Physics is the most fundamental of sciences. It provides a foundation for ideas critical to other scientific fields and the underpinnings for modern technologies. The physics faculty at Brown actively engage in both teaching and research. Our research focuses on phenomena ranging from the subatomic to the cosmic, and includes collaborative efforts with biologists, chemists, engineers, geologists, and mathematicians.
There are 31 members of the physics faculty and about 100 graduate students in the department. Since we currently enroll about 15-20 new physics concentrators each year, the faculty-to-student ratio is quite high and opportunities for faculty interaction are abundant. All of the professors teach in addition to carrying out research programs, and all courses are taught by professors. You will find in our labs and seminars a lively mix of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates all working together with a common love of physics. Research opportunities at Brown are outstanding and are at the forefront of the most important areas of physics. Please explore our web pages to learn more about physics at Brown. Feel free to contact the faculty Physics Concentration Advisor for additional information and answers to your questions about the concentration. For administrative questions please contact Wendy Zhu who co-ordinates undergraduate affairs for the department.
The benefits of a physics degree
A degree in physics allows a student to develop very specific knowledge:
- an understanding of the key laws of physics and how to apply them in various settings
- an appreciation for the complementary roles that experiment and theory play in the intellectual development of the field
while strengthening more general skills:
- a deep capacity for critical quantitative reasoning;
- the ability to formulate a scientific question or problem;
- the ability to communicate effectively.
Physics provides an excellent basis for many areas of continued study (including applied mathematics, astronomy, biophysics, computer science, engineering, neuroscience and materials science) and preparation for work in a wide variety of fields (such as business and finance, industrial research, law, product development, medicine, and entrepreneurship). About two-thirds of our seniors go on to graduate study in physics or related fields at leading graduate schools and the rest are employed by industry, consulting or financial firms, start-ups, NGO's, and government.
Find out what our recent graduates are up to here.
Visit the American Institute of Physics for more information about employment opportunities and compensation in physics.
Studying abroad is something many physics concentrators do. Please consult with the Physics Concentration Advisor for help with planning your program to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your progress towards the concentration.
There is a study abroad option for physics concentrators at the University of Cantabria, in Santander, Spain which requires no previous knowledge of Spanish. Check out the website for this program here.