Facilities and Resources

Introductory Laboratory

The introductory laboratory (room 255, for Phys 155/56-156/66) is composed of seven lab stations, each equipped with two Dell Windows PCs and an interface box from Pasco Scientific. This allows students to conduct a wide variety experiments using instruments from geiger counters to motion sensors. In addition, the lab has a video distribution network which allows each of the computers to capture video. Students can then use the VideoPoint software package to use video data in experiments.

2nd - Year Laboratory

The second year laboratory (for Phys 255/56) is composed of several lab stations (room 258) and individual project rooms, each equipped with a Dell Windows PC. Equipment is available for experiments in thermodynamics, black body radiation, the photoelectric effect, diffraction (light, electron and X-ray), interferometry, nuclear decay & spectroscopy, subatomic particle absorption, coupled oscillations, forced-damped oscillations, and measuring atomic spectra.

Upper Level Laboratories

Equipment is available for the upper level laboratory course (Phys 339) as well as quantum mechanics (Phys 384) and Biophysics (BBMB334). Distributed in several rooms, this includes electronic stations (with signal generators, oscilloscopes, and breadboards),  single photon counting devices, optics tables, lasers, microscopes and a Jasco J-600 spectropolarimeter (for measuring circular dichroism). 

Video and Camera Equipment

Cameras and other video equipment are available for use in student projects. Contact Alazar Yehdego.

Standard Equipment

Standard physics equipment including multimeters, oscilloscopes, signal generators, lasers, spectroscopy equipment, and optics tables.

Research Equipment

Physics faculty conduct original research in collaboration with Whitman students both during the school year and more intensively during the summer. Equipment is available for experiments in:

  • Quantum Optics

advanced optics systems for single photon experiments 

  • Sol-Gel Glasses

including a Raman spectrometer constructed in summer 2009 by a Whitman student; nitrogen and helium cold fingers for spectroscopy experiments at a few degrees Kelvin

  • Surface Spectroscopy
  • Structural Biology

bacterial growth chambers,  chromatography equipment for protein purification, protein crystal growth chambers, a spectrophotometer, X-ray diffraction equipment (see below), a confocal microscope used for investigating crystal growth (see below)

Shared facilities - used for both courses and research projects.

  • Confocal Microscopy.
    • Leica TCS SP5 II purchased with NSF-MRI award in 2011. (Operated by Biology.)
  • Electron microscopy. 
    • JOEL JSM-T300 scanning electron microscope with EDS microanalyzer purchased with an NSF-MRI award in 2009. (Operated jointly by Biology and Geology).
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
    • Bruker Advance III 400 MHz Ultrashield Plus Spectrometer System. Purchased with NSF-MRI award in 2009. (Operated by Chemistry)
  • X-ray Diffraction.
    • Oxford Diffraction Nova X-ray Diffractometer. This is a modern sealed-tube microfocus X-ray source with CCD detector used for powder diffraction, small molecule crystallography and protein crystallography. Purchased with an NSF-MRI award in 2007. (Operated by Physics)
    • Stereomicroscopes including a Leica MX205 microscope with online image capture for archiving and demonstration of X-ray diffraction sample preparation 
  • Biology/BBMB instrumentation room. Centrifuges, incubators, -70o freezers.