The Physics faculty not only teach, they are also researchers in various areas of physics and astronomy, in areas like galaxy formation and evolution, black holes at the center of galaxies, particle physics and the Higgs boson, and exoplanet discovery and classification.
To do this research takes time, people and money. Currently the faculty have more than $900,000 in external grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Google, the Hubble Space Telescope Program, and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. For a small department, that’s a lot of money! Some of this money is to support undergraduate students to work with faculty on their projects or to travel to conferences to present their research. You don’t need to be a world expert, you just need to be curious and ready to learn new skills.
The figure is from Dr Guillermo Barro’s recent paper on star-forming galaxies, you can read more about it here – or just ask him about it at a physics social.
Here are some of the grants:
Dr Elisa Toloba, “The Nature of Compact Stellar Systems in Massive Galaxy Clusters Using the Hubble Frontier Fields”, $130,000 from the Space Sciences Institute
Dr Daniel Jontof-Hutter, “Statistical study of known multi-planetary systems”, $110,000 from the NASA Astrophysical Data Analysis Program
Dr Guillermo Barro, “Spatially resolved UV-to-FIR SEDs of compact SFGs at z~2”, $130,000 from the Space Sciences Institute
Dr Jim Hetrick, “The Delta Sierra Science Project”, $55,000 from the San Joaquin County Office of Education
Dr Kieran Holland and Dr Jim Hetrick, “Lattice gauge theory at the University of the Pacific”, $210,000 from the National Science Foundation