Physics in this century has become a complex endeavor reflecting many centuries of experimentation and theory.
It is an enterprise conducted by men and women who are stimulated by hopes and purposes that are universal: to
understand and describe nature in its most elementary form. Physics can inspire greater reverence, wonder, and
awe of the natural world. It also provides a continuous stream of remarkable insights into the nature of reality
across a wide range of domains, giving rise to astonishing transformations that can change both our world and
Physics and astronomy courses train students to carefully observe physical phenomena and to interpret the phenomena
using synthesis, mathematical modeling and analysis. These methods represent a way of knowing that is central to the
scientific method. The department is dedicated to teaching students with majors in science as well as general science
education in the liberal arts tradition.
The physics major is designed for students who wish to pursue graduate study or gain employment in industry or
government service. In addition to offering a bachelor of science degree in physics, the Department of Physics
and Astronomy also offers an optional degree concentration in astrophysics and a physics minor.
As the pace of scientific discovery and innovation
accelerates, there is an urgent cultural need to reflect thoughtfully
about these epic changes and challenges in a constructive dialogue
involving all of our traditions. One of the greatest challenges of our
age is to bridge the compartmentalized departments of the modern university,
engaging in an integrative dialogue among all of the Sciences and Liberal Arts
This endeavor must honor the details and complexities
of each discipline. At the same time, we must not shrink from the task
of building exploratory and substantive connections on issues of broad
and enduring significance between the variegated cultures of the
sciences and the humanities. While such rigorous interdisciplinarity is
extremely difficult, the Department of Physics and Astronomy seek to foster
significant new insights and discoveries that may lie beyond the
horizons of traditional academic disciplines. The culture of the
university flourishes when such great issues and topics are deliberated
in open forums across disciplines.
Saint Mary's College of California
Department of Physics and Astronomy
1928 St. Mary's Road, Galileo Hall, Moraga, CA 94575
Voice: + 1 925.631.4191 Fax: +1 925.631.7961