Message from the Department Head
Welcome to the Department of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Physics is the study of all matter and energy, as well as the interactions among them, in the entire physical universe. Physicists ask fundamental questions in order to expand our knowledge and reveal underlying order or principles. Physics is the most fundamental (and oldest) of the sciences that employs rigorous logic, mathematics, experimentation, and critical reasoning/thinking.
We strive to discover new knowledge or innovations that push back the frontier of the unknown. There is a continuous spectrum of exploration in physics, from the edge of our understanding to applications for everyday uses. Physicists are bound together in their passion to find and solve interesting and important puzzles for the benefit of all humanity, whether in academia or industry.
In Physics at WPI, our mission is to educate students on both the theory and practice of physics in the area of the universe that is their passion for their particular future goals. We offer an innovative, project-based undergraduate program with opportunities for campus-wide or off-campus projects, hands on experience in all aspects of physics, and one of the most versatile programs in Physics in the United States that allows each and every student to follow their own personal path.
The undergraduate Physics program at WPI produces about 20 or so BS degrees in Physics and Engineering Physics (PHE) a year, placing the department in the top 15 percent of physics departments nationwide. Our MS and PhD graduate research program in Physics is organized around two main areas: Soft-Matter/Biophysics and Nanoscience, where we have world-class faculty and laboratories. Soft-Matter/Biophysics focuses on such systems as polymers, liquid crystals, biomaterials, and proteins in order to understand their self-organizing behavior, phases, and functionality. Nanoscience focuses on physics at the extremes, where quantum effects begin to reveal themselves. Areas here include wavefunction engineering, quantum cryptography/computing, optics, photonics, surface physics, atomic force microscopy, and quantum condensates. Physics faculty and students publish in the most prestigious journals and present at the most important meetings and conferences every year.
Physics is proud of our environment, which fosters all students and faculty to achieve their greatest potential and to become outstanding physicists. There is a true community of devoted explorers.
I look forward to hearing from you and perhaps having you join us in our common passion.
Germano S. Iannacchione
Department Head, Physics