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.