Faculty conduct research in a wide range of subfields. If you are interested in joining a research group, we encourage you to make an appointment to speak with a faculty member. Major funding for research in the department is provided by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Department of Energy, Space Telescope Science Institute, the Department of Defense, the US Air Force, the US Army, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and many others.

Research in the department is focused in four broad areas:

Messier 15, a globular cluster in the constellation Pegasus

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Joseph Barranco is a Computational Fluid Dynamicist who investigates astrophysical & geophysical fluid dynamics; that is, the turbulent and chaotic motions of fluids on the scales of planets, stars, and interstellar clouds.

John Brewer is an Exoplanetary Scientist who leads efforts to find Earth-like planets around nearby stars using the radial-velocity method.

Adrienne Cool is an Observational Astronomer who uses space-based telescopes to search for and study binary stars in globular clusters with the goal of understanding how these systems affect the evolution of their host globular clusters. 

Charli Sakari is a Galactic Archaeologist who uses large optical telescopes to search for the oldest, most chemically-pristine stars in the nearby universe with the goal of trying to understand the formation and evolution of chemical elements across cosmic time.

Laser Lab

Experimental Optics & Nanophysics

Zhigang Chen leads a quantum optics group that specializes in spatial solitons, waveguide arrays, discretizing light and nonlinear optics.

Weining Man leads a laboratory focused on photonic quasicrystals and other nanomaterials. 

AKM Newaz leads a hard condensed matter physics group focused on the electronic, optical and electro-optical properties of complex systems and nanoscale materials with reduced dimensions.

Huizhong Xu leads a laboratory focused on the optical properties of nanoscale materials and the development of advanced biophysical imaging techniques.

Cogs of thinking

Physics and Astronomy Education Research

Kim Coble leads a group in physics and astronomy education research, specializing in understanding student ideas about cosmology, and the importance of using "real data" and active learning in the classroom.

artist’s impression of the mayhem of quarks and gluons inside the proton

Theoretical High Energy Physics

Maarten Golterman and Jeff Greensite are Theoretical Particle Physicists who investigate Lattice Gauge Theory, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), and quark confinement.