Faculty maintain active research programs, spanning topics from high energy physics to surface science and materials properties. Physics faculty also actively collaborate with the mathematics and chemistry departments. Every year, several students are employed as research assistants during the school year. A larger number of positions are available in the summer, for full time work.
Linfield College has a long history of active faculty and student research. Most faculty research is administrated through the Linfield Research Institute (LRI). The research conducted in LRI has been highly successful, attracting funding from a wide variety of sources, and also resulting in the spin-off of three companies. While the original focus of LRI was in surface science, its scope has since broadened to include a wide variety of research not only in physics but also in chemistry and biology. Currently, several members of the chemistry department are actively involved with LRI along with members of the physics department.
Linfield College and LRI together maintain well equipped research laboratories, and machine and glass blowing shops.
Besides opportunities at Linfield College and LRI, many students pursue research at other locations in the summer. Linfield students have been very successful in the "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" (REU) program, administered through the National Science Foundation. This program sends students to universities and national labs all across the country. Other students have obtained internships at companies.
Linfield faculty consider student independent projects so important that they are incorporated directly into the coursework. Students start out gradually, with closely guided projects, in the advanced lab (PHYS-395), and venture into more independent work in electronics, and machine shop courses. By their senior year, they are prepared to complete a large independent project, which is written up for the senior thesis. Student projects range widely, from engineering design work, to applied physics, to theoretical physics.
Jennifer T. Heath, Ph.D., Physics Department, Linfield College McMinnville, Oregon 97128
jheath (at) linfield.edu