Undergraduate seminar: PHYS 212/309 [Spring 2022]


This course is listed as PHYS 212 and PHYS 309 in different places, because it just changed course numbers! I will update this notice when it is consistently listed everywhere with the new number.

Course basics

This one credit course will meet weekly to discuss the latest research in different fields of physics, led by our expert faculty here in the Department of Physics.

Each week we will read an introductory or popular science article and then a different faculty member will give an overview of their research, which we will discuss during the seminar. The course will introduce you to different research areas in contemporary physics and help you find research opportunities within the department.

Course details

Class schedule: Our in-person class time will take place in Small Hall 235 on Tuesdays at 2-3:20 pm.

Instructor: Chris Monahan (he/his/him), Small Hall 326C. Email: cjmonahan'at'wm.edu.

Course grading: Assessment will be based on your in-class contributions and a short presentation. You will read a short introductory article in preparation for each week. There are neither problem sets nor exams; we will not have office hours. There is no required textbook. There are no prerequisites.

The preliminary course schedule is:


The preliminary syllabus can be found here (pdf).

You can see our course poster here

Final presentations

Part of the course grade will be based on your final presentations! These can take the form of in-class presentations, blog posts (see below!), podcasts, youtube videos, or even a TikTok. The presentation must be on a topic discussed in the course, but cannot be your own research area, and must effectively communicate the interesting open questions in your chosen topic, and the science concepts and methods used to tackle those questions. Thanks to Ubaid Kazianga and Michael Parker for their blog posts about some of the research we discussed this semester!