Physics Student Opportunities
Students studying physics at Carthage have many opportunities to enrich their education.
Space Science and NASA Research
The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers around the world. Participating students regularly travel to and work with researchers at NASA Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center, and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Carthage students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft.
Carthage students work in teams with NASA guidance to design and build small satellites called cubesats that spend several years orbiting the earth. Team members participate in all aspects of a space mission from design through mission operations.
Students design research payloads that fly aboard sounding rockets that achieve 75-mile apogees and several minutes in the space environment.
High Altitude Balloon Research
Students build payloads for near-space balloon launches. Payloads are carried to altitudes of 100,000 feet and stay aloft for 2+ hours.
Collegiate Rocket Launch
Each year, Carthage physics students participate in the state-wide Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium Collegiate Rocket Launch. Teams of students design and build a high-powered rocket to achieve a competition objective. Student teams from across the state launch their rockets in this annual NASA-sponsored competition event.
Carthage has associations with many regional and national observatories, giving Carthage students access to the best astronomical equipment. Students have the opportunity to use telescopes at the nearby Yerkes Observatory, Kitt Peak in Arizona, and the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, among other facilities.
Research Experience for Undergraduates
Carthage student placements in summer REU programs provide off-campus research at leading universities.
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, or SURE, offers Carthage students the opportunity to conduct significant research with a faculty mentor during the summer months. Students receive a stipend, room and board on campus, and a small research budget.
Research with faculty
Physics students working with Professor Jean Quashnock study gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes, using data collected by the LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA scientific collaboration. They are modeling the merger events and measuring key properties of these black holes — including their mass and spin — seeking to test our current scientific understanding of these fascinating objects.
Quantum Computing Group
Professor Jean Quashnock collaborates with other faculty members to offer a research opportunity in quantum computing.
January Term is a month-long period of study in January in which all academic departments offer innovative courses on campus, as well as study tours in other countries. The Physics and Astronomy Department has been extremely active in J-Term, offering courses to both majors and non-majors that display physics in many different, concrete ways.
At Carthage, students are both encouraged and inspired to serve the community. The Carthage chapter of the Society of Physics Students performs outreach for Kenosha schools, teaching elementary, middle and high school students about science and physics.
Student Internships and Campus Employment
Carthage students regularly intern at NASA Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, and the Glenn Research Center.
Students looking for work on campus as lab assistants, supplemental instructors, or department fellows should contact the department chair. The department regularly hires supplemental instructors for introductory physics courses and lab assistants.
Mid-States Math and Science Consortium
Carthage is a member of the 11-state Mid-States Science and Math Consortium, giving Carthage students access to facilities at other schools including the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.
CARTHAGE DIGITAL PLANETARIUM
The Carthage planetarium contains a Spitz SciDome HD dual-projector theater system for high-resolution scientific visualization. In addition to producing digital simulations of the sky, the SciDome HD system can create virtual trips through space, and allows students in the introductory astronomy class the opportunity to interact directly with the planetarium sky using the SciTouch infrared laser-based remote control. The SciDome HD system can also be used to display immersive and interactive visuals of the earth system. As a theater system, the Carthage planetarium can be used to exhibit specially-formatted films for full-dome screens. This facility features a 24-foot dome and can seat 30 people.
Kemper Center Observatory
The Carthage Physics Department operates an observatory on the grounds of the Kemper Center in Kenosha.