The MIT Physics Department is one of the best places in the world for research and education in physics, ranked the number one physics department since 2002 by US News & World Report. In recent years, the Department has produced the largest numbers of undergraduate and doctoral degrees in physics of any university in the US. The Department has about 75 faculty, 280 undergraduate majors, and 245 graduate students. Research is organized into four primary research areas, pushing  back the frontiers of human understanding of space and time and of matter and energy in all its forms, from the subatomic to the cosmological and from the elementary to the complex. In addition to four Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty since 1990, four alumni have won Nobel Prizes since 1998, which reflects the outstanding quality of MIT Physics students  and the superb education they receive.

Striving to work at the forefront of many areas where new physics can be found, the Department of Physics investigates the nature of universe in its most extreme conditions in order to discover new and exciting phenomena. MIT Physics researchers study the largest things in the universe: clusters of galaxies or even the entire universe itself. Conversely, they study the smallest things in the universe: elementary particles or even the strings that may be the substructure of these particles. They study the hottest things in the universe: collisions of nuclei at relativistic velocities that make droplets of matter hotter than anything since the Big Bang. They study the coldest things in the universe: laser-cooled atoms so cold that their wave functions overlap resulting in a macroscopic collective state--the Bose-Einstein condensate. While they often study the simplest things, such as individual atoms, they study the most complicated things too: unusual materials like high temperature superconductors and those that are important in biology. By pushing the limits, MIT physicists have the chance to observe new general principles and to test theories of the structure and behavior of matter and energy.


Selected Awards and Honors

  • American Physical Society Fellow, Frank Wilczek
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, Raymond Ashoori