About the Department
About the Department
Inquiry into the universe itself
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Valparaiso University is dedicated to the study, research, and instruction of the most fundamental structures of the physical universe.
Professors and students seek to find and to characterize orderliness in a seemingly complex environment — from the most elementary constituents of matter to objects of the astronomical realm.
Grounded in Research
The department currently consists of eight full-time faculty members who are each engaged in teaching and research with Valpo students. Each summer, the department hires students as research assistants. The students work together with faculty on projects that are funded by external grant agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.
Perhaps no other single intellectual endeavor captures the imagination of human beings like the study of stars and galaxies in the night sky. At least part of this fascination is kindled by an interest in discovering the earth’s connection to the rest of the vast universe.
To develop this innate interest, the department offers a major in astronomy, access to telescopes in Indiana, Arizona, and Chile, and several research opportunities in astronomy and astrophysics. The department also offers programs for students of other majors and for the wider community.
A Sense of Purpose
At Valpo, study and research is motivated by a conviction that there is an underlying order, symmetry, and beauty in nature, which we believe are God’s manifestations. The Department of Physics and Astronomy therefore strives to:
- communicate this knowledge and its limitations
- motivate students to achieve a greater understanding, appreciation, and support of scientific inquiry
- overcome widespread scientific illiteracy
- and promote the development of morally responsible citizens, concerned about our environment and our society.
“The classes we teach are quite intimate, with about five students in an intermediate class. When students apply for grad schools or teaching jobs, I can write very strong recommendations, because I know how well they work in groups, how diligent they are, and the kind of creativity they bring to the work.”