25 Random things about UR Physics

  1. The introductory physics courses are all small: capped at 24 students, though usually much smaller.
  2. Upper level physics courses are even smaller: usually no more than about 10 students in a class.
  3. We don't have any graduate students!  Undergrads are taught by professors, and get to use all the cool equipment themselves.
  4. Intro physics courses are taught in a "workshop style," where laboratory and classroom elements are integrated together.  (No separate 3-hour labs, taught by grad students, that aren't related to the lectures.)
  5. Favorite study break: liquid nitrogen ice cream!
  6. About 6-10 physics students graduate each year.  
  7. All of the tenure-line physics faculty are active researchers, making discoveries and publishing their findings€”all with the help of undergraduate students.  
  8. Do the math: with a small number of majors and lots of research to be done, all students have a chance to get involved, usually by their sophomore years.  
  9. First year students can get involved in research too: at least 8 of them, so far this year.
  10. 100% of the physics faculty have external funding for their research.  (This means their research is recognized as important in their field.  It also means more money and opportunities for their students.)
  11. Students doing research have coauthored papers with faculty in prestigious scientific journals.
  12. Students frequently travel to national and international scientific conferences to present their work.  (Some recent destinations: Los Angeles, Denver, Hawaii, Alaska, St. Louis, Oakland€¦)
  13. Many of our physics students also study abroad: (Scotland, China, Australia€¦)
  14. Many students do research here over the summers, paid by external grants (NSF, etc.) or University fellowships.
  15. Many physics students are double majors, with a second major in math, computer science, chemistry, biology, political science, philosophy€¦.
  16. Students can graduate with either a B.S. or B.A. degree in physics.  (The B.S. prepares you better for grad school or a technical career; the B.A. offers more flexibility for students with other interests.)
  17. Favorite physics student hangouts: either the physics student lounge, or any open classroom.
  18. Best place to watch major sporting events: on the projection TVs in the classrooms after hours.
  19. Our 3-2 engineering program offers students chance to do 3 years at Richmond, followed by 2 years at a partner engineering school. (Students have also gone straight to grad school in engineering after graduating with a straight-up physics degree.)
  20. Our resources include a state-of-the-art atomic force microscope and a supercomputer cluster, among other major instrumentation, plus very well equipped teaching laboratories.
  21. Most heavily used physics equipment: the coffee maker. (It's not even close.)
  22. After graduation, some students have gone on to physics graduate school (University of Chicago, University of Kentucky, Princeton, Johns Hopkins€¦)
  23. Other students have followed their dreams elsewhere after graduation: teaching English in China, doing software development in industry, actuarial mathematics, high school teaching….
  24. Physics students are really friendly!  They study together and help each other, and the atmosphere is always fun and supportive.
  25. We like meeting new physics students.  If you’re interested in physics, please come to visit us. 🙂