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Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy has a rich and long history dating back to the latter part of the 19th century. Our faculty and students are exploring nature at all length scales, from the subatomic (quarks and gluons) to the macroscopic (black holes and dark energy), and everything in between (atomic and biological systems).

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Scientists use Doppler to peer inside cells, leading to better, faster diagnoses and treatments of infections

Doppler radar improves lives by peeking inside air masses to predict the weather. A Purdue University team is using similar technology to look inside living cells, introducing a method to detect pathogens and treat infections in ways that scientists never have before. This collaborative research group includes Dr. David Nolte, Purdue’s Edward M. Purcell Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr. Mario J. Paniccia elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Physics and Astronomy alumnus Mario J. Paniccia (PhD Physics '94) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  Paniccia  was elected to the Academy for “his contributions to integrated silicon photonic devices and their commercialization."

Spectacular ‘honeycomb heart’ revealed in iconic stellar explosion

A unique ‘heart-shape’, with wisps of gas filaments showing an intricate honeycomb-like arrangement, has been discovered at the center of the iconic supernova remnant, the Crab Nebula. Astronomers have mapped the void in unprecedented detail, creating a realistic three-dimensional reconstruction. The new work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Spectacular 'honeycomb heart' revealed in iconic stellar explosion

A unique heart shape, with wisps of gas filaments showing an intricate honeycomb-like arrangement, has been discovered at the center of the iconic supernova remnant, the Crab Nebula. Astronomers have mapped the void in unprecedented detail, creating a realistic three-dimensional reconstruction. The new work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society .

This ragtag crew are shaking up the world of earthquake prediction

In December 2018, a coalition of researchers announced an online competition, open to anyone, in which participants had to predict future earthquakes being generated by a vice-like device in a laboratory. The twist? They had to design their own rudimentary artificial intelligences to make the predictions. Purdue University Physics and Astronomy professor Dr. Laura Pyrak-Nolte was involved in this publication.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, 525 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036 • Phone: (765) 494-3000 • Fax: (765) 494-0706

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