High Tech with a Human Touch
Physics and Space Sciences
Message from the Department Head
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Physics and Space Sciences Department. One of the founding departments of the Florida Institute of Technology at its inception in 1958, our department is home to the oldest space sciences program in the U.S. Our faculty and students conduct research in everything from the ground up-from the smallest sub-atomic particles to the largest structures in the universe. On our home page you will find links to these projects, and to all our academic programs. Have a look, and feel free to contact any of our faculty whose projects are of interest to you!
The past several years have been busy ones for the department. In 2005 we moved into the new F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, the most state-of-the art building on campus. Even with 50 percent more space than we had in our former building, we're already bursting at the seams with new students and new faculty research projects. Did you know that we have the third largest astronomy/space sciences undergraduate programs in the U.S. in terms of annual graduation rate, according to the American Institute of Physics? And the undergraduate physics program isn't far behind that! We launched one of the first undergraduate bachelors programs in Astrobiology in 2007; about a dozen students are currently in that track. Our graduate programs in physics and space sciences are growing rapidly, too. Last year over 50 graduate students called our department home-a new high-and we hope to double that in the next few years as well. In April 2008 we dedicated a brand new 0.8-meter telescope-the largest research-quality telescope in Florida. This state-of-the-art reflector is now being used every clear night by faculty and students from its dome atop our building.
I'm proud to say that we are the premiere research department at Florida Tech. During the past five years, research activity has more than doubled in the department. Our faculty and students now conduct more than 25 percent of ALL externally-funded research done at Florida Tech. In short, we are competing head-to-head with the biggest research universities in the U.S.-and winning. And note that students are involved in all these projects. Here learning isn't just a classroom experience-we are committed to giving every student that graduates from Florida Tech real professional research experience in their discipline. This isn't a recent idea-Florida Tech has been a "hands-on" place since its inception!
So, if you like the idea of really "doing science", not just reading about it, our department is the place for you.
I hope to see you here at Florida Tech soon!
Terry D. Oswalt, Ph.D.
Head, Physics & Space Sciences