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Opportunities for Experience


Students have many opportunities, on and off campus, for research. Recent research topics have included, among others, “Host Galaxies of Active Galactic Nuclei,” “Monte Carlo Simulations of Electron Cascades in Solids,” and “Surface Adsorption of Polymers.”

Many students participate in internships and study-abroad and summer research programs. Physics and engineering majors have participated in summer programs at:

  • NASA
  • University of Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Lehigh University
  • Bucknell University
  • Kansas State University, and
  • Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory

Summer Research

Spend the summer working closely with a professor and focused on a specific aspect of physics.

Randolph’s intensive eight-week Summer Research Program enables students to conduct research that is complemented by a thorough review of the relevant literature; live in a residence hall on campus, participate in on-campus summer events, attend special seminars with guest speakers; and share the progress and results of their research.

Learn more about the Summer Research Program.

Senior Capstone

Physics and engineering seniors cap their major by researching and presenting topics to faculty and students. Recent topics have included:

  • Measuring the Variable Star VZ Cancri
  • Design and Construction of a Nitrogen Laser
  • Scripting Interactive Physlets for Use as Teaching Tools
  • Cellular Automata as a Means of Modeling Physical Phenomena
  • Monte Carlo Modeling of JLab Spectrometers
  • Adsorption Isotherm of Nitrogen on a Nuclepore Surface at 77K

Winfree Observatory

Randolph College also has an astronomical observatory, Winfree Observatory. It houses a 14-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Astronomy has a long history at Randolph, where it has been taught since 1893, when the school opened as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

Each semester, the observatory hosts several “Star Parties” where students and people from the surrounding communities can stargaze.

Society of Physics Students

The College has an active chapter of the Society for Physics Students.

Consistently recognized as one of the most outstanding chapters in the nation, recent activities include building a human-sized hamster wheel, giant Newton’s cradle, helping host a science festival for local schoolchildren, and attending the 100th anniversary conference of the American Physical Society.

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