AUBG Now Offers a Program in Physics

September 11, 2019

Science is hot -- that's what a poster depicting a thermonuclear fusion reactor, or tokamak, outside AUBG's new science lab says. And it must be about to get hot in here since the university has just expanded its academic offerings with a major and minor in Physics starting this fall.

The first Natural Science program at AUBG, the Physics program is a necessary addition to the university's curriculum and is designed to attract students with a keen interest in the field.

"Natural Science is considered an essential component in any liberal arts curriculum," Dr. Orlin Stoytchev, mathematics and science professor at AUBG, said. "It is an important block in the general body of knowledge that a well-educated modern person is expected to possess. It develops the ability to think critically and apply rigorous scientific methods of investigation. It trains important skills such as being able to observe and model certain phenomena, use diverse quantitative methods to analyze the results and draw well-grounded conclusions."

AUBG student Thoma Zoto will likely be the first student to graduate with a major in Physics. “My passion for physics and science was ever since I was a child,” he said in a video interview. “But when I came to AUBG it got even deeper.”

The new science lab that opened doors at AUBG last year will be a vital asset for the program in Physics, Stoytchev said. “The lab helps the students have a better understanding of the subject and it makes [the classes] more interesting,” Zoto said.

The structure of the Physics program is relatively standard. “There are six required core courses that any physicist should take – Physics I and II, Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Quantum Physics, and Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics,” Stoytchev said. “The remaining courses are more advanced and specialized. A student may choose a more applied track like materials science or computational physics or opt for a more theoretical track, for example, mathematical physics.”

Students graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Physics are well-prepared for a graduate study in physics, but also in other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, Stoytchev said. “There is a steady trend in the last decade towards increasing demand for a highly qualified workforce with training in science and technology,” he said. “A recent survey of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates that graduates with bachelor degrees in Math and Sciences rank third in average starting salaries with $61,867/year, trailing only Engineering and Computer Science. For students with a master or doctoral degree in Math and Sciences, the average starting salary ranks first.”

Story by Dimana Doneva

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