Expand your understanding
of the universe

Welcome to the Department of Physics

The Foundation of All Science

Physics is the most fundamental of sciences and encompasses everything we do.

Whether modeling the smallest particles in the universe, tracking the path of a single molecule in a living cell, or exploring new energy sources in the lab, our innovative research areas and cross-disciplinary collaborations are at the forefront of today’s most compelling questions. Whether you are interested in immediate practical application or advancing theoretical research, your degree in physics will lay the foundation for success.

Physics Programs

Studying physics encourage critical thinking and problem solving, while helping you understand everything around you – and how it all works. Whether you are a physics major or merely looking for an exciting option to fulfill your quantitative sciences requirement, we have courses for you!

Undergraduate Advising

From beginning to end, we can help! Our advisors can help you choose classes, understand degree program requirements, and stay up-to-date on university and department policies and procedures. Consistent meetings with your advisor will ensure you’re on track.

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.

Recent news from the department

When you look at a crystal with the naked eye, it sits perfectly still. However, the atoms inside of crystals are moving at an ultrafast rate.


David Wirth took his first modeling class from Arizona State University in 1999 and later earned his Masters Degree in Natural Science - Physics from ASU in 2014.

John Spence, the Richard Snell Professor of Physics and an ASU Regents Professor, died peacefully Monday morning, June 28, in Boston. 

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).

Initiatives and Centers


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.