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.

The Department of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position: “Assistant Professor in Quantum Computing and Quantum Information (Computational/Theory)". 

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 Humberto Terrones Maldonado, Rayleigh Endowed Chair Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, has been named one of the most highly cited researchers of 2022 by Clarivate. The distinction applies to only one in 1,000 researchers.


Jian Shi, Ph.D., associate professor in both the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has been selected for the Simons Foundation's Pivot Fellowship. 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Jian Shi, Ph.D., associate professor of materials science and engineering, as well as physics, applied physics, and astronomy, has won the prestigious 2023 IEEE Ferroelectrics Young Investigator Award. The award recognizes “the important contributions of young scientists/engineers in reference to their contributions to fundamental research, integration, application, or education.” Recognizing only one or two exceptional scientists in the relevant field each year, this highly competitive award serves as a prestigious accolade for independent scholars under or at the age of 40.

A team of researchers led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Trevor David Rhone, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, has identified novel van der Waals (vdW) magnets using cutting-edge tools in artificial intelligence (AI). In particular, the team identified transition metal halide vdW materials with large magnetic moments that are predicted to be chemically stable using semi-supervised learning. These two-dimensional (2D) vdW magnets have potential applications in data storage, spintronics, and even quantum computing.

Contact Information

Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy

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

(518) 276-6310