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:
- Research-quality 16" Cassegrain telescope with a computer controlled drive
- UBV photometer
- Research grade CCD camera
- Optical isolation table
- Tunable scanning narrow band ring dye laser
- 100-liter vacuum pump system,
- 25-milliwatt He-Ne laser
- Two 5 watt argon ion lasers
- Nitrogen dye laser
- Fiber optics apparatus
- Assorted holography apparatus
- Spectrum analyzer
- Infrared sensitive measuring television camera
- Assorted electronic measuring and computer equipment.
- 64-node high-speed computational cluster
- Inductively-Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer
- UV-Vis Absorption Spectrometer
The Physics Department also seeks to obtain and reserve funds that can be made available for purchase of items necessary for individual, independent research.