Evans Callas learns more about the world around him through physics

Undergraduate student Evans Callas shares experiences with physics and how it has helped him to learn to think critically about the world.

Evans Callis

Name: Evans Callis

Hometown: Fairbanks

Future study or career plans: I plan to work in a physics-based job (science tech, atmospheric sciences, or educational outreach) in the short term, and then decide between becoming a high school teacher or going on to earn my PhD in physics or astrophysics. Both options have their appeal, so it's tough to decide which one I like best!

Tell us about a recent project you worked on: I recently was involved in laying groundwork for increased cooperation and sharing of talent & resources between the UAF Society of Physics Students and the UAF Geophysical Institute. This is still in development, but may involve conducting joint science outreach events, both in Fairbanks and in rural villages across the state.

What is the best selling point about majoring in physics that you would like others to know? Physics is a degree that really emphasizes how to think critically about the world and the observations you are making; being able to look at an incredibly complex system and use those critical thinking skills to identify what simple elements make it complex (and use that knowledge to better understand what you're observing) gives such an amazing perspective on how the world works. This is also a skill that is so widely applicable that no matter what your interest, there's always something in it that a physics background can help you understand!

Who or what inspired your interest in physics? From the time I was ten years old, I've always had a fascination with science. I was homeschooled, but took some science classes from a local teacher, who was hugely influential in developing my love of science as a way of understanding nature. As time went on, I realized that physics was a field that was so fundamental that it could help me understand so many different parts of the world, and from then on, I was hooked!

What has been your best experience with physics? The best part of studying physics for me has been the bonds with everyone else in the department; since our department is relatively small, all the students develop very close connections with one another, and we get the opportunity to work in close contact with our professors as well.

What is your favorite celestial body? That's a really tough one; there's so many different cool ones to choose from! One of my favorite photos is of the Antennae Galaxies, two spiral galaxies that are in the process of colliding, but when I'm observing with my own telescope, I love looking at any of the planets (Jupiter and Mars particularly) or the Orion Nebula.

What is your favorite thing about UAF? I love the ability to interact with faculty and ask questions; it's great to have world-class experts on a topic that are also approachable. Additionally, UAF provides so many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved with research projects, community outreach, or anything else that you might be passionate about.

Do you have advice for anyone interested in a physics major? Keep your math skills sharp, always be willing to learn more and be open-minded, and don't be afraid to ask questions!

Anything else about your experience that you'd like to share with us? I am so appreciative of the opportunity that UAF provides for students to become active and involved in so many ways; I believe that one of UAF's biggest strengths is providing resources for students to accomplish big things, and I know that it has had a massive impact on myself and my future career!