F.W. Olin Science Hall
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is located on the first two floors of F.W. Olin Science Hall. Established in 1994, the F.W. Olin Science Hall contains a number of important amenities used by the department for teaching and research, including:
- state-of-the-art experimental apparatus such as tunable lasers, optical and infrared spectrometers, and ultra-high vacuum equipment
- powerful computers used extensively for modeling phenomena and/or for acquiring and analyzing data from experiments
- a machine shop staffed by a full-time instrument maker who is available to assist students and faculty with projects
- a planetarium utilized for both teaching and outreach (see below for more information)
The Denison planetarium was built in 1995, has a dome-shaped ceiling screen that measures 8-meters (26 feet) across, and contains a computer-controlled Zeiss ZKP3 planetarium projector. Located on the ground floor of the F.W. Olin Science Hall, the 42 seat planetarium is used as a teaching resource in astronomy classes, and is used by physics faculty and students to present regular shows to alumni, parents, other students, and the public. Planetarium shows are also frequently a part of our outreach activities.
In 1909, Denison University Trustee Ambrose Swasey contributed the funding to build an observatory, which he also furnished with its original astronomical equipment. At that time, his firm, the Warner & Swasey Company of Cleveland, had manufactured many of the world’s finest and largest telescopes. Built of white Vermont marble, the interior was renovated and the outer dome replaced in 1970. Today’s observatory houses a 9-inch refracting and two 8-inch reflecting telescopes, which are fitted for astrophotography. It also houses the astronomy library and dark rooms.
Swasey Observatory is used as a student educational and research facility, and also for public outreach. Open houses are hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and astronomy students on a regular basis during the academic year. Announcement of these open house events are posted on the department home page as well as in the local papers.