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Department of Physics

About Physics

Welcome to Boston College Physics. As a department, we are a community of over 150, including faculty, administrative staff, postdocs, visiting scientists, and graduate and undergraduate students. Devoted to our teaching, service and research missions, all of our 19 faculty teach lecture courses and actively involve students in their research. Our research program is “decidedly noncomprehensive”, with intentional foci on fundamental and applied condensed matter and nanoscale physics. Our campus home is Higgins Hall, at the heart of the BC Chestnut Hill campus at the western edge of Boston, and fully renovated in 2002 with state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories. 

As an undergraduate physics major, you will be both academically challenged and intellectually nurtured, with small class sizes starting freshman year (the ratio of undergraduate majors to faculty is ~3:1). Our undergraduate labs are first-rate and innovative. We have an active Society of Physics Students chapter that is encouraged to be creatively engaged in scientific and fun activities. It is department policy to offer a “100% guarantee” of a research opportunity to every physics major who seeks one, and we are willing to go to great lengths to honor this commitment. These are paid positions, and are available every semester and every summer for those that seek them. 

Our graduate program is internationally competitive within the condensed matter and materials physics communities, with emphases on: correlated electronic and magnetic systems that include topological insulators, all manner of superconductivity, and (anti)ferromagnetism; light-matter interactions including metamaterials, plasmonics, photovoltaics and nanophotonics; advanced thermal and thermoelectric materials and energy-converting properties; and integrated science endeavors in bio/chemical sensors e.g. for multiplex detection of disease biomarkers. We accept about 10 new graduate students per year from around the world, and our graduates go on to highly successful postdocs and academic, national laboratory and industrial careers. In addition to our own labs, our faculty and their research groups are frequent users of national facilities such as the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and others.

Our research and teaching benefit from outstanding instrumentation infrastructure, including the Boston area’s newest and best-run research fab, the Integrated Sciences Nanofabrication Clean Room, and state-of-the-art STM, NSOM, AFM, SEM, TEM, XRD, HF/LT (including a 46 tesla pulsed field magnet), VUV-FTIR-THz optics and materials preparation facilities. Our faculty’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of General Medical Sciences), the Department of Defense, the Office of Naval Research, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and several private foundations, including the W.M. Keck Foundation. 

Our entire enterprise is facilitated by a professional and courteous administrative staff, including essential business support from the Higgins Operations and Business Services office. 

You are invited to peruse these pages and learn more about physics at BC.

Fáilte roimh chách!

Mike Naughton, Chairman