Physics Tribute to Stephen Hawking

March 14, 2018. In honor of Stephen Hawking and his great contributions to science, this drawing graces the chalkboard in the Physics hallway of the Bannan Building 3rd floor. Drawing inspiration goes to the Stephen Hawking Empty Wheelchair website.

PhysFest 2018

PhysFest 2018 Group Picture

PhysFest 2018 was a great success! High school seniors from across the country were introduced to the world of physics here at Seattle University. Students arrived on Friday where they met their student hosts, enjoyed a reception and dinner with the physics department, followed by a brief orientation and tour of the physics facilities. Saturday was a packed day of experiments across a wide range of physics concepts. Thank you to all of those who were involved in making this year another great success! 

Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Physics students at the CUWiP Conference (2018)

Five of our current physics majors flew to Eugene for the APS Council for Undergraduate Women in Physics Conference. The goal of APS CUWiP is to encourage undergraduate women to continue in physics by experiencing a professional conference, gather information about graduate opportunities and future professions in physics, and network with other women in physics by sharing experience, advice, and ideas with peers and professionals. 

Scholarly Summer

Ethan Hunt was featured in the SU Commons!

Science and Engineering undergraduates present their research

The Physics Professors are active in research and working with students on that  research is rewarding for the students and the professors. The summer research program with funding by generous individuals and foundations provides support for this work. Recently students presented their research at a poster session. Read the article.

Physics Hosts Eclipse Viewing

On BANN roof during eclipse

Prof. Joanne Hughes, Prof. Paul Fontana, and Lab Manager Chris Varney hosted a solar eclipse viewing 8-21-17 on the roof of Bannan. Using the telescope, they projected the progress of the eclipse, viewing glasses were passed amongst the crowd and some pinhole cameras rounded out the viewing options. Quite a crowd gathered and the feel was festive with everyone learning about and experiencing the wonder of the solar eclipse!

Dr. Hughes and 5 Physics Students Publish Pager in the Astronomical Journal

Dr. Joanne Hughes, Associate Professor in the Physics Department, published a paper in the Astronomical Journal in July, with a team which included 5 Seattle University past and present Physics Majors*. The paper, "A Multiwavelength Study of the Segue 3 Cluster" describes an imaging study of a 2 to 3 billion-year-old star cluster, using the Apache Point Observatory's 3.5-m Telescope (see Sloan Digital Sky Survey image of the cluster). The authors describe how they determined that this sparse group of stars is not native to our Galaxy, being too rich in iron and too young to belong to our outer halo, at a distance of about 95,000 light-years from Earth. The Milky Way's own halo globular clusters are all more than 3 times older than Segue 3, indicating that large spiral galaxies such as ours are still accreting dwarf galaxies and stripping them of stars, gas, and star clusters.

Physics Faculty Honored at Murdock Charitable Trust Scientific Research Awards


On November 5, 2016, Dr. Mary Alberg and Dr. Woo-Joong (Andy) Kim, were honored by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for their research accomplishments.

Dr. Alberg is the inaugural recipient of the Lynnwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award, honoring a senior natural sciences faculty member of a Pacific Northwest institution whose work has gained national recognition and who also has demonstrated leadership in engaging undergraduate students and promoting research at their institution. Dr. Alberg's work in theoretical nuclear physics of mesons and baryons, her mentorship of undergraduate student researchers, and her founding on the Anacapa Society caused her to stand out among the nominees.

Dr. Kim was the Honorable Mention for the Lynnwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award, recognizing and honoring emerging junior faculty members.

Congratulations to Dr. Kim and Dr. Alberg!

Visit the Murdock Charitable Website HERE for more information about Dr. Alberg and Dr. Kim's honor.

Three Students Awarded Bannan Scholarships

Congratulations to Rose Marie Haynes, Christopher Riley, and Caleb Schmidt, who have been awarded Bannan Scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year.

This scholarship program is named for its benefactor, Thomas J. Bannan, a leader in manufacturing, commerce, engineering and applied sciences and a man with a deep commitment to Seattle University.

To be eligible for a Bannan scholarship, a student must be an undergraduate junior or senior with a full-time major in the College of Science and Engineering. The applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and have a demonstrated commitment to serving both the university and the greater community. 

Congratulations to our Bannan Scholars!

Grace Jesensky wins Outstanding Presentation Award

Grace Jesensky won an Outstanding Presentation award for her talk on research she did jointly with SU physics majors Dominic Dams and Oleksiy Khomenko, and SU Associate Professor of Physics Woo-Joong (Andy) Kim, at the American Physical Society March Meeting in Baltimore in March. The title of the talk was, “A simple table-top experiment demonstrating mechanical oscillation of a macroscopic object driven by radiation pressure.”

Congratulations, Grace!

Hanah Joudi '16 Featured on King5 News


Hanah Joudi, senior physics major, was featured on King5 News on October 28. Hannah spoke about her experience in the world of STEM and how millionaire investor Gary Rubens, in part with the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, has helped make her education possible.

Summer Research 2015

Students tackle challenging problems in summer research. Olivia Corrin, Donna Le, Hanah Joudi, and Spencer Schiefelbein are working with Dr. Joanne Hughes to find the origin of star cluster SEGUE 3. Dominic Dams is working with Dr. Kim on the development of a high-sensitivity torsion balance. Grace Jesensky is working with Dr. Kim on detecting the radiation pressure using a Michelson's interferometer. Oleksiy Khomenko is working with Dr. Kim on characterizing absolute distances based on precision capacitance microscopy. All the physics summer research students were available to explain their projects at the Summer Research Open House.

Two Physics Students Awarded Bannan Scholarship

Congratulations to Dominic Dams and Caleb Schmidt who have been awarded the Bannan Scholarship for 2015-16.This scholarship program is named for its benefactor, Thomas J. Bannan, a leader in manufacturing, commerce, engineering and applied sciences and a man with a deep commitment to Seattle University.

To be eligible for a Bannan scholarship, a student must be an undergraduate junior or senior with a full-time major in the College of Science and Engineering. The applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and have a demonstrated commitment to serving both the university and the greater community. 

Congratulations to our Bannan Scholars!

Prof. Alberg Featured in Reach


Undergraduate research is a vibrant part of the Physics faculty/student experience. Congrats to Dr. Alberg and her research students for being featured on the cover of the Science and Engineering magazine - REACH! 

The quote on the right reads: "Even though I am deeply immersed in my research, the most important people in my professional life are my undergraduate students. It's thrilling to be in a community like this, which in some ways replicates my undergraduate experience. I had a mentor. I was one of those students who wanted to grow up to be like my professor, and I have, I think." Mary Alberg, PhD, Physics Professor

Dr. Kim's Research Makes AJP Cover 


The American Journal of Physics Volume 83, No. 2, February 2015 issue features Dr. Andy Kim's research on the front cover. The research, conducted in partnership with SU students: M. Pahlmeyer, A. Hankins, and S. Tuppan is titled, Scanning capacitance microscopy using a relaxation oscillator. You can read the complete paper Kim research - scanning capacitance 1-22-15. Congratulations Dr. Kim, Marie, Andrew, and Sam!

Dr. Alberg elected APS Fellow

 Professor of Physics Mary Alberg has been elected in November 2014 as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the leading physicists' professional society in the world. The number of Fellows is small, with annual election limited to less than one-half of one percent of the membership. This is a great honor that most active physicists never achieve.


SU Physics Grads Excel

Nearly all of our recent graduates have been going on to graduate study or industrial employment.


Recent SU Physics grads are in, or have just completed, PhD degree work in physics at Georgetown U, the U of Oregon, the U of Michigan, and the Ohio State University.

Others are in PhD programs in engineering: Purdue U (Aerospace Engineering), Penn State U (Electrical Engineering), Vanderbilt U (Electrical Engineering), UC-Santa Barbara (Bioengineering), U of Maryland (Bioengineering), Northwestern U (Mechanical Engineering), the Ohio State University (Mechanical Engineering).

The earth and planetary sciences are also represented by our physics major graduates who entered PhD programs recently: U of Washington (Oceanography), U of Arizona (Planetary Sciences). Others have gone for the MS degree: UC-San Diego (Physics), Washington State U (Mechanical Engineering), Santa Clara U (Mechanical Engineering).

Three students recently entered the University of Oregon's Industrial Master's program.

Some of the jobs obtained by recent SU Physics grads not going on to graduate school are engineering or analyst positions at Boeing, at electro-optical companies, at the U of Washington School of Medicine, as well as computer programmer or network technician positions at various companies, including Microsoft.

Physics Department Awarded Grants

The Seattle University Physics Department has been awarded nine grants from federal agencies and from private foundations recently, and has been awarded more research grant support per faculty member than any other department at Seattle University.

Six of these grants are NSF research grants in physics or astronomy, awarded to SU Physics faculty Mary Alberg, Paul Fontana, Joanne Hughes Clark, and Andy Kim.

Each grant includes support for undergraduate student collaborators.

Further physics major undergraduate research support comes from our grants from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust and from NASA, as well as from grants from generous donors.

Calling all SU Physics Alumni

We want to hear from you! Drop us an email.