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Physics @ Berkeley
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Mailing Address
Department of Physics
University of California
366 LeConte Hall #7300
Berkeley, CA 94720-7300
510-642-3316 Voice
510-643-8497 Fax

Chair
Steven Edward Boggs

Physics includes a wide variety of disciplines and specializations, ranging from very practical, technology-driven fields to the study of the fundamental laws and structure of the universe. The major fields of study include astrophysics and cosmology; atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed matter; experimental particle physics; theoretical high energy physics; and nonlinear dynamics. There are also many fields that cross into other disciplines, such as computational physics, mathematical physics, and biophysics.

 

 

History of the Department

Physics at Berkeley has long been in the forefront of discovery and achievement. In 1931, Ernest O. Lawrence invented the cyclotron at Berkeley, ushering in the era of high-energy physics and a tradition of achievement that continues today. Nine of Berkeley’s twenty Nobel Prizes were awarded to Berkeley physicists. The most recent National Research Council nationwide rankings identify the Department as one of the best in the nation.

In the last 50 years, Berkeley physicists have made many of the significant discoveries that support today’s science. These discoveries extend from fundamental properties of elementary particles to spin echoes – the basis of magnetic resonance imaging – to cutting-edge breakthroughs for building an accurate model of how the universe took shape following the monster explosion commonly known as the Big Bang. Today, faculty members are leading the way to in scientific research and discovery in ways that may challenge the fundamental laws of physics particularly in the areas of gravitation, matter, and energy. At the same time, undergraduate and graduate teaching – through formal courses and research activity – is an integral part of the faculty’s commitment to the development of tomorrow’s scientists.

In their pursuit of original research, physics faculty members collaborate with postdoctoral fellows, PhD graduate students, undergraduate students, and visiting scholars. Research opportunities exist for investigating a wide range of topics in theoretical and experimental physics including astrophysics, atomic physics, molecular physics, biophysics, condensed matter, cosmic rays, elementary particles and fields, energy and resources, fusion and plasma, geochronology, general relativity, low temperature physics, mathematical physics, nuclear physics, optical and laser spectroscopy, space physics, and statistical mechanics.