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Physics professor Dr. Hee-Jong Seo, portrait
DESI results provide precise measurements of universe rate of expansion
An international team co-led by Physics Professor Hee-Jong Seo traces ripples from relic cosmic sound over 11 billion years of cosmic history with unprecedented precision.

Physics & Astronomy Department

Ranked Among the Best Global Universities for Physics

Ohio University is ranked among the Best Global Universities by U.S. News & World Report, with its physics program among the best in the world. Students explore yesterday, today and tomorrow in search of a deeper understanding of the natural world—from the mysteries of dark matter to the smallest machines possible, from the complexity of life to nature's strongest forces. 

Learn Why Physics & Astronomy Ranks!

The Physics & Astronomy Department offers five different bachelor’s programs in physics and astrophysics, including four B.S. degrees and one B.A. major. The department’s graduate programs include a Ph.D. in Physics as well as two master’s degrees.

Prepare for careers in high tech, industry, research

Students studying physics and astronomy at OHIO get the experience they need to succeed in careers in science and technology, business and industry, government and public affairs—and even careers of the future that don't exist yet.

Physics & Astronomy Careers & Internships >

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Saw-Wai Hla Named as Finalist for 2024 Falling Walls Prize

Nominated for his ground-breaking research creating the world's first X-ray of a single atom, Dr. Saw-Wai Hla has been named a finalist in the prestigious Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year award.

His achievement in the 2024 Physical Science category honors his work as a physicist at Ohio University and the Argonne National Laboratory for "Breaking the Wall of 128 Years of X-ray History."

Read more about his work: Scientists report world’s first X-ray of a single atom in Nature.

Dr. Saw Wai Hla, portrait

Physics & Astronomy Events

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Tuesday, July 16 Summer 2024 Public Telescope Nights 9:30 PM — 11:00 PM Ohio University Observatory
Tuesday, August 13 Spring 2024 Public Telescope Nights 9:00 PM — 11:00 PM Ohio University Observatory

Why OHIO's Physics & Astronomy Program is Among the Best in the World 

World-Class Research

The Physics & Astronomy Department at Ohio University provides students — both graduate and undergraduate students — the opportunity to engage in world-class research in areas ranging from nuclear astrophysics to quantum materials.

Physics & Astronomy faculty have built a solid research infrastructure over the years, with strong support from external agencies, averaging $3.6M per year.

Each year, faculty publish on average 140 research articles and receive more than 10,000 citations.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The department also offers great experiential learning opportunities and internships for students in bachelor’s physics programs to conduct research, with 90% of physics undergraduate students having done at least one research internship in a faculty member’s lab — outside of ordinary coursework — by the time they graduate.

More than 100 Years of Physics Graduate Degrees

The Physics & Astronomy Department awarded its first M.S. in physics degree in 1912 and its first Ph.D. degree in 1963. The program maintains a dynamic graduate physics program, offering degrees with emphasis in several different research areas: Astrophysics, Biological Physics, Condensed Matter Physics and Surface Science, Nanoscience, and Nuclear and Particle Physics.

Degrees offered include an M.A. in Physics, an M.S. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Physics. Our primary goal at the graduate level is to provide a broad and excellent education in advanced physics and astronomy, which prepares our graduates with the tools to address open problems for the remainder of their careers, gives them training in state-of-the-art techniques and approaches in the discipline, and prepares them to teach physics and astronomy at the university level.

Financial Support for Graduate Students

Total graduate student enrollment has averaged approximately 70 students over the last seven years. All our Ph.D. are students supported on stipends and tuition waivers up through their fifth year with typically about 30 students supported on Teaching Assistantships during their first one or two years, while the rest are supported on Research Assistantships from faculty grants and fellowships.

Successful Alumni

Over the years our alumni have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry, and government, and we continually strive to modernize and adapt to the needs of our students and the discipline. Our graduate program furthers the goals of Ohio University by providing high-quality and distinctive graduate education, closely linked to nationally prominent research efforts.

Ground- and Space-Based Astrophysics Observations

Observational work by our Astrophysics faculty involves ground- and space-based observations of astronomical objects across a wide range of wavelengths, with active programs on the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, Chandra and XMM X-ray Observatories, and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.

Ohio University is a partner in the MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak, Arizona, which provides guaranteed access to research-quality telescopes at one of the best astronomical sites in North America.

Edwards Accelerator Lab

The department maintains a 4.5MV high-intensity van de Graaff accelerator on campus in the Edwards Accelerator Lab, a unique and highly productive facility within the state used for low-energy nuclear physics and materials science experiments. It regularly draws users from other universities and national labs.

Internationally Renowned Faculty

Physics & Astronomy faculty are highly regarded within their professional areas, receiving many awards and recognitions including being named Fellows of the American Physical Society, receiving National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Early Career Awards, and with a faculty, Madappa Prakash, receiving the American Physical Society Hans A. Bethe Prize in 2021.