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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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BBC Science In Action: Brightest supernova in a decade

BBC (Podcast) — A star in the nearby Pinwheel Galaxy has exploded spectacularly into a supernova, dubbed SN 2023ixf. It is the brightest in a decade and it has got astronomers around the world into a frenzy. The BBC Science In Action Podcast interviews astronomers about the supernova, including Purdue Physics and Astronomy Prof. Dan Milisavljevic.

Hair-raising contest raises money for Turkish earthquake recovery

When people have a mental image of a typical physics class, often the first thought is a Van de Graaf generator that will stand a person’s hair straight up if the generator is touched. This popular physics classroom activity was the hero of a recent fundraiser at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University. The department held a fundraiser for earthquake recovery in Turkey in combination with the Turkish Student Association at Purdue (Purdue TSA) on April 3, 2023.

Purdue University Staff Engagement Awarded to David Sederberg

PURDUE NEWS — Dr. David Sederberg, Outreach Coordinator for Purdue Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded a 2023 Purdue Engagement Award. He was awarded the Staff Engagement Award which is awarded to a staff member who has collaborated in sustained synergistic partnerships within his or her community; embodies the scholarship of engagement, not only to strengthen Purdue University, but also community partners; and continually gives back, through community service, in order to improve the lives of others.

2022-23 Physics and Astronomy Awards

The Department of Physics and Astronomy recognizes our faculty, staff, and students with awards representing excellence in the classroom, laboratory, and workplace.

Physicists create long-sought topological quantum states

NATURE — A three-way linkage is an unmistakable signature of one of the most coveted phenomena in quantum physics — and it has now been observed for the first time. Researchers have used a quantum computer to create virtual particles and move them around so that their paths formed a Borromean-ring pattern. Dr. Michael Manfra, of Purdue Physics and Astronomy, is cited in this article by Nature.

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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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