News

Davidson Physics Program Shines on Earth and Far Above!

by Davidson College

Physics at Davidson has a long, proud history, including the founding of the Sigma Pi Sigma national honor society here in 1922 and creation of the first X-ray in North America. Today's Davidsonians continue to distinguish themselves. Read more about alumnus Tom Marshburn orbiting in the Space Station, a student studying meteors for NASA, and students winning prizes at a national undergraduate conference.

  • Wildcat News from the International Space Station - Davidson's own NASA Astronaut Thomas Marshburn, M.D. '82 departed the frozen steppes of Baikonur, Kazakhastan, Earth at 7:12 a.m. EST, Dec. 19, for a second sojourn aboard the International Space Station -- this time for six months!
  • Four physics majors represented Davidson's chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society at the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Conference (PhysCon), which included presentations by Nobel Prize winners, an astronaut, quantum and astrophysicists, a pulsar pioneer-even a consultant for CBS's popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
  • Sam Castle '14 Goes Meteor Gazing - Sam Castle '14 spent his fall semester studying those familiar flashes of light that streak across the night sky -- meteors! -- from a rare vantage point: NASA telescopes in Huntsville, Ala.
  • Just Follow the Sun - Last June, Davidson astrophysicists hosted a community viewing of the transit of Venus across the sun from the brick plaza in front of Chambers Building.
  • Powered by Sunlight - A collaboration between Southern Energy Management, Physical Plant, and three students, created something useful to tell the story of the Baker Sports Complex Solar Installation, explain how solar works and even charge your cell phone and more.
  • X-Ray Pioneers - Davidson physics students established a reputation early on for being eager to make the next discovery. In 1896, three students snuck in to a physics professor's lab after having collected various objects to photograph with x-rays, including a cadaver finger taken from the nearby North Carolina Medical College, stuck with two pins and wearing a ring borrowed from one of the students' girlfriends.