About Garage Physics

Welcome to Garage Physics. Garage Physics is located in B651 Sterling Hall and sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Department of Physics. For a general description of the goals of Garage Physics, please see 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.

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 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. (The TextCha asks you for the weakest force. The answer is g******.) 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.

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 an independent study class for credit in which you take advantage of the Garage. Honors students may seek research funds through the Honors program.


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