Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Program

2017-18 Handbook for Physics and Astronomy Graduate Students

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General Departmental Introduction

The Rutgers Department of Physics and Astronomy has a broad and active program of graduate education in physics. The Department is one of the larger departments in the nation. This allows us to maintain varied research and instructional activities of high quality. We also have an excellent student-faculty ratio so that generally students are easily able to obtain advice and assistance.

There are presently over 70 faculty in our graduate program, 50 postdoctoral research associates, and approximately 31 full-time supporting staff. There are about 110 full-time and part-time graduate students. Roughly 20 graduate students enter the program each year, with Ph.D. students supported by teaching assistantships and fellowships. In the last four years, we have awarded about 15 Ph.D. degrees per year with a mean time to defense of about 5.7 years. We award about 2 - 3 M.S. degrees per year. We offer about 40 graduate courses regularly, though several are offered only every other year. There are in addition many courses in mathematics, chemistry, etc. which are available for graduate credit.

Major research efforts in the department are devoted to astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter, statistical, surface, elementary particle, and nuclear physics.

The department's research facilities include a Laboratory for Surface Modification (LSM) that houses a 1.7-MeV tandetron accelerator, a 400-keV ion accelerator, and numerous ultra-high vacuum surface science instruments including scanning tunneling microscopes. Surface studies are also carried out at the synchrotron radiation facilities at Brookhaven. Included in the equipment that supports research in low temperature physics are three mK-range dilution refrigerators and two 10-Tesla superconducting magnets.

Rutgers astrophysicists use the observatory facilities at Kitt Peak and Cerro-Tololo Observatories, as well as data from the IUE and Einstein and Hubble Space Telescope satellite observatories. Equipment includes an imaging Fabry-Perot interferometer designed and constructed at Rutgers and now in use at the Cerro-Tololo observatory, and astronomical image processing facilities using a Grinnell display system and Sun workstations. Rutgers is part of the consortium which constructed and is operating the SALT telescope in South Africa. Rutgers astronomers have a 10% share of the observing time at SALT.

Elementary particle physics experiments are now carried out at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Nuclear physics experiments are carried out using heavy-ion accelerators at Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories for the low-energy nuclear structure program. The intermediate energy program takes place at the 6-GeV electron accelerator at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland. The relativistic heavy-ion program uses the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Both experimentalists and theorists have access to advanced computer workstations with high-speed links to supercomputers. All of these computer facilities are available for graduate students' research and all students are expected to have active computer accounts on at least one of the Department's networks.

The quality and scope of the research and faculty is indicated by about 40 contracted research programs which support the research of the department's faculty members. The total external support of about 13 million dollars annually supports nearly 40 graduate students to work full time on research, relieving them of teaching assignments.

The Physics Department is located in Rutgers Busch Campus in Piscataway, a pleasant suburban community in central New Jersey about 5 minutes from urban New Brunswick and about 35 miles from New York City. Life in the New Brunswick area is enriched by lecture series, films, and, in particular, an extensive program of high-quality musical events. Athletic and other recreational facilities are also available on campus. Werblin recreation center, which contains a 50-meter swimming pool, fitness center, racquetball and hand ball courts, and a multi-sports area for basketball and volleyball, is a few minutes walk from the physics buildings.

Rutgers was founded in 1766 and is now the State University of New Jersey. There are about 50,000 students on six campuses. About 26,000 of these students are in New Brunswick and Piscataway, including nearly 8,000 graduate and professional school students. The Physics Department is one of many distinguished departments.

This booklet has been primarily prepared as a guide for graduate students, but we hope that faculty, students, and prospective students will find it useful in many ways. It should be recognized that even a booklet of this size is necessarily sketchy and incomplete in places. In particular, the descriptions of the research of the faculty are illustrative; only conversations with faculty members will reveal the full scope of their interests. Faculty members will always welcome a request to discuss their research.

Suggestions for improvement of this booklet, and other comments and criticisms are invited, and should be given to the Graduate Director either in writing, via e-mail, or in person.

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Revised October, 2017