Physics Department Facilities

Laboratories

The department maintains both first-year physics laboratories and an upper-year advanced laboratory used for many different experiments including: optical spectroscopy, Compton scattering, muon decay, Frank-Hertz excitations, a Cavendish balance, Millikan oil drop, and Faraday rotation. Labs are well appointed with modern equipment.

The Department also has its own Electronics Shop, used for teaching, research, and student projects. This shop is stocked with a complete complement of standard components for prototyping circuit development and learning about both analog and digital circuits.

A Machine Shop with standard tooling (mill, lathe, band saw, sheet metal brake, drill press, and significant hand tools and measurement tools) is available in the building for faculty and student use. For more complex projects, The Point at Otterbein is a short walk from the Science building, and has rapid prototyping facilities such as 3D printing, as well as professional-quality CNC design and construction tools for bigger projects.

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

The Physics Department collaborates closely with the other science departments, and has access to instruments such as the high-field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer and X-ray crystal diffractometer housed in the Department of Chemistry.

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 Uwe Trittmann is the director of the Weitkamp Observatory.

Facilities include 14- and 8-inch Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, a Meade 10-inch computer-controlled telescope for off-site events, Meade CCD camera and guidance system, and a Spitz planetarium projector.

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 614-823-1517 for more details.

Computing Facilities

The department maintains its own set of computing facilities for small-scale VM servers used for numerical analysis, and content/homework teaching systems. Faculty also make use of the  Ohio Supercomputer Center and fermilab grid computing systems.