The Catholic University of America

Hannan Hall

About The Department of Physics

Research

The department has programs of study and research in theoretical and experimental physics. Research programs stress the areas of nuclear physics (Klein, Sober and Horn), biophysics and condensed matter and low temperature physics as well as astrophysics and materials science. The University's Institute for Astrophysics and Computational Sciences (Bruhweiler, Kraemer, Duilia de Mello) is housed in the physics department. The Vitreous State Laboratory has received wide recognition as one of the outstanding university centers for the study of glassy materials. This laboratory combines faculty from Physics (Macedo, Pegg, Dutta, Sarkar and Philip), Chemistry, Biology and Engineering. Research includes both the fundamental properties of glasses as well as studies of applications in such areas as fiber optics, nanodevice physics, mechanical properties and nuclear waste treatment. It also houses the nanofabrication facility for research on nanospintronics, nanoelectronics and device physics. The research activities of the department are funded through grants and contracts at a level exceeding $15.0 million per year.

 

Facilities and Equipment

The Physics Department is housed in Hannan Hall. This modern 8,000 square meter facility contains lecture rooms, office, and library facilities, and is equipped with research laboratories for work in spectroscopy, solid state physics, lasers, penetrating radiation, nanophysics, biophysics and cryogenics. Larger facilities, such as particle accelerators, intense x-ray sources, and research reactors are available in nearby federal laboratories. The department library contains more than 7,000 volumes and subscribes to over 35 current periodicals. Also located in Hannan is a staffed machine shop, and additional metal and woodworking equipment is available for use by qualified students.

 

The University

CUA's main campus, founded in 1887, consists of 49 buildings on an attractive 180-acre site located in Washington, about 3 miles from the Capitol Building. Its student body of approximately 8000 (3,000 undergraduates, 5,000 graduates) represents every state and over 60 foreign countries. New facilities include the recently completed DuFour Athletic Center, the largest gymnasium in Washington, and the Hannan Physics building. The University's facilities reflect a wide range of scholarly activity and are vastly amplified by the unique resources of the Washington area. The University's Mullen Library, housing over 900,000 volumes, is the largest private library in Washington. In addition, students have access to the Library of Congress, and the libraries of many other research centers such as those of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the National Institutes of Health. Catholic University is a member of the Washington Consortium of Universities, which includes American, Georgetown, George Washington, Howard, and Maryland Universities, and Trinity and Gallaudet Colleges. The privilege of taking courses at any of the member institutions greatly expands the options available to our students.

 

Financial Support

Almost all full time graduate students are supported by teaching or research assistantships. These assistantships include stipends and full tuition remission. Teaching assistantships, usually awarded to beginning graduate students, require assistance in recitation and general laboratory courses and normally include from 6 to 8 contact hours per week. Research assistantships are most often awarded to more advanced graduate students who work in the research area of their chosen specialization. Exceptionally well qualified students are invited to apply for the Hubbard Graduate Student Fellowship in Physics.