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Physics & Astronomy

From its central role in international astronomy projects, to the extraordinary research opportunities afforded to its students, the Carthage Physics & Astronomy Department offers a rigorous and exciting environment in which to study the mysteries of the universe.

Carthage Offers …

B.A. in Physics

Meteorology and Climatology

Special Programs:
Engineering (3+2 Program)


Compete for more than $350,000 in the Carthage Math/Science Scholarship Competition.

Conduct research with NASA

The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers around the world. Carthage students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft, as part of ongoing experiments and technology development for space hardware. Students also participate in NASA’s RockSat and CubeSat programs, with students designing and building experiments to be flown on NASA spacecraft. This work makes Carthage an excellent choice for students interested in aeronautical and space sciences. Many Physics Department alumni are now pursuing advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering or working in the industry.
Read more about the space sciences at Carthage

Home to the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium

Carthage is the home institution for the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, the second-largest space grant consortium in the country with more than 40 affiliate members across academic institutions, government agencies, aerospace industry, and nonprofit organizations. The WSGC mission is to support STEM research at both the undergraduate and graduate level, aerospace workforce development, and K-12 STEM education and outreach at our affiliate institutions.
Read more about Space Grant at Carthage

Recognized for Excellence in STEM Careers

When it comes to preparing undergraduate physics students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Carthage is among the best in the country, according to the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The AIP selected the Carthage Physics Department for its new study on effective undergraduate physics programs. According to the AIP, Carthage was selected because of its strong record in preparing students with bachelor’s degrees in physics and placing them immediately into careers in STEM fields.

Access to Top Facilities

Physics students at Carthage have access to some of the world’s best telescopes, from Yerkes Observatory near Lake Geneva, Wis., to Kitt Peak in Arizona. Students are involved in forefront research activities with faculty, including galaxy imaging for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and cutting-edge research for the NSF Center for Adaptive Optics. The department’s dynamic faculty is actively involved in many different research areas. Prof. Jean Quashnock studies the formation of the universe using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Prof. Brian Schwartz uses lasers to study the basic building blocks of matter.

Personal Attention

All faculty members are devoted to teaching and regularly invite students into their projects for real-life, real-world research experience. “A student coming to Carthage is going to get a lot of attention in the classroom, and will have a lot of research opportunities,” says Prof. Jean Quashnock, professor of physics and astronomy. “Our students are very active, working together and with faculty on physics problems.”
Meet the faculty

Active Physics Community

The Carthage chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) is active and award winning. The chapter has earned distinction as a national Outstanding Chapter for two consecutive years. SPS is a student-led organization that runs education outreach to local schools.
Learn more about SPS at Carthage

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