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The Department of Physics,
Applied Physics and Astronomy

What is Physics and who are Physicists?

Physics involves the study of matter and its motion, energy and force. Physicists strive to understand nature at its fundamental level, from the path of a marble rolling off of a table to the collective state of electrons in a superconductor. Success in these endeavors usually results in the identification of simple laws governing basic phenomena, and thus provides the ability to predict system behavior. Investigations of this kind are both theoretical and experimental in nature.

Subfields of Physics

Individual physicists tend to specialize in certain subfields and approaches, thus one physicist might label herself a high energy theoretician, while another might label himself as a condensed matter experimentalist. There are a number of common subfields ranging in scale from universe-sized physics, including astrophysics and cosmology, to the ordinary human- sized physics of hard and soft condensed matter, to very small-sized physics. This includes atomic, molecular and optical physics, nuclear physics and high-energy physics. Ultimately, the smallest scales are studied with string theory which links back to universe-sized physics. Paralleling this division of scale is a preference for “pure” or “applied” physics, that relates to how likely a subject is to impact our society in the near term.

Physics at Binghamton

The Binghamton University Physics Department offers PhD, MSc, and both BA and BSc degrees in physics. We also cosponsor the Materials Science and Engineering PhD Program. Research and teaching opportunities are provided to students at all levels, including undergraduate research and teaching assistantships, senior honors theses, graduate teaching and research assistantships. The focus of faculty and student research is both theoretical and experimental and ranges from nano-scale applied physics to high-energy theoretical physics. One may explore individual faculty research pages for more details.


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Last Updated: 7/24/14