"The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific 'truth.' " -Richard Feynman
"Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results.
I know several thousand things that won't work." -Thomas Edison
Since experience really is the best teacher, an excellent laboratory program with essential equipment and computers is a vital component to the study of physics. The Physics Department puts forth a solid and continuous effort to build and maintain its laboratory and research facilities.
Fully-networked and serviced by the College's Information Technology, Masters Hall is home to physics. It houses several laboratories, an auditorium, classrooms, a machine shop, and the Physics Student Lounge.
Lab experience and confidence are of critical importance to graduate schools and potential employers. In addition to its annual equipment budget, the Physics Department has received special grants from the National Science Foundation, the W. M. Keck Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Gettysburg College for the purchase of laboratory equipment.
The following is a sampling of the Physics Department's equipment, listed according to the year when students normally begin using them:
Oscilloscopes, function generators, digital multimeters, air tracks, scalers (for radioactivity experiments), microcomputers (for a multitude of uses, including laboratory control an measuring devices, analysis and graphical tools, access to the College's mainframe computers, as well as other computer resources), He-Ne lasers, optical benches;
X-ray source and spectrometer, interferometers, neutron source, grating spectrometers, multichannel analyzers, microcomputer interfacing equipment, digital electronics;
Microprocessor controlled multichannel analyzers, electron spin, resonance spectrometer, 12" research electromagnet, Mössbauer drives, fast coincidence counter, x-ray diffraction apparatus, solid- state particle detectors, Fourier transform spectrometer, to name a few.
Additional Equipment for Student Use:
The Physics Department also seeks to obtain and reserve funds that can be made available for purchase of items necessary for individual, independent research.