Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer

Physics is the source of new concepts about the nature of the universe and is a driving force for new technologies. The fundamental physics research of one generation often leads to the applied physics and technology of the next.

  • Program Spotlight

    B.S. in Physics

    A solid foundation in fundamental theoretical and experimental scientific principles.

  • Program Spotlight

    Concentration in Computational Physics

    An excellent opportunity for students to use Rensselaer’s world-class supercomputing center, which operates an 80,000 CPU Blue Gene Q supercomputer and a Watson machine.

  • Program Spotlight

    Ph.D in Physics

    While the usual program of a graduate student is a highly specialized one compared to most undergraduate programs, substantial opportunities exist, both in principle and in practice, for students to undertake programs of study and research which span one or more fields.

  • We stand for the acceptance of all, and pledge to fight discrimination of underrepresented groups, regardless of their background.

  • Visit the Hirsch Observatory and observe the stars, the planets, and more...
  • Our faculty and students' scholarly achievements are reflected by the awards they have received from a variety of organizations.

  • A community of women who seek to support each other through mentoring, workshops, and community building events.

  • An On-campus organization catering to both undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in physics.


Click “learn more” to donate directly to the Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy Department! Your donation will support our continued growth and expansion of research and amazing opportunities for our students who are changing the world every day!

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute invites members of the community to the Hirsch Observatory to view planets, stars, and galaxies with the observatory’s 16-inch telescope. The observatory will be open to the public every Saturday evening from March through November from 8-10 p.m. Anyone from the community is invited to come learn about our universe from Rensselaer students and faculty. Children are welcome.

Humberto Terrones, Rayleigh Endowed Chair Professor in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, is as passionate about community outreach as he is about science. “Sometimes, it takes a very small thing to inspire someone to become a scientist,” said Terrones. “You never know what will spark a child’s imagination!” "Get Inspired"


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Heidi Jo Newberg, Ph.D., professor of astronomy; Tom Donlon, Ph.D., a visiting researcher at Rensselaer and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alabama; and their team have recently published research that reveals a shocking discovery about the history of our universe: the Milky Way Galaxy’s last major collision occurred billions of years later than previously thought.

Six RPI students have been awarded fellowships from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Esther Wertz, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, has been appointed Rensselaer’s faculty fellow of UPWARDS for the Future. UPWARDS stands for the U.S.-Japan University Partnership for Workforce Advancement and Research & Development in Semiconductors. It was established in May 2023 by Micron and Tokyo Electron Limited to “to bring together 11 universities from across the U.S. and Japan to develop leading semiconductor curricula, creating opportunities for cross-collaboration.”

Contact Information

Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy

Jonsson Rowland Science Center, Room 1C25
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180

(518) 276-6310