Department Research Activities


Astrophysics and Cosmology The UCSB Physics Department houses the campus astrophysics research, ranging from experimental work on the cosmic microwave background to observational work at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea and theoretical work in all parts of astrophysics. »


Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (AMO) explores the interactions between atoms, molecules and light. AMO experiments address a diverse range of topics, from the foundations of quantum mechanics to the study of emergent many-body phenomena to the development of new quantum technologies. »



Research in Physics of Soft and Living Matter is highly interdisciplinary.  To attain a strong fundament for tackling some of the most challenging questions of our time, students require the discipline to work through rigorous training in a broad set of fields ranging from physics, to biology, chemistry, and engineering.  Typical approaches are characterized by

  • use of physics ideas and concepts to answer important biological quastions, and
  • study of biological phenomena to discover novel physics. »


Condensed Matter Experimental Physics is a highly diverse area of research, ranging from innovative studies of the basic properties of novel materials, the study of complex fluids and nonlinear phenomena, to the development and study of nanometer- scale electronic, spintronic, superconducting and optical systems. »


Condensed Matter Theory Condensed matter physics is notable for its diversity and breadth. Even the more traditional sub-area of solid state physics covers an array of physical phenomena, spanning the fields of magnetism, superconductivity, metals, semiconductors, insulators and more. »


High Energy Experimental Physics  is a branch of physics that studies the elementary constituents of matter and radiation, and the interactions between them. »


High Energy Theory The members of the High Energy Theory Group have broad interests in string theory, quantum field theory, and the connections between the two. »


Gravity and Relativity We in the gravity theory group explore the intricacies of the gravitational field as described through General Relativity and its generalizations. We are especially interested in black holes, gravitational entropy and thermodynamics, quantum gravity and string theory, and quantum cosmology. »


Mathematical Physics Because mathematics provides the common reference point for all of physics, the UCSB Department of Physics has had a long-standing goal of building a deeper and stronger connection with the Department of Mathematics here at UCSB. »