Physics observes, describes, categorizes, synthesizes, and abstracts the inanimate world. It provides intellectual satisfaction by allowing the exploration and understanding of how the universe works, and an intellectual challenge by forcing a move past a descriptive approach to the world, to an in depth look at how and why the world works the way it does. A science of the properties of matter, radiation, and energy in all forms, it is the most fundamental, providing an underlying framework for other physical sciences and engineering, as well as the physical processes of biological and environmental sciences. Physics provides the important skill of reasoning analytically and quantitatively. It teaches the process of thought, and how to apply and extend that knowledge to the fast-paced, ever-altering world we live in.
UW-Madison's Physics Department offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees. The Physics Department has an annual awards banquet which honors outstanding performance by both undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and friends of the department.