Advance your understanding
of the universe

Welcome to the Department of Physics

The Foundation of all Science

Physics is the study of the world around us - and how it works. When you study physics, you build the foundation for immediate, practical application as well as cutting-edge theoretical research. The unique ability of physicists to discern pathways in complex problems makes them invaluable in a team-based environment in any number of fields such as medicine, materials science, renewable energy, and financial markets. Our undergraduate and graduate students are curious, ambitious learners who will go on to make an impact in today's world.


Initiatives and Centers

BioXFEL

Biology with X-ray Free Electron Lasers is a consortium established in 2013 of eight U.S. research universities that addresses fundamental questions in biology at the molecular level. Using a recently-invented pulsed hard X-ray laser, our researchers can capture biological molecules in atomic detail, view their functional motions by taking brief snapshots, and observe interactions in their native environment. This opens up a new world to biology, to science, and to human health.

The Center for Biological Physics

The Center for Biological Physics at ASU conducts research into biological phenomena using the tools and methodologies of physics. Our interests span biomolecules, systems biology and cellular dynamics. Our faculty have expertise in a wide range of experimental, theoretical and computational methods. We collaborate widely on both basic and applied research questions - from the fundamental principles of life, to translational research in biomedicine. We have a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, centered in a dedicated and interactive physical space in the physical sciences building.

The Cosmology Initiative

The Cosmology Initiative at ASU bridges the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Physics Department, two academic units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and represents a major new national program. In the next few years, we anticipate building to over 20 faculty members whose research activities include experimental, observational and theoretical cosmology, creating one of the broadest and deepest cosmology programs in the country. In true ASU spirit, our top-notch research and teaching programs are matched by our vibrant outreach activities under the banners of the Beyond Center and the ASU Origins Project.

John M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy

As a global leader in high-resolution electron microscopy, ASU plays an important role characterizing critical properties of materials. This facility houses a dozen electron microscopes that can probe the physical, electronic and chemical structure of matter on an atomic scale.

Research Highlights

Dr Daniel Martin working in the Matyushov group has recently took advantage of one of the fastest high performance supercomputers (Anton, D. E. Shaw) to look at electron tunneling in proteins. Membrane-bound bc1 complex is one of the key elements of biology’s energy production chain in mitochondria of animals and photosynthetic centers of bacteria. Longer than 10 microseconds of fully atomistic computer simulations have allowed for the first time to study the protein's low frequency motions driving electron transfer. A broad range of fluctuations, spanning from picoseconds to microseconds, affects the transition. Surprisingly, slow motions, in the range 0.1-1.6 microseconds turned out to be particularly important. This work recently appeared in the J. Chem. Phys. 142, 161101 (2015).

Recent news from the department

Jane Jackson was the first woman to receive her PhD in physics at Arizona State University. This month she celebrates 25 years working with ASU.
First woman to earn Ph.D. in physics at ASU marks 25 years working in modeling instruction program

January 26, 2016 
Jane Jackson was the first woman to receive her Ph.D. in physics at Arizona State University. This month she celebrates 25 years working with ASU.

 

 

Angelica Berner graduated this December as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist for the Department of Physics.
Overcoming doubt: A first-generation student’s story

December 13, 2018
A first-generation student, Angelica Berner graduated this December as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist for the Department of Physics.

Ernst Bauer, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the Physics Department, has been recognized for his lifelong work
ASU emeritus professor celebrates 90th birthday with international recognition

December 14, 2018
Ernst Bauer, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the Physics Department, has been recognized for his lifelong work and his invention of the low energy electron microscope, or LEEM.

Physics by the Numbers

8:1

Student-to-faculty ratio

95%

Employment rate

9

Degree programs

Physics Courses

Whether you’re a physics major or looking to fulfill your quantitative science requirement, we offer a variety of stimulating courses that encourage critical thinking and problem solving, while helping you understand how everything around you works.

Undergraduate Advising

Our advisors can help you choose classes, understand degree program requirements, and stay up to date on university and department policies and procedures. Meet with an advisor on a regular basis to ensure you’re on track.

Professor in lab teaching

Our Faculty

Our nationally recognized faculty are members of prestigious science organizations and are published in leading scientific journals. They conduct innovative research in various aspects of physics, and their acclaimed work has elevated ASU’s position as a premier institution.