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PMAPhysics, Math, Astronomy (PMA)

The Physics Department is an internationally recognized research institution and ranks well in the National Research Council surveys of research-doctorate programs in the United States. More importantly, our national rankings have been steadily improving over the years, and future growth and development should place the Department as one of the best in the nation. Our graduate population consists of approximately 220 students.

The Physics faculty consists of sixty members. Two professors in the Department, Ilya Prigogine (deceased) and Steven Weinberg (deceased), have been honored by the Swedish Academy; Prigogine was named the 1977 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Weinberg received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979. Three members of the Department are members of the National Academy of Science.

 Approximately half of the faculty are experimentalists while the other half are theorists. An indication of the dynamic growth of the Department is that fifteen young faculty were hired over the last decade.


 Areas of Research:


  • Atomic, molecular and optical physics
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Nuclear physics
  • Plasma physics
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Condensed matter physics
  • Relativity and cosmology
  • Statistical mechanics
  • Elementary particle physics


The Department enjoys close collaborations with scientists in other departments with related research interests. Several faculty members belong to the Science and Technology Center (STC), the Texas Materials Institute (TMI), and the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics (TICAM). Industrial collaborations have expanded in recent years with the growth of the “high-tech” base in Austin. The strong support of basic and applied research by the State of Texas through the Advanced Research and Advanced Technology Programs has enabled the development of new research directions in the Physics Department, and is an indication of a deep commitment to academic excellence.

The Physics Department occupies an area of over 190,000 square feet in Physics, Math, Astronomy building. This building is shared with Mathematics and Astronomy, and has complete facilities for state-of-the-art laboratories.