Physics Department

Department Overview

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is among the most prestigious universities in the world. It is one of the largest in the U.S. with over 40,000 students (including undergraduates, graduates, and professional students). For the student, however, it has the feel of a much smaller institution. The campus is spread out over a large area; its departments of study are well-organized and coherent so the student easily finds a place in a well-defined smaller group; and the campus is a friendly place, in the best upper Midwest tradition, where the faculty make a point of being available to their students. The Physics Department has a strong tradition of graduate study and research. There are many facilities for doing world-class research. We have a large professional staff: 43 full-time faculty members; 9 faculty holding joint appointments with other departments; 34 assistant, associate, and senior scientists; and 46 post-docs.   


The Department occupies all of Chamberlin Hall and a portion of Sterling Hall, located in the central campus area. The Physics Library, in Chamberlin Hall, is large and convenient to use. It has complete electronic access to databases and, of course, copy machines and comfortable chairs. The department maintains a fine instrument and machine shop and an electronics shop staffed by skilled electronics technicians. There is, in addition, a student-staff machine shop open to graduate students and supervised by an experienced machinist who assists and instructs shop users. Several computers are available for general computing, and a number of smaller machines are used for on-line control of experiments and for data collection. The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) has a large professional staff which assists users, provides contract programming services and offers a wide variety of computing courses. Researchers have free access to large scientific computing resources. Many research programs in physics use the Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL).


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