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Penn State Department of Physics

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LIGO detects gravitational waves Profs. Jie Shan and Kin Fai Mak have carried out the first experiment that images the valley Hall effect in 2D MoS2 Pinpointing neutral atoms for qubits IceCube discovers PeV neutrinos AMON
LIGO detects gravitational waves (Physical Review Letters, 2016)
Imaging the valley Hall effect (Nature Nanotechnology, 2016)
IceCube discovers extraterrestrial PeV neutrinos (Science, Nov. 2013, PRL, Sep. 2014).

From the Department Head

Nitin Samarth

Welcome to Physics@Penn State! I am proud to belong to a department of innovative scientists, inspiring teachers, creative students, and accomplished alumni. Whether you are an alumnus, friend, prospective student or a casual visitor, I invite you to browse our website and learn about the exciting discoveries Penn State physicists are making at the frontiers of knowledge.

We also seek to attract faculty, graduate students and postdocs to join our department. If you are interested in becoming part of our community, please consult the "Jobs" tab on our web page for current opportunities.

— Nitin Samarth, George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head

nsamarth [at] psu [dot] edu

Meet Our Faculty

Portrait of Nathan Gemelke

Nate Gemelke

My group studies fundamental many-body problems using the versatile tools of ultracold atomic physics. We cool atomic gases to a fraction of a microkelvin above absolute zero temperature and create novel structures of laser light with which to probe and manipulate them. By assembling new strongly correlated quantum systems from the ground up, we can engineer systems to shed light on the basic organizational principles of matter, to develop new methods of storing and manipulating information quantum mechanically, and to discover new behavior in complex systems.

Research experience for undergraduates

The department provides many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in research. Direct research experience is exciting, and a great way to prepare for careers in science and engineering.

Wei Huang makes adjustments to a microwave-electronicassembly for a laser spectroscopy setup used in a Bose-Einstein condensationapparatus.

If you're interested in doing research, feel free to explore the research programs in the department and our Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program.

Physics@PennState among very best in the United States

According to a multi-year study released by the National Research Council (NRC) in 2010, we are in the top echelon of physics departments in the United States. The NRC used a broad range of measurements to rank the performance of graduate programs across hundreds of universities — its first such rankings in 15 years. A conservative interpretation of the study places us in the top 10-15 in the country. A detailed exploration of rankings using different criteria is available at the phds.org website. We also invite you to visit the Eberly College of Science website for a comprehensive overview about the NRC rankings for all departments in our college.