Energy and matter. Time and Space. Fields, particles and wavefunctions. Learn about the fundamental nature of the universe.
Department of Physics
Embrace the Why! Physics is the most basic and fundamental science, and it supplies much of the conceptual and technical frameworks for chemistry, engineering, astronomy, biology, and neuroscience. It provides the deepest answers to questions about the natural world that begin with “why.” Its influence on civilization has been profound, leading to revolutions in the way we see the world as well as a nearly endless array of technical innovations. At Otterbein you can gain a solid grounding in fundamental science while exploring applications in a diverse range of areas, from particle physics to cosmology to practical problems in engineering and applied science.
We offer the B.A. in Physics and the B.S. in Engineering Physics, as well as a minor in Physics. Students work in a rigorous but supportive environment, getting immediate access to professors and research opportunities to prepare them for future graduate work or technical careers.
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“A History of Physics at
An ebook by Professor David Robertson.
Student, Faculty, & Alumni Spotlights
“Studying Physics at Otterbein really pushed me to new heights in my challenging academic career, because it is unlike any other subject that you can study. Physics is not only interesting on its own, it has given me a much deeper understating of other sciences I am interested in. The experience in problem solving and critical thinking has also been really helpful.”
Olivia Smith ’22
Chemistry Major, Physics Minor
(L to R) Physics scholars Heather Tanner ’20 and Olivia Smith ’22 are shown here at the 2020 Conference on Undergraduate Women in Physics.
“You really get to know the faculty and they are completely invested in your success. The career options for physics are so wide, there is grad school, research, industry, teaching, science policy, science communication, and more.”
Alex Robarge ’22
Our innovative “Computing Across the Curriculum” initiative incorporates simulation, computational methods, and programming throughout all core physics courses, providing you with the practical skills needed to tackle real problems, not just textbook ones.
The world needs Physics teachers! Otterbein is a member of the PhysTEC consortium, and supports students interested in secondary physics teaching in multiple ways. The McCloy Fellowship offers opportunities for teaching in the department, mentoring with in-service teachers, and membership in professional societies.
“The community in the physics department was especially unmatched. Having the space to work in the advanced lab was fantastic. As students, we were able to work collaboratively in a space that really felt like our own and with the faculty nearby for asking questions. This environment really helped me discover what I was capable of.”
Keegan Orr ’18
Engineering Physics Major
One of a select group of recipients of the highly competitive National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, Keegan is now a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Ohio State University.
“Otterbein Physics is dedicated to preparing the physicists, astronomers, and educators of tomorrow and ensuring that they practice collaboration rather than competition. At Otterbein, I developed not only a love of physics but a love of teaching physics and passing my enthusiasm onto my peers, students, and friends.”
Evan Heintz ’16
Evan is now a Ph.D. student in physics at the University of Wisconsin
“All the faculty knew my name and had a genuine interest in my experience in the program and career interests. The professors at Otterbein also did a great job acting on feedback and took student’s interests and goals into account when devising curriculum for upper-level courses. It added up to create a real sense of community where you felt valued and your future interests (be it PhD or otherwise) were considered.”
John Brandon ’17
John is now a nuclear safety and accident analysis engineer at Amentum
Recent Otterbein graduates have gone on to post-graduate work in physics, engineering, law, applied mathematics, and astronomy, as well as work in engineering, H.S. teaching, consulting, finance, and business.
Dr. David Robertson
Professor, Physics Department
Physics is a great starting point for careers in almost any area. That’s because it prepares you to solve hard problems, to think critically, and to learn new things. Otterbein’s emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences will also ensure that you are well rounded and able to communicate your ideas in diverse ways.
Uwe Trittmann recently authored a textbook on astronomy, Discovering the Expanding Universe. The book emphasizes the history of astronomy, and much of the research for it was carried out in visits to important sites in Europe.
Dr. Uwe Trittmann
Learn more about Dr. Trittmann >
David Robertson has built computational tools for particle physics that are in use around the world, including in analyses at the Large Hadron Collider. He was Otterbein’s Teacher of the Year in 2017, and plays oboe and English horn in the Westerville Symphony.
Dr. David Robertson
Learn more about Dr. Robertson >
Department Features & Student Opportunities
We recognize and invest in talent through research funding and scholarships to fuel discovery and learning.
Teaching and Mentoring
Developing relationships with faculty who help you grow into a better version of yourself is a smarter way to learn.
We are innovators. Go beyond the classroom by working on cutting-edge problems in particle physics and astrophysics.
Explore the state-of-the-art Science Center and its 96,000 square feet of laboratories, research spaces, and classrooms.
Join the Otterbein STEM community, contribute to science outreach, and develop as a leader.
We are explorers. Push your boundaries as you travel the United States and the world.
Otterbein Receives Choose Ohio First Grant for Cardinal STEMM Scholars Program
News - April 6, 2021Otterbein University has received a Choose Ohio First (COF) grant from the State of Ohio and the Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to increase the number of Ohio residents completing postsecondary studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) and STEMM education. “Choose Ohio First provides an excellent opportunity for those students who stay in Ohio and continue their education to get the skills they need to succeed in promising career fields,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy…
Otterbein University Awarded National Science Foundation Grant for STEM Education
News - September 24, 2020STEM faculty at Otterbein University were recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM grant of $999,348 to support recruitment and retention of students from under-represented populations in STEM fields through Otterbein’s Cardinal Science Scholars (CSS) program. This five-year program will support two cohorts of 11 students each for four years of undergraduate education in STEM subjects — a total of 22 four-year scholarships for students majoring in biology, environmental science, zoo and conservation science, biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, engineering or physics. Associate Professor of Chemistry Brigitte Ramos leads the project team of professors including Joan Esson, professor of chemistry; David Sheridan, associate professor of biology and earth science; Meredith Meyer, associate professor of psychology; Elena Caruthers, assistant professor of engineering;…
Programs of Study in Physics
60 Collegeview Rd.
Westerville, OH 43081
Are you curious about the physical universe? Want to know about subatomic particles or how atoms behave when cooled down almost to absolute zero? Then come study Physics at Otterbein!