Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

2010-11 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. After a period of dramatic growth in the sixties and again in the eighties, the Department is now 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 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 100 full-time and part-time graduate students. Roughly 20 teaching assistantships and fellowships are given to entering students each year. In the last five years, about 70 Ph.D. degrees and 30 M.S. degrees have been granted in physics. There are approximately 40 courses of instruction in physics at advanced undergraduate and graduate levels, plus many courses in mathematics, chemistry, etc. which are available for graduate credit.

Major research efforts in the department are devoted to astrophysics, 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.

Nuclear physics experiments are carried out using heavy-ion accelerators at Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and at Yale University, and at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia a 6 GeV electron accelerator, and at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.

Elementary particle physics experiments are carried out at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. 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.

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 the 42 contracted research programs which support the research of the department's faculty members. The total external support in 2009-10 was about 11 million dollars.

The Physics Department is located in Rutgers' Science Center in Piscataway, a pleasant suburban community in central New Jersey about 10 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. A new recreation center, containing a 50-meter swimming pool, fitness center, racquetball and hand ball courts, and a multi-sports area for basketball and volleyball are within easy walking distance of the physics building.

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; a number of these developed rapidly in the eighties with the considerable support of the state government.

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 July, 2010