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Physics Research

Faculty Research Interests

  • Robert Cadmus — Optical astronomy, observational studies of semiregular variable stars, stellar spectroscopy and photometry.
  • William Case — Fundamental questions of quantum mechanics; electromagnetic theory; linear and non-linear dynamics of simple mechanical systems.
  • Charlotte Christensen — Evolution of galaxies over the history of the Universe using high-resolution computer simulations.

3-2 Engineering Program

Students planning advanced study in engineering may complete a full B.A. course at Grinnell before graduate school, or they can follow a 3-2 program in Engineering. The 3-2 program allows students to spend three years at Grinnell and two years in one of the engineering programs with which Grinnell cooperates: Columbia University, California Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Washington University. (Special arrangements can sometimes be made with other institutions.) Under normal progress the student receives a B.A.


We are living in a Golden Age for astronomy, and Grinnell College offers its students a range of opportunities to experience the excitement of direct involvement in astronomical observation and investigation. The unusually sophisticated instrumentation at Grinnell's observatory supports activities ranging from casual visual observing to active astronomical research and allows students to do projects that are connected to topics of current interest, such as the expansion of the universe and the behavior of pulsars.