The School of Physics and Astronomy world-renowned researchers are members of international collaborations making new discoveries about the origins of our universe, dark matter, the inner workings of cells, and more.

Tradition of excellence

Dating back to the late 1880s, the School of Physics and Astronomy boasts award-winning faculty who have received these awards: Nobel Prize, Lilienfeld Prize, Fritz London Memorial Prize-IUPAP, Pomeranchuk Prize, three Sakurai Prizes, three Humboldt Research Awards, Regional Emmy Award, three AAAS Fellows, six Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows, three American Geophysical Union Fellows, and 27 APS Fellows.

World-class academics

The undergraduate program offers a flexible, real-world approach that prepares students for graduate school or careers in engineering and applied physics, computer applications, secondary school teaching, or biomedical sciences. The graduate program offers rigorous academics with opportunities to conduct state-of-the-art contemporary research around the world.

Cutting-edge research

Physics faculty and students carry out advanced research in:

  • Biophysics
  • Cosmology
  • Condensed matter
  • High energy particle physics
  • Space physics
  • Nuclear theory
  • Physics education

Faculty and students study neutrinos with the world’s best physics minds at the Soudan Underground Laboratory, which is run by the school. Our William I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute brings together the best minds around the world for research in theoretical physics. Our physicists are also involved with collaborations worldwide and close to home. Researchers have been involved at CERN in Switzerland, studying research results from the Large Hadron Collider, and are involved in the University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Minnesota Nano Center.

Business and industry connections

The department has long-standing relationships with 3M and Seagate, national and international research labs, as well as universities around the world. Additionally, the department receives significant research funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

National rankings

  • The physics program traditionally ranks among the top 15 percent of all 160 Ph.D.-granting departments nationwide by both the National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report.