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    Purdue University
  Sep 24, 2017
2017-2018 University Catalog

Department of Physics and Astronomy

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy serves the citizens of Indiana, the United States and the world through discovery that expands knowledge in the field of physics and closely related sciences, through conveyance of this knowledge to our students in an excellent learning environment, and through engagement in which we share our skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm with diverse communities beyond the University.

At present we have 58 faculty members, 62 postdocs and research scientists, 146 graduate students, and 196 undergraduate physics majors. These individuals conduct research across a broad spectrum of physics:

Accelerator mass spectrometry
Applied physics, experimental
Astrophysics, experimental and theoretical
Atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics, experimental and theoretical
Biophysics, experimental and theoretical
Condensed matter physics, experimental and theoretical
Geophysics, experimental
High energy nuclear physics, experimental and theoretical
High energy particle physics, experimental and theoretical
Physics education
Planetary physics

Our faculty members are recognized as world leaders in their respective fields. Included in our ranks are a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a winner of the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics, the immediate past president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 3 AAAS fellows, and 10 APS fellows.

On campus, the department occupies two buildings, the “Physics Building” (originally named the Charles Benedict Stuart Laboratory of Applied Physics) and an attached two-story subterranean laboratory complex containing offices, work rooms, and laboratories dedicated to accelerator mass spectrometry, the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory (PRIME Lab). We also make use of campus facilities in Purdue’s Discover Park, particularly the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center. Off campus, we participate in research that occurs at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, and several observatories around the globe.

Our department has undergraduate programs in Physics, Honors Physics, Applied Physics, Applied Honors Physics, and Physics Teaching. We also have undergraduate minors in both Astronomy and Physics. Our graduate program offers both M.S. and PH.D. degrees with a wide variety of specializations.

All physics major students must complete the majority of upper level (300 level and above) physics courses in residence at Purdue. Students can use transfer credits for no more than 50 percent of the upper level physics courses in order to receive a Physics and Astronomy B.S.  Degree.

Through our outreach programs we bring our love of physics to thousands of elementary and high school students and their teachers every year. Classroom visits are complete with demonstrations hands-on learning activities. Teachers receive high-quality, content-based professional development in our workshops and through summer research opportunities.


Contact Information

Mailing Address
Department of Physics and Astronomy
525 Northwestern Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036

Telephone and Fax
(765) 494-3000 (main office)
(765) 494-2970 (undergraduate office)
(765) 494-0706 (fax)

Department directory

General questions

Graduate Information

For Graduate Information please see Physics and Astronomy Graduate Program Information .





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