The PhD in Physics program at WPI covers the full spectrum of research in the field with particular emphasis on Biophysics and Nanoscience. You’ll be well positioned to lead transformative research in our state-of-the-art labs.

Working collaboratively with world-renowned faculty and in small research groups, you’re part of the research fabric of the university. As a PhD candidate, you may choose to participate on outstanding faculty research projects such as light scattering, nanomechanics, liquid crystals, fiber optics, biophysics, order-disorder phenomena, and quantum computers.

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Curriculum

PhD candidates have the flexibility to work collaboratively on innovative faculty research endeavors and with colleagues from mathematics, computer science, or in the life sciences, but they can also develop their own tailored research approach in an area they are passionate about.

Requirements include approved courses like Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, and Advanced Electromagnetic Theory, and dissertation research, completion, and defense of the PhD thesis. PhD candidates will complete a one-year residency on campus.

We offer candidates more information about application specifics or available financial support.

Research

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With specific strengths in the areas of biophysics and nanoscience, WPI’s physics program offers research opportunities that address areas from healthcare to lasers for missile avoidance systems.

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The interdisciplinary approach to physics at WPI gives students opportunities to broaden their research and, therefore, have a wider impact with their work.

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Physics presents opportunities for inspiring careers in areas including the environment, medicine, health, and national defense.

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State-of-the-art facilities across the campus include the WPI Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, and labs such as the Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM Laboratory) and the Center for Computational Nanoscience with Computer Clusters.

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Padmanabhan K. Aravind

Padmanabhan K. Aravind

Professor
Physics

In my 25 plus years at WPI, I have been actively engaged in teaching and research at a variety of levels. Our Projects Program is the place where these two activities naturally come together, and the Major Qualifying Projects (or senior theses) I have guided over the years have been among my most rewarding experiences.

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Nancy A. Burnham

Nancy A. Burnham

Professor of Physics and Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Physics

Nancy Burnham graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1987 with a Ph.D. in Physics. Her dissertation concerned the surface analysis of photovoltaic materials. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she became interested in scanning probe microscopy, in particular its application to detecting material properties at the nanoscale.

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David C. Medich

David Christopher Medich

Associate Professor
Physics

I perform experimental and computational (Monte Carlo) research in the field of applied nuclear physics with a focus on Medical and Health Physics. Presently my research group is investigating: the development of a unique technique to enable high-resolution in-vivo functional imaging using neutrons, the adaptation of a 169Yb brachytherapy source to enable localized intensity-modulated radiation therapy, the creation of a field-deployable device for radiological and topological characterization, and are analyzing the time-dependent resuspension of radioactive Am-241 into the atmosphere.

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Marko B. Popovic

Marko B. Popovic

Assistant Research Professor
Physics

Marko B. Popovic's research interest ranges from fundamental physics, e.g. particle physics, to human neurosensory-motor organization, engineering robotics systems that assist and augment humans, biomechatronics, and bioinspired engineering. He is the founder and director of Popovic Labs http://users.wpi.edu/~mpopovic/ where researchers study physics, biomechanics, and robotics with the goal of answering how living systems function and to synthesize systems that have resembling architecture and functionality and/or may improve life.

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Izabela RC Stroe

Izabela Stroe

Associate Teaching Professor
Physics

For me, Physics is like a sandbox. It gives me the opportunity to play and discover, test, be creative, learn something new. At the same time, I am passionate about passing the thrill of discovery to my students. Teaching is a two-way street in which both parties get enriched from each other. I welcome and embrace the partnership. I also believe that college is the biggest and best opportunity in one's life to discover one's calling and do something about it and I invite students to take full advantage of it.

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Qi Wen

Qi Wen

Associate Professor
Physics

Professor Wen is an experimental biophysicist who is interested in applying physical methods to understand biological phenomena. By measuring the mechanical properties of living cells and the mechanical interaction between cells and ECM, he aims to understand how cells convert external mechanical signals to internal biochemical signals that govern cellular function, including cell morphology, migration, and differentiation. His research will help to design novel materials for wound healing, tissue engineering, and tumor treatment.

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Kun-Ta Wu

Kun-Ta Wu

Assistant Professor
Physics

Kun-Ta Wu is an assistant professor of physics. Before joining WPI, he was a physics lecturer at Brandeis University, where he had previously been a postdoctoral associate. In his research, he investigates interactions among miscellaneous DNA and proteins. He uses proteins such as molecular motors to generate dynamics, as well as DNA to create specific, thermal-reversible interactions. With DNA and proteins, his goal is to advance our understanding of self-organization of active matter as well as to create new bio-inspired materials. He earned a PhD in physics at New York University.

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After Graduation