About Garage Physics

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Welcome to Garage Physics. Garage Physics is located in B651 Sterling Hall and sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Department of Physics. The gestation of the project is described in the project proposal:

The goal of Garage Physics is to provide a new flexible space for innovative student-focused research and education. In the Garage, a student (undergraduate or graduate) is encouraged to explore his or her passions, to find new passions, to learn practical skills, to study in new ways, and to take an active role in their education. The Garage mode of learning compliments the structured learning environment of the regular curriculum. A wide variety of projects are possible in the Garage: basic scientific research, projects for entrepreneurs interested in developing or exploiting new gadgets, and "steAm" projects merging STEM and Arts fields. Projects related to sustainability, public safety, teaching and learning, and social entrepreneurship are encouraged.

Take the following steps to join Garage Physics:

1) Register for the e-mail distribution list to receive notifications of meetings etc. Subscribe at

2) Access to the Garage requires safety training and is controlled by keys. Safety training is offered online. Self-register at LEARN@UW (click the self-registration link at the upper right of your screen and select Garage Physics) and read over the basic electrical safety tutorial. Take a look at the other materials also. Take the quiz. You must get a perfect score. You can try as many times as is necessary. Then meet with Brett Unks and Duncan Carlsmith to discuss your interests and needs, and obtain a key from Aimee Lefkow. Remember, the buddy rule applies and will be enforced.

3) Join the WIKI at https://www.physics.wisc.edu/garage. Click "login" then "you can create one now" to create an account. (Ask Brett for the answer to the TextCha.) The WIKI will be our preferred place for sharing information including requests for experiment setups and equipment. Take a look at existing pages in text edit mode to understand how to edit pages. Hint: If you clone a photo or other attachment link, it will first appear as a clickable link. Clicking that link will prompt you to upload a file.

4) Edit the "People" page adding your name, then create a home page with your contact information and a photo. Note that this information is public read so exercise care.

5) Look over the suggested and on-going projects and talk to the organizers/proponents about how to participate in or lead the effort.

6) Look over the mini-classes. Express and interest or suggest a class and be sure to respond to Doodle polls when classes are announced via the e-mail distribution list.

7) Consider enrolling in a directed independent study class for credit in which you take advantage of the Garage. See L&S Undergraduate Directed/Independent Study Course Guidelines https://kb.wisc.edu/ls/page.php?id=20133 and University guidlelines https://kb.wisc.edu/vesta/page.php?id=36263. . Honors students may seek research funds through the Honors program. Many other opportunities may be found on this wiki for funding research and entrepreneurial activities.

8) Join the Garage Physics Diigo group - see front page.

9) Attend a monthly 1st Thursday research meeting or 3 Thursday brainstorm/pizza meeting.

Navigation links will appear as you browse this site. Use the "Front Page" button to return to the front page.


Duncan Carlsmith, Professor of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, duncan@hep.wisc.edu