Creative Collaborative Discovery in Physics and Astronomy
Physics and Astronomy form the basis of modern civilization. Our energy grids and engines are built on mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics; every electronic device relies on quantum mechanics; and GPS systems need general relativity to inform us how light travels in spacetime. To empower our majors to be full citizens of our universe capable of solving real-world problems, we will foster under-the-hood hardware and coding skills through new facilities: a new High-Performance Computational Studio, a newly refurbished Student Machine Shop and Tinkering Studio, and reformed Radio and Optical Astrophysics Labs that give students complete control over equipment and tools, many of which they will create themselves. Physics will be brought to life through curriculum reforms that emphasize on-the-fly, order-of-magnitude thinking and inductive reasoning skills crucial for research. Knowledge and opportunities will be shared through a new Physics and Astronomy (PA) Scholars program, open to all and especially the under-represented. Student-driven and faculty-supported, the PA Scholars community will provide peer advising and group mentoring, plus a variety of paid student leadership positions, including Scholar Tutors to help majors and non-majors alike with coursework; Scholar Techs to innovate new learning modules in labs; and Scholar Advisers to organize career development workshops and community-building events.