Student Opportunities

Off-Campus Opportunities

Coe has an exceptional internship program which places students throughout the U.S. and the world. During an internship students put into practice the classroom concepts they have learned in preparation for a possible career. As part of this program, for example, you can spend a semester as an assistant to professional engineers or do research in an industrial laboratory or join a graduate-level research team at a major university.

Besides individually designed internships, exciting off-campus terms are also offered through Coe. Coe physics majors may be especially interested in the Oak Ridge science semester at the National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A term at Oak Ridge gives you the opportunity to use sophisticated scientific equipment while working alongside professional research scientists.

  • Several physics students served as interns in Japan, England, China, and Canada.
  • Over 100 students have given talks at national and international meetings concerning their research.
  • Most physics students spend summers at Coe doing publishable research. In a typical year we host 20 summer research students.
  • Coe students have joined labs at Iowa State University, Vanderbilt University, Lehigh University, Indiana University, and Brown University while still a Coe undergraduate.
  • Students have opportunities to study abroad and attend conferences.

Research Areas of the Department

Clean Room in the University of Nottingham, UK
Clean Room in the
University of Nottingham, UK

The Physics Department has five flourishing undergraduate research programs. Indeed we are one of the most active undergraduate research programs in the United States. Jim Cottingham and several students are studying musical acoustics with a particular focus on reed instruments. Mario Affatigato and his research students study optical properties of solids. They use several kinds of lasers for this work and a newly acquired laser ablation time of flight mass spectrometer. Steve Feller's group studies physical properties and atomic arrangements of oxide glasses. Ugur Akgun and the research students working with him are actively involved in hadronic calorimeter construction and upgrade studies for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project. In his other research area, students model proteins from X-Ray diffraction data and perform data analysis. Firdevs Duru and her research students study electron density profiles and the effects of the magnetic field on Martian ionosphere, and they study the plasma environment of Mars. In each case, students extensively use research grade equipment, perform experiments over extended time periods, attend and present at meeting (both national and international), author journal papers, and participate in current scientific research.

Preparing for Success

Students at Coe do more than just attend classes. As a physics major you'll get a well-rounded education and a solid preparation for your life after college. At Coe you can:

  • Take a special May Term physics course and learn to do research.
  • Work alongside your professors in Coe's exceptional laboratory facilities on several research projects.
  • Spend a semester at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and get firsthand experience in professional research labs.
  • Spend a summer doing research at Coe or at an Off-campus laboratory doing collaborative research with Coe. Several of these labs are in England, Canada, China, and Japan.
  • Join our nationally acclaimed Society of Physics Students chapter. Each year we invite numerous speakers and visit industrial, academic and national labs.

Many Coe students interested in careers in engineering major in physics, or general science at Coe. Please see the information sheets on the cooperative program in engineering available from the Office of Admission.

National and International Conferences

These are some examples of National and International Conferences attended by members of the Coe Physics research groups.

  • Firdevs Duru and Christopher Ertl at American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, California. Firdevs's presentation on December 15th, 2015.

    Firdevs Duru and Christopher Ertl at American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, California. Firdevs's presentation on December 15, 2015.

    • DGG/GOMD in Miami, FL
    • Wiley Journal in Hoboken, NJ
    • PAC-RIM in Jeju Island, Korea
    • Maven Conference in Boulder, CO
    • Annual Biophysical Society Meeting in Baltimore, MD
    • AGU Conference in San Francisco, CA
  • 2014
    • ASA in Indianapolis, IN
    • MS&T/AcerS in Pittsburg, PA
    • ΣΠΣ/SPS National Council in College Park, MD
    • Iowa Glass in Ames, IA
    • Borate 8 in Pardubcie, Czech Republic
    • University of Iowa Summer Undergraduate Research Conference in Iowa City, IA
    • DGG/GOMD in Aachen, Germany
  • 2013
    • ASA 2013 in San Francisco, CA
    • MS&T/ACerS in Montreal, Canada
    • ΣΠΣ/SPS National Council in College Park, MD
    • Pac RIM/GOMD in Coronado, CA
    • Iowa Academy of Sciences in Indianola, IA
Iowa Glass Conference 2015

Iowa Glass Conference 2015