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Physics & Astronomy


  • Julie Dahlstrom

    Chair, Physics and Astronomy Department; Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    Julie Dahlstrom came to Carthage in 2009 from the University of Chicago, Yerkes Observatory, where she was a postdoctoral researcher in observational astrophysics, specializing in high-resolution spectroscopy of stars and interstellar clouds as well as the abundances of elements produced in the Big Bang. She teaches courses in astronomy, physics, and astrophysics, and is engaged with Carthage students in collaborative research to identify the chemical constituents of the interstellar gases from which stars and planets form.

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  • Kevin M Crosby

    Director, Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Computer Science

    Professor Kevin M. Crosby teaches in the Physics and Astronomy Department and Computer Science Department at Carthage. He has taught broadly across the physics curriculum, including courses in microgravity physics, thermodynamics, planetary astronomy and global climate science. Prof. Crosby and his students carry out research and educational activities in the space sciences, including work on CubeSats, parabolic flights, and suborbital sounding rocket missions. 

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  • Temple Burling

    Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Biology, and Great Ideas

    Professor Temple Burling is a biophysicist who studies the physics and chemistry of living systems. He teaches courses in both the Physics and Biology departments. His teaching and research focus on the structure and function of protein molecules and on how physics impacts biological and biochemical processes. His teaching interests include helping students to see how physics provides both a deeper understanding of life processes and a greater sense of amazement at how life works.

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  • Brant Carlson

    Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    Prof. Carlson came to Carthage in 2012 from the University of Bergen, Norway, where his research as a postdoctoral scholar focused on terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), intense bursts of energetic radiation produced by lightning. His current work includes modeling TGF production mechanisms and comparing those mechanisms to satellite, ground and aircraft observations of TGFs and other lightning-associated gamma rays.

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  • Jean Quashnock

    Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    Prof. Jean Quashnock is a researcher in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), also known as the Map of the Universe Project, an effort to catalog and map 100 million galaxies. He teaches courses in astronomy, physics, and mechanics. 

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  • Brian Schwartz

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Great Ideas

    Professor Brian Schwartz’s expertise is in nuclear and atomic physics. He teaches courses in physics, electronics, mechanics, is the advisor for the Society of Physics Students ant Carthage, and also teaches in the Great Ideas Program.

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  • Daniel Steiner

    Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

    Prof. Steiner joined the Carthage faculty in Fall 2014, after teaching introductory physics and astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At Carthage, he is focused on physics instruction for students majoring in the biological sciences.

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Additional Faculty

Daniel Lyons
Adjunct Faculty, Physics and Astronomy 


  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Computer science students watch Prof. Mark Mahoney’s recorded lecturers in their free time, so he can nearby “when they do their real learning,” he says. He has company: Physics professor Brant Carlson’s quantum mechanics video playlist has been viewed more than 170,000 times. 

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …