At the beginning of the 1960’s the State Teachers College transformed into a comprehensive College of the State University of New York and the Department of Physics was established. Dr. F. Harman was the first Chair of the Department. In 1978 Physics, and Geology were combined into a Department of Geology, Physics, and Interdisciplinary Sciences. This Department was in turn broken up in 1987 and the Department of Physics was reestablished, with Professor J. Wells as the first Chair of the new era.
As with other natural sciences Physics is based on experimentally determined evidence for its development. This means that laboratory experience is an essential component in the education of students in the discipline and the ability to give students the opportunity to work with faculty on research projects is an important goal of the Department. The resources needed for instructional equipment has been provided through the College. The recent move of the Department into the Science and Mathematics Complex in 2016 has brought a large investment in new equipment from the state of New York. Research experience for undergraduate students is provided by a faculty active in scholarship, who have won external funds from the state and federal agencies through research grants over the years. Scholarship within the department has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications, presentations and external collaborations. This research effort by faculty is complemented by a commitment to a rigorous curriculum, compatible with national standards.
The B.S. degree in Physics was first offered in 1968 followed by a M.A. in Physics in 1970. In addition to the original B.S. degree a three-two option was added. This is an agreement with SUNY Buffalo in 1977, and with Clarkson University and SUNY Binghamton in 1987, to accept students into their engineering programs, who have completed three years at BSC in physics. These students then complete two years in an engineering program at those schools leading to an engineering degree and a degree in physics at Buffalo State College. .
It was decided to offer programs specifically aimed at students seeking a career in middle and high school teaching. A B.S.Ed degree was established in 2002 which required 150 credits for graduation but was discontinued in 2015. Since then student interested in a career in high-school teaching now take the Department’s B.A in physics degree which satisfies the requirements of the State Education Department for certification to teach high-school physics. A Masters of Science in Physics Education (M.S.Ed) was offered for the first time in 2003, aimed at high-school teachers who were required by the State is have a masters degree within the first five years of starting a teaching position. At that time an Alternative Certification M.S. was also put in place.
Student Financial Support
The Department is fortunate in having scholarships and awards for our students provided by generous former faculty members and more recently by a person previously unconnected with Buffalo State College, Mrs. Dorothy Sweet. The scholarships are the Dewayne Beery Physics
Scholarship, the Rustgi Physics Scholarship Fund and the Robert A. and Dorothy Stender Sweet Physics Scholarship. The annual awards are the James W. Wells Award in Physics and the Vernon Bullough Memorial Physics Award.
The Department looks forward to continuing to provide a strong education in physics which prepares our students for graduate school or careers in education and industry.
Buffalo State offers outstanding facilities to physics students and is committed to science and technology education with the construction of a brand new Technology Building as well as completion of Phase III of the Science and Mathematics Complex. The Science of and Mathematics Complex houses new teaching and research labs, faculty offices, and instrumentation rooms. The new space creates an environment that cultivates challenging interdisciplinary research activities among both students and faculty.
With the recent completion of Phase II in late Spring 2016, the Physics Department moved into its new air-conditioned facility and got roughly $1 million to improve research and teaching facilities.
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