Carnegie Mellon University

Our Research

At CMU Physics, traditional strengths such as particle physics work in conjuction with new initiatives in nanoscience and biological physics. Most recently, we have strongly increased our activities – and have been able to attract exciting young faculty – in the area of astrophysics and cosmology. This growth is well reflected by the recent formation of the Bruce and Astrid McWilliams Center for Cosmology, one of the newest research centers on campus.

Research at Carnegie Mellon is characterized by its interdisciplinarity, and the research driven by many of our faculty and associates is no exception. Our biological physics faculty collaborate closely with biomedical groups at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and others around the country, and the condensed matter group interacts strongly with colleagues in the College of Engineering. Our astrophysicists adopt and refine machine learning tools together with folks from the School of Computer Science, and our particle physicists perform their experiments at facilities around the globe. Physics students are always challenged to think outside the box.

There are currently five major focus areas in the department – Astrophysics & Cosmology, Biological Physics, Condensed Matter & Nanophysics, High Energy Physics and Quark Interaction Research. However, these areas are not distinct. Indeed, they are rather closely linked by structures such as the McWilliams Center and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. And because physics as a fundamental science spans huge regimes of length scales and time scales, our high energy physics and biological physics theorists will occasionally cross-fertilize each other with trailblazing new ideas.