Energy and matter. Time and Space. Fields, particles and wavefunctions. Learn about the fundamental nature of the universe.
Physics at Otterbein University
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 education in multiple ways. The McCloy Fellowship offers opportunities to teach physics, 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 of Physics, Department of Engineering, Computer Science, & Physics
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 >
Program Features & Student Opportunities in Physics
News - September 18, 2023Otterbein University has been collecting honors this fall, as it is recognized in national publications for its programs and values, including U.S. News & World Report, Colleges of Distinction, and Washington Monthly. US News & World Report Otterbein University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its academic excellence, commitment to undergraduate teaching, and focus on affordability, student success outcomes, and experiential learning. In the 2024 Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Otterbein has…
News - July 31, 2023Otterbein University is using an innovative approach to grow enrollment and revenue by “crowd sourcing” ideas from its own community and investing in the best ideas with $1 million approved by the Board of Trustees. Under the Fast Track Innovation Fund initiative, seven projects proposed by Otterbein faculty and staff in May have been funded and are already being implemented on campus. “This investment in Otterbein’s future demonstrates our trustees’ commitment to allowing every member of our community to be heard…
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…
Programs of Study in Physics
Engineering, Computer Science & Physics Department
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!