Physics & Astronomy

We provide abundant opportunities and support for our students and expect them to experience the excitement of discovering new knowledge as they contribute to the ongoing development of the discipline. Students have previously been placed with prominent organizations, such as NASA, Boeing, Apple, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, and Intel.

Below, you’ll find video interviews with grad students and basic info on the program. For more details and to apply, visit the department page and BYU Graduate Studies.

Research Areas

  • Acoustics


    The acoustics group has a strong tradition of developing students who present and publish externally-funded research at the national and international levels. Discipline-specific coursework and training in exceptional research facilities provide students with outstanding employment prospects in acoustics.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Active noise and vibration control, non-linear and aeroacoustics, and audio transducers and architectural acoustics

    Associated Faculty
    Kent Gee
    Timothy W. Leishman
    Scott D. Sommerfeldt


  • Astronomy


    Students spend time researching in the optical, infrared and radio frequencies of the spectrum. Students have access to the West Mountain Observatory (home of three telescopes), a state-of-the-art planetarium, and various other national and international instruments and observatories.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Active galaxies, brown dwarfs, exoplanets and KBOs, precision observational astrophysics, radio astronomy, and variable stars

    Associated Faculty
    Eric Hintz
    Victor Migenes
    J. Ward Moody
    Denise Stephens

  • Atomic, Molecular, and Optical

    Atomic, Molecular, and Optical

    Some of the projects students are involved in include studying plasmas at sub-Kelvin temperatures, laser-generated high-order harmonics, and high intensity laser interactions.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Extreme ultraviolet optics, high-intensity laser physics, laser cooling and ultracold plasmas, matterwave interferometry, neutron detector development, quantum optics, and thin films

    Associated Faculty
    David D. Allred
    Scott D. Bergeson
    Dallin Durfee
    Justin B. Peatross
    Lawrence B. Rees
    R. Steven Turley
    Michael J. Ware

  • Condensed Matter

    Condensed Matter

    The group is engaged in a wide range of interdisciplinary projects that overlap with condensed matter and materials physics. Theoretical, experimental and computational tools are applied to advance understanding of physical systems critical to overcoming broad impact problems.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Calculating electronistates and properties, computational materials science and modeling, electron spin in semiconductors, magnetic nanostructures, nanoscale fabrication and microscopy, structural phase transitions in solids, transmission electron microscopy, and x-ray and neutron scattering

    Associated Faculty
    Branton Campbell
    Karine Chesnel
    John Colton
    Robert Davis
    Gus Hart
    Bret C. Hess
    Harold T. Stokes
    Richard Vanfleet

  • Plasma


    Plasma physics research at BYU, both experimental and theoretical, centers on the area of non-neutral plasma. It is estimated that roughly 99.5% of the known matter in the universe is in the plasma state, including stars, lightning, and neon signs. One group has an electron confinement system and is in the process of building an ion confinement system—both based on the cylindrical Malmberg-Penning geometry.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Gas dynamics simulations, ionized beryllium-7, non–neutral plasmas: computational, and non–neutral plasmas: experimental

    Associated Faculty
    Grant W. Hart
    Bryan G. Peterson
    Ross L. Spencer

  • Theoretical and Mathematical

    Theoretical and Mathematical

    While interests are numerous, professors overlap in their research pursuits, allowing greater collaboration. Students enjoy counseling with many experts in theoretical and mathematical physics, in addition to their own mentors.
    Areas of Emphasis

    Dynamical systems and quantum dynamics, general relativity, relativistic fluid dynamics, spin dynamics, and T quantum information

    Associated Faculty
    Manuel Berrondo
    Eric Hirschmann
    David Neilsen
    Jean-Francois Van Huele

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