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A True Visionary

Professor Joseph Eberly selected as the 2021 Honorary Member of Optica

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Where Rochester Has Gone Before

Some of the space-based telescopes and observatories with Rochester connections.

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Room-temperature superconductor? Rochester lab sets new record toward long-sought goal

University physical scientists synthesize new superconducting material, developing a process that may help ‘break down barriers and open the door to many potential applications.’

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Is teleportation possible? Yes, in the quantum world

Rochester physicists are exploring new ways of creating quantum-mechanical interactions between distant electrons. The research marks an important advance in quantum computing.

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Mathematical model will monitor spread of COVID-19

Computational scientists win a National Science Foundation grant to develop a tool to provide accurate, timely information to local-level policymakers monitoring the spread of COVID-19.

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Majors & Minors

We offer degrees in physics and in physics and astronomy, as well as many research opportunities for undergraduates.

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Graduate Studies

Our PhD programs rank in the top twenty nationwide, according to the National Research Council.

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From subatomic particles to the structure of the Universe itself, our award-winning faculty study nature on every scale.

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Full Calendar

In the News



The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed to increasing the diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff. We are a partner institution in the APS Bridge, CAMPARE, and Cal-Bridge programs. 

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Tiny chip provides a big boost in precision optics

 tiny chip

“If you want to measure something with very high precision, you almost always use an optical interferometer, because light makes for a very precise ruler,” says Jaime Cardenas, assistant professor of optics at the University of Rochester.

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University of Rochester scientists Judith Pipher, William Forrest & Craig McMurty have developed the infrared sensors that are expected to be deployed as part of this mission, which uses a space-based telescope to search for hazardous asteroids and comets within Earth's vicinity.

NASA Press Release

News Video 13WHAM 

Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Rygg, Assistant Professor (Research) of Mechanical Engineering and Physics, on being elected as a Fellow by the American Physical Society (APS)!

Congratulations to our 2020-21 Graduate Fellowship Winners!

  • Fatima Min-Rivas has been awarded the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (Advisor: Doug Kelley)
  • Christian Cammarota has been awareded the Barnard Fellowship (Advisor: Dan Bergstralh)
  • Tejin Cai has been awarded the Messermith Fellowship (Advisor: Kevin McFarland)

Natalie Allen

Natalie Allen '20 has been awarded the Universities Space Research Association (USRA)  Distinguished Undergraduate Award. 

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UR Physics Graduate students J.J. Ruby and Esteban Wright use physics to investigate 'juiced' baseballs and their effect on the homerun averages for the Rochester Red Wings. Read More

Congratulations to Carla Watson, a PhD student working as a condensed matter physics research assistant with Professor Stephen Wu. Carla has been awarded the 2019 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. She is finishing up her second year with the department of Physics and Astronomy and also serves on the executive board of our physics and astronomy student association (PASSAGE).

Professor Dan Watson, chair of Rochester's Department of Physics and Astronomy, is a member of the team under the leadership of Dr. Harvey Moseley at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center that is developing the new HIRMES instrument and its mission on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). 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...


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.

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