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. Three Williams professors have been recognized for their mentorship of undergraduate research by the American Physical Society (1989, 2007, and 2017). Six of our students have won the LeRoy Apker Award (1999, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2015, and 2022). 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 than students from any other primarily undergraduate college.
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. Three of these professors are Fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor reserved for a small fraction of professional physicists. We graduate an average of 18 physics or astrophysics majors each year. These robust numbers of faculty and 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.
Recent highlights from the Physics Department (click on an image for more information):