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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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Beyond the average cell

Molecular biologists want to know what’s really happening inside individual living cells, not just how the mythical 'average' cell lives. Now it is possible to peer into the lives of individual cells. In a new paper in PLOS Genetics, a team of biologists and physicists from Washington University in St. Louis and Purdue University (Dr. Srividya Iyer-Biswas) used actual single-cell data to create an updated framework for understanding the relationship between cell growth, DNA replication and division in a bacterial system.

2022 In Purdue Research

Combining brilliance with persistence, Purdue University researchers spent 2022 working toward answers to myriad critical questions, taking on challenges facing our national defense, the battle against cancer, and our global food and water supply, among many others. To celebrate the innovative milestones marked during 2022, we offer this small sampling of the year in research. Researchers from Purdue Physics and Astronomy made the 2022 Purdue research highlight list twice: Dr. Tongcang Li and Dr. Danny Milisavljevic.

Optical Levitation with a Metalens

OPTICS & PHOTONICS — The work of Dr. Tongcang Li and his team from Purdue University Physics and Astronomy is featured "Optics in 2022," a special issue of Optics & Photonics News that highlights exciting peer-reviewed optics research that emerged over the past year. The work featured is titled, "Optical Levitation with a Metalens."

Purdue physicists awarded DOE grant for high energy physics and artificial intelligence

The United States Department of Energy announced Tuesday that they have awarded $4.3 million for research on artificial intelligence in high energy physics. $290,000 of this award has been granted to researchers at Purdue Physics and Astronomy to pursue Machine Learning techniques for measuring quark data the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN. This award was granted to Dr. Andreas Jung, associate professor, and Dr. Miaoyuan Liu, assistant professor, both of the Purdue University Department of Physics and Astronomy. The award will disperse over three years.

Purdue Expert: Gamma Ray Explosion

Paul Duffell is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University. On Oct. 9, telescopes detected the brightest gamma ray burst ever recorded. In this video, Duffell explains what the explosion was, why it was so bright and what scientists hope to learn from it. He says that gamma ray bursts are explosive events more extreme than supernovae. Scientists have observed gamma ray bursts in the past, but Duffell says this burst was the brightest and closest that has ever been seen. He says this event lasted for around 10 minutes, while most gamma ray bursts are seen for only a few seconds. Duffell explains that this “brightest of all time” explosion gives scientists across several fields of study a rare look into the nature of gamma ray bursts.

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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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