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About Physics

From solar panels to galaxies, ocean currents to music technology, physics provides tools to understand the world in ways that are both practical and profound. Majoring in physics at Skidmore is an opportunity to learn these tools in a liberal arts environment, emphasizing individual interaction between faculty and students. As just one example, all physics majors conduct research under the guidance of a faculty member. In addition, our department hosts chapters of the Society of Physics Students and the National Physics Honor Society. If you are interested in pursuing engineering, as many of our majors are, you have the opportunity to participate in dual-degree programs with Dartmouth College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or Clarkson University. For more information, see here.

Interesting Classes I Might Take

  • Sound and Music
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Galaxies and Cosmology
  • Electronics
  • Geophysics

Note: Skidmore has dual-degree engineering programs with Dartmouth College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Clarkson University. Music technology and acoustics is a growing area of study at Skidmore, involving several courses, independent studies, and self-determined majors.

Beyond the Classroom

We encourage class projects, collaborative research, physics club activities, independent study projects, and internships. Recent examples include:

Senior course research projects

  • Can we enhance the electrical output of solar cells?
  • The role of the conjugated path in molecules with nonlinear optical response
  • Wave breaking and turbulent mixing in the ocean
  • Moog unraveled: construction of an analog synth
  • The geometry of reprocessors around supermassive black holes

Summer research and internships

  • Faculty-student collaborative research in oceanography, astrophysics, and non-linear optics
  • Albany Nanotech Institute, Casper Electronics, Sustainability Energy Partners/Solega, CERN Laboratory (Switzerland), research experiences for undergraduate research at various U.S. universities, and teaching for the Center for Talented Youth
  • Skidmore has a strong connection with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, a good source of internship opportunities.

VIDEO: Collaborative research in astrophysics at Skidmore.

VIDEO: Alexei Erchack '97 and his tech-startup businesses.

Success After Skidmore

Careers: A sampler of what our alumni do

  • Founder and CTO, Luminus Devices
  • Examiner, U.S. Patent Office
  • Research technician, Ecovative Design
  • Technical writer, IBM Unica
  • Software engineer, Ellis Lab
  • Product engineer, Diamond Diagnostics
  • Professor of media arts and science, MIT
  • Computer programmer, U.S. Navy
  • Physics teacher, Brunswick School
  • Physics and math teacher, Bard H.S. Early College
  • Optimization analyst, AppNexus
  • Professor of physics, Skidmore College
  • Research assistant, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, SUNY-Albany
  • Administrator of Masters in Engineering Management Program, Dartmouth College
  • Yacht designer/marine engineer, Alpha-Design
  • Electro-optics test engineer, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems

Graduate Schools: A sampler of where our alumni go

  • MIT (physical oceanography)
  • University of Virginia (architecture)
  • University of Washington, Seattle (aeronautics)
  • Northwestern University (chemical engineering)
  • University of Washington, Seattle (applied math)
  • Dartmouth College (engineering)
  • Georgia Tech (Chemical engineering)
  • University of Alaska (systems modeling)
  • University of Vermont (physics)
  • Clemson University (physics)
  • University of West Virginia (mathematics)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (imaging science)
  • Stanford University (civil engineering)
  • Johns Hopkins University (physics)
  • Tufts University (mathematics)
  • Brown University (mathematics)
  • Boston University (electrical engineering)
  • Yale University (physics)
  • University of Leeds (physics)
  • Duke University (environmental engineering)
  • Clemson University (mechanical engineering)


Meet the Physics department faculty members.