Outcome 1: Mastery of fundamental physics principles
Students show proficiency at solving quantitative problems that require an understanding of the fundamental principles in each of the major areas of physics.
Students show proficiency at explaining qualitatively the broad array of physical phenomena that can be explained using these fundamental concepts.
Outcome 2: Application of previously learned information in new contexts
Students show proficiency at transferring fundamental principles into the advanced study in physics areas such as classical mechanics, electrodynamics, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics.
Outcome 3: Demonstration of proficiency in scientific methods of inquiry
Students can design and carry out simple experiments including the collection, analysis, and presentation of meaningful data.
Outcome 4: Acquisition of professional skills
Students can complete a literature review including the ability to read and use scientific literature.
Students can present well-organized, logical, and scientifically sound oral and written scientific reports.
Outcome 5: Recognition of the broader implications of an education in physics
Students demonstrate an awareness of the impact of physics in social, economical, and environmental issues.
Students value both independent study and teamwork, as well as hold an appreciation for life-long learning.
Physics Bachelor of Science
The study of physics is essential to every other natural science, because it informs how all of the processes in the world work. As such, our physics courses are offered in the spirit of exposing students to the fundamentals of physics and highlighting the applications to other areas of science such as chemistry, biology, and health sciences.
Along with the basic science, physics courses will offer students the ability to develop their critical reasoning and problem solving skills. A natural outcome of these courses is an increased capacity to tackle new and challenging problems in a variety of contexts and disciplines.
A degree from Mercyhurst repares you for this exciting and dynamic career.
Our faculty expertise allows us to work with students in a many areas. We also have strong connections in chemisty and biochemistry, allowign students to customize an experience that will be the most beneficial for them as they pursue their careers.
Dr. Morewell Gasseller:
Dr. Gasseller’s current research group is focusing on room temperature scanning tunneling microscopy investigation of carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and highly ordered pyrolitic graphite (HOPG).
Current and past research students:
Erin McCarthy - STM studies of carbon nanotubes
Tianyue Xie - STM Studies of gold nanoparticles
Jessica Ritchie - STM probing of electronic states of HOPG/ SWCNT investigation
Li Cash - STM Studies of gold nanoparticles
Marissa Cole - STM investigation of Biological systems.
Recent publications and presentations:
Scanning-probe single-electron capacitance spectroscopy: Kathleen A. Walsh1, Megan E. Romanowich, Morewell Gasseller, Irma Kuljanishvili, Raymond Ashoori, Stuart Tessmer , J. Vis. Exp. (77), e50676, doi:10.3791/50676 (2013).
Single-Electron Capacitance Spectroscopy of Individual Dopants in Silicon: Matthew DeNinno, Morewell Gasseller, James Harrison, Stuart Tessmer and Sven Rogge. Proceedings ofAPS March Meeting, Boston Massachusetts, March 2012.
M.Gasseller, S.H. Tessmer, S. Rogge, R.Loo and M.Caymax, Scanning Probe Spectroscopy of Individual Dopants in Silicon, Nano Letters 11, 5208–5212 (2011)
Artifacts in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Images of Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite that can be confused with Carbon Nanotubes. M. Gasseller, Jessica Ritchie and Erin McCarthy. The 2014 International Conference on Nanoscience + Technology (ICN+T). Vail Colorado, 20-25 July 2014.
Room temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) investigation of carbon nanotubes on a HOPG substrate. M. Gasseller and Jessica Ritchie. Gordon research conferences: Chemistry and Physics of graphitic carbon materials. Bates College Lewiston Maine, 15-20 June 2014.
Dr. Dyan Jones
Dr. Jones’s research is in physics education. This research is a blend of traditional physics, cognitive science, psychology, learning sciences, and education. In particular, Dr. Jones focuses on how students transfer knowledge to novel contexts and focuses on a knowledge-in-pieces approach. In particular, her current emphases are optics and students use of mathematical reasoning in physics.
Current and past research students:
Shauna Novobilsky (2014) - Optical microscopy
Kaleigh Hubert (2013) - development of an introductory biology (ecology and evolution) concept test
Reni Roseman (undergrad 2011, M.Ed.2012) - middle school lunar concepts, development of a general chemistry concept test
Recent publications and presentations:
“Understanding Vision: Student use of light and optics resources.” Dyan L. Jones and Dean A. Zollman. European Journal of Physics. 35 (2014) 055023.
“Students’ Views of Math and Physics Problems: Structure vs. Content.” Dyan L. Jones. Proceedings of the 2013 Physics Education Research Conference, July 17-19 2013, Portland, Oregon.
“Optical microscopy as a context to facilitate learning in interdisciplinary students.” Dyan L. Jones, Shauna Novobilsky, and Rebecca Wheeling. Contributed poster, PERC, July 30-31, Minneapolis MN.
“A New Approach to Optics for Life Science Majors.” Shauna Novobilsky and Dyan L. Jones. Contributed talk, AAPT, January 4-7 2014, Orlando Florida.
“Teaching about the physics of medical imaging: Examples of research-based teaching materials.” Dean Zollman, Dyan McBride-Jones, Sytil Murphy, Johannes v.d. Wirjawan, Nora Norvell. Latin American Journal of Physics Education, 6, (Supplement 1), 2012.
“Utilization of Hands-On and Simulation Activities for Teaching Middle School Lunar Concepts.” Reni B. Roseman and Dyan L. Jones. Proceedings of the 2012 Physics Education Research Conference, August 1-2 2012, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Prof. Paul Ashcraft
Prof. Ashcraft’s research focus is also in physics education research, understanding how students learn and how to best incorporate technology into laboratory situations.
MATH 170 Calculus I
MATH 171 Calculus II
PHYS 201/203 General Physics I/Lab
PHYS 202/206 General Physics II/Lab
PHYS 310 Modern Physics
Students must also choose TWO of the following:
SCI 235 Computational Science
MATH 233 Calculus III
PHYS 370 Optics
PHYS 350 Mechanics
PHYS 360 Electrodynamics
Students who wish to earn the minor will be required to earn at least a “C” in every course and to maintain a 2.5 GPA overall in their minor courses.
Assistant Professor Office:Zurn 212 Phone:(814) 824-2535 Email:email@example.com
Dr. Dyan Jones received her Ph.D. in physics from Kansas State University in 2009, where she studied how students learn and use their physics knowledge in novel contexts. She earned her M.S. in physics from Miami University with studies in theoretical quantum optics, and her Bachelors in theoretical physics from Edinboro University.
Dr. Jones’s research interests still focus on studying how students construct an understanding of physics, with particular focus on optics and the use of mathematics in problem solving.
Dr. Jones teaches General Physics I/II, various physics labs, and upper-division physics courses.
Dr. Jones enjoys cooking and exploring the expanding Erie cuisine, coffee and culture, as well as quilting. When she’s not in Zurn with her students, Dr. Jones can be found on hiking trails near and far and hanging out with her little hound, Laika.
Assistant Professor of Physics Office:Zurn 208 Phone:(814) 824-3674 Email:
Dr. Morewell Gasseller received his Ph.D. in physics from Michigan State University in 2010. Before that he earned an MSc degree in applied physics and a BSc degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Gasseller’s research is in experimental condensed matter physics. He use scanning probe techniques (Scanning tunneling and atomic force microcopy) to study nanoscale systems and structures.
Dr. Gasseller teaches Principles of Physics I/II, General Physics I/II and the physics labs.
Dr. Gasseller’s hobbies include playing tennis and reading science and fiction books.
Lecturer of Physics Office:Zurn 209 Phone:(814) 824-2615 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Ashcraft is ABD in Curriculum and Instruction at The Pennsylvania State University where he worked with pre-service elementary science teachers, winning a national award for the Best Paper on Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers in 2004. He earned his M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from SUNY Albany working with the National Lightning Detection Network, has graduate work at Columbia University with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, earned a B.S. from Texas A&M in Meteorology, and earned a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Mathematics (with a PA Teaching Certificate) from Clarion University of PA.
Prof. Ashcraft’s research focus is physics education research, understanding how students learn and how to best incorporate technology into laboratory situations. He is past-President of the Western PA chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences.
Prof. Ashcraft teaches General Physics I/II, Principles of Physics I/II, various physics labs and Energy Science.
After teaching his Energy Science students about emission-free vehicles, he recently replaced his commuting vehicle with a Nissan Leaf. He enjoys the culture, arts, restaurants, and local sports that the Erie area offers.