The Graduate Program
The Department of Physics offers programs leading to degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. The department also has an academic program for undergraduates leading to the simultaneous awarding of the BA and MA degrees (the BA/MA Program). Details regarding the latter program are given in the College of Arts & Sciences Bulletin.
The Department of Physics provides many opportunities for research in various areas of physics. In theoretical physics, research areas include elementary particle physics, condensed-matter physics, statistical physics, econophysics, polymer physics, and cooperative phenomena in biological systems. Research being carried out in experimental areas includes high-energy physics, particle-astrophysics, condensed-matter physics, surface physics, polymer physics, low-temperature physics, and biological physics.
The department is located at 590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, and the Physics Research Building is at 3 Cummington Mall. The physics buildings house offices for graduate students, staff, and faculty. They are equipped with low-temperature, high-energy, surface physics, biological physics, laser Raman spectroscopic laboratories, and scanning probed microscopy. Instructional laboratories and lecture rooms are also located in these buildings. Major condensed-matter physics and biological physics research laboratories are also located in the Center for Photonics at 8 St. Mary’s Street. Research is aided by a precision instrumentation shop, an electronics design facility, and a research computation facility. Research is also carried out at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, CERN, National Synchrotron Light Source, the Advanced Light Source, Super Kamiokande (Japan), the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), the Waste Isolation Power Plant (New Mexico), the SNOLAB underground laboratory (Canada), and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.
An extensive network of computational facilities supports the research activities of the department. There are networked multiprocessor servers and centralized workstations available to departmental faculty, staff, and students.
For computationally intensive applications, students have access to supercomputing resources supported through the Center for Computational Science and Information Technology. At the high end, these currently consist of an IBM BlueGene supercomputer with a peak capacity of 5.7 Tflops (5.7 trillion floating point operations per second), a cluster of IBM pSeries parallel, shared-memory computers, an IBM BladeCenter, and an Intel-based Linux cluster. These resources are integrated in a well-endowed distributed computing and visualization environment, which includes a high resolution, stereographic display wall, a laboratory for immersive virtual environments, an Access Grid Conference Facility, the Computer Graphics Laboratory, Myrinet, Gigabit Ethernet, and Fast Ethernet networks. A vast and diverse array of optical fiber connections to the NoX, Metro Ring and commercial ISPs provide multiple Gb/s of bandwidth and connectivity to the Internet, Internet2, and international research networks. The Departmental Computer Facility supports a wide range of software applications for physics data collection, analysis, simulation, and visualization.
Further information is available from the Department of Physics at 590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; 617-353-2600. The detailed requirements for the MA and PhD degrees can be obtained from the Formal Requirements for Graduate Study in Physics, available at the Physics Department website.