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Physics and Astronomy About the Department


The Department of Physics and Astronomy seeks to provide an atmosphere that fosters intellectual growth and quantitative reasoning. We offer educational programs in physics and astronomy that engage students in teaching and research activities that provide the skills, knowledge, and ability for critical thinking that will enable them to be productive members of society. In the process, we will lay the foundations for technological advances that improve our quality of life.

While the department conducts research in the traditional areas of physics, we have enhanced our relatively small group by identifying three areas of research excellence: Astrophysics, Extreme Matter / Novel States of Matter, and Materials and Optics. Astrophysics seeks to answer some of the most basic questions about the universe and space-time and is in high demand from the students. Materials and Optics, and Extreme Matter are at the forefront of important technological advances.

WSU and Pullman Information

On November 11, 1889, Montana, the two Dakotas, and Washington Territory became states of the Union by means of an Enabling Act. The Act authorized the states to adopt constitutions and it appropriated gifts of public land. The three new states were granted 190,000 acres for colleges of agriculture, science, and technology. On March 28, 1890, the Washington legislature formally accepted the gift of land and money, and Washington State University was created. It became one of a select number of schools known as land-grant colleges.

Physics and Astronomy Quick Stats

20 Professors & Lecturers
4 Full Time Research Staff
63 Graduate Students
63 Undergraduate Majors & Pre-Majors

Percentage of faculty that are Society Fellows: >50% (National average: 10%)

Grant funding: >$9 million/year

Many fellowships and scholarships are available, with stipends up to $30,000/year