Saint Mary’s announces new physics major

first_imgTags: dual-degree program, Physics, Saint Mary’s College, STEM The Saint Mary’s department of chemistry and physics will offer majors in the field of physics in addition to the existing chemistry major.Ian Bentley, associate professor of chemistry and physics, said there was a fair amount of student interest in having physics as a major.“Everyone that I would talk to about it knew of a student that was interested,” he said. “You add those all up and see that it’s quite a few students who have been interested in physics, not just one.”According to Bentley, the department discussed the potential of creating a physics major, especially to support the students in the engineering dual degree program with Notre Dame. The program allows Saint Mary’s students to graduate with a degree from Saint Mary’s before transferring to Notre Dame for a fifth year to earn their engineering degree.Chris Dunlap, chair of chemistry and physics at the College, said when Bentley was hired in the fall of 2014, there was no physics major or minor. However, in order to best address the needs of students — particularly those in the dual degree program — the department chose to create a major program instead of just a minor.“A minor was not going to match the needs,” Dunlap said. “Between engineers who wanted a more applied approach to the mathematics and a group of students who were really interested in physics, we at the department decided we would move forward with the major.”Bentley said the department will offer two different degrees with three possible majors as well as a minor. There will be a physics Bachelor of Arts degree, a physics Bachelor of Science degree and a physics and applied mathematics (PAM) Bachelor of Arts degree, Bentley said. The two PAM degrees are offered through the math department while the BS and BA in physics will be through the department of chemistry and physics.Bentley said the Bachelor of Arts degree requires between 34 and 38 credit hours, the Bachelor of Science requires 60 credit hours, and the PAM degree required between 49 and 53 hours. The minor requires between 17 and 18 credit hours.Dunlap said the construction on the science hall was intended to renovate some labs and also to accommodate the new major.“The basement [of the science hall] is all physics space,” Dunlap said. “We have the same amount of space dedicated for physics as before, but now it’s its own floor.”Bentley said there are currently two students declared as PAM majors and one student as a physics major, all three of which are in the dual-degree program. He said there are also about three to four first years who have physics as an intended major.Adding this major may increase enrollment, Dunlap said, specifically in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.“What we’ve done is we’ve filled in a hole in the STEM fields that Saint Mary’s has had forever,” Dunlap said. “We’ve never had a physics major at Saint Mary’s … This is a very exciting time for the STEM departments because it gives us another option for our students to pursue.“We never really knew how many students might have come to Saint Mary’s if this were available because we’ve never had it,” Dunlap said. “We’re really interested to find out now how many students are out there who might be now attracted to physics at a women’s college.”Bentley said this will help students in the duel degree program because it will offer a wider range of applicable majors and will open doors for students to enter the mechanical and electrical engineering fields.“I think it makes it feasible for students who are interested in applying mathematics,” Bentley said. “I think we’re hitting that niche that, to some extent, we missed before. If you’re thinking about mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, the most feasible route was to major in math. Now we have [physics] which is more applied.”Sophomore physics and mechanical engineering major Erin Patterson said she was deciding between majoring in chemistry or in mathematics when she first heard about the physics major and realized that it worked better for the dual-degree program.“I wanted to apply math not just write proofs and definitions,” Patterson said. “I considered the different types of engineering that paired best with these majors. After talking with Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s professors and Saint Mary’s students, I found I shared some of the same interests and disinterests with mechanical engineers, and I knew physics paired well with mechanical engineering.”Rachel Bonek, a sophomore PAM and electrical engineering major, said she originally planned to be a math and engineering major, but with the new PAM major, it made more sense for her degree.“I am excited that another science major is offered at Saint Mary’s,” Bonek said. “I think it’s important to continue to increase the number of women in math and science, and having the physics major here will definitely help.”last_img read more

Van der Sar: Moyes has big shoes to fill

first_imgEdwin van der Sar believes new Manchester United boss David Moyes faces a virtually impossible task trying to fill the shoes of Sir Alex Ferguson. He added: “I am sure the manager and the players and the board are fully behind him. That is all you can ask for.” Moyes has already begun making his mark, ditching first-team coach Mike Phelan and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele from the backroom team. Others may yet follow and it is not entirely certain who Moyes intends to bring in, although former England keeper Chris Woods seems an obvious choice, as does the ex-Everton boss’ long-time confidante Jimmy Lumsden. The change will have to be managed during a period when Chelsea and Manchester City are expected to strengthen significantly following this season’s disappointments. However, the one significant advantage Van der Sar feels Moyes has are the number of United players, past and present, with vast experience of winning trophies, who are still around the club. “It is nice if you have players who win,” he said. “That is part of the history of Manchester United. (Paul) Scholes, (Gary) Neville, (Ryan) Giggs, (Rio) Ferdinand, (Nemanja) Vidic and (Patrice) Evra now. And (Michael) Carrick. “It is good for any manager to have those types of players in their dressing room. You are trying to improve, changing players and filling in the gaps, but you don’t have to build a new team all the time.” Having spoken to Ferguson a couple of weeks before the dramatic confirmation that he was to stand down, Van der Sar was not caught completely by surprise and thinks following in the Scot’s footsteps is not going to be easy. “I spoke to Sir Alex over an unrelated matter about two weeks before,” said Van der Sar. “He is a great man and a great manager at a fantastic club. I wish him the best of luck and David Moyes also because it is almost an impossible job to step into.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more