About the school

Physics is the discipline that addresses the most fundamental questions in science, from the very nature of matter to the origin of the Universe. Moreover physics is important to the economy of the nation; many past technologies have been based on research carried out in physics departments and the same will be true of developments in the future.

Bristol's School of Physics is well placed to address these challenges, with research strengths and a clear vision to pursue the newly emerging areas of nanotechnology, optoelectronics, high temperature superconductors, smart materials, quantum information, e-science and revolutionary instrumentation for probing biological systems at the molecular scale. Added to that, we are carrying out world class research in elementary particle physics, cosmology and a range of theoretical physics.

We aim to provide an excellent learning experience which trains undergraduates and postgraduates in a full range of physics, in a department of internationally recognised researchers who are committed to the highest standards of teaching.

Our department comprises 43 academic and 50 research staff engaged in areas represented by research groups in Astrophysics, Correlated Electron Systems, Micro and Nano Structural Materials, Nano and Soft Matter Physics, Particle Physics, Quantum Photonics and Theoretical Physics.

Currently we accept an average of 160 new undergraduates each year and 90 postgraduate research students. The school offers an extensive choice of undergraduate honours degree programmes to meet the needs of a wide variety of careers, and has recently launched a new suite of one year, full-time taught MSc programmes.

In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise all academic staff were included and 55 per cent of our research was rated as being world leading or internationally excellent. The school is a key component of what is one of the UK's top four science faculties.

A small sample of some recent research achievements across the faculty.

H H Wills Physics Laboratory

Did you know?

  • Over 30 members of the Science faculty, including pioneering researchers from Physics, are Fellows of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest and most distinguished science academy.
  • Nobel Laureates Professor Cecil Powell and Sir Nevill Francis Mott belonged to the School of Physics.
  • The High Performance Computing Centre housed by Physics is one of the UK’s most powerful research computers, used for analysing data from the Large Hadron Collider.