School of Physics & Astronomy

Welcome from the Head of School

Professor Richard Bowtell

Welcome to the School of Physics & Astronomy's web pages. They are designed to give you an introduction to the undergraduate and postgraduate courses that we offer, our research, and a flavour of what studying at Nottingham is like. We pride ourselves on being a centre that is internationally recognised for the quality of our teaching and research and hope that you will enjoy learning a little more about us.

The School of Physics & Astronomy at Nottingham runs one of the most popular undergraduate physics programmes in the country. Our teaching has been rated 'excellent' and in the last Research Assessment Exercise we were placed joint 2nd with Cambridge and St Andrews in a ranking of 42 Physics departments.The School has a strong international research reputation, with a large portfolio of research contracts from EPSRC, STFC, MRC, BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society, the European Union and industry. Research in the School is organised within the general areas of Astronomy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging & Spectroscopy, Experimental Condensed Matter & Nanoscience, Particle Theory, Ultracold Atoms & Quantum Optics and Condensed Matter Theory. Our exceptional research profile feeds directly into the undergraduate teaching experience. Modules are taught by academics carrying out cutting-edge physics research. Many optional modules spring directly from those research topics and in the 3rd and 4th years the undergraduate projects often involve students working alongside academics in the School's advanced research laboratories.

We are a large school with nearly 50 lecturers (all active researchers), 54 postdoctoral researchers, over 120 postgraduate students (in progress and writing-up) and over 500 undergraduates. In recent years we have spent more than £1/2m on a complete refurbishment of all of our teaching laboratories and the purchase of new equipment, and are pleased to have recently been awarded a further £1/2m for new equipment for laboratory teaching. We have three computer suites exclusively for use by Physics students containing 93  high-spec PCs and the option of access to the University's High Performance Computing facilities (1000 processors and 100Tera-bytes of storage) where necessary. Our courses have been accredited by the Institute of Physics, the recognised professional body for physicists in the UK. Our undergraduate programmes are all modular: physics modules are complemented by optional modules that can be chosen from any school in the University, so you can tailor your degree to your interests. Many of our courses include opportunities to study at a partner university overseas, while others are interdisciplinary in nature, combining physics with chemistry, philosophy and mathematics.

As well as the main Physics building, the School has two additional centres sited close by; the Centre for Astronomy & Particle Physics (CAPT) and the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre (SPMMRC). In 2003 Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, a member of academic staff in the school for many years, jointly received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for the development of magnetic resonance imaging. Also, linked to the School is the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Centre, a co-ordinated nanotechnology resource for pure and applied research and teaching. The Centre is the hub for the University's Nanoscience postgraduate Masters programme and the Physics with Nanoscience undergraduate degree course.

I hope that this brief introduction to the School of Physics & Astronomy at Nottingham has conveyed to you some feeling for the exciting developments in progress here with which you could have the opportunity to become involved

Best wishes


Prof Richard Bowtell
Head of School
School of Physics & Astronomy


School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 [0]115 951 5183
fax: +44 [0]115 951 5180
email: physics-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk