The faculty in Bethel's Department of Physics and Engineering Program are involved in a significant amount of applied research, and because we have no graduate students, our undergraduates almost always play a significant role.
Currently, our work is being supported by about a half-million dollars through grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Air Force Research Lab, NASA, and the Society of Physics Students. In the past, our work has been supported by grants and loans from NASA, 3M, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Air Force, the McKnight Foundation, the Blandin Foundation, Calspan Corporation, and the American Physical Society. Over a hundred students have been positively impacted by the chance to work directly with faculty members doing publishable physics and engineering research. In the last two years, we have published or presented 48 papers with over 40 student co-authors.
Our research laboratories are particularly well-equipped in the areas of modern optics, laser physics and fluid dynamics. Recently, Bethel invested heavily in a new Atomic and Molecular Optics Lab that houses custom built, frequency tunable lasers. We have also built a Fluid Dynamics Lab with wind, water, and supersonic shock tunnels to support the applied physics major and many aspects of the engineering research that occurs at Bethel. Development of an exciting, new Nanotechnology and Biosensing Lab is underway. We typically hire 6–8 students to work with us in our labs at Bethel during the summer months.
Not only are there research opportunities at Bethel, but we also have been very successful in helping students find internships in external research environments. We average about half a dozen students at a time working for 3M alone, plus another half-dozen at various local, high-tech companies such as Medtronic, Logic, Boston Scientific, etc. In addition, students obtain national internships at places like Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA Goddard, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (at least 7 students), CERN (Switzerland), and Argonne National Laboratory.