


$111,570 per year.

Air Traffic Controllers

$108,040 per year.

Political Scientists

$107,420 per year.


$106,370 per year.

Financial Managers

$103,910 per year.

Publish Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012


(posted October 21, 2011)

The New York Times published an article yesterday describing the growing importance of majoring in technical fields like physics. See Economix: The Rising Value of a Science Degree but note that the article ends by suggesting you combine a degree in physics with a degree in poetry!


(posted October 18, 2011)

John Notte,  CWRU Physics Class of '87, visited the department during homecoming and sent the following message concerning intern and summer job at his place of employment.

Professor Brown,

Thanks for everything last week.   It was a really nice visit for me.  And I do appreciate your taking the time and effort to make this so enjoyable.   I was amused to see all the young students and then think back the John Notte of 24 yeas ago.  This produced did a lot of smiling and chuckling during my visit.  Following my terrific day at the physics department, I met some nice folks over in the Mat'l Science Department,   including John McGervey's son.   A reminder of the steady march of time.   I came home with the much overdue CWRU sticker for my car window.  I want my kids and peers to see my pride in a quality education.  

I do want to restate that I would like to help out the physics department in some way.  (Yes, I'll make a cash donation before the end of this tax year.).   But please keep me in mind if you are looking for some other opportunities. Maybe an Boston-based intern to work here on the Field Ion Microscope or the ORION Helium Ion Microscope over the summer?  Maybe a student who wants to work on some commercially relevant electrostatic boundary value problems?  Maybe someone who wants to do some monte-carlo modeling of ion beam - sample interactions?  Maybe someone who wants to model the polarization and transport of gas atoms in a high field region?  In general, consider me as an available contact in the industrial physics arena.  

My Ph.D. Thesis, "The Effect of Asymmetries on Non-Neutral Plasmas" was not a best seller, and few are the people who I would suggest reading it.    But in any case, you might be interested in this excerpt from the acknowledgement section:  "I must thank the many teachers who have managed to teach a student who at times has been lazy and unmotivated. ....  Specifically, I thank Professor Eck who introduced me to Physics and set my mind in motion; and Professor Brown, who gave me his enthusiasm toward teaching..." A strong accolade - given that I never actually had you as an official instructor!

John Notte,  CWRU Physics Class of '87
Carl Zeiss NTS, LLC.
A Carl Zeiss SMT AG Company
ALIS Business Unit
Director of Research and Development
Phone: 978-826-1553
Mobile: 978-290-0763
Fax: 978-826-1593

One Corporation Way
Peabody, MA 01960 USA


(posted May 24, 2011)

You might find interesting an article in today's online New York Times 'Calculating the Potential Return on Your Major' .  It directs the reader to a defunct URL: "".  Physics  and related disciplines are reviewed starting at page 159/182 of the pdf file (page 160 of the hard copy). There are lots of tables and charts in this paper. Here's the text that precedes those graphics.

"Physical Sciences make up 2.8 percent of all majors. Median wages for those with only a Bachelor's degree who majored in Physical sciences are $59,000. There is a slight gender imbalance in these majors (men 58 percent and women 42 percent). However, women with these majors make, in the aggregate, $48,000, which is $17,000 less than men. The racial makeup of these majors, on average, is 74 percent White, 11 percent Asian, 8 percent African-American, 6 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Other Races.2 Earnings for Asians ($52,000), African-Americans ($47,000) and Hispanics ($44,000) are significantly less than the $60,000 in median wages earned by Whites. There is also great variation in median pay for the majors within this group. The major with the lowest median earnings is Nuclear, Industrial Radiology, and Biological Technologies, while the highest are Physics and Oceanography. Earnings in Physical Sciences as a whole vary widely, with the 25th percentile earning $38,000 and the 75th percentile earning $87,000 - a difference of $49,000. About 48 percent of people with these majors obtain a graduate degree and, as a result, get an average earnings boost of 70 percent. Of people who majored in Physical Sciences, 18 percent work in Management, 11 percent in Sales, 10 percent in Life Science, and 10 percent in Health Practice occupations. By industry, 14 percent work in Professional Services, 14 percent in Health Services, 10 percent in Education, and 9 percent in Manufacturing. Of those with these majors who are in the labor force and employed, 86 percent work full-time. About 5 percent are unemployed."


The Case Career Center,, offers a variety of forms of assistance to students searching for career opportunities.

eCompass is the Case Career Center's online career management system. It enables users to search and apply for jobs and internships, schedule on-campus interviews, and post resumes for employer review. eCompass acts as a launch pad for connecting with alumni and researching companies and industries. A monthly calendar of Career Center events and deadlines is also included.

Career Center's Resources for Gaining Experience

  1. Internship Searches After College
  2. Adventure/Offbeat Jobs Cool Works

Researching Majors and Career

What Can I Do With a Major in ? Search by major, and find information on typical employers and strategies to start careers centered on the area of study. It includes links to related professional associations and Case's department home pages, including the following links

Case CareerLink for Employers! - Case Career Center

Case CareerLink for Students

Case CareerLink is the Case Career Center's online career management system. It serves as the clearing house for all practicum, internship, and full-time job positions, on-campus interviewing schedules, and employer information. You can access the Case CareerLink system using your Case network ID and password.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Provides current job market information searchable by industry and occupation. It includes in-depth descriptions that feature sections on working conditions, responsibilities, earnings, necessary education/training, and job outlook. The section for physicists can be found at but remember that an undergraduate degree in physics will give you entree to a LOT of other types of jobs and post-graduate study opportunities.


(posted August 27, 2008, from Case Daily)

Case CareerLink, the Career Center's online career management system, connects students directly to employers hiring for full-time permanent positions, internships and practicum's. Features include resume upload, virtual resume books, online On-campus Interview (OCI) scheduling, and sign-up for career events and Info Sessions.


(posted August 20, 2010)

The following links were found via an article in Time magazine. I won't vouch for the methodology but you might find them interesting - Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary, physics is #6

Common Jobs for Majors: - Best Engineering Colleges By Salary Potential, CWRU is #25 - Top US Colleges Graduate Salary Statistics

Dead Link: - "" Top Midwestern Colleges in the US By Salary Potential, CWRU is #7


The AIP also collects and distributes statistical information about the profession. This reports which you can view at describe the initial employment and educational paths pursued by physics and astronomy degree recipients at the bachelor's, master's, and PhD levels. The report includes starting salaries, primary work activities, ratings of professional challenge and other aspects of initial employment. The report also describes the fields of study and types of support for physics degree recipients who continued their education.


Jobs -  academic year

If you would like to apply for a GRADING JOB, contact the instructor(s) in charge of the course. If in doubt, contact .   Include in your message your preferences for courses (or instructors). Also, please provide any possibly useful background information such as grading experience and your own course grades in your introductory mechanics, E&M and/or Modern Physics course.  Fall 2007 positions are largely filled but your request will be kept on file for the future semesters.  When a job opens, it's generally first offered to those qualified students who applied first.

Jobs - on campus, summer

 SOURCE offers grants for on campus summer research. For details, see

Jobs - off campus, summer


Many institutions still send paper postings; these are displayed on the bulletin board outside ROC 314.  Note that many program deadlines are in February.  


There are many summer jobs available to physics majors through NSF- REU ( National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates ) and other programs at various university and national laboratories.   You can access the REU web site at .


Call for Applications: DAAD RISE Programs 2019 (posted August 29, 2018)
RISE Germany undergrads have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects at top research institutions (e.g. Max-Planck-Institutes) and universities in Germany. Students are paired with German PhD students in a unique mentoring partnership to ensure immediate integration into hands on lab work and built-in social network with an excellent opportunity to develop new technical skills. RISE Germany participants receive a scholarship to cover living expenses.

Learn more about RISE Germany . Online registration and the internship database for RISE Germany opens on November 1, 2018. The application deadline is December 15, 2018.

2017 Nakatani RIES Fellowships (posted 11/13/2017)

See  or for information about this summer resaerch experience for undergraduates program operated by Rice University that includes up to 13 weeks in Japan.  The application deadline is January 16, 2018.


(posted March 14, 2018)

NASA offers paid undergraduate internships in a wide variety of disciplines.  There are academic year internships as well as summer internships available. Visit and to learn more.


The Department of Energy web site contains information about summer internships at DOE labs. Many of these present excellent opportunities to participate in exciting research at world-leading institutions.


For information about the summer programs at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, visit the web site


RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. It offers unique opportunities for undergraduate students to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of 2 to 3 months during the summer. RISE interns are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. The working language will be English. All scholarship holders receive stipends from the DAAD to help cover living expenses, while partner universities and research institutes provide housing assistance. See for more information.


(posted Dec. 22, 2003)

SPS Members and Advisors: For a broad list of summer science opportunities check out the new physics student website---The Nucleus---at ; It has: 1) summer job listings, 2) a student lounge for chatting, humor, etc., 3) on-line physics polls and results of polls, 4) reviews of texts, 5) Einstein exhibits and more. It's personalizable and you get to contribute, if you like.

About the summer jobs - there are listings for summer jobs ranging from particle  physics in Switzerland to education policy in DC to biomechanics in Malibu to astronomy in Hawaii. Just put in your favorite physics key word and search to see what listings are related to your keyword. If you don't put in a keyword then all the summer opportunities will be listed.

The Nucleus is part of the national physics digital library, ComPADRE (Communities for Physics and Astronomy Digital Resources in Education). ComPADRE's vision is to create a network of collections that provides learning resources and interactive learning environments.

Gary White ; Director, Sigma Pi Sigma and Society of Physics Students Assistant Director of Education American Institute of Physics One Physics Ellipse College Park, MD 20740; 301-209-3007 ; FAX: 301-209-0839

Jobs - permanent


The American Physical Society has various programs dedicated to educating students about careers in physics.   You can learn more by visiting their web site at:


The American Institute of Physics - Career Services web site, the leading career site for science and engineering jobs has launched it's new web site.  Last month our web site received over 1,400,000 hits and over 13,000 Unique Visitors.  The new web site utilizes a tracking system to manage resume responses and store all resume agent matches, as well as search resume database, track job page views and number of applications submitted. This new high-performance system is easy to use and also includes a more powerful search engine for faster search results. To assist you in your job matches, we have collected nearly 700 resumes from some of the most talented individuals in the science and engineering industry. See

Jobs - co-op


Visit the following web sites for more information on co-op experiences: .

Fellowships & Scholarships for life after CWRU

Alumni News

This section was added to the newsletter on October 4, 2016.  Here you will find postings describing where our past graduates are now and what they are doing.

10/3/2016:  Michael Boss graduated in 2000. He currently works at the National Institute for Standards and Technology outside Washington, D.C.  He wrote to Prof. Kash today: "It's been about a year since our last emails.  How are things in Cleveland?  I am planning on coming back at least once, but probably towards late December. Unless the Indians make the World Series that is, Game 1 would be on my birthday.  At some point, I'd love to give a talk regarding our research at NIST setting standards for quantitative MRI.  I have given a few overview invited talks the last year, so I think I have the message fairly well-tuned.

Big news!  We had a little girl on September 13th!  Her name is Elvia Louisa, and she is doing very well.  My wife Melissa and I are a bit tired, but doing fine.
Last week I went to DC for an awards ceremony: my co-workers and I received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal from Secretary Pritzker.  At the end of the ceremony, she announced a new award, the Ron Brown Excellence in Innovation Award.  To our great surprise, she called us back on to the stage.  There is a little press release from the Department, I think there are links to photos and video.  Thought it would be interesting to share.


The CWRU Physics and Astronomy Club has a web page at .


The physics department operates a 'robot' to automatically distribute announcements of seminars and colloquia. All physics students should sign up for this robot service. Email with help as the Subject of your message to learn more about Physbot. If you are having problems w/ Physbot contact


If you are a physics major, you should consider joining the American Physical Society, APS.  Almost all professional physicists in the US belong to the APS and to one or more of its divisions, which specialize in various areas of physics.    You can visit their Web site at to learn more about the organization.  Student membership services are discussed at . APS student membership is normally $25 per year but is now FREE for the first year . You might also want to browse the Society of Physics Students pages



LINKS - American Physical Society - American Institute of Physics - American Association of Physics Teachers - Society of Physics students page  "Your guide to physics on the web." (added 12/8/2016) PhysicsWorld: physics news, jobs and resources

Physics provides original analysis and comment on selected exceptional papers within the extensive publications of Physical Review Letters and the Physical Review series. This web site is brought to you by the APS and is meant to serve as a resource for the general public. - NASA - Glenn Research Center on the west side of Cleveland - National Science Foundation - resources for physics and astronomy undergraduates - forum for discussion of physics at an undergraduate level - Union of Concerned Scientists; from their web site ' UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. We augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world.'



(posted January 28, 2019)

It has been brought to my attention that Professor Covault was recognized by the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists in 2014; see .


(posted July 21, 2014)

Physicists as Rebels:

(posted March 13, 2013)

Supercalifragicsuperluminalneutrinos! Words by Prof. Philip Taylor, Case Western Reserve University, March 2012



(posted May 9, 2008)

The following is a parting shot from the class of 2008, a description of superlative faculty they have known.

Jie Shan - professor most likely to sneak into the lab and break your experiments so you learn more from the class

Gary Chottiner - best shoe selection

John Ruhl - professor most likely to "surprise!" the class and fall over laughing

Dan Akerib - most likely to say "okay" and/or trip over furniture

Kathy Kash - professor we'd want to go back in time and party with most while she was in college

Robert Brown - best apparel (no questions asked)

Harsh Mathur - most creative computer file namer

Corbin Covault - most sexy socks and sandals combo

Tanmay Vachaspati - most likely to believe in magnetic monopole unicorns

Pete Kernan - most likely to lecture about beer brewing

Lawrence Krauss - most likely to interrupt you to answer his iPhone

Glenn Starkman - most likely to be the only person in the room to comprehend an entire CERCA talk

Craig Copi - most likely to be an Old Navy spokesperson

Charles Rosenblatt - most consistent dresser

Ken Kowalski - most likely to make a joke so dry the British would be impressed

Ken Singer - quiet and quick problem fixer

Gavin Buxton - most likely to cover up what he just wrote on the board while lecturing

Phil Taylor - most delightful accent

Rolf Petschek - most likely to use his beard as a blackboard eraser (that would be so cool!)

Don Schuele - most likely to take your knees out in a game of baseball

Walter Lambrecht - most likely to lecture from memory because he can't read his own notes

Tom Shutt - most likely to empathize with malfunctioning equipment

Cyrus Taylor - professor we'd most like to see more in the department, dammit!

_____ - What's New by Bob Park (Ph.D. advisor for the keeper of this newsletter) - an educated and opinionated look at science in the news. - This web site is devoted to bad physics in movies. - physics trivia, with quizzes  is a dead link tat use to contain humor according to physics students, including a section on how to tell if you are a physics major is a dead link that used to contain several humorous articles listed below. You can probably find each of these postings directly with Google Physicists' Bill of Rights by Author Unknown where Ph.D. stand for piled higher and deeper Instead of doodling during class, try printing and coloring in the drawings of famous physicists provided by Physics Central


Rime of the Physics Student , By Yvette Cendes, a Case physics major

It's late at night, my mind is weary,
Eyes are bloodshot, vision's bleary,
I know not what I'm really thinking,
My sanity's surely winking.
Yet I stay up for I am not done,
With homework for P121.

My mind's back from temporary lull,
And contemplates a bouncing ball,
Then reason shouts out, with great diction,
"Idiot! You forgot friction!"
So I cross out all the numbers there
And hang my head in great despair.

I am at a loss and panicked too
Because I don't know what to do!
I factor out "t," I integrate,
But my mistakes do not abate.
I feel like a failure and a fool.
What's life like in the business school?

But I see through that confusing mist:
After all, I'm a physicist!
I know the movements of block and book
Using Laws from Newton and Hooke,
I know a bowling ball's energy
Based on its squared velocity.

I now see myself years down the line
Where physics glory is all mine,
The secret of dark matter I know
Having found the neutralino,
My proof is so clear and it's so bold
I win myself some Swedish gold! But as I start my acceptance speech,
I hear a harshly ringing screech.
A startling thought to my mind does creep:
Oh my God I've fallen asleep!
It's eight in the morn, not late at one
And my damned homework's still not done!

I stare at my paper with a frown
And jot some garbled numbers down,
And before I can think any more
It's in my bag; I'm out the door,
And as I'm running I pray my best
That problem won't be on the test!

The Ballad of the Electronics Student by Yvette Cendes

Leaves are crunching on the ground
And in the sky sheep-clouds abound,
The sun tosses warmth each way
While below students bask away,
But down there you won't find me
'Cause I'm in lab for 203.

I return from my pained woe
To my circuit's LED glow,
Then I quickly give a shout
Because the lights have shorted out!
I feel pangs of fear and grief
As my partner shows disbelief.

"What happened?" I, aghast, say,
"Why did the voltage go away?"
My partner shrugs, lost like me
In this odd world of circuitry.
No doubt we're stuck in this rut
Because we missed something- but what?

No doubt in the latest lecture
There were points where, I conjecture,
While I gave poor attention
The whole crux was given mention.
So I curse and give a sigh
That this did somehow pass me by.

To my circuit I now turn
Recalling scant facts I did learn,
I place wires all around
And add more power and some ground,
More resistors I add too
Until the circuit looks brand new.

Confident, I flip the switch
And it lights up without a hitch!
Then, at no doubt divine whim,
The LED's splutter and dim.
I howl, 'cause I can't ignore
How we're worse off now than before.

I strike the board with my fist
As there's no answer in our midst,
And I don't care what I'd hit
'Til my partner says, "look at it!"
I do, and receive a fright
'Cause all the LED's are burning bright.

I exalt and give a cheer
Grateful to know the end is near,
And before we do much more
We're done with lab and out the door,
Hoping that, come writeup night,
We'll find that we were partway right!


Song of the Physics Student by Yvette Cendes

I've always thought physics would be more fun
If once class let out we would be done,
Or just a few hours work, that would be fine
So's after midnight the hours were mine,
But it is late at night, well after one
And the physics homework's still not done,
So my wishes are naught, I heave a sigh
And give 250 another try.

I look on blankly at my MatLab code
That takes forever to run and load,
When after an era, to my terror,
The program reads a slew of error!
Something about mesh and a matricy
And the incorrect directory,
My pulse quickens up and my face turns green:
Something's gone wrong, but what does it mean?!?

I delete a for loop, and add an if,
But that gamble ends with a new quip.
A friend comes over to see what's the matter
But my small hope she soon does shatter:
"I have the same thing!" she exclaims, confused,
As Devil Program looks on, bemused,
"Your setup and loops are all the same
So I've no idea what's to blame."

"But what do I do?!" I shout in a panic,
Convinced this homework is truly satanic
But a problem with code she does not see
And leaves by consoling "it worked for me!"
With that comment all my hopes shatter
In dreaming I'll figure out what's the matter,
But I keep tweaking, here and there,
Praying for a miracle out of thin air.

I think I'd make a decent wager
That what you take from a physics major
Isn't about letting your knowledge grow
But learning, instead, how little you know
And learning how to land on your feet
While in the midst of crushing defeat
So I ignore the bad, write-up what's right,
Commence shutdown, and call it a night!


After Receiving an Invitation to a Physicists' Ball:
(courtesy of Yvette Cendes, March 15, 2007 )

Volta was electrified and Archimedes was buoyant at the thought.
Ampere was worried he wasn't up on current research.
Ohm resisted the idea at first.
Boyle said he was under too much pressure.
Hertz promised that in the future he will attend with greater frequency.
Pierre and Marie Curie were radiating enthusiasm.
Born thought the probability of enjoying himself was pretty high.
Einstein thought it would be relatively easy to attend.
Heisenberg was uncertain whether he could make it.
Schrodinger had to take his cat to the vet, or did he?
Hawking said he'd try to string enough time together to make a space in his schedule.

Fermi declined because of a splitting headache.

Hooke said he'd spring into action.
Fourier wavered in his decision periodically.
Maxwell just waved at the postal carrier.
Siemens said he would be happy to gain admittance.
Babbage and Von Neuman both calculated they could be there, but Ada Lovelace got stuck in a recursion of trying to find proper clothing.
Watt thought it would be a great way to let off steam.

Galileo thought people were much too inquisitive about the whole thing.

Nobel thought the idea was dynamite, and was asked to give out prizes.

Van Allen said he would wear his new belt for the occasion.

Pauli was worried that he would be excluded and would have to split early.
Joule was the life of the party, with such energy.
After a couple of hours it got so hot in the ball room that Tesla had to turn on the AC.
Faraday, as usual, was caging drinks off of everyone.
Kelvin was there, cold and aloof as ever.
Higgs was having a field day teasing Chandrasekhar because he had reached his alcohol limit.
Teller should have followed Chandrasekhar's example, because he sure got bombed.
Hubble and his wife were charming. He wore a double breasted suit and she wore a simple red shift.

Cavendish wasn't invited, but had the balls to show up anyway.
There was one fellow running about hogging all the conversations.  Everyone ignored him because he was such a Bohr.