Penthouse telescopeIntrinsic to the program in physics and astronomy is hands-on experience in celestial study, helping students understand the characteristics of and relationship between galactic matter and energy. Students in the physics major, as well as in the astronomy sequence for non-majors, benefit from the Department’s current telescope equipment—whether in a mobile site, such as the annual “Star Party” camping trip in the Anza Borrega Desert, or at home on the Poet campus at its highest elevation.

These opportunities to individually “peer into the heavens” both inspire and excite students, bringing into focus lessons learned in the classroom and in computational labs.

With the telescope’s new permanent home atop the Science & Learning Center’s roof, and utilizing the adjoining flexible classroom space to discuss and learn more about what they are seeing in real time, future students will continue to explore the skies above Los Angeles in an impactful and multi-dimensional way.


4 Flexible Classrooms
Secure home for Physics Department telescope
Green space for agricultural study
Social space for activities and collaborative projects

FACT: Annually, a high percentage of Whittier students in the sciences actively participate in faculty-led research projects and opportunities.

These important experiences, which lead to the acquisition of professional publication and presentation credentials prior to graduation, give Whittier students a critical edge when competing for graduate programs, REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates), internships, and career advancement.

While an undergraduate, Gospodinova ’04 had the opportunity to serve on a research team under Dr. Glenn Piner, working on his groundbreaking project in astrophysics. As a result, she graduated from Whittier College with a professional publication credit, co-authoring an article in the Astronomical Journal, and secured a competitive REU in Geometric Group Theory at the University of Illinois.

Kalina Gospodinova“After working on Dr. Piner’s research team in astrophysics, I qualified for a position at the Planetary Chemical Analysis Laboratory at Tufts, which enabled me to be involved in the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander mission.”

Kalina Gospodinova ’04, MA mathematics and physics, MS mechanical engineering, MIT
Current Occupation: Researcher, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute