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The inside of the CMS detector at CERN, showing a large central beam pipe surrounded by a silver cylinder of detectors.

Rochester physicists find ‘spooky action at a distance’ at CERN

The researchers have confirmed that quantum entanglement persists between top quarks, the heaviest known fundamental particles.

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Two researchers wearing protective eyewear manipulate the equipment in an optics lab to produce surface acoustic waves.

New surface acoustic wave techniques could lead to surfing a quantum internet

Researchers develop new methods to couple light to sound waves that glide on surfaces.

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Side view of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, used to detect dark energy and map the expanding universe, atop a large telescope.

DESI first-year data delivers unprecedented measurements of expanding universe

Scientists have analyzed the first batch of data from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument’s quest to map the universe and unravel the mysteries of dark energy.

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A person in a yellow shirt seen from behind works with a transmission electron microscope in a darkened room.

University secures federal funding to enable advanced quantum research

The funding supports the acquisition of a state-of-the-art transmission electron microscope to accelerate research in quantum information science.

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Partial solar eclipse seen through clouds.

Get ready for the total solar eclipse on April 8

Rochester will be among the prime viewing spots for the next total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

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View from inside the OMEGA laser system's target chamber during a direct drive fusion experiment.

Scientists create new ‘spark plug’ for fusion reactions

Techniques developed with the Laboratory for Laser Energetics’ OMEGA laser system hold promise for sparking fusion at larger scales.

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Majors & Minors

We offer degrees in physics and in physics and astronomy, as well as many research opportunities for undergraduates.

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Our PhD programs rank in the top twenty nationwide, according to the National Research Council.

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From subatomic particles to the structure of the Universe itself, our award-winning faculty study nature on every scale.

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In the News



The Department of Physics and Astronomy is committed to increasing the diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff. We are a partner institution in the APS Bridge and Cal-Bridge programs.

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Physics Student Wins First Place in Art of Science Competition

A single video frame of a small flock of crows flying over Lehigh Valley Trail.

Rayleigh Parker, a physics PhD student, won first place for Flocking Behavior. Parker shot video of a small flock of crows passing overhead on the Lehigh Valley Trail in Rochester and then collapsed the video down into a single frame using a script written in Python.

“Birds engage in flocking behavior that can produce mind-bogglingly complex structures in space and time, but the behavior of each individual bird can be reduced to a (relatively) simple set of rules,” wrote Parker in their submission. “Only in the aggregate does the structure of the flock emerge. While large flocks of birds such as starlings are the most immediately impressive, smaller flocks, even groups of only three birds, can be just as beautiful if you take the time to watch.”

Milder Receives Chiyoe Yamanaka Award

photo of avram milder

Avram Milder ’21 (PhD), a scientist in the Laser–Plasma Interactions Group at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has been selected to receive the Chiyoe Yamanaka Award at the International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications (IFSA). Milder has been selected for his trailblazing measurements of electron distribution functions performed at the Omega Laser Facility that has opened a new avenue for researchers exploring fundamental plasma-physics.

NSF funds multi-institutional design of world-leading EP-OPAL laser at Rochester

Professor Antonino Di Piazza

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Rochester nearly $18 million over three years to design and prototype key technologies for EP-OPAL, a new facility dedicated to the study of ultrahigh-intensity laser-matter interactions. Physics professor Antonino Di Piazza is one of the co-principal investigators for the EP-OPAL project.

Kelly Douglass gives an interview about AAS Journal article on cosmic voids

A screenshot from the session.

Kelly Douglass (University of Rochester) chats about her AAS Journal article on voids, and where we can go from here given the published article.

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Life of a Cosmology Graduate Student

Zachery Brown in the lab

Growing up, I never imagined that I’d become a physicist. I always enjoyed my physics classes, but was convinced that I’d study engineering in college. Yet as a high school senior, I took an electricity and magnetism course that really caught my attention. And as it happened, I attended a small liberal arts college without an engineering program. I made the decision to major in physics instead.

Ketevan Kotorashvili receives Tsinandli Award in Natural Sciences

Keti Kotorashvili picture

Ketevan (Keti) Kotorashvili, a graduate student in the University of Rochester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and a Horton Fellow of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), recently received the Zurab Zhvania Foundation’s 2023 Tsinandli Award in Natural Sciences for her research on the evolution of stars.


Physics, Optics, and Astronomy (POA) Library

The POA library houses a comprehensive collection of journals, monographs and online data bases, supporting the research and teaching activities of the department.

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