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Welcome to the Department of Physics at Durham

The Physics Department is a thriving centre for research and education.

We are proud that our Department closely aligns the teaching and learning experience for its students with the research-intensive values and practices of the University. Research-led teaching is embedded at all levels from first year laboratory reports to our final year MSci flagship individual research projects.

The Department incorporates the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, is home to the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology and the Institute for Computational Cosmology. The Ogden Centre is also the base for our innovative outreach programme for school children and their teachers.

Find out more about us
2nd in the Guardian University Guide 2024
3rd for Physics and Astronomy in the Complete University Guide 2024
96%
96% of our research outputs are world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2021)
3rd in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
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Just got your grades?

We look forward to welcoming you to Physics. Find out what to do next below.

Before you arrive Welcome and Induction

News

Physics Department Developing Talent Award 2023 Winners

The Physics Department Developing Talent Award promotes, enhances and encourages the possibility of early career researchers developing their research careers within the Department by providing up to £10,000 in flexible funding.
Physics Department Developing Talent Award 2023 applicants

Durham graduate named new generation astronaut

We’re exceptionally proud to say that Durham graduate Dr Rosemary Coogan has been named as a new generation astronaut.
Rosemary-Coogan-astronaut

Using gravitational waves to hunt for dark matter

We’re part of an international team of cosmologists who’ve discovered that observations of gravitational waves might reveal the true nature of dark matter.
Two black holes move towards each other against a starry backdrop

Would you wear a living shoe? How Durham academics have used microbes to create living materials, granting structure and motility in biohybrid systems

Dr Margarita Staykova from the Centre for Materials Physics has teamed up with Durham University sociologist Professor Tiago Moreira to discover some of the science and ethics of using microbes to create materials.
Would you wear a living shoe? The Royal Society poses the question, with the image of a boot with illuminated multicoloured veins spreading through it

Athena Swan Silver Award

We are Delighted to announce that the Physics department has been awarded Athens Swan Silver status until 2027 after going through a rigorous re-accreditation process.
Athena Swan Silver Award logo

Durham hosts new £10m supercomputer to investigate the Universe

We’re home to a new £10m supercomputer that will help scientists around the world investigate the mysteries of the Universe.
Chi Onwurah MP pushes the button on the launch of the COSMA 8 supercomputer

New supercomputer simulation to test model behind Universe’s formation

We’re part of an international team of astrophysicists who’ve simulated galaxy formation and large-scale cosmic structure with unprecedented detail to investigate how the Universe formed.
Computer simulation showing the threads and stars of the Universe

#takemebacktuesday: Reflecting on 2022's Nobel Prize in Physics winner Prof. Alain Aspect, who opened our revamped laboratories ten years ago.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2022 was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science".
A smiling Prof Alain Aspect opening the refurbished laboratories in the Physics department in 2012

Prominent Durham Professors named in Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers 2022

Our academics are leading the way for world-class research and their influence and research quality has been recognised with their inclusion in the prestigious Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers for this year.
Clarivate highly cited researchers 2022

Supercomputer simulations reveal new possibilities for the Moon's origin

Our pioneering scientists from the Institute for Computational Cosmology used supercomputer simulations to reveal an alternate explanation for the Moon’s origin, as a satellite placed immediately into orbit following a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body.
Moon simulation

Prestigious grant awarded for research into Quantum Simulation and Ultracold Molecules

Professor Simon Cornish of the Quantum Light and Matter (QLM) research section  has been awarded a prestigious UKRI Frontier Research Grant: “SimPoMol – Quantum Simulation with Ultracold Polar Molecules” The grant is for £2.6 million  and started on 1st October.
An optical bench showing some of the optical components needed to realise a state-of-the-art cold molecule experiment.

New simulations shed light on origins of Saturn’s rings and icy Moons 

A new series of supercomputer simulations has offered an answer to the mystery of the origins of Saturn’s rings - one that involves a massive collision in the recent history of the 4.5 billion year old Solar System.
A simulation of an impact between two icy moons in orbit around Saturn, ejecting debris that could evolve into the planet's iconic and remarkably young rings

 

Study with us

Undergraduate study

Find out more about our BSc and MPhys courses.

Students in labs peering into microscope

Postgraduate study

Discover more about our taught courses and research degrees.

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Our research

We are one of the top Physics Departments in the UK for research, as recognised in repeated assessments and league tables.

According to REF2014, 100% of our research impact and 94.2% of our research outputs were judged to be internationally excellent.
Find out more
Cosmic Ray Cosmo Simulation
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Look Closer at the Faculty of Science

Whether it’s our world-leading research that seeks to empower and inspire, our commitment to educational excellence across eight academic departments, or our focus on the next generation of scientists through our ground breaking science outreach and engagement. We push forward, break down barriers, asking the big questions and getting answers. Watch our short video to find out why there’s more to science at Durham than meets the eye.

Find out about the Faculty of Science

 

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Open Days & Visits

We can offer personal tours of the Physics Department by arrangement, in addition to the University’s standard open day offerings. to discuss a department tour, please see ‘Arrange a personal tour’ below.

Undergraduate open days Postgraduate open days

Experience Durham by arranging a personal tour

Arrange to have a personal tour of our department buildings and facilities, meet departmental staff and get a feel for what it would be like to study here.

Arrange a personal tour

Find us on social media

Check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages

 

Student updates

What it's been like studying Physics

3rd year Physics student Jack reflects on his studies during the pandemic

Physics Rochester Building

Day in the life of a 3rd year Physics student: My Industrial Project

Physics student Gabriel tells us about his Team Project module at Durham

Student pouring liquid nitrogen

Get in touch

Contact us to find out more about our department.

Department of Physics
Durham University
Lower Mountjoy
South Road
Durham
DH1 3LE
United Kingdom

Questions about studying here?

Check out our list of FAQs or submit an enquiry form.

Your Durham prospectus

Order your personalised prospectus and College guide here.