Williams College is proud of its strong undergraduate program in physics. The Department of Physics offers a wide variety of courses ranging from introductory surveys through advanced tutorial courses. In the tutorials students meet two at a time with the professor and work on challenging problems. Graduating students tell us that our tutorials are among the best courses they have taken at Williams.
Research is part of the DNA of our department. Students join faculty members in both theoretical and experimental research projects. Four of our students have won the LeRoy Apker Award (1999, 2002, 2004, and 2010). This national award is the highest honor for physics research by an undergraduate student in the United States. Williams students have won more Apker Awards in the past decade than students from any other college or university.
Our regular tenure-track physics faculty numbers 9 professors and the Department of Astronomy has 2 more professors, a large number of physics and astronomy faculty for an institution devoted to undergraduate teaching and research. Four of these professors (plus the college president) are Fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor reserved for a small fraction of professional physicists. Over the past five years, we have averaged 15.2 graduating physics or astrophysics majors per year. These robust numbers of faculty and of majors gives us the critical mass necessary to provide outstanding opportunities to study physics, while offering close interactions between students and faculty.
Our graduates do a variety of interesting things after college, including advanced study in the sciences and engineering, and employment in computer programming, teaching, medicine, law, and business. Click here for a complete list of what our graduates do.
Check out the video of Andy Schneider ’12 and Professor Tiku Majumder discussing their laser spectroscopy research project.