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Physics is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Learn more about the University of Washington Physics Department from the: Fact Sheet, 2018 self-study


The Department of Physics offers instruction at all levels including introductory general education, baccalaureate preparation for teaching and scientific careers, and doctoral and post-doctoral education. The department encourages the involvement of undergraduates in research; currently more than 180 undergraduates participate in research within the department.


Ongoing research in the Department of Physics covers many areas.  These include searches for new particles and forces, connections between quantum information and gravity, and studies of the collective behavior of many particle systems ranging from nuclei to nanostructures to living cells to neutron stars. See our research pages for more information.


The Department of Physics currently has about 55 faculty and 35 postdoctoral research associates.  Department faculty have been the recipients of two Nobel prizes (Hans Dehmelt, 1989 and David Thouless, 2016) and many other national and international honors.  These include 8 current members of the National Academy of Sciences and 8 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  See appendix G of our 2018 self-study for other recent awards.


For many years the Physics Education Group in the Department of Physics has offered programs for pre-service and in-service physics teachers to improve their understanding of physics and master effective strategies for helping students learn fundamental physics concepts.  Programs are offered both during the academic year, and during the summer.