We strive to be at the forefront of many areas where new physics can be found. While we often study the simplest things, such as individual atoms, we study the most complicated things too: unusual materials like high temperature superconductors and those that are important in biology. By pushing the limits, we have the chance to observe new general principles and to test theories of the structure and behavior of matter and energy. 

Research in the department covers a wide range of fields, including AMO physics, biological physics, condensed matter physics, high energy physics, particle astrophysics, and gravitational physics. Many opportunities are available for both graduate and undergraduate students.

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Department of Physics and Biophysics

Health Sciences Campus

Science & Mathematics Building



Research Areas

Our faculty have diverse specializations and research interests, and they’re passionate about working with undergraduate as well as graduate students. This includes advising and mentoring throughout your time at AU, as well as partnering with you on gaining research experience.

Applied Research

Research typically involves designing and testing instruments and devices necessary for various interdisciplinary investigations, such as environmental sensors. Students learn about analog and digital electronic circuits and how to write microcontroller software appropriate for completing projects.

Faculty: Dr. Andy Hauger


Atomic and Molecular Physics

Understanding basic phenomena ranging from the few-body to the many-body level. Included are processes such as the behavior of quantum gases (such as Bose-Einstein condensates) and degenerate (Fermi) gases, and Bose-Fermi mixtures, which connect with modern-day condensed-matter physics.

Faculty: Dr. Tom Colbert (Experimental), Dr. Theja DeSilva (Theoretical) 


A branch of astronomy that looks at the physical nature of stars and other celestial bodies, and seeks to apply the laws and theories of physics to the interpretation of astronomical observations.

Faculty: Dr. Joseph Newton, Dr. Nathan Yanasak

Biological Physics (experimental)

Questions the interface of the physical and life sciences and covers biological organization, including molecular, organismic, and populations. Research focuses on biological applications of physics, particularly on the damages done to DNA by ultraviolet and ionizing radiations, as well as post-irradiation effects on cells. We look at spectroscopic studies of proteins, nucleic acids, and other biologically important molecules using visible and ultraviolet light.

Faculty: Dr. John Sutherland 


Biological Physics (Theoretical and Computational)

The theoretical subset of Biological Physics involves studying biological phenomena using computational and theoretical approaches, based on physics, to gather insights into the underlying physical principles for how cells and tissues carry out their functions. We look at collective cell movement during embryogenesis and tumor growth, and how cells sense their mechanical environment.

Faculty: Dr. Abdul Malmi-Kakkada, Dr. Theja DeSilva, Dr. Trinanjan Datta

Condensed Matter Physics

Looks at the physical properties of condensed phases of matter where particles adhere to one another. We seek to understand the behavior of these phases by using physical laws, including the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and statistical mechanics. At AU, we do research into microfluidics and electrified jets, quantum magnetism, strongly correlated electron systems, and high-temperature superconductors.

Faculty: Josefa Guerrero-Millan (Experimental), Dr. Theja DeSilva (Theoretical), Dr. Trinanjan Datta (Theoretical and Computational), Dr. Abdul Malmi-Kakkada (Theoretical)

Medical Physics

Researches the technical foundations of radiation, dosimetry, and nuclear medicine. Medical physics incorporates experimental, computational, and theoretical methods to study the effect of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Faculty: Dr. Nathan Yanasak, Dr. Andy Hauger, Dr. Joseph Newton

Nuclear Physics

Studies protons and neutrons at the center of an atom (nuclei) and the interaction that hold them together in space. We also do research into other forms of nuclear matter.

Faculty: Dr. Joseph Newton

Physics Education and Technology

Physics education research (PER) refers to the methods currently used to teach physics and to an area of pedagogical research that seeks to improve those methods. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) uses discovery, reflection, and evidence-based methods to research effective teaching and student learning. These findings are peer-reviewed and publicly disseminated in an ongoing cycle of systematic inquiry into classroom practices.

Faculty: Dr. Tom Colbert, Dr. Trinanjan Datta, Dr. Theja DeSilva

Creativity, Discovery, Engagement


Our faculty's research is at the forefront of today's science and tomorrow's technology. Browse some of the recent publications.

Research News

Two college students work with a professor while writing on a white board in a classroom.

Physics faculty publishes article in Nature family of journals

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photo from article Augusta University researcher named to 2023 Class of Fellows for the National Academy of Inventors

Augusta University researcher named to 2023 Class of Fellows for the National Academy of Inventors

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A man standing in a green, open space in front of a building.

Augusta University researcher awarded Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for disease detection research

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An Education Like No Other

The College of Science and Mathematics provides students with strong foundations in the sciences as well as preparation for careers, citizenship, and a life-long love of learning. We are committed to providing experiences promoting scientific inquiry and discovery and dedicated to creating opportunities for intellectual growth and community involvement.