Development of Laboratory Skills
Every physics major takes a three semester sequence design to develop laboratory and writing skills. The first course, Research Methods, introduces physic students to library and online resources that are useful when researching a topic. A basic format for abstracts and lab reports is introduced. Several projects performed during the semester are written in the proper format using the mathematical formatting software LaTex.
The second course, Intermediate Physics Lab, allows students to measure fundamental physical constants, such as the gravitational constant, permeability, and permittivity of free space, and Planck’s constant. Additional opportunities are provided to develop oral and written communication skills.
The third course, Advanced Physics Lab, transitions from historically important experiments to open ended investigation. Students not only perform experiments, but they must also develop the appropriate procedure for obtaining relevant data. Analysis and computational skills applied to laboratory data is also expanded in this course.
Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research opportunities. Each physics professor has an area of expertise in which they are actively involved. Certain aspects of their research is accessible to the undergraduate and past students have assisted in this research.
Summer internships are available at a number of research institutions across the country. The National Science Foundation supports undergraduate Research Educational Units (REUs) at these institutions. For a list of available REUs visit www.nsf.gov.
Cedarville University is part of the Southwestern Ohio Consortium for Higher Education (SOCHE). This organization provides a clearing house for internship opportunities in the area. Through this organization, a number of physics students have participated in summer internships at the Air Force Institute of Technology located at Wright-Patterson Air Force base. A listing of current internships can be found at www.soche.org.