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The department grew from the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, a research institute started by Texas Instruments scientists and engineers. Close ties to TI continue to this day as evidenced by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory, a 192,000-square-foot research facility designed in cooperation with TI.
With research roots firmly established, the physics department offers degree plans at the undergraduate and graduate levels in areas of study relevant to the challenges scientists face. We enroll approximately 170 physics majors.
The Master of Science in Applied Physics Program aims to broaden your horizons, increase your earning power and enhance your career opportunities, making physics a more relevant contributor to the high technology business sector.
Our faculty provides students with a quality education, directing internationally recognized programs in an intimate setting that allows ample student-faculty interaction.
There are three major research centers associated with the physics department. The William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences has ongoing projects with NASA and our faculty members and research scientists collaborated on the exciting Mars Lander Project with a mass spectrometer for analyzing Martian soil. Other projects include the design, construction, and flight of space plasma sensors for spacecraft and rockets, the development of software and analysis tools for data interpretation and the advancement of numerical models of the solar terrestrial environment.
The Alan G MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute has achieved world-recognition for its pioneering work on carbon nanotubes and other nanostructures. Projects include nanostructured hybrid composite membranes for fuel cells, carbon nanotubes supercapacitors, nanotubes for harvesting thermal energy, carbon nanotubes artificial muscles and many other projects some of which have strong biological applications.
In the field of high energy physics, our faculty and researchers pursue particle discoveries and search for new physics using the Babar Detector and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which sits beneath the surface of the earth along the Franco-Swiss border outside Geneva.
So go ahead and probe robust career areas such as nanotechnology; materials science; space sciences; cosmology, relativity and astrophysics; experimental particle physics; and sun and climate studies. These fields spur our best and brightest to make the next breakthrough discoveries.
Key to your physics education is an interdisciplinary approach that underscores our view that "physics is the liberal arts education of the technological world." We enjoy close and enthusiastic collaborations with the departments of electrical engineering, chemistry, geosciences, biology, computer science, and the School of Management.