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Department of Physics and Astronomy

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University offers the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Physics, the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Astrophysics, and the Master of Science Degrees in Physics, and Health Physics. The Department has ongoing, funded research programs in astronomy, biological physics, computational physics, condensed-matter, materials and optical physics, cosmology, high-energy physics, relativistic heavy-ion physics, medical physics, and nuclear physics. Department faculty participate in several on-campus interdisciplinary programs built around specialized facilities, including the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative BioSystems Research and Education (VIIBRE); the Vanderbilt Institute for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE), and the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS). High performance computing is available at the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) built and operated by Vanderbilt faculty. The physics and astronomy faculty also participate in numerous off-campus collaborations and facilities, including: the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS), the Joint Institute for Heavy-Ion Physics and Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (Geneva,Switzerland), the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Swiss Light Source, and the National High Magnetic-Field Laboratory.

The department presently has 30 full-time faculty, approximately an equal number of research associates, and about 70 students. We offer friendly and supportive atmosphere for learning and research opportunities in a breadth of research areas.


Prof. Robert Scherrer, Department Chair
Prof. Julia Velkovska, Director of Graduate Studies, Physics
Prof. Andreas Berlind, Director of Graduate Studies, Astrophysics