Sonoma State University
Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Applied Physics Program

In March 2000 the Sonoma State University Academic Senate approved revisions to the B.S. in Physics with a Concentration in Applied Physics curriculum.

The new curriculum eliminates the areas of specialization and adds three courses to the core: Computer Applications for Scientists, X-ray Analysis, and Physics of Semiconductor Devices. Other core courses—in introductory physics and calculus, electromagnetism, optics, quantum and statistical physics, and electronics—continue to provide the background needed to enter engineering or other physics-related disciplines after graduation.

The Research and Senior Design Project courses will continue to provide students with the opportunity to concentrate on a specific subject in detail. These courses are particularly useful for those who are already working on interesting projects in high-tech industries and would like to expand their investigations either in their employer's or the University's laboratories. In recent years a significant number of SSU's physics majors have obtained internships in local industries which have led to their permanent employment. The Department's future student interns will be encouraged to obtain partial or full credit for their design or research activities in related industries. Rigayaku X-ray diffractometer

The Applied Physics curriculum includes extensive use of software packages such as Mathematica as well as computer simulation programs. Currently LabView, Jade, and other SPICE-based programs are used in our photonics, X-ray analysis, and electronics courses and laboratories.

in the photonics lab The Department's advanced laboratories include X-ray Analysis, Lasers and Holography, Fiber Optics, Applied Nuclear Physics, Advanced Electronics, and Advanced Observational Astronomy. Lecture courses include Photonics and Physics of Semiconductor Devices. The University's faculty and administration will continue to endeavor to bring advanced learning and research tools to the laboratories. In addition to acquisitions with state funds, significant equipment donations by graduates and members of the community have recently strengthened the Department's experimental courses, and the Department hopes for more such donations. The Department will share some laboratories with the M.S. in Computer and Engineering Science program, which will begin in 2001. Many experiments are computer-controlled, and majors have easy access to mainframe, mini- and microcomputers.

The expertise of the Department's six full-time faculty ranges from solid state physics and electronics to nuclear physics and astronomy. Sonoma State University's Physics and Astronomy faculty have been awarded grants and distinction for their exemplary scholarly and teaching activities, both by the university administration and external funding agencies. The faculty's intense interest in the academic performance of their majors and their success during their stay at SSU and after graduation is one of the main attractions of the department.

A large number of the Department's graduates are employed as engineers and computer programmers and analysts. The recent rapid growth of the number and size of the high-tech industries in the North Bay has resulted in demands for more Applied Physics majors and interns.

The Applied Physics program provides graduates of local high schools and community colleges the opportunity to continue their studies in a technical field while remaining in the North Bay area. Graduates of this program will be qualified to continue their studies with graduate work in physics-related sciences or engineering.

A number of major local companies have indicated their support for the Applied Physics program. These include Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc., Compumotor, Next Level Communications, Textron Systems, Agilent Technologies, Deposition Sciences, Inc.,Tegal, Flex Products, Inc., TrueTime, Inc., KnowledgePoint, and Advanced Fiber Communications. Members of the Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Chambers of Commerce have also voiced their strong support for this program.


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