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Department of Physics

The Department of Physics at SUNY Potsdam prepares its students for careers in competitive and innovative fields.

Before the 20th century, the study of physics was divided into five areas: mechanics, light, heat, sound and electricity/magnetism. The areas known as "modern" physics have since been added, with such fields as atomic physics, nuclear physics, solid state physics, quantum physics and relativity.

Today's physicists must have a thorough knowledge of classical physics in order to research such fields as acoustics, mechanics, optics, hydrodynamics, electromagnetism and thermal physics. It's also essential for physicists to have a working knowledge of modern physics in order to enter such fields as astrophysics, geophysics, high-energy physics, medical physics and the electronic and communications areas of applied physics.

Physics Professor Uses 3D Printers to Make Face Shields for Local Healthcare Workers

As the world faces a pandemic of enormous proportions, healthcare workers are struggling with shortages of safety essentials, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).  Disruption of manufacturing supply chains along with unprecedented increases in demand, have led to chronic PPE shortages at many medical centers across the nation. Dr. Lily Li, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics, has responded. To meet the critical need, she has been utilizing the department’s 3D printers—a manufacturing technology she has introduced to her students in recent years.

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Lily Li

Now in her sixth year of teaching at SUNY Potsdam, Dr. Linghong (Lily) Li is leading an initiative to create a new Nanoscience program at SUNY Potsdam. If approved, the new nanoscience major and minor will be offered through the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, of which Li is a founding member. Li hopes to improve enrollment and draw more international students to SUNY Potsdam with the new program—which will be the first of its kind in the North Country.

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