Research in the Physics and Astronomy Department

Research areas for the program include, Accelerator Physics and the Center for Accelerator Science and Education; Astronomy, Astrophysics
and Cosmology; Atmospheric and Marine Sciences; Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics; Experimental Condensed Matter and Devices; Experimental High Energy Physics; Experimental Nuclear Physics; Biological Physics at the Laufer Center; Theoretical Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics; Theoretical Nuclear Physics; Mathematical Physics; and Theoretical Particle Physics including String Theory. For information on this topic, please visit the program website at the link

A number of institutes dedicated to specific fields offer a diverse spectrum of research opportunities. The C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics focuses on research in fundamental theory such as particle theory, neutrino physics, string theory, supersymmetry, and statistical mechanics. The Nuclear Theory Institute works on non-perturbative quantum chromodynamics, and the properties of hadronic matter under extreme conditions such as those created in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at BNL. The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics initiated by a significant private donation to the University offers research programs that are built on the historic close interaction between mathematicians and physicists at Stony Brook.  The Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology aims to advance biology and medicine through discoveries in physics, mathematics and computational science. Data Science and computing in science and engineering including physics is performed at the Institute for Advanced Computational Science.

Stony Brook co-manages nearby Brookhaven National Laboratory which conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in climate and energy technologies. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities that include the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and its successor now under construction, NSLS II, the Brookhaven Computational Science Center with the IBM BlueGene supercomputer. Stony Brook is the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities with over 600 faculty, staff, and students involved in collaborative research (see more information). Our nuclear physics faculty is one of the leading groups at RHIC. Experimental condensed matter and X-ray physicists in our department play a leading role in  NSLS II and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials. Several of our colleagues are active in the interdisciplinary Stony Brook Center for Computational Science that uses the BlueGene supercomputer.

In addition to facilities at BNL, faculty and staff make use of many off-campus facilities including the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The Department had a Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator that after 40 years of nuclear research has been converted to educational, training, and accelerator R&D efforts. The Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences offers a program in atmospheric physics.

Astronomical research is conducted on both theoretical and observational topics. The group uses DOE supercomputing facilities as well as on-site Beowulf clusters for extensive simulations of astronomical objects and nuclear astrophysical processes. Recently we established a strong effort in cosmology as well.

Observational research focuses on topics in galactic and extragalactic star formation, substellar and stellar astrophysics, extrasolar planets, neutron stars, molecular clouds, and galaxy formation and evolution. Faculty and students are also frequent users of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, the National Radio Astronomy Observatories, the observatories at Mauna Kea and the millimeter wave facilities at CARMA and Nobeyama observatories. They have also received extensive time on space-based observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, and XMM-Newton.