Majors & Minors
We offer degrees in physics and in physics and astronomy, as well as many research opportunities for undergraduates.
Our PhD programs rank in the top twenty nationwide, according to the National Research Council.
From subatomic particles to supernova, our award-winning faculty study nature on every scale.
In the News
Physics, Optics and Astronomy (POA) Library
The POA library houses a comprehensive collection of journals, monographs and online data bases, supporting the research and teaching activities of the department.
Introducing the new HIRMES instrument on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)
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HIRMES is a high-resolution, mid-infrared spectrometer, under construction now as a third-generation facility instrument on SOFIA. HIRMES’s main mission is to measure the composition, location, and motions of gas and icy solids within disks orbiting very young stars-- about a million years old. At this age, such disks are actively giving birth to planets. HIRMES will reveal key details of these protoplanetary disks, decisively important for the planet-formation process, that haven’t previously been possible to observe. Prof. Dan Watson, chair of the UR Department of Physics and Astronomy, is a member of the team that is developing HIRMES and its mission, under the leadership of Dr. Harvey Moseley at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Andrew Olivier has been awarded the 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship! Andrew is a University of Rochester teaching assistant finishing his first year with the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He plans to pursue research in the field of High Energy Physics. More...
Robert Boyd Wins 2016 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science for his fundamental contributions to the field of nonlinear optics, including the development of approaches for controlling the velocity of light, of quantum imaging methods, and of composite nonlinear optical materials. More...
Rochester researchers have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding how stars similar to our Sun evolve. According to Eric Blackman, professor of physics and astronomy, the work could also “ultimately help to determine the age of stars more precisely than is currently possible.” More...
When most people think about pi, they associate the mathematical constant with arcs and circles. Mathematicians, however, are accustomed to seeing it in a variety of fields. But two University physicists were still surprised to find it lurking in a quantum mechanics formula for the energy states of the hydrogen atom. More...
A team led by professors Steven Manly and Kevin McFarland was honored “for the fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics.” More...
While damage to daguerreotype plates is often visible by eye, evidence of further deterioration may only be detected at the nano level. The University is leading groundbreaking research that bridges the gap between science, history, and the arts. More...
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