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A quantum leap in cooling atoms for better computers

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Could artificial intelligence power the future of fusion?

Rochester scientists will develop machine learning to help predict, design, and improve laser-fusion implosions for inertial fusion energy.

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Physics and astronomy professor Machiel Blok (middle) and PhD students (L-R) Ray Parker, Mihirangi Medahinne, Liz Champion, and Zihao Wang, in front of the dilution refrigerator in Blok’s lab.

Creating superconducting circuits

In the quest to unlock the power of quantum computers, Professor Machiel Blok and his team study information processing at the infinitesimally small level of quantum mechanics.

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‘Ghostly’ neutrinos provide new path to study protons

In groundbreaking research, scientists from the international collaboration MINERvA, including Kevin McFarland, Dr. Steven Chu Professor in Physics, have used a beam of neutrinos at Fermilab to investigate the structure of protons.

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New method to control electron spin paves the way for efficient quantum computers.

New method to control electron spin paves the way for efficient quantum computers

The method, developed by researchers including John Nichol, an associate professor of physics, overcomes the limitations of electron spin resonance.

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This 2010 NASA image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the entire region around Supernova 1987A.

Lasers usher in a new era of astronomy

Large-scale, laser-based experiments have recently revolutionized astrophysics, writes Rochester professor Adam Frank, allowing scientists to recreate the cosmos in science labs.

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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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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 and Cal-Bridge programs.

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Maureen Zhang, research intern with Professor Pierre Gourdain, wins 2nd place in 2023 ISEF Regeneron competition. Working with PhD students Nesli Erez and Hannah Hasson, Maureen was recognized for her work on Machine Learning to Determine the Number of Exoplanets.

maureen zhang headshot

Kelly Douglass gives an interview about AAS Journal article on cosmic voids


Kelly Douglass (University of Rochester) chats about her AAS Journal article on voids, and where we can go from here given the published article.

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Women in the Physics & Astronomy Department


In honor of International Womens day, in a series of videos and articles, members of our department reflect on their experiences as women in Physics. We also include perspectives from male faculty on the women who most inspired them in their professional careers.

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Life of a Cosmology Graduate Student

Zachery Brown in the lab

Growing up, I never imagined that I’d become a physicist. I always enjoyed my physics classes, but was convinced that I’d study engineering in college. Yet as a high school senior, I took an electricity and magnetism course that really caught my attention. And as it happened, I attended a small liberal arts college without an engineering program. I made the decision to major in physics instead.

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USRA Establishes the Judith L. Pipher Memorial Scholarship Award

Judy Pipher

Columbia, MD—June 27, 2022.  Universities Space Research Association (USRA) proudly announces the addition of a new award—the Judith L. Pipher Memorial Scholarship Award—to honor the memory of Dr. Judith L. Pipher. With the establishment of this new award, USRA will now routinely offer five Distinguished Undergraduate Award scholarships.

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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)!


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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