Physics Department Facilities


The department runs both a first-year physics lab and an upper-year advanced lab used for many different laboratory experiments (including: optical spectroscopy, Compton scattering, Muon decay, Frank-Hertz, a Cavendish balance, Millikan oil drop, Faraday rotation ) as well as general-purpose equipment (lock-in amplifier, oscilloscopes, signal generators, computers, lasers, etc.)

Faculty project labs have dedicated space to optics tables, nuclear physics experiments, and student workspace. Research work is also performed off-campus at Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside Chicago.

The physics department works in close concert with the other science departments, and has access to Chemistry’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer and X-Ray crystal diffractometer.

Weitkamp Observatory

Otterbein University’s observatory and planetarium were donated in 1955 by Alfred Henry Weitkamp ’04 in memory of Mary Geeding Weitkamp ’09, and rededicated in honor of both in 1982. The Arch B. Tripler, Jr. Solar Observing Facility was donated in 1990. Professor Dr. Uwe Trittmann is the director of the Weitkamp Observatory.

Facilities include 14 and 8 inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, a Meade CCD camera and guidance system, and a Spitz planetarium projector.

The Observatory is located on the fifth floor of the Science building at Otterbein University, 155 W. Main St., Westerville, Ohio (building 37 on the campus map). Use the stairwell with the planetarium signs (north side of the building, second from the eastern end).

Observing Opportunities

Apart from the Astronomy Lecture Series, visitors and students may come to Weitkamp Observatory throughout the semester to observe the night sky. Check back continuously for dates, times and weather related cancellations. Please contact the department at 614-823-1316 for more details.

Shop Facilities

The department maintains a small machine shop includes a vertical mill, lathe, bandsaw, sheet metal brake, drill press, and significant hand tools and measurement tools. Students may be trained in the use of the shop for use in coursework or in research projects.

Our electronics shop serves to both course work and research. This shop is stocked with a complete complement of standard components for prototyping circuit development and learning about both analog and digital circuits.

The Point is a five-minute walk from the Science building, and has rapid prototyping facilities such as 3-D printing, as well as professional-quality CNC design and construction tools for bigger projects.

Computing Facilities

The department maintains it’s own set of computing facilites for small-scale VM servers, numerical analysis, and content/homework systems for teaching. Faculty also make use of the Ohio supercomputing center and fermilab grid computing systems