Physics and Astronomy

Welcome to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at BGSU! Here we explore how the universe works – from the vastness of the cosmos to the nature of subatomic particles. We do that by studying the properties of matter and energy and the laws that govern them. It’s not surprising, then, that physics and astronomy have helped us to understand our place in space-time and led the way to new technologies. With society’s ever-increasing pace, the need for discovery accelerates the demand for trained physicists. Physicists and astronomers are exceptional problem solvers with skills that are in high demand in a wide range of scientific and engineering careers in industry, academia, and government.

Students actively participate with our faculty on cutting-edge scientific research in the fields of astrophysics, materials science, nano-science, solid-state physics, and computational physics. In addition, our Planetarium and Observatory offer opportunities for astronomy research, education, and community engagement activities. These experiences are crucial for developing the credentials that graduate programs and employers seek.


For information on BGSU Planetarium shows open to the public, including dates, times, and titles please follow the link above. Planetarium Director Dr. Kate Dellenbusch is  developing a set of Summer shows, followed by rooftop observing at the BGSU Observatory (weather permitting).

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is hiring a new faculty member to enhance teaching in introductory Physics at BGSU beginning in August 2024.  

bgsu totality eclipse phasesPhoto: Craig Bell, BGSU

Wow! Did you see the total solar eclipse in BG on April 8, 2024? We hosted a watch party at the Doyt Perry stadium that drew 5-10,000 people including BGSU students, faculty, staff, and visitors from near and far! You can see news articles, photos, and other artifacts at our Eclipse Memories webpage. In the weeks before the eclipse, we also hosted a series of evening talks with wide-ranging topics relating to science, history, music, art, and literature; recordings are available on BGSU's YouTube channel.  More links and information remain available at the BGSU Eclipse webpage and/or the BGSU Firelands Eclipse webpage.  

Is Physics for you?

What can you do with a physics degree?

A degree in physics opens the door to a wide array of exciting and challenging careers.

News and Stories


Physics Majors on the Go

Barbra Kayira, a first-year graduate student, worked in Dr. Zamkov’s lab this summer after obtaining her BS in Physics. Her summer research involved analyzing the florescence, linewidth, and quantum yield of quantum dots made through multilayer structures. She is now continuing that work in her graduate studies. Her biggest challenge is conceptually understanding the behavior of nanoparticles in a physics context. However, she enjoys visibly seeing the nanoparticles fluoresce, which helps her connect what she is learning back to quantum mechanics. Barbra plans to pursue a career in industry after completing her work here at BGSU.

Patrick Knowles, a senior Physics undergrad, had the unique opportunity to finish his physics undergrad in Saltzburg, Austria this past spring. He took Solid State physics, which unlike here at BGSU, concluded with an oral exam. Patrick learned a lot about the region he was in and talked to people from all over the world. He was able to bike around the area, and he took cruises to Spain and Morocco. He also spent time diving into his family history. He now plans to pursue a PhD in applied physics or computational solid-state physics.   

Madie Martin, a senior Physics undergrad, worked in Dr. Selim’s lab this summer. Her work revolved around perfecting the operation of the BGSU Positron Beamline and using Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy to characterize defects in thin film gallium oxide samples. Her research has applications in high-powered devices because gallium oxide has outstanding material properties, making it a promising candidate for the next generation of semiconductors. She is continuing her research into this fall semester, and enjoys the hands-on work with the positron beam. She plans to earn her BS in Physics in Spring 2024.

Hannah Means, a senior Physics undergrad, completed an internship in Washington, D.C. with Physics Today. She learned how to write and edit for the magazine, and published four pieces during her time there. Two of the pieces appeared in the print version of the magazine, and two online (Physics Olympiad and a peculiar comet). She loved the fast-paced environment and interviewing people from all over the world. She hopes to keep practicing editing and strengthening her overall skills as a writer, and plans on pursuing science journalism after earning her BS in Physics in Spring 2024. 



New Astronomer!

We are excited that Dr. Andrew McNeill will join the Physics and Astronomy Department in August as an Assistant Professor of Astronomy. Andrew’s research focuses on determining and understanding the shape and rotational properties of minor planets throughout our Solar System with particular interest in the internal cohesive strength of kilometer-sized rocky bodies.  His primary research interests are the rotational and shape properties of minor planets using photometric data and has studied them throughout our Solar System from Near Earth Asteroids to objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. 

He is an experienced observer with completed runs on telescopes in Spain, Chile and the United States and looks forward to passing on his interest and experience in observational astronomy to students at BGSU. He expects he (and interested students!) will be busy in the near future when Vera C. Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) comes online and produces a huge amount of data from the Southern Sky.

He is involved in ongoing international collaborations to identify and observe 'extreme' asteroids, those with highly unusual shape or rotation periods, with collaborators in Europe, North America and Africa. This involves both direct observing and the use of astronomical sky surveys. Some of his recent papers can be found here.   

Andrew comes to BGSU with deep experience in mentoring student research, and in teaching undergraduates courses like Introduction to Planetary Astronomy, Introduction to Stellar Astrophysics, and Modern Physics. He also has taught a seminar on Planetary Defense from potentially hazardous asteroids. He aims to use BGSU's 0.5-m telescope in his teaching and research.

Originally from Northern Ireland, he obtained both a MSc in Physics and PhD in Solar System Astrophysics from Queen’s University Belfast. Before coming to BGSU he spent five years at Northern Arizona University as a Postdoctoral Scholar and two years at Lehigh University as a Visiting Assistant Professor.


Dr. Farida Selim

We are both saddened and joyful that Dr. Selim has resigned from the BGSU Physics department in order to take on a new challenge in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy at Arizona State Univeristy. We will watch her profile to see her new projects and discoveries in her new role. Best of luck, Farida!

Three Physics grad students in nanoparticles lab

Student Awards

Congratulations to our award-winning students from 2024. Shown above are undergraduate Physics majors Matthew Fyfe (UL), Maxwell Kannen (UR), and Hallie Knorr (LL) who won Overman Awards for academic excellence. Thomas Judd (LR) received the Bowman Family Undergraduate Research Award for his work in Dr. Sun's lab on confirming the increase in the crystal lattice of PbS nanosheets, contrasting it with the behavior of bulk PbS.

Our graduate Overman Award winners are shown below, Sudhir Panthi, Andrew Prostor, Akul Rishi, Sohan Muslim, and Julia Evangelista (clockwise from UL). Congratulations on your academic achievements!


Diving into Dots

Dr. Zamkov's research group studies semiconductor nanomaterials, also known as quantum dots. The discovery and development of quantum dots won three scientists the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2023. BGSU’s students are helping progress this research, which has many important applications, from high color purity LED TVs to the advancement of biomedical technology. The work done in Dr. Zamkov’s lab has led to collaborations with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and more.

Graduate students Dulanjan Harnkahage, Jiamin Huang, and Barbra Kayira spend their days in the lab synthesizing nanomaterials and characterizing them with multiple techniques. They also have opportunities to work with laser spectroscopy in their research. This means they are usually working on a few different projects at a time throughout the day. Occasionally, they break away from the lab to attend a national conference on nanomaterials.

The students emphasize that the research done in Dr. Zamkov’s lab is great for careers in both academia and industry. They mention an important aspect of being involved in a new and innovative field is being able to handle failure, which happens all the time. They say to choose research that you are passionate about and allows you to learn from hardships. Trying out different research areas in the Physics and Astronomy department can help hone in your interests and help you decide if quantum dot research is the right fit for you.    


Who is "-HHM"?

Hello! My name is Hannah Means, and I am a fourth-year Physics and Astronomy student. I am the President of SPS, Head Stargazer, and science writer (in training!) here at BGSU.

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in Physics are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate thorough conceptual understanding of the basic field of physics;
  • Describe and manipulate fundamental physical constructs and solve problems with mathematics and computational methods;
  • Use basic experimental apparatus common to the study of physical phenomena;
  • Communicate scientific ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Physics program will undergo Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2019-20.

Updated: 05/17/2024 04:47PM