Departments & Centers

Department of Physics

Science Building, LD 154
402 N. Blackford Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3273
Phone: (317) 274-6900; fax: (317) 274-2393

  • Professors Kemple, Ou, Rao, Sukhatme (Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties), Vemuri
  • Professors Emeriti Kaplan, Meiere, Novak, Vasavada
  • Associate Professor Emeritus  Kleinhans
  • Associate Professors Decca, Gavrin (Chair), Wassall
  • Assistant Professors Betancourt, Cheng, Joglekar, Petrache, Rader
  • Lecturers Rhoads, Ross, Woodahl
  • Departmental Academic Advisors Ross, Woodahl

Physics is the study of matter and energy, from the smallest scale, as in the study of elementary particles, to the largest, as in the study of the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. In this sense, physics is the science that underlies all of the other sciences. In principle, as well as in practice, physics is involved in virtually all scientific and technical endeavors (e.g., biophysics, geophysics, health physics, etc.).

Physicists tend to view themselves primarily as solvers of problems, especially problems that can be expressed in mathematical terms. Physics students are trained to solve complex problems by learning to analyze complex relations in mathematical terms, often with the help of today’s fast computers. Because of this broadly based and flexible problem-solving background, physics graduates find employment in a variety of fields, many of which are not directly associated with physics.

The Department of Physics offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University. In addition, the department offers courses in physics and astronomy for nonmajors. The department also offers graduate courses that lead to a Purdue Master of Science degree. Qualified students may be authorized to pursue the Ph.D. degree in physics at IUPUI in areas where a program has been arranged with Purdue, West Lafayette.

Members of the department conduct research in several disciplines of physics and participate in joint projects with a number of other research groups, such as the Indianapolis Center for Advanced Research and the IU School of Medicine. Student participation in these projects is welcomed and encouraged.

Students majoring in physics consolidate their undergraduate studies by putting what they have learned to use in a capstone experience in one of the department’s research laboratories. Each student joins a faculty member in a project that provides experience in a professional setting. The student must obtain the approval of a faculty member and register for PHYS 49000.

Guide to Service Courses

Each student should consult an advisor in the department in which a degree is sought to determine which service course is appropriate. A general guide to the schools served by these courses is as follows:

  • AST-A100 / AST-A105: General science courses for students in all majors.
  • AST-A130: Focused short courses for students in all majors.
  • PHYS 14000: Focused short courses for students in all majors.
  • PHYS 10000: For students in allied health, business, and liberal arts (a traditional survey course).
  • PHYS 20000: For students in education, SPEA, and liberal arts (a nontraditional course).
  • PHYS 21800 / PHYS 21900: A noncalculus sequence for technology students.
  • PHYS-P201 / PHYS-P202: A noncalculus sequence for preprofessional students.
  • PHYS 15200 / PHYS 25100 / PHYS 34200: For students in science and engineering requiring a calculus-based sequence.