The Department of Physical Sciences (Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics and Physical Sciences Education) provide educational experiences ranging from individual courses to pre-professional programs, certificate programs, baccalaureate degrees, and graduate degrees. Detailed descriptions of degree programs within each department may be accessed by clicking on the individual department webpages (above) and is also summarized under Programs of Study. Financial resources are available for new and continuing outstanding students (See Scholarships and Assistantships)

The Department of Physical Sciences manages ESU's Johnston Geology Museum, Peterson Planetarium, and the Science and Math Education Center. Faculty and Student research has been supported by the NASA JOVE (JOint VEnture) Program and a variety of other research grants. ESU is a member of the Kansas Space Grant Consortium of Universities.


DeWayne Backhus Retirement Video


--Departmental News--


  • Recently Signed Memorandum of Understanding exibiting the academic partenership between ESU and K-State.
    Memorandum of Understanding between ESU and K-State 
  • ESU recognizes Dr. Randy Scott as an ESU distinguished alumni during the Homecoming festivities. Dr. Scott graduated from ESU in 1979 with a BS degree in chemistry and has been accorded acclaim for the development of technologies for cancer diagnostics and therapies tied to a person's genetic profile, as Silicon Valley Entrepreneur of the Year, and as one of Forbes magazine's designated Biotech Top 25 Influential Insider. He is the founder and CEO of Genomic Health, Inc. which is a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of genomic-based clinical laboratory services for cancer that allow physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions. Genomic Health, Inc. has recieved recognition as a Top 100 private technology company in North America.
  • ESU's Earth Science Department will co-host the 2010 Geological Society of America sectional meeting in Branson Missouri. Check back again for more information.                                




PS Students and Faculty receive National and Campus


  • Congratulations to Scott Jones and John Barker, gradute and undergraduate student recipients of 2009 Kansas Geological Foundation scholarships! 
  • Earth Science Graduate Student, Megan Flory was recently awarded a Geological Society of America, Student Research Grant in support of her field work associated with her Master's Thesis. Megan's project, entitled " Spatial and Temporal Variations in Ground-water Chemistry along a Regulated Mid-continent River", will be completed along the Neosho River at ESU's On-campus Hydrogeology Teaching and Research Station.
  • Courtney Knaup (BS, physics) was one of two accepted from over 100 applicants to the PhD program in Radiological Sciences at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio; and he was the 2009-2011 AAPM Graduate Fellowship in Medical Physics recipient to pursue the UTHSC program to which he has matriculated. 
  • ESU Chemistry undergraduate, Rachael Lane was one of 29 recipients of an Environmental Protection Agency "Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship". The award will provide a stipend and research funding in support of Rachel's junior and senior years at ESU, and provides for a summer internship at an EPA laboratory. Click here for more about this award. Congratulations Rachel!
  • ESU PS alum ('76), Bruce E Koel, was recently awarded the American Chemical Society's "George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry". Koel was among nine individuals honored for making contributions of major significance to chemistry.
  • Dr. James Aber (Earth Science) recently received a National Scholarship Programme Award from the Slovak Academic Information Agency for geological field research in the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia.Dr. Aber was the only U.S. researcher selected from an applicant pool of Europeans from nearby countries. His research will take place during the summer of 2007.
  • A Journal of Science Teacher Education article by Drs. Backhus and Thompson titled "Addressing the Nature of Science in Preservice Science Teacher Preparation Programs: Science Educator Perceptions," has been listed as the "most viewed" of all full-text online articles. The complete article can be viewed at the journal's website.
  • Drs. James and Susan Aber's photograph of Pacific Grove, California was selected as "best" photo taken during the "Kite Aerial Photography in California" conference. The competition was judged by a National Geographic photographer. Click here to see the photo and story
  • Dr. Richard Sleezer (Earth Science) received both the Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching and 2006 Xi Phi Outstanding Faculty awards for excellence in teaching in 2006.
  • Spring 2007   PS Departments Student Recognition Ceremony honors student leaders and achievers. Click here to view a list of our superstars.
  • For a complete summary of the teaching and research highlights during 2011 see the PS Departments Yearly Activities Report

Spring 2010  The Annual "Student Recognition Picnic" was a big hit.


For more information, contact:

Dr. Rich Sleezer (chair) at

or Ms. Ginger Tabares (department secretary) at

Department of Physical Sciences
Room 133 Science Hall
Emporia State University
Rm 133 Science Hall, Box 4030
1 Kellogg Circle
Emporia, KS  66801

(620) 341-5330
Fax 620-341-5515