COVID-19 Update: Penn Summer staff are available online or by phone at (215) 898-7326. More Info & Resources >
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Experimental Physics Research Academy

July 1 - July 23, 2021

Applications for 2021 programs are now closed. Applications for 2022 summer programs open on December 1, 2021.

Courses offered online

Courses offered online

Non-credit program

Non-credit program


Eligibility: Current 9th-11th grade students

International students

International students welcome

Financial Aid

Financial aid for select Philadelphia students

The Experimental Physics Research Academy focuses on current physics, specifically mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum dynamics, and astrophysics. Through lectures, activities, projects, and discussions with their instructors, students move past memorized equations to gain an understanding of cause and effect, and ultimately an appreciation of physics on a higher level.

To keep our students safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Penn Arts and Sciences staff is dedicated to making our high-quality programs available this summer—completely online.

If you attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school, you may be eligible to attend a Penn Summer Academy free of charge with a Penn Summer Scholarship.

Get application information »


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Lectures and discussions: Students receive a guided tour of physics, starting with kinematics and building through electricity and nuclear physics to modern physics and quantum mechanics. Additional class time is devoted to the philosophy of science; experimental design; choosing education paths; and the ethics of science. 

Broader Penn research: Each week there are several research talks given by Penn faculty members about their fields of specialization and active research, which include question-and-answer sessions with our students.

To learn more about the Experimental Physics Research Academy, visit our instructor's website which includes recent projects, feedback from students, and curriculum details.


Previous physics experience is encouraged, though not required.

Penn Summer online system requirements

We recommend that all operating systems, browsers, Flash, and other software be up to date before the start of each online class. Most courses use Canvas for assignments, discussion, and watching video, and synchronous sessions can happen in a variety of platforms. Students will receive all important information before the beginning of class.

See more system requirements >


Program Director: Peter Harnish

Program Director: Peter Harnish
Peter Harnish is the Undergraduate Lab Manager for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he designs and runs the first- and second-year physics labs. While his physics experience includes theoretical graphene research and experimental quantum optics, his vocation has always been toward teaching, both collegiately and through museum education and Scouting programs.