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PHYSICS

Contact:

Bansi Kalra, chair
(540) 362-6542
bkalra@hollins.edu

Hollins University
P.O. Box 9661
Roanoke, VA 24020


A liberal arts education for a technological world.

"Look deeply into nature and you will understand everything better," said Albert Einstein. Students of physics at Hollins understand the truth of this maxim. Through their investigations of laws that underlie reality, they gain a greater appreciation not only of our universe, but also their relationship to it.

In physics courses at Hollins, you’ll engage the ideas of Newton and Hamilton, Maxwell and Einstein, among many others. You’ll find that wrestling with tough questions and exploring the limits of what is known about the world is the physicist’s stock-in-trade and that there is a joy in understanding nature that comes from truly seeing it for the first time.

Classes are intimate: upper-division classes typically have 3-4 students and lower-division courses have 10-15. We place great value on nurturing each student’s development as a physical thinker. In physics courses at Hollins you’ll find yourself challenged and closely supported and nurtured as you mature in your physical reasoning.

 

Facilities that foster community

The sciences are housed in Dana Science Building, notable for its bright spaces, the result of large windows and skylights. It has the equipment required for serious study in the sciences, while remaining comfortable and inviting. The proximity of faculty offices, research and teaching labs, study rooms, and classroom space fosters the strong sense of community enjoyed by both Hollins’ students and faculty.

 

Engaging undergraduates in research

"Science is about asking questions that no one knows the answer to. You have to engage a problem to really understand it," says Marshall Bartlett, chair of the physics department. "We work hard to make sure that each of our students has the opportunity to engage in research throughout her time at Hollins, working on problems that are intriguing and have broad appeal in the larger community of science." Graduates from the department have worked on projects ranging from the use of ultraviolet radiation to decontaminate drinking water to the application of cellular automata to solve foundational issues that underlie statistical mechanics. Current research work in the department includes:

  • Developing application of digital imagery and image processing algorithms for the field analysis of beach sediments
  • Developing regional monitoring systems to understand the impact of global warming on the exchange of energy between the atmosphere and the ground
  • Using cellular automata to model complex behavior in ecosystems and computer networks
  • Developing improved models of the nature of planetary formation and the early history of the solar system