Physics and Astronomy
Department Chair:
Stephen FitzGerald

Administrative Assistant:
Diane Doman

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8330
Fax: (440) 775-6379

Wright Laboratory of Physics
110 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Wright Basement Research and Training Facilities

Wright Basement Research and Training Facilities

In 1993 the Oberlin College Department of Physics was awarded an NSF Research Infrastructure Grant for the renovation of the Wright Basement. The plan called for the concentration of all facility- intensive research and research training efforts on the ground floor of Wright, creating 4,300 sq. ft. of renovated research space on this one floor. The less demanding office, introductory lab, storage, and classroom spaces were to remain in the upper two floors, with the expectation that they too will be renovated at a later date. The renovated space was to be devoted entirely to research and research training. The Science Division's Electronic Shop (300 sq. ft.), which supports research throughout the entire division, was also included in the renovation.

The renovated ground floor received a complete HVAC system and infrastructure to support research. Hot and cold domestic water, drains, deionized water, chilled water, compressed air, and dry nitrogen gas were run to most rooms. Several hoods were installed with ductwork run to all faculty research labs. Where not immediately required, services were stubbed off to reduce cost while maintaining future flexibility. Computer network, phone lines, clean-, dirty-, and uninterrupted- 120 VAC, and 208 VAC-3 phase electrical service were run throughout the renovated space. All interior walls and ceilings were lined with conducting foil to reduce RF interference. Various research and research training activities were grouped by function to create an integrated research and research training facility. The renovated facility was made accessible to handicapped persons by adding a wheelchair entrance to the south end and upgrading the building elevator.

All faculty labs (Magnetic Characterization, Infrared Spectroscopy, Computational Astrophysics and Electronic Measurement) were located away from the transformer vault. The Advanced Lab was split into new Advanced and Radiation Labs so that experiments using radioactive materials are located in a separate room with controlled access. All labs were equipped with bench and overhead storage cabinets, allowing more efficient use of space. The Wet Chemistry Lab was centrally located between the Vacuum and Advanced Labs. It was built with yellow lighting, separate solvent and acid sinks, and two clean hoods making it possible to support limited photolithography.


Tour of Wright Basement 

room #  title  occupant/activity 
 004  Mechanical Shop Doug Feller, Machinist 
 005  Mechanical Project Shop  Small machine shop for student and faculty use 
 006  Student Projects Shop  Solar simulator, PCB prototyper, optical table
 007  Electronics Shop  Bill Mohler, Electronics Specialist
 010  X-Ray Lab   X-ray powder diffractometer
 012  Electronic Measurement Lab  Prof. Scofield's Research Lab
 013A  Vacuum Lab  Vacuum thin-film deposition system
 013B  Wet Chem Lab  Hoods, sinks, and chemical storage cabinets
 014  Computational Astrophysics Lab  Prof. Owen's Research Lab
 015  Advanced/Intermediate Lab  Main lab for Phys 314 and Phys 414 lab courses
 015A  Laser Lab  8' x 4' optical table
 015B  Radiation Lab  All experiments involving radioactive materials
 016  IR Spectroscopy Lab  Prof. FitzGerald's Research Lab
 017  Magnetic Characterization Lab  Prof. Ijiri's Research Lab