Mission and Core Values

Our goal is always to provide the best education for all of our students – nonmajors and majors alike – through focused face-to-face teaching and hands-on laboratory work.   We seek to expand the department where necessary so that our students may flourish in the workplace and thrive in graduate school.  Through the triad of teaching, undergraduate research, and department, university and professional service, the Physics Department continues its dedication to the Lamar University Mission We engage and empower the students through providing high-quality lectures, by having individualized one-on-one instruction in our peer-instruction tutoring center (36 hours/week and staffed by upper-level Physics majors), by holding ample office hours, and through offering the newly-instituted recitation sessions for University Physics I/II, which began in Fall 2018. For our majors, we have abundant undergraduate research opportunities, which is further leveraged by the department’s strong connections to the Office of Undergraduate Research. In this way, the Lamar student may acquire the requisite skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen area of study by having a firm background in the physical sciences. 

The Physics Department aligns well with the College’s guiding principle that the success of every major academic enterprise depends greatly upon the quality of its faculty; all our faculty (tenured, tenure-track and instructors) hold PhD degrees from recognized universities. We are highly qualified to pursue high-quality research and teaching in the department and providing our majors opportunities for undergraduate research under faculty supervision in a variety of physics areas, ranging from the mathematical modeling of physical processes in computational physics and data analysis, to the applications in atomic and nuclear physics, optics, and surface physics.

The Principles of the Physics Department

The Physics Department closely adheres to the College’s principles, which are designed to endow all students an academic experience of the highest quality, wherein it states:

  • To provide an excellent learning environment wherein all students may refine the knowledge and skills essential to cultivate their ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and advance their appreciation of artistic and scientific inquiry;

    In Physics we emphasize the theoretical concepts amplified through mathematical frameworks and punctuated and enriched with hands-on experimentation.  Our program has six dedicated lab rooms, two advanced and four introductory/general physics. 
  • To provide a contemporary education through the integration of information technology into the study of disciplines traditionally associated with the arts and sciences;

    Many of the Physics faculty have incorporated online instructional tools, such as Web Assign, WileyPlus, Sapling Learning, TopHat, and Mastering Physics for the introductory courses as well as developed their own.  Our courses, furthermore, include computer simulations and modern data analysis techniques. 

  • To stress the importance of lifelong learning through community outreach, service, research, and creative endeavors.

Service and Undergraduate Research

Service and Undergraduate Research are part and parcel of the education for the Lamar Physics Major.  We have a very healthy Society of Physics Students, which has been recognized nationally with the Distinguished Chapter Awards (in 2012-13 & 2014-15) and honored with the Outstanding Chapter Award (in 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019) from the National Office of the Society of Physics Students.  The Lamar Society of Physics Students (SPS) is continuously engaged in many outreach activities to the community and the university, such as in-house demonstrations to middle- and high-school students, recruitment activities for Cardinal View, and on-the-road exhibits at local schools.  Also, the Lamar Society of Physics Students has received two Research Awards (in 2013 and 2016) and was honored with the 2017 Marsh W. White Award for outstanding outreach. Our students’ achievements have been highlighted several times in the SPS Observer, which is the official journal of the National Society of Physics Students and on the Lamar website.   And in 2019 Prof. Cristian Bahrim was the finalist for SPS Outstanding Advisor in the Nation, which is a high honor indeed.

Many of our undergraduate students are engaged in a variety of research projects, from computational physics to applied physics. In the past five years, our students have conducted research in settings ranging from nationally-recognized programs such as the McNair (we have had two students in 2015, two in 2017, one in 2018, and one in 2019), to participate in the Exxon Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Camp (every year for 2011-2018). Many of our majors had successful submissions and received undergraduate research grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research (one in 2014, three in 2015, three in 2016, two in 2017, and one in 2018). And one of our Physics majors received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship in 2015, one of our Physics majors became a Beck Fellow recipient (2014), and more than a dozen majors have gone on multiple occasions to local, regional, and national conferences to present their research. In 2017 one student interned at SPS headquarters in Maryland and another student participated in the NSF International Research Experience for Undergraduates at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Orsay, France (2018).  Furthermore, some of our students have been co-authors in several articles for peer-reviewed journals.  This is a strength of the Lamar education – undergraduates have great opportunities in research as well as in service.