Physics has been in the Brown curriculum since 1772, back when the discipline was called “natural philosophy” and Wolfram Alpha was not around to solve our problems. Today, we have a vibrant department with 30 faculty members and 12 joint and affiliated faculty members, all pursuing the frontiers of physics. Some members are developing advanced theories to explain phenomena as grand as the origin of our universe and the nature of matter. Others are pushing the limits of physics to detect new fundamental particles and dark matter, as well as building incredibly sensitive devices based on quantum physics. Fear not if you are a beginner with a sense of curiosity; Brown physics will build you from the ground up. Our research is distinguished across the discipline – high-energy, cosmology/astrophysics, condensed matter, and biophysics.

Every faculty member teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. Learning is not limited to the classroom but also continues in state-of-the-art laboratories, workshops, conferences, and international and multidisciplinary collaborations. Every undergraduate concentrator enjoys the opportunity to work with a professor in either theoretical or experimental research. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are trained to become next-generation physicists and future leaders in academia, government, NGOs, or the private sector. Our students receive the most comprehensive education in scientific and mathematical methods and the problem-solving process. Students have full access to the most advanced research facilities and our world-renowned faculty, who care very much about them. Students also benefit from our strong links to the School of Engineering, Chemistry, and Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences departments.

Our department is committed to actions that cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion and promote racial justice for all. We strive to build a stronger and more vibrant physics community.

Some highlights of excellence:   

  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 1972:  Leon N. Cooper, Nobel laureate in superconductivity theory and the father of the “Cooper pair”   
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 2016: J. Michael Kosterlitz, Nobel laureate in topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter
  • National Medal of Science, 2011: S. James Gates, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics
  • Gerald Stanford Guralnik: Co-discoverer of the Higgs mechanism and Higgs boson     
  • Fritz London Memorial Prize, 2011: Humphrey J. Maris, Professor Emeritus

Come and join us. Unleash your physics potential!

Vesna Mitrović
Chair, Department of Physics