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These gears are part of the star-studded equipment at Carleton College's Goodsell Observatory. The building, the second oldest on campus, is on the National Historic Register.

Small Place, Big Science

It's a scientific mystery: How does a small college like Carleton graduate more scientists than schools two, three, even five times its size?

One answer may be our hands-on, go-anywhere approach to science. Students regularly get out of the classroom and into the field, where they learn things no textbook can teach. You'll see biology students in the Arboretum studying the effects of land restoration, and geology students heading to Painted Canyon to study rock formations. You'll find seniors researching everything from superconductors to polyphenols for their comprehensive final projects. You'll even find science partnering with art.

Whatever the reason, the results add up. Among liberal arts colleges, Carleton ranks first overall for the number of graduates who go on to earn a PhD in the sciences and mathematics--including first in physics and astronomy, fourth in biology, first in chemistry, and first in geology.