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Physics

Physics at Northeastern invites you to join an exciting journey to explore, discover, and apply the fundamental principles that run the universe. Take a front-row seat as you visualize everything from the collisions of sub-atomic particles to the dance of the galaxies.

Explore Our Options for Undergraduate Students

Physics

physics
physics
150 Years of Science in a Cosmic Web of Paper Trails
The One Network to Rule them All
This Exotic Crystal is Fueling the Quantum Revolution

Everything (In Theory)

Why can’t light escape a black hole? What exactly is dark matter? Why is the gravitational force so weak? In physics, we know everything is bound by the same rules and happens for a reason. It’s the “why” of every action and reaction that keeps us curious.

The College of Science physics program equips you with what we know about our universe — theories on matter, the forces, space, and time — so you can reach into the unknown and answer the question… why?

Degree Options

Coursework and Requirements
A sampling of the types of courses you could take here.
Biological Physics
PHYS 4621

Offers an introduction to biophysics focusing on development and implementation of physical models for various biophysical processes that occur in living organisms and in living cells.

Modern Physics
PHYS 2303

Reviews experiments demonstrating the atomic nature of matter, the properties of the electron, the nuclear atom, the wave-particle duality, spin, and the properties of elementary particles, and introduces the special theory of relativity.

Advanced Physics
PHYS 3600

Introduces research through experiments that go beyond the simple demonstration of basic physical principles found in introductory physics courses. Experiments focus on lasers, fiber-optic communication, spectroscopy, Faraday rotation, speed of light, semiconductor physics, Hall effect, fuel cells, and Fourier analysis of music and sound.

From Theory to Practice

Northeastern Physics students value their experiences in a variety of work settings ranging from research and technical positions in corporations to research assistantships in cutting edge labs on campus or abroad. Our signature co-op experience provides a great opportunity to strengthen technical and professional skills.

Jameson O’Reilly, S’19

Physics and Math combined major Jameson O’Reilly had the opportunity of a lifetime with two of his classmates to spend his co-op at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, more commonly known as CERN. While there, O’Reilly had the chance to work hands-on building and testing prototype miniature cathode strip chambers, miniCSCs. His work helped to design prototypes that would use gas mixtures that are less likely to contribute to greenhouse gases, like the current chambers do. Even after his co-op ended, O’Reilly was able to continue working for CERN on an extension of his project remotely, through an undergraduate research grant

Faculty Labs

Physics
CIRCS
Research at CIRCS falls within the areas of biomolecular systems, cardiac systems, neural systems, and nanosystems. Research projects are continuously evolving as members develop new collaborations both within and outside the center.
Physics
Batischev Lab
Prof. Batishchev’s main research areas are Plasma Physics applications in fusion energy, laser-matter interaction, space, electric propulsion, and industry, and Computational Physics with focus on high-performance computing.
Physics
Kar Lab
Professor Kar’s interests lie in the investigation of electronic, optical, and electrochemical properties of graphene and development of graphene-based applications, including energy generation and storage.
Physics
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems (CIRCS)
CIRCS fosters collaborations between researchers from different scientific and engineering disciplines who share a common interest in elucidating fundamental aspects of the structure and function of complex physical and biological systems across multiple levels of organization using a combination o..
Physics
Whitford Research Group
Professor Whitford’s research probes the energetic properties of biomolecular dynamics through a combination of theoretical modeling and high-performance computing (HPC). His investigations of biomolecular order-disorder transitions and energy transduction processes span from protein and ribo..
Physics
Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics Group
This reearch group is interested in understanding collective and emergent behavior in out-of-equilibrium and disordered systems. The research employs methods in theoretical and computation condensed matter physics and applies to a wide range of biological and non-biological systems.
Physics
Compact Muon Solenoid at LHC — Louise Skinnari
We study precision measurements of Standard Model processes and are searching for signatures of new physics, including leptoquarks, dark matter candidates in topologies with Z bosons and invisible decays, and exotic production and decays of Higgs bosons.
Physics
Israeloff Lab
Professor Israeloff’s approach in the understanding of disordered systems, critical phenomena, and non-linear dynamics is to probe model complex materials with novel mesoscopic techniques, with an emphasis on noise measurements and analyses.
Physics
Kravchenko Lab
Professor Kravchenko is studying low temperature (millikelvin) properties of low-dimensional electron systems by means of transport, capacitance, thermopower, and magnetization measurements.
Physics
Theoretical Particle Physics Group — Brent Nelson
Members of our group work in particle physics, cosmology, and string theory, often with overlap between the subjects.
Physics
Neurogeometry Lab
Research in this lab is aimed at understanding the basic brain functions and principles of synaptic connectivity in the cerebral cortex through the quantitative analysis of neuron morphology.
Physics
Compact Muon Solenoid at LHC — Toyoko Orimoto
We study precision measurements of Standard Model processes and are searching for signatures of new physics, including leptoquarks, dark matter candidates in topologies with Z bosons and invisible decays, and exotic production and decays of Higgs bosons.
Physics
Theoretical Particle Physics Group — Tomasz Taylor
Members of our group work in particle physics, cosmology, and string theory, often with overlap between the subjects.
Physics
Sridhar Lab
Professor Sridhar has published more than 200 articles on his work in nanomedicine, neurotechnology, nanophotonics, metamaterials, quantum chaos, superconductivity and collective excitations in materials.
Physics
Emergent Epidemics Lab
Research in the Emergent Epidemics Lab spans a broad range of topics in complex systems and network science, with an emphasis on infectious disease dynamics and forecasting/predictive models.
Physics
Theoretical Particle Physics Group — James Halverson
Professor Halverson’s research is in theoretical high energy physics, with a focus on the interface between particle physics and cosmology beyond the standard models, superstring theory and quantum field theory, and pure mathematics.
Physics
Spintronics & Nanomagnetics Group
Professor Heiman’s research group focuses on several challenging and technologically important areas: (1) topological materials; (2) nanomagnetism; and (3) novel spintronic materials. 
Physics
The Electronic Materials Research Institute (eMRI) 
The Electronic Materials Research Institute (eMRI) at Northeastern University has access to extensive facilities, unique laboratories, and special instrumentation for materials research in the areas of nanotechnology and biotechnology. Faculty include: Srinivas Sridhar, Don Heiman, Latika Menon, Pa..
Physics
Wanunu Lab
Professor Wanunu’s research involves studying biosystems at the nanoscale (macromolecular and sub-molecular levels).
Physics
Spring Lab
Professor Spring’s group bridges biophysics, biomedical optics and cancer biology to selectively target micrometastases left behind by standard therapies that limit our ability to cure many cancers.
Physics
Compact Muon Solenoid at LHC — Darien Wood
We study precision measurements of Standard Model processes and are searching for signatures of new physics, including leptoquarks, dark matter candidates in topologies with Z bosons and invisible decays, and exotic production and decays of Higgs bosons.
Physics
The Center for Complex Network Research (CCNR)
The Center’s objective is simple: think networks. Research focuses on how networks emerge/evolve, how they look, and how they impact our understanding of complex systems. CCNR’s research has developed to unexpected areas, including the topology of the World Wide Web; complex networks inside th..
Physics
Compact Muon Solenoid at LHC — Emanuela Barberis
We study precision measurements of Standard Model processes and are searching for signatures of new physics, including leptoquarks, dark matter candidates in topologies with Z bosons and invisible decays, and exotic production and decays of Higgs bosons.
Physics
Williams Lab
The Williams lab specializes in the development of single molecule methods for quantitatively probing the biophysical properties of DNA and RNA and for understanding the biophysics of their interactions with proteins and other DNA binding ligands.
Physics
Venkatachalam Lab
Professor Venkatachalam’s group develops tools to measure and manipulate whole-brain activity in freely-behaving animals.
Physics
Center for STEM Education
This university-wide center aspires to play a key role in shaping and implementing the K-20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education strategy at Northeastern University, and to impact STEM teaching and learning at all levels, both locally and nationally.
Physics
Compact Muon Solenoid at LHC — George Alverson
We study precision measurements of Standard Model processes and are searching for signatures of new physics, including leptoquarks, dark matter candidates in topologies with Z bosons and invisible decays, and exotic production and decays of Higgs bosons.
Physics
Champion Lab
The Champion lab studies the structure and dynamics of biomolecules using a variety of ultrafast laser-based techniques.
Physics
Menon Lab
Professor Menon is the Principal Investigator of the Advanced Nanomaterials Research laboratory at Northeastern University where she conducts and supervises research in the area of nanomaterials, specifically porous alumina, titania nanotubes, gallium nitride nanowires, etc. She is particularly..
Physics
Theoretical Particle Physics Group — Pran Nath
Members of our group work in particle physics, cosmology, and string theory, often with overlap between the subjects.
Physics
DK Lab
DK Lab research focuses on the theory and fundamentals of complex networks. Research topics of particular interest to the lab are latent network geometry, maximum-entropy random graph ensembles and random geometric graphs, causal sets, navigation in networks, and fundamentals of network dynamics.
Physics
MoBS Lab
Alessandro Vespignani’s research activity is focused on the study of “techno-social” systems, where infrastructures composed of different technological layers are interoperating within the social components that drives their use and development.
Physics
Electronic Structure and Spectroscopy of Novel Materials
His group is developing and implementing theoretical methodologies for carrying out first-principles calculations of spectral intensities relevant for angle-resolved photoemission, resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, scanning tunneling microscopy, and positron-annihilation angular correlation.
Physics
Network Science Institute
The NSI works to discover and inspire fundamentally new ways to measure, model, predict and visualize meaningful interactions and interconnectivity of social, physical and technological systems. Faculty include: Alessandro Vespignani, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Dima Krioukov, Samuel Scarpino.
Physics
Sage Lab
Professor Sage’s research is motivated by a fascination with the physical basis for the function of proteins. He develops and applies novel spectroscopic approaches to understand the structure, dynamics, and function of biological macromolecules.
Physics
Di Pierro Lab
The Di Pierro Lab is focused primarily on physical genetics. We are broadly interested in the physical processes involved in the translation of genetic information. We develop novel theoretical approaches to characterize the structure and function of the genome using the tools of statistical physic..
The Minds Behind COS Physics
Faculty Spotlight
Arun Bansil
Physics
Bansil and a team of researchers have discovered new properties in the chemical element bismuth that conduct electricity efficiently, and could prevent supercomputers from frying. Bansil, who found these properties of bismuth concealed within the quantum world, says the discovery will rock modern technology harder than the internet revolution in the 1960s.
Toyoko Orimoto
Physics
“The Standard Model only describes a small fraction of the universe we know,” says Orimoto. Her work within CERN’s particle collider has given her the chance to study particles such as the Higgs Boson.
Alessandro Vespignani
Phsyics
Vespignani is the Director of the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems Lab (MoBS Lab) at Northeastern University. Prediction is an integral component of the work Vespignani and his colleagues perform at MoBs, where the team develops innovative mathematical models and computational tools to better understand, anticipate, and control large-scale complex network systems. In 2016, Vespignani was awarded the Aspen Institute Italia Award for his work predicting the spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia in 2014.

News

February 25, 2020

Both Insulator and Conductor, This Material Will Help Revolutionize Quantum Computing

A team of Northeastern students was recently selected by NASA to enter the Big Idea Challenge, and will receive a $90,000 award to develop a robotic system to help astronauts explore permanently shadowed regions of the moon. From left: Julian Morgen, Paige Butler, and María Belén Ou. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University
February 24, 2020

NASA Is Going Back to the Moon. Northeastern University Students Are Designing Robots to Explore the Terrain.

Some parts of the moon never see the light, but they are full of resources that NASA could mine to settle on the lunar surface and venture beyond. The agency…
Left to Right: Arun Bansil, Vladimir Torchilin, Albert-László Barabási, Art Kramer, Kim Lewis, Lisa Feldman-Barrett
February 5, 2020

Six Northeastern Professors Named to 2019 List of ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ Around the Globe

The 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list features has included six Northeastern researchers who rank in in the top 1 percent by citations in their fields between 2006 and 2016.
Courtesy of Alessandro Vespignani
February 5, 2020

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is an International Public Health Emergency. Here’s What You Need to Know.

“Either the screening, detection, and isolation in China will be able to contain the epidemic there, or it will be a global issue,” says Alessandro Vespignani, Sternberg Family Distinguished University…

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