Seminars & Events

Natural Science & Mathematics Colloquium
Most Wednesdays at 4:40 in Schaefer 106

For updates, like the Colloquium on Facebook.

Program Highlight

Students preparing to drop a pumpkin from a window

The Physics Club organizes many activities for all students who enjoy physics.  


Alumni Spotlight

Sarah Bingham (2009).

Sarah double-majored in physics and history with a minor in math at St. Mary’s.  She then completed the joint degree program with the University of Maryland, majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in nuclear engineering.  She now works at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.

Innovative Teaching

In the physics and astronomy courses, faculty continue to implement and develop student-focused teaching techniques.  We focus on research-based techniques that improve student learning.

  • Fundamentals of Physics 1 and 2 feature integrated labs, lectures, and student directed activities.  Professor Grossman is currently teaching these courses: he is using a combination of group problem solving, warm-up questions, hands on activities and demonstrations, and computer simulations.

Problem Solving

Students working on their
problem solving skills in 
upper level Quantum
Mechanics course

Students build nuclear reactor models out of play dough

Students building play dough
nuclear reactors during General 
Physics 3 

  • Dr. De Pree generally uses the "flipped classroom" technique.  This puts most of the introduction to the topic outside of class; this allows precious class time to be used working on problems, applying the material, or exploring more difficult complications of the topic at hand.
  • Physics students hone their speaking skills with lab presentations in both Fundamentals of Physics 3 and Advanced Laboratory courses, as well as project presentations in many upper level courses.

group problem solving

Group problem solving in
Fundamentals of Physics I 
(photos by Bill Wood) 

student presentation

Student presenting a
solution in Fundamentals
of Physics III 

  • Interactive questions are used in many classes, including Basic Physics, College Physics, and General Physics.  
    • Professor Grossman introduced "clickers" to St. Mary's College classes to facilitate Peer Instruction.  This tool is now being used successfully in many other departments throughout the College.  The clickers allow the professor to instantly see how many students choose each answer.
    • Professor Mita uses a variation of this technique interactive question and answers.
    • Professor De Pree also uses Peer Instruction in her classes - frequently her students use brightly colored cards that they hold up to indicate their answers.  This allows Prof. De Pree to focus more on the material that the class does not understand.

Fall 2011 General Physics 3 class

General Physics 3 class, fall 2011
back row: Seth Baker, Galen Hench, Utsav Gyawali, Ian Morgan, Pasquale "Banana" Raico, and Jon Kwolek
front row: Dr. Erin De Pree, A. Gilligan, Christine Gilfrich, Ben-jammin Eicher, Justin Stine, Bobby Stouffer