Science Fair participants

There are plenty of ways to get involved with Physics and Astronomy outside the classroom during your time at Ball State. Get involved with our dynamic Society of Physics Students chapter and meet and make friends; learn about current events and the latest science in our colloquium series, then go and do your own research with our faculty; get summer internships to enrich your education and get your foot in the door for a job in industry or admission to graduate school after you graduate.

Society of Physics Students
SOPS

Our Society of Physics Students is a fun, supportive, and ambitious group whose mission is to inspire the community and especially young people about physics and what physicists do. Along the way we find a way to hang out together, share common interests, learn more about physics ourselves – and hone our communications skills as scientists and educators.

Our major activity is our science outreach program, encouraging young students we work with to discover a love for science and eventually major in the sciences. We love the challenge of making scientific concepts understandable and visually interesting, and especially seeing the amazement on children’s faces.

The highlight event is our annual “Clash of the Sciences” where we compete with our peers in Chemistry and Biology to make the most compelling and fun science demo and win audience hearts. This event brings the community into Ball State to provide a family-friendly open house for our science departments. We continue the friendly rivalry in a “Demo-Off” at the regional Science Fair and other outreach projects throughout the year.

Other activities include an annual T-shirt drive, and from time to time, field trips, to great physics places such as Argonne National Lab and Fermilab.

We have been recognized for our outreach work as a Distinguished SPS Chapter for 2015—2016 and again for 2016—2017 by the national Society of Physics Students.

We meet weekly, and it’s a great way to make friends and get inspired by physics.

For more information send an e-mail or check us out on Benny Link. You can also stop by the undergraduate lounge in CP02.

Email Us Visit Benny Link

Student Research

At Ball State, students don’t just learn about science in their coursework. You get out of the classroom to do research that makes a real contribution to our knowledge of the world around us. Our professors are involved in a wide number of research projects in areas spanning the gamut of modern physics and astronomy. And they’re always willing to share their expertise with students. 

Undergraduates can explore the many areas that the spark imagination and engage the effort of modern scientists by attending colloquium, doing independent studies with faculty and taking on a capstone research project.

Graduate students take challenging research classes and engage in an in-depth study of a research topic that excites them.

Our research areas are:

  • astronomy and astrophysics
  • computational nanoscience
  • condensed matter physics
  • medical physics
  • nanomaterials and devices
  • nuclear and radiation physics
  • particle physics
  • physics education

Some recent projects by our students:

  • searching for new exoplanets and modeling the “Galactic Habitable Zone” to improve our understanding of the conditions for extraterrestrial life
  • performing computational simulations of two-dimensional materials – materials only a few atom layers thick with potential for spintronic and other cutting edge devices
  • using ultrafast GPU-based computers to simulate galaxy mergers and interactions
  • teaming with researchers around the country to uncover the source of the spin of the proton
  • working with Notre Dame’s Institute for Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics to probe the nuclear interactions that lead to element formation in supernovae

Students can also apply their scientific skill-set to solving real-life physiological problems through our dysphagia immersive learning collaboration with the Speech Pathology and Audiology Department. ln the field of Speech-Language Pathology, there is lack of standardized recipes for thickened liquids used to treat patients diagnosed with dysphagia. This project focuses on the use of physics and objective testing of viscosity, specifically examining the type of thickening agent used, the time required to obtain the appropriate viscosity, and the temperature that is optimal for serving the thickened product. Students use appropriate medical technology (viscometers) to conduct testing.

Finally, presenting your work to the greater science community is essential – our students participate in our colloquium series, Ball State’s Student Research Symposium, travel to present posters, and give oral talks at a number of regional meetings and even at the national March Meeting of the American Physical Society, attended by over 10,000 scientists from around the world.

  • Colloquium
  • Student Symposium
  • Indiana Academy of Science
  • Butler Undergraduate Research Conference
  • Ohio Section of the APS
  • Meetings of the American Physical Society

To help you grow as a physicist, astronomer, or engineer, we have a colloquium series with several talks each semester.

View Speakers

There are several ways to get involved in physics and astronomy at Ball State and get paid at the same time.

You can get valuable experience as a science educator as intern or volunteer with our Planetarium.

Occasionally opportunities to tutor or help with labs are available through the department – just inquire with our departmental office.

Other jobs on campus are posted through the Career Center; our students can find jobs with the Office of Information Technology, among others.

Find a Job

We don’t require you to have an internship, but the more real-world experience you have, the better prepared you will be for your career – especially if you plan to join the work-force immediately after college. You will be given the opportunity in your first year to prepare a resume, and with the help of the Career Center you’ll be able to find internships that meet your needs.

Our majors can find internships with a wide range of employers. Some Indiana companies that hire interns with physics backgrounds are:

Do your research using Career Center resources, and check out the Cardinal Job Fair.

Research Internships

Another option is a research internship to prepare you for graduate work after you leave college.

  • National Science Foundation – A great source for summer research internships is the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.
  • Government internships – USAJOBS has a comprehensive listing of federal government jobs including summer internships at national labs.

Our program helps open doors to careers in physics education and in STEM fields in industry. With graduate education in physics or engineering, you can land that dream job in research or in medical physics.

Our students have gone on to attend PhD programs at Ohio University, University of Florida, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Purdue University and others. They have successful careers as scientists, high school and college educators, medical physicists, engineers, and data scientists, to name just a few career paths. They work for global corporations and organizations like Intel, Experian, the Mayo Clinic, Cummins and Argonne National Lab, and Argonne National Lab.