Academics > Physics


The Physics Department at Coe provides comprehensive and balanced training for a variety of students including those who want to prepare to do graduate work, enter industry, to teach, or to broaden their liberal arts education. As a Coe physics major, you'll be encouraged to do individual research, working one-on-one with a professor.

The Coe Physics Department has been nationally and internationally recognized many times in recent years.

Professor Mario Affatigato was named a PECASE Scholar, a $500,000 award given to promising new scientists by the President of the United States through the National Science Foundation. In just four years Professor Affatigato has received more than $800,000 in external support for his work with students.

Professor Feller has been honored in a number of ways including being named Iowa Professor of the Year (1995) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and being awarded the American Physical Society Prize for Research in an Undergraduate Institution (1993). In 1996 he served seven months as a Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom where he did neutron scattering studies of glass structure at the Rutherford Appleton Lab and the University of Reading. Dr. Feller is the president of the national physics honor society.

Professor Jim Cottingham is a leader in the Acoustical Society of America and was an invited lecturer at the Society's national meeting. He also serves on the board of the Center for the study of Free Reed Instruments at the City University of New York. The department is one of less than five liberal arts colleges that hosts a site for NSF research experience for undergraduates. This allows seven visiting undergraduates per summer to join us in research.

Why Physics at Coe?

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.