Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics

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Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics
Established 1885[1]
Type Public
Chair Pablo Laguna[2]
Academic staff 63[3]
Postgraduates 109[4]
Location Atlanta, Georgia,  United States
33°46′39″N 84°23′56″W / 33.777412°N 84.398756°W / 33.777412; -84.398756Coordinates: 33°46′39″N 84°23′56″W / 33.777412°N 84.398756°W / 33.777412; -84.398756
Logo cos sop.tif

The School of Physics is an academic unit located within the College of Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Georgia, USA. It conducts research and teaching activities related to physics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The School of Physics offers Bachelors degrees in Physics or Applied Physics. A core of technical courses gives a strong background in mathematics and the physical principles of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum theory. The School of Physics also offers programs of study leading to certificates in Applied Optics; Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Physics; and in Computer Bases Instrumentation.[4]


The Physics Department was one of the eight original departments created, when Georgia Tech opened in 1888. The first chair of the department was Isaac S. Hopkins, who also became Georgia Tech's first president. At the outset, Georgia Tech closely modeled itself after the Worcester "Free School" in Worcester, Massachusetts (now the Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The curricula of such schools emphasized primarily an amalgamation of undergraduate physics education with engineering.

In the 1920s and 1930s the physics department, under the directorship of J. B. Edwards, was closely tied to applied research connected with public and private companies.

During the latter decades of the twentieth century, the groups specialized in applied, interdisciplinary, and pure research. The applied and interdisciplinary centers include the Center for Nonlinear Science (CNS), which consists of thirteen core members and ten associate members. In addition, the center hosts visiting faculty.

In terms of pure research, David Finkelstein heads the Quantum Relativity Group, which specializes in fundamental theoretical problems involving the search for simpler, unified models that adequately account for both the "Standard Model" in particle physics and the relativistic nature of space and time. Finkelstein was the editor of the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, which deals with fundamental problems in theoretical physics.

The Howey-Physics building, home to physics, calculus and other lectures, was named after Joseph H. Howey. The building, which he played such an important role in designing, was dedicated and named the Joseph H. Howey physics building on September 17, 1976. Joseph Howey served as Director of the School of Physics at Georgia Tech for 28 years (1935–1963).[5]

Degrees offered[edit]

The School of Physics bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in several fields.[6] These degrees are technically granted by the School's parent organization, the Georgia Tech College of Science, and often awarded in conjunction with other academic units within Georgia Tech. For 28 years Howey remained at the helm of the School of Physics. Under Joseph Howey's leadership a graduate program was initiated and the undergraduate program grew in stature to become one of the larger departments in the US.

Doctoral degrees[edit]

Master's degrees[edit]

Bachelor's degrees[edit]


The graduate curriculum in the School of Physics provides the background and training needed to conduct research. Completion of the Ph.D. program in Physics requires completion of course work, participation in seminars and Special Problems, acceptance into Ph.D. candidacy, and thesis research.

Every faculty member of the School of Physics earned a Ph.D. degree and completed post-doctoral research positions prior to embarking on his or her independent academic careers. In addition, each member of the faculty teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Several faculty are involved with CETL (Georgia Tech’s Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning) and CEISMIC (Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing). CETL offers courses that teach the graduate students how to teach. CEISMIC[11] operates over 20 programs from K-12 students and/or teachers, partnering in the process with many of the Georgia public school systems and prominent educational agencies. These two centers are available to students.

Notable faculty[edit]


The School of Physics's administrative offices, as well as those of most of its faculty and graduate students, are located in the Howey Physics Building on Georgia Tech's main campus.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Physics". New Georgia Encyclopedia. 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  2. ^ "Contact Information". Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics. Retrieved 2013-09-24. 
  3. ^ "Professors". Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  4. ^ a b "About the School". Georgia Institute of Technology School of Physics. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  5. ^ Stevenson, Jim (2005-01-27). "Joseph H. Howey". Deceased Georgia Tech Faculty Members. Georgia Tech Library. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  6. ^ "Degrees Offered". Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  7. ^ "GT Catalog : Physics : PhD Physics". GT Catalog. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  8. ^ "GT Catalog : Physics : MS Physics". GT Catalog. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  9. ^ "GT Catalog : Physics : BS Physics". GT Catalog. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  10. ^ "GT Catalog : Physics : BS Applied Physics". GT Catalog. Georgia Institute of Technology. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  11. ^ "Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing". Georgia Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 

External links[edit]