• ISU Researchers Study "Everlasting Light"
    ISU Researchers Study "Everlasting Light"
  • ISU physicist John Lajoie helps the PHENIX experiment at RHIC "Zoom in on Gluons' Contribution to Proton Spin"
    ISU physicist John Lajoie helps the PHENIX experiment at RHIC "Zoom in on Gluons' Contribution to Proton Spin"
  • Iowa State, IBM astronomers explain why disk galaxies eventually look alike
    Iowa State, IBM astronomers explain why disk galaxies eventually look alike
  • New detector technology for neutrino experiments. ISU postdoc Carrie McGivern inspects part of the ANNIE detector.
    New detector technology for neutrino experiments. ISU postdoc Carrie McGivern inspects part of the ANNIE detector.
  • Highly Efficient Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Metamaterials
    Highly Efficient Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Metamaterials
  • Catching relativistic electrons with your bare hands
    Catching relativistic electrons with your bare hands
  • Canfield awarded $1.7 million Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators award
    Canfield awarded $1.7 million Moore Materials Synthesis Investigators award
  • ISU physicist Mayly Sanchez analyzes the first neutrino detections from the NOvA experiment.
    ISU physicist Mayly Sanchez analyzes the first neutrino detections from the NOvA experiment.
  • ISU researchers observe boosted hadronically decaying W/Z boson
    ISU researchers observe boosted hadronically decaying W/Z boson
  • Citizen Scientists Lead Iowa State Astronomer to Mystery Objects in Space
    Citizen Scientists Lead Iowa State Astronomer to Mystery Objects in Space
  • Kepler astronomers discover ancient star with five Earth-size planets
    Kepler astronomers discover ancient star with five Earth-size planets
  • New window into growing metal nanostructures
    New window into growing metal nanostructures
  • Homegrown solution for a synchrotron light source
    Homegrown solution for a synchrotron light source
  • Iowa State astronomers investigate mysterious star
    Iowa State astronomers investigate mysterious star
  • ISU graduate creates adventure at MIT
    ISU graduate creates adventure at MIT

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Welcome to the Department of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and astronomy explores the behavior and structure of matter and energy at all levels to help describe our world and the universe. Physics has helped us contemplate the origins of the universe and develop new products and technologies that meet human needs. The fundamental laws of physics find application in almost every branch of science, engineering and technology.

The Department has active research programs in Astronomy/Astrophysics, Condensed Matter Physics, High-energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, and Biophysics. Our high-energy physics, particle astrophysics and nuclear physics groups are involved in experiments which recreate the conditions of the early universe and help explain how it has evolved. In providing instruction in classical and modern physics, we cover such areas as mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, introductory modern physics, and quantum mechanics.


The Department of Physics & Astronomy is pleased to announce the arrival of these new faculty.

 

Dr. Zhe Fei

Dr. Zhe Fei joined the department in Fall 2015, and is developing an experimental research program based on Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy and Spectroscopy. This approach exploits light-matter interactions to study diverse systems with high temporal resolution, and a spatial resolution of down to 10 nm. Dr. Fei received his PhD in Physics from the University of California, San Diego with Dimitri Basov in 2014, and moved directly to a staff research scientist position in the Center for Nanomaterials at Argonne National Laboratory.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Xuefeng Wang

Dr. Xuefeng Wang received his Ph.D. in 2009 from Purdue University where he developed optical sensors to detect biological molecules. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Taekjip Ha at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and pioneered the use of molecular sensors to optically read forces exerted by living cells with single molecule resolution. As a faculty member at ISU, Dr. Wang plans to combine molecular force sensors and cellular imaging to study how mechanical signals are sensed and exerted by cells.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Matt Wetstein

Dr. Matt Wetstein obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in 2009. He worked as a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory until 2011 where he became a leader in the characterization of a new kind of photodetector devices called LAPPDs. He possesses unique expertise in this area and has made significant contributions with 10 related publications. Before joining ISU this year, Wetstein was a Grainger fellow at the University of Chicago, and a recipient of the Lee Grodzins award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This award was created to recognize the importance of original and unique work by postdoctoral fellows within the experimental nuclear and particle community. He is also co-spokesperson on a new neutrino experiment (ANNIE), recently approved to run at Fermilab, based on the novel photodetectors.