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A Message From the Chair

Our Physics Department offers a broad range of exciting research programs in both Fundamental and Applied Physics. We currently have 31 Tenured/Tenure track Faculty, 16 Research Faculty and 23 Post-Doctoral Fellows. The Department placed 60th  out of 160 programs in the 2010 National Research Council Ranking of National Physics Programs.

Research programs in the Department include Condensed Matter Physics, Material Science, Particle and Nuclear Physics, Statistical and Nonlinear Physics, Atmospheric and Planetary Physics, Biological Physics, Nano-science, Photo-voltaics, and Seismic Physics. Research Centers and Programs closely affiliated with the Department include the Texas Center for Superconductivity, the Center for Advanced Materials, the Mission Oriented Seismic Research Program, and the Institute for Nano-Energy. In addition, Faculty members collaborate with researchers at the Houston Medical Center and NASA.

The Faculty includes a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipients of a National Medal of Science, the Freedoms Foundation Award, and the Guggenheim Award. In addition, we have a Temple Chair of Science, three Cullen Chairs, two Anderson Chairs, and a Moore’s Chair in the Department. Our Faculty receive research grants from Government and Private sources and our research expenditures total $6 million/year. Two Junior Faculty are recent recipients of CAREER Awards from DOE and NIH.

The Department has approximately 90 domestic and international graduate students. They typically complete the core courses during the first year and join a research program soon after. We support virtually all students in the program as Teaching or Research Assistants. In addition to joining research programs in the Department, students have the option of conducting research in groups in several other Departments within the University and at the Houston Medical Center.

We have approximately 60 Undergraduate Majors, and have had three recent Goldwater scholars. Our Faculty includes a recipient of the Noyce Foundation Award and a recipient of a Teacher Quality Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The Department strives to maintain an enjoyable and highly collaborative environment for research and education and to help researchers and students reach their best potential. We continue to expand and update our curriculum to include topics of current interest. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our program.

Gemunu Gunaratne, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Physics