College of Charleston Physics
Joshua Teves wanted to study physics. So, he emailed the physics department at the College, along with one at a much larger university. The other institution never responded, but a professor from the College replied, writing: “Let us know when you can come to campus, we’ll show you around.” That was all it took.
“When I visited campus, ” Joshua explains, “that professor not only gave me a tour, he invited me to lunch. I remember thinking ‘this is a place where students and faculty mix a lot more than they do at bigger universities; that’s a good fit for me.’”
As a freshman, he took a course in atmospheric physics and it became clear how important hands-on research is for physics majors at the College. Joshua quickly got involved in a project one professor is conducting that involves examining the behavior of rain drops.
“With that work, we’re in the field pretty often, but there’s also a lot of computing that I do. What I really love is that this is a research topic that nonphysicists can understand, so I can talk with my friends about what I’m doing.”
Joshua’s principal interests involve computational and experimental physics. In an experimental physics course, he was charged with conducting three different experiments. For one, he chose to quantify the viscosity of different substances, including oil, water, honey and cornstarch. “We had to devise our own methodologies, conduct the experiments and then write about the processes and our findings. Like so many things in physics, it was challenging, but really satisfying.”
What Joshua likes best about this major is that you learn how to quantify the universe around you. “You learn how to approximate a concept and then apply numbers to it and I think that’s a really valuable skill. Ultimately, you have to learn a lot of new skills to get through the courses, and no matter what I do in the future, those will be assets that set me apart.”